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Arrow Financials – Moving forward to Tencia

2004 – Arrow transitions to the new Tencia Software

In 2004 Arrow Management decided to embark upon a completely new technology foundation and architecture.  This would require a complete redesign and redevelopment the Arrow package “from scratch”, to develop a new system that would be viable for the next 20-30 years. They decided that the optimum technology foundation would be the Microsoft .Net Framework Brief Introduction and an optimised implementation of the Microsoft SQL database engine.

This mammoth commitment would mean “writing-off” more than 15 years of software development. Arrow would need to start all over again using the latest technology. The learning curve would be huge.

There is an old saying in the technology world that the only way you know how to build a system is to first design and build it, right through to completion, then put the system in the hands of users and find out what really works.  Only then after you finish the project, do you find out how you should have started the design. Then you need to start all over again and rebuild the system “from scratch”. This approach is a massive commitment for any organisation. It is what Arrow actually did.

Arrow decided to name the new software package “Tencia” which is an Anglicisation of a mandarin phrase which means “everything under the Sun”.  The change of brand name to Tencia signified that the new system was much more than a facelifted upgrade of Arrow Financials software. Tencia would be brand new software and based on a completely new and modern technology foundation.

2009 – Tencia Launch

The design brief for Tencia was finalised in 2004 and included the following goals:

  1. Retaining the elegance and simplicity of the Arrow Financials package that had brought the company so much success;
  2. Building on a foundation of the most cost-effective and powerful technology available in 2004;
  3. An elegant, user-friendly and intuitive user interface similar to the popular Microsoft Outlook style;
  4. Analysing all of the “wish list” of user requests and designing Tencia to meet fulfil most of these requests;
  5. To design Tencia in a way that would allow for maximum customisability so that the system would be capable of meeting the specific requirements of each client, and achieve this in a way that would preserve the standardisation and compatibility of the core Tencia system;
  6. Connectivity – by 2004 it was becoming increasingly important that business systems could connect with one another, for example connecting the finance system with e-Commerce, Electronic Data Interchange, Financial Institution interfaces, etc. This was the concept that eventually became the Tencia Connect module;
  7. Design excellence – for example, to include such concepts as referential integrity. With older finance systems third party software would interface directly with the core finance system, however sometimes these interfaces would compromise the integrity of the finance database.  Therefore, with the new Tencia design all data interchanges would be managed via the Tencia Connect module. The only transactions that would be processed in Tencia would be those that are managed directly by the Tencia software application itself, which would be designed to include cross-checking that when one table is updated all other tables would be updated and checked that all data was synchronised.  In circumstances when there was a malfunction (e.g. computer crash or loss of connection) and only part of a transaction was processed, the new Tencia system would include “rollback” functions to ensure referential data integrity.

The development of Tencia would be an enormous project that would make or break the company. From time to time the Australian Government has recognised the need for Australia to be a “smart country”, and the excellence of the Tencia project has been recognised, awarded and with some financial contributions provided by the Australian government in support of the Tencia project.

In 2009, after five years’ software development, the new Tencia Business System was launched as a replacement for Arrow Financials Software.

The Tencia launch included the core finance modules (General Ledger, Customers, Suppliers, Inventory Cashbook, Sales Orders, Purchase Orders).  This initial software release did not include some of the specialist modules such as Job Costing, Bill of Materials and Fixed Assets.

For those organisations which only required the core modules they were able to transition to Tencia and gain the benefits of the new Tencia system. For other organisations where “specialist modules” were required (Job Costing, Bill of Materials, Fixed Assets, etc.), they would need to wait until their required modules were available.

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