“Cemeteries hold the DNA of generations, the stories of our ancestors, and the human race.”
Since its inception in 1983 Axiom has developed a culture based on shared values and ethics with its team and clients. Deeply inspired by the popular author Simon Sinek and his work on corporate leadership, John and Anne Field (President and co-founder) have striven to integrate much of Sinek’s wisdom into Axiom’s business model.
Having carefully established and defined Axiom’s core values, its purpose and ‘why’ of being in business, John and Anne proactively encourage and inspire their team to seek out colleagues and client partners who, to use a Sinek truism, ‘believe what we believe’.
“There is truly a meeting of the hearts and minds when we connect with others for whom the mission of our company authentically resonates with their own corporate mission. With this as the cornerstone of the partnership, we begin with a solid foundation that is galvanized by a common vision and set of objectives. In doing so, there is a deep understanding of the change and innovation that can be brought to an organization with the implementation of fully integrated technology. It’s exciting, it’s empowering, it’s transformational, and great things can be brought to bear in the process!” says Anne.
Amalgamating technology with business objectives
As part of the legacy and history that cemeteries offer to their communities, they need to manage voluminous archives of paper maps, hand written documents and index cards, which can be centuries old and, in some instances, rapidly deteriorating. As ‘custodians’ of information that relates to the heritage and family lineage of their client families, today’s cemeteries, sometimes referred to as ‘Cities of the Dead’, are focusing on serving the needs of the living, and their vibrant communities. As such, the modern cemetery client is expecting to have ‘finger-tip’ access to pertinent information, which is leading to a rapidly emerging consumer expectation that cemeteries be up to date with trends in technology and culture.
Recollecting from her years of personal experience, Anne explains that people in grief are often distressed and vulnerable, and have a need to be both respected and nurtured as they make very difficult commercial and emotional decisions. The professionals engaged in serving a grieving family need to ensure that the funeral process is as stress free for the family as possible. Many cemeteries run without the structure and accountability of a Customer Relationship Management system, and sales leads that have been generated through the organization’s marketing budget are manually maintained in a paper system. This has many inherent risks, not the least of which is lost information about client interactions during the sales process.
The greatest risk with choosing proprietary software systems is that they have a finite shelf life determined by how long that developer stays in business, or one who can avoid an acquisition that changes the software publisher’s strategic market focus.
In selecting the Axiom Cemetery System, the client cemetery has the assurance of choosing a solution backed by Sage, a multinational organization with thousands of business partners, who is also committed to a significant annual expenditure of Research and Development funds to keep its technology at the forefront of the market. Having Axiom “stand on the shoulders of giants like Sage” comes as a significant relief to most cemetery stakeholders as business continuity and sustainability is one of the major drivers in their strategic plan.
Unlocking critical management information in real time
Leveraging Sage’s commitment to multi-lingual systems, Axiom provides a diverse industry solution in the operator’s language of choice. One of Axiom’s objectives is to equip and empower the staff who serve the bereaved families with the best possible information to make their job easier and the family comfortable and confident in their communications and the decisions they are making at their time of greatest need. With the Axiom solution, every family interaction can be accurately and effectively recorded and managed. “In the mobile society in which we live, sometimes graves purchased years ago can be used many years after the last transaction was recorded” Anne states.
“Axiom has seamlessly integrated its cemetery management system with Sage CRM and Sage 300 financials to facilitate effective management of all of the cemetery’s resources.”
Linking Life Story and Legacy
Historical cemeteries in particular have many notable people interred within their properties, and thereby offer an interesting endeavor for researchers and historians. With an ever increasing community interest in genealogy, Axiom introduced a state-of-the-art mapping product, with the capability to link images and other relevant information to a particular site. Axiom’s digital map can be accessed through an information kiosk at a cemetery, or remotely via the internet on any device that can operate a web browser. In doing so, cemetery patrons can have real time access to the precise grave location, including the relevant links to the life story and legacy of the deceased.
The Path Ahead
Having launched its new cemetery management system early in 2015, Axiom is now expanding the system functionality to include electronic signatures on contracts and a more mobile solution allowing its cemeteries to provide services to their client families in the family home, in the grounds of the cemetery or anywhere that the technology can enhance the discussion about the client family’s requirements.
Axiom is also developing an expanded range of product offerings by adding a number of on-line services that allow for self- service bookings and sales systems. Furthermore, a new range of system management services that address grounds management and horticultural management will be welcomed a welcome addition by most cemeteries wishing to streamline the large number of cemetery resources under their governance and supervision.
Axiom continues to grow in the North American market, in addition to sowing the seeds for expansion into the United Kingdom and Europe. The company will also continue to consolidate its market position in the South East Pacific region of Australia and New Zealand. By utilizing the multi lingual capabilities and other ground – breaking aspects of the Sage solution, this catapults Axiom’s cemetery solution into a truly global market.