Posts Tagged ‘technology’
We know as a service provider, credit payment processing can become a huge hassle to small and midsized businesses. Rates and fees are usually high which immediately turns many business owners off the idea of accepting credit card, but an all cash business can only work for so long. In today’s economy and purchasing culture, credit cards are becoming more and more widely used and accepted in business transactions. Sage Payment Solutions provides businesses with all the necessities of credit payment processing without the high rates that are common with bank processing. With Sage Payment Solutions you are able to accept all major credit/debit cards and bypass the setbacks that come with cash and check payments. The benefits of this solution will take your business to new heights.
It is exciting to me to see the momentum of the Cloud marketplace. With every study I see, every analysts I hear, every piece of research I read, all are saying the same thing…Cloud is growing! But it is also interesting to me that even though there is growth, there are many in the marketplace who still seem very confused about what Cloud actually is, and its benefits.
What is Cloud?
An example of this would be the recent debate on Focus.com, where a question was given to the visitors of their site, simply asking “Is Facebook a Cloud?” The fact that there was even a debate highly indicates to me that there is confusion over Cloud terms, one-way-or-the-other. As I believe most readers of this Blog know, the Cloud is on-demand computing resources that are available on a consumption basis. The Cloud is enabled by virtualization technology providing hardware and operating system efficiencies, making it easier and less expensive to deliver on-demand computing resources. SaaS, on the other hand, in its most basic form is a delivery model allowing a business (or someone) to access applications on the Cloud infrastructure. This is what Facebook is doing, providing their application to millions of people. SaaS uses Cloud, not SaaS is a Cloud. The Facebook application is written for the Cloud and could be considered a Cloud-based application, but it is not “the Cloud”.
Utilizing Cloud in SaaS ERP
Another example is a company I know about who is currently living with the fact that their well-entrenched, on-premise ERP system was acquired by another software provider, and now, their maintenance has tripled, their support is nowhere to be seen, and they truly believe their product is now a product without future direction (ouch!). Even though it seems like this company would be doing anything it can to abandon their current situation, they are not. The reason, as I understand it, is rooted around the fear of the unknown (alternative solutions), the disruption of a bringing in a new system and the cost that it would take to convert to something new.
So the question is why this company has not considered the SaaS-based direction as a way to escape their current situation. It is simple; they still are not aware of the many benefits of SaaS. This company, like many companies, has not been exposed enough to SaaS and Cloud computing already in order to see it as a viable option. To me, SaaS and Cloud computing would be an excellent alternative solution for this company, and others in the same situation. The benefits of SaaS and Cloud computing, including the speed of implementation and low cost of entry naturally makes it the perfect option (shortest possible route) to something new. With SaaS and Cloud computing they would have new, innovative technology that would lower their current internal IT resources and maintenance costs, and could provide the product support they deserve.
Continuing Cloud Knowledge Building
Though these examples may seem different, they are similar in the fact that they are part of the marketplace that lacks an understanding of Cloud and its benefits. Whether it is the company who doesn’t realize how SaaS can help them, or it is people debating whether something is a Cloud or not, says to me that we still have a ways to go.
Though SaaS and Cloud computing is growing, one of the biggest challenges today is the continued education of these technologies in the marketplace. It is my belief that the recognition of SaaS and the Cloud is typical of any new technology direction however. And like other new technologies before it, it too will come to a point where it becomes a natural option in each case for businesses as their needs change. But for right now, it is important for the marketplace vendors (and even users) to take their part in expanding SaaS and Cloud computing knowledge, not only from their product’s perspective, but from what the technology can provide as overall benefits to every business. With understanding comes even more wide-spread acceptance, so important to not only software providers selling SaaS and Cloud products and services, but to the marketplace in general with particular needs that are best supported by this kind of technology
Strengthen your businesses “lifeblood,” customer relations! We all depend on customers to fuel our business, so why not strengthen the way we deal with customers? A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system can help with the way you handle business. Customer Information can sometimes get confusing and easily unorganized, but with CRM, data can be quickly organized and managed. Today, most CRM solutions come with built in Sale Force Automation (SFA) which helps streamline your sales process. SFA is a great way to help free up time so you can focus on other business functions. In addition to the management of customer data, a CRM solution can give you a 360°view of your business with relation to your customers. It will allow you to track sales trends and your business pipelines. Sugar CRM, Info At Hand and Sage ACT! are just a few CRM systems that can improve your customer relations and business management.
Now, you too can have the capabilities of a billion dollar enterprise! Cloud Computing, the revolutionary system is now available to small and mid-sized businesses.
Acumatica 2.0 has hit the market and is boasting new functionality and many new enhancements. Tracking fixed assets, computing sales tax, delivering integrated e-commerce, managing shipping activities and improving customer fulfillment has never been so easy. Acumatica 2.0 makes all your business processes both big and small run smoothly and efficiently. Being the first ERP of its king to use the same code for
both SaaS and on-premise applications, 2.0 has revolutionized the business world. Upgrading to 2.0 is not only worth it, it is hassle-free as it bypasses the expense and necessity to re-enter data and upgrade client software.
Warehouse management systems have revolutionized the way businesses operate. In the past WMS (Warehouse Management System) were only used by large international companies. With the level of sophistication amongst businesses on the rise, even small businesses have started to adopt the usage of WMS. Even with the advantages of a WMS, small businesses still hesitate to implement the use of a WMS. There are eight reasons in particular that tend to be the leading reasons many businesses still choose to use archaic and inferior systems.
The Challenge of New Technology AdoptionWhen the cloud and web based software provide so many advantages for ERP software buyers, why are some users reluctant to make the switch? Sometimes switching is difficult because there are issues of data conversion and delivery of features that have been customized on a legacy solution. In other cases, legacy vendors and the entrenched community have taught customers that the way to buy software is to “follow the crowd”.
Following the CrowdOn a community forum, we noted two comments related to the ERP selection process that suggest a “follow the crowd” strategy for ERP software selection:
Comment 1: “Talk to companies similar to your own. If the ERP vendor doesn’t have any customers in your industry (and size), then what does that tell you?” Comment 2: We use (vendor name removed) and their customer support and out of the box fit is great for us (Make-To-Order metal fabrication) I would talk to companies using the software without even involving the software vendors and consultants. Talk to single site companies that are MTO Aerospace and Machinery and 35 million in sales. Go to Google and search for “cloud erp software”. Then go to the software vendors sites and see if you can find companies referenced that are similar to you and call them up.Contacting references is a good idea. But do not let that be the sole criteria for your decision. The follow-the-crowd strategy may not be the best for your business. Choice of references Companies with a large number of accounts will have some satisfied customers and some unsatisfied customers. Guess which type of customer will be listed in their references section. Get an edge on your competition How do you differentiate your company? Superior service, flexible pricing, unique product lines, or something else? In many cases your ERP software can give you a competitive advantage by improving service or reducing your costs. If you limit yourself to old technologies being used by competitors, then you will rise only to the level of your competition. When changing ERP software, you have the opportunity to jump ahead by providing access from anywhere, a custom portal, better teamwork, more efficient processes, etc. Purchase software that supports your company’s strengths or growth plan. Vendor and VAR references The opinions you obtain from references are impacted by both the software vendor and the reseller. In some cases a reseller will save an implementation that would otherwise ended poorly. In other cases a reseller may sour a deal by delivering poor support or slow response times to a customer. If you purchase from a reseller, then vendor references will only tell half of the story.
Flexible software in the hands of a knowledgeable resellerA winning combination involves flexible software built with the latest technology in the hands of a reseller that understands the details of your business. There are several reasons to select the value added reseller (VAR) model. These include:
- Deep understanding of your business. VARs often have expertise in a particular area (manufacturing, distribution, non-profits, government, project based accounting, etc.). They can apply knowledge of past implementations to your business.
- Cross vendor knowledge. Some VARs have experience with more than one software solution. A working knowledge of different products can be very beneficial for your software selection.
- Customizations. If you have specific integration and configuration requirements, then a reseller can build and support them. Frequently resellers are more responsive to your customization needs than vendors.
- Local Support. In the era of SaaS, Cloud, and web, the benefits of local support may be dwindling, but an in town VAR is available for face to face meetings for requirements gathering and support.
ConclusionThis blog advocates the adoption of new technology. We do not want to undermine the process of getting references, but it’s more important to adopt ERP software based on your business needs, not the experiences of potential competitors that might be using 5-20 year old technology. Just because everybody else is doing it one way does not mean that you cannot adopt somebody better. Your best bet might be a software reseller in your industry that can deploy modern technology and customize it to the needs of your business based on experienced gained implementing legacy systems.