17 Aug 2017

All systems go for the summer with mobile solutions for your business applications

Are you taking time off this summer? But do you still need to make sure to have access to vital business information?

All the business applications and solutions that Synergy Technology delivers can be adapted to ensure you have functionality out of the office, using web-based systems, WiFi and familiar BYO devices.

So this summer, take some time off, relax, but knowing that you can tap into your business information if necessary.

Universal APP for Microsoft Dynamics NAV

Designed to help your business and your employees that work on the go, you can experience the power and simplicity of Microsoft Dynamics NAV using the Universal App on your preferred iOS, Android or Windows device – be it phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop – it’s all up to you.

Using the Universal App is a great solution as it puts business in the hands of remote workers (and people on leave or working from home) – Your field teams including salespeople and account managers, service engineers, executives, consultants and bookkeepers can access Dynamics NAV offsite and stay up-to-date. It also helps to improve the accuracy and timeliness of your data – with access to Dynamics NAV from all locations, the user can capture information as it arises keeping the business system and communications up-to-date.

READ OUR BLOG | Empower your workers with the Microsoft Universal App

Pocket CRM for SuperOffice

Mobile CRM or mobile customer relationship management is a CRM tool for SuperOffice designed for mobile devices including smartphones and tablets.

By connecting through mobile CRM, you, your sales team and employees on the move, have access to customer data through the CRM mobile app or through a web-based browser with cloud CRM. If your Account Manager visits a prospect and the visit subsequently requires changes regarding an in-progress deal or quote, or needs to update information whilst away from the office, this can be updated on the mobile CRM without the need to wait until the Account Manager arrives back at work, keeping your entire CRM always up to date – for everyone.

READ OUR BLOG | Work on your business and your suntan with pocket CRM!

Pegasus Mobile Sales

Now you can provide your field sales team with a great tool to use on the road or away from the office.

Mobile Sales via Pegasus Web Xchange is a dedicated sales app that will change the way your orders are taken and processed. If you have a sales team on the road, Pegasus Mobile Sales will be an invaluable tool for them to take sales orders on their mobile devices. The sales person can showcase products to the customer, take the order and send it securely back to the office to be authorised and uploaded into Opera 3 Sales Order Processing

READ OUR BLOG | Improve the way your sales team interact : Pegasus Mobile Sales

The Virtual workforce

If some of your workforce need to work from home during the summer whilst their children are off school, then the ability to work virtually presents significant benefits for your business – from reduced staff turnover to higher productivity and less stress.  Read our blog to explore why in more detail as well as looking at some of the practicalities of creating your own virtual workforce – it’s easier than you might think.

READ OUR BLOG | Engage, inspire and empower your employees

For further information on mobile solutions contact Synergy Technology on 0345 456 0050. And enjoy your summer holidays!

 

 

 

 

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10 Aug 2017

GDPR and data security on e-commerce sites

Facilitating sales online is hugely beneficial for wholesalers, distributors and manufacturers. However, doing so requires high levels of data security, and many of these firms have less experience in e-commerce than their B2C counterparts. We spoke to Arno Ham, CPO at Sana Commerce, for expertise on how Sana delivers B2B e-commerce solutions via Microsoft Dynamics and SAP safely and securely.

What do businesses need to consider to keep their client and company data secure when creating an online retail presence?

“A secure online environment relies on the protection of your internet connection, the application and the source code itself. In terms of source code, there are certain pros and cons when it comes to choosing open source or closed source software. You need to pick the one that best suits your company.

“As the name suggests, open source code is open code that programmers and developers are willing to share and is easy to manipulate for the business owners’ in-house needs, for everyone to review – meaning it’s more susceptible to potential threats and vulnerabilities are discovered faster. This could, however, include cyber criminals; accessing masses of sensitive information on a successful break-in. Closed source software, conversely, is code that developers and programmers do not share which makes it less flexible to the user to manipulate.

“Of course, without a community constantly checking the software, vulnerabilities may slip through the gaps. Hybrid eCommerce systems can enforce restrictions on open source code so it is only shared with selected partners or clients. This allows the private community to carry out checks without hackers watching”.

In terms of software, how can you keep your data secure?

“There are a number of measures you should take to ensure the safe use of your ERP data in your eCommerce store: firewalls keep unwanted users and viruses out. Secure Socket Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) use encryption to ensure data traffic between the web server and browser remains private.

“A Virtual Private Network (VPN) provides users with secure access, protecting online data the same as a firewall protects local data on your computer. IP restriction means you can only log in from a previously specified IP address so hackers in remote locations can’t get in. As an added layer of security, a demilitarised zone (DMZ) monitors what type of data can access the ERP system from external servers”.

How can you protect your internet connection?

“A cloud-based ERP platform will have completely different security than one that is located on-premises, so you need to know where your ERP system is physically located. You also need to pay close attention to your internet connection — any transferral of data and content needs to be properly protected at all times. As an added precaution, you should look to having your store application audited by an external party every six months or so.”

Start selling online

We can get you started

Synergy Technology can get you started with setting up your e-commerce site, integrated with Dynamics NAV.

Contact Synergy Technology on 0345 456 0050.

What can a business that uses ERP integrated eCommerce expect to gain?

“Integrating your eCommerce system with your ERP platform can future-proof your business. End-users can focus on improving the customer experience, streamlining sales processes and increasing sales volume instead of worrying about the security of their data. It’s worth mentioning that interfaced e-commerce platforms copy sensitive information like customer prices from the ERP system to the e-commerce software. This presents an additional risk because such data also needs to be protected outside the ERP system. However, I think the benefits that come with a fully integrated e-commerce system make this additional step well worth it.”

When setting up your e-commerce site, make sure your ERP system is set up first

READ OUR BLOG:
Start selling online with Data integration from your ERP system

How can you protect your internet connection?

“A cloud-based ERP platform will have completely different security than one that is located on-premises, so you need to know where your ERP system is physically located. You also need to pay close attention to your internet connection – any transferral of data and content needs to be properly protected at all times.

“As an added precaution, you should look to having your store application audited by an external party every six months or so”.

What can a business that uses ERP integrated e-commerce expect to gain?

“Integrating your e-commerce system with your ERP platform can future-proof your business. End-users can focus on improving the customer experience, streamlining sales processes and increasing sales volume instead of worrying about the security of their data.

“It’s worth mentioning that interfaced e-commerce platforms copy sensitive information like customer prices from the ERP system to the e-commerce software. This presents an additional risk because such data also needs to be protected outside the ERP system. However, I think the benefits that come with a fully integrated e-commerce system make this additional step well worth it”.

Discover how to set up a web store using SANA and integrate it with your ERP software and ensure your customer data is protected. Get in contact with Synergy Technology today.

Many thanks to Arno Ham, the CPO at Sana Commerce for his contribution to this article.

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09 Aug 2017

Have you got a feeling that your business is outgrowing its accounts package?

For most businesses, it makes good sense to get started with a standard accounting software. Then, as financial and customer service requirements increase you might need to add plug-ins, add ons and further modules, and at some point seriously consider moving to a more sophisticated extensive business system.

Accounting systems first implemented by SMEs may have been perfect at the time but it is only a matter of time before the signs start to show that your business is outgrowing its system.

If you are finding that your accounts package is no longer providing the functionality to meet with future needs, or not delivering higher levels of reporting and is not incorporating functions required by other departments within your business, it may be time to think about changing systems.

The challenge is in recognising the right time to make the switch and then making the switch to the right system. When you are immersed in day to day operations, it’s easy to ignore the tell tale signs of trouble ahead.

These may include:

  • Unstable systems and slow performance – which greatly affects the efficiency of your team’s performance and overall productivity.
  • Inaccurate cost calculations – time wasted trying to calculate the actual costs of production.
  • Employees manually creating reports – allocating considerable time to reporting.
  • Errors tracking time and equipment – using outdated paper-based systems to manage stock control.
  • Document delays and slow month end – restricted by closed period accounting systems.
  • Cash flow and project profits – with delays between completed consultation timesheets and invoicing.

Download the white paper

Read real life examples and be inspired

The are based on real companies.
Real people, just like you who were having problems because they kept their entry or legacy accounting system a little too long.

As your business grows, you need to build on technology that supports your business model and delivers the levels of service that your customers expect. Just as you planned from the start.

Synergy Technology is an accredited Microsoft partner and delivers a hosted solution of Dynamics NAV on the secure Citadel platform as a perfect solution for businesses that have outgrown their accounting software. InSpiredNAV is suitable for businesses that a looking to move from accounting systems including: SAGE50, QuickBooks, Access Accounts, Pegasus Opera, Sun Systems and Xero and looking for a wider range of business functions all from one secure system with access from anywhere even using mobile devices.

15 Red Flags: Is your accounting software hurting your business? is a white paper produced by Microsoft using real life case studies to see what inspired these companies take the next step. Contact Synergy Technology for further information on 0345 456 0050 or send us your enquiry today.

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03 Aug 2017

Improving your SuperOffice CRM system with bespoke development

SuperOffice is a powerful scalable CRM database system designed for organisations that operate in the business to business market sectors. Our professional development team at Synergy Technology provides additional bespoke development work to ensure that SuperOffice users maximise the functionality and effectiveness of their CRM system. Trevor and Richard two of our talented team of developers, outline the features and benefits of bespoke development.

What is the reason for requiring bespoke development?

“Bespoke development for SuperOffice can cover almost any operational enhancement that a business requires to really make the most of their customer relationship management system. We help our clients extend and customise SuperOffice so that they can achieve the maximum efficiency from the system in their daily routine, which then becomes richer with information and delivers better results.

“We can practically program anything necessary into SuperOffice to enhance the sales, marketing and customer service functionalities of a business.”
Trevor, Head of Development, Synergy Technology.

Every industry, every business and every process has different and sometimes very specific requirements. SuperOffice out of the box can not to meet all these complex requirements. If it did, it would be very expensive, difficult to update and deliver across a wide range of platforms, and would end up including modules and functionality that would not be utilised by the majority of SuperOffice users.

SuperOffice consolidates the key contact functionality of a business based on its Sales, Service Delivery, Marketing and Customer Processes. Bespoke development is designed to make SuperOffice a perfect 100% fit to each and every client’s specific needs.

It has been designed to support client specific business functions and can be tailored by developers to suit a wide range of requirements. Development work can cover anything from integration between CRM operations and third party add-ons or modules, as well as developing sophisticated reporting systems that combines data from several systems linked to SuperOffice.”

What sort of development work do you do?

We can create a wide range of processes and functions that enhances the effectiveness of SuperOffice and its application, this includes:

  • Create web pages that can carry out functions connected to SuperOffice.
  • Converting documents within SuperOffice to PDF.
  • Additional telesales processes.
  • Creating sophisticated sales operations.
  • Call scripts, call logging and related reporting.
  • Additional marketing activities.
  • Automating repetitive tasks, consolidating information.
  • Integrating systems or data from other systems to streamline internal processes.
  • Full end to end marketing integration.

 

Synergy Technology can devise a bespoke solution for almost any requirement for additional functionality in SuperOffice.

Development work can eliminate repetitive time consuming manual data processes with automated functions that equally reduces the risk of duplication of data and improves data accuracy. Richard, SuperOffice Developer, Synergy Technology

Examples of SuperOffice development that Synergy Technology has produced for clients include:

  • Package integration with financial packages including SAGE50, Pegasus Opera, Dynamics NAV, Access Dimensions, SAP integration and Xero.
  • Integration with email marketing systems including eMarketeer and CommuniGator.
  • Integration with systems such as INKWRX to convert existing business forms and documents allowing paperwork to be completed using a mobile phone, tablet or digital pen.
  • Tailoring functionality.
  • Developing modules to quickly lookup postcodes and business information online.
  • Tailoring reports and documentation to reflect the company standards.
  • Even something as specific as adopting the system to work with deep sea exploration and offshore windfarms for monitoring profit cost control and access control.

 

What are the real benefits of bespoke work for SuperOffice users?

Basically bespoke development within SuperOffice ensures that it works seamlessly and effectively across financial, sales, marketing and customer service activities and consolidates any system functions that share the same data or reporting.

Other bespoke work is adding functionality to the existing system, or maximising the value of the data within in the system by creating informative, up-to-date reporting. Developing bespoke work usually involves incorporating SuperOffice into existing third party systems or with a new system that the client wants to start using. The key is understanding what the client is looking to achieve from their CRM system.

“Listening to our clients, understanding their needs, and determining the best most cost effective solution is our priority. To find the best solution we always seek to offer the most effective and perfect fit.

We also aim to find the best solution for the client, and focus on ensuring that the development work can also be adapted for future requirements. By considering the client’s long term plans for their CRM system we can make sure that any bespoke work is not isolated but forms part of their future needs.

Often development work it is not always as complicated as a client may first think. Often we can resolve a requirement for the client by identifying functionality that already exists within SuperOffice that is not being utilised by their team. Training and technical support may be all that is required to improve the system. Additionally, development work to improve a client’s system to meet their requirements can be resolved by integrating third party add-ons that already exist such as eMarketeer or Business Analyze with SuperOffice.

It is also becoming increasingly popular is to develop functionality using web pages (also called web panels). Basically we create a page you can access using a browser like Internet Explorer or Chrome. The web page is developed and designed completely by us but the functionality is dictated by the client and we also try to keep the look and feel consistent with the look and feel of SuperOffice for ease of use”.

Reducing the work to create a monthly management report down to just 0.12% of the original time!

“A specific example of bespoke work for SuperOffice for a client was some very simple development work to automate a rather time consuming Management Reports that required updating and printing every month.

The original process adopted by our client was a laborious task to prepare the report by reviewing statistics, sales figures and other information from SuperOffice and subsequently updating data within an external report. Our development work took two days to complete using (something about in Sequel etc.) and turned the onerous task into a “click refresh report” button reducing this process to well under a minute, a tiny fraction of the original effort. The invested development time was making a saving for the business within its second month of implementation.

Improving internal telesales procedures and increasing sales, customer and team satisfaction and profit.

“Over our 20 year history we have been approached with many special requirements and market specific requirements. In 2015 we were engaged by a dynamic organisation with a team of 40 internal telesales people making high volume call outs to businesses in the UK.

They were experiencing poor data management, lack of data sharing, the need to remove duplicate tasks and no clear method for follow up, to name but a few of their problems. Our brief was to create a process within SuperOffice to bring together the data management whilst also providing an easy to use telesales tool to allow the business to increase customer touch, manage information via a single data source, clean and manage the data for the business and remove work duplication.

As a result of the bespoke development, the organisation saw an improved performance within the telesales team, an increase in appointments and in turn an increase in business and sales. The SuperOffice functionality that we developed is a module called eTelesales and is now available as a commercial add on for SuperOffice.”

Improve the efficiency and sales and marketing processes in your business

The main benefit of bespoke development work is to streamline processes within the client’s business that also results in increased productivity and offering major time saving benefits. Here are some of the key benefits:

  • Save time – bespoke development creates time saving benefits to the users.
  • Better control of information – by using the same data sources across your business systems.
  • Reduce errors – by automating repetitive processes.
  • Simplify processes – saving time and releasing employees to focus on other tasks.
  • Better monitoring of sales performance – ensuring your team have real time results.
  • More unified sales and marketing processes – immediate alerts to sales leads via campaigns.
  • Improved customer services – providing a consistent, proactive and monitored service.

 

Synergy Technology has the technical resources to develop your SuperOffice system

Synergy Technology is a highly skilled accredited partner of SuperOffice. We have a dedicated technical team with extensive working knowledge of the software who are able to apply practical and customisable business solutions using the application.

Synergy Technology also provides a range of existing development work available to all SuperOffice users. Our eSuite modules including eTelesales, ePostcode, ePDF are designed and developed by technical experts in business programming and are designed to complement SuperOffice functionality. eSuite modules are created using a unique process of analysis and then applying a design and development solution to deliver a timely, cost effective solution that meets the needs of the small to medium business.

Our technical team can also offer your business ongoing guidance, advice and support to ensure SuperOffice is scaleable and adaptable to the changing needs of your business, including the implementation of additional applications such as digital marketing, mobile applications, advanced reporting and quote management. To discuss your development needs for SuperOffice, please contact Synergy Technology on 0345 456 0050 or send us an email today.

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01 Aug 2017

The Cloud in Practice – a Guide for SMEs

The opportunities to use the cloud are countless and SMEs are, of course, seeking to use hosted workspace services that meet their individual needs. This will differ by sector – a manufacturing company will have different computing needs to a marketing agency for example.

However there are many commonalities to doing business no matter where your business focus lies and, unsurprisingly, it is in these areas the uptake of cloud-based computing has been highest.

This includes core services such as productivity applications (most notably Microsoft Office 365), collaboration services and data time and money. Cloud-based email, website management and social media management tools are also commonly used by SMEs.

More specialised services such as customer relationship management (CRM), HR and accountancy applications are less prevalent at present although growing steadily in popularity. Though many organisations identify a need for these, the uptake to hosted applications is slow.

Needless to say security is also an issue that concerns many businesses hesitant from accepting hosted solutions as the way forward. More and more software providers, including Microsoft are now adopting the new philosophy with a focus on security: “mobile first, cloud first”.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 therefore becomes a cloud management solution that enables businesses to adopt the best features of CRM and ERP and to combine both services on a single platform under a single data model, but in a totally secure environment.

By moving to this solution, you can design and deploy across board, all customisations within the systems to Dynamics 365 for phone, tablet and web applications. Dynamics 365, Dynamics NAV and Dynamics CRM are available as on-premise installations or “in the Cloud” – also known as Software as a Service (SaaS).

The number one benefit of SaaS is that you can access the system anywhere you have an internet connection and your data is always up-to-date. Fast implementation, no internal system management responsibilities required nor expensive servers or operating system software and you can access the data from any device that supports internet browsing.

The potential risk of data security is greatly reduced. With Microsoft your data is in one of the most secure environments conceivable, and much more secure than hosting your own data on premise. Alternatively your data and applications can be hosted on third party secure digital workspace services with the same level of peace of mind. Citadel secure digital worksapce, provided by Synergy Technology offer this alternative SaaS service.

Preparing to make the move to Cloud

It is possible overall cloud usage is understated as many businesses may be using cloud computing tools without even realising it. Also, with such rapid growth in the market, demand is changing all the time. If your business hasn’t already taken the plunge, maybe now is the time to at least be considering it.

There’s no doubt your organisation could transition totally to a cloud environment, delivering many significant business benefits from lower costs and easier scalability to complete mobility and added security. However, there are many options to consider when migrating to the cloud. To discuss how cloud technology would suit your business needs contact Synergy Technology today to get started.

Most prevalent applications

If you aren’t a technology professional then it’s likely you won’t be aware of the changes the industry’s biggest brands are making to their services to take advantage of the cloud. Here is a run-down of the more notable business packages that are now readily available via the cloud:

Productivity software – For a small business it’s possible to run your main business functions in the cloud. Your core productivity software such as email and Microsoft Office have cloud computing counterparts branded
Office 365. If you run a creative business, Adobe Creative Cloud offers their software from the cloud.

Storage solutions – Buying a server is a big capital investment for a small company, but cloud storage is now a viable alternative.

Accountancy services – Accountancy software providers have been quick to offer services for the cloud. Small companies can buy Sage on subscription. For mid-sized companies they offer Sage 200 Extra Online.
But whilst Sage is probably the most well-known, other providers are in the space. Consider Xero if you are a small business, and Pegasus Business Cloud if you have more complex needs.

Marketing software – There’s a wide range of powerful software and applications that help the marketer. Of particular note is CRM software such as SuperOffice that helps companies manage their client and prospect interaction and relationships to develop existing business and win new business.

Bespoke applications – Hosted platforms such as Synergy Technology’s Citadel platform provide the platform to develop and deploy bespoke cloud-based applications. Using Citadel enables smaller businesses to fully leverage the cloud’s power and create new services that give them a competitive edge.

Exploiting the cloud with your IT provider

The role of your IT provider will depend on how much cloud-based computing you are going to do and how complex your business is and its requirements are.

Synergy Technology can help you set up cloud-based services offered by our Citadel platform and make sure you have suitable hardware to access them. We can ensure the software is compatible with your current services and test it before you roll it out to your team. As any movement into the cloud is likely to be gradual, it is important you receive help integrating the new services with your other business processes, which are not currently in the cloud.

Citadel secure digital workspace provides SMEs with a flexible, scalable alternative to in-house IT systems. Delivered by the internet, your workspace is hosted by Citadel and can be accessed remotely from a wide range of recommended devices that support internet browsing including PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones. Anywhere that has access to WiFi .

Ultimately, your organisation can transition totally to a cloud environment, delivering many significant business benefits from lower costs and easier scalability to complete mobility and added security. However, there are many options to consider when migrating to the cloud. To discuss how cloud technology would suit your business needs contact Synergy Technology on 0345 456 0050 today to get started.

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31 Jul 2017

Engage, inspire and empower your employees

The ability to work virtually makes your company stand out – both for customers and colleagues – and is ever easier to achieve.

The virtual workforce is not a new concept. For instance, Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) have been available in businesses since the 1980s. Similarly, the advent of email – and fax before that – has allowed employees to work from a distance for decades.

What has changed, however, is the speed and ease with which virtual working is now possible. For instance, cloud technologies allow colleagues to collaborate on documents instantaneously wherever they are on the planet. Tools like Skype for Business allow for real-time communications regardless of location, and the explosion of mobile technology means people really can be ‘at the office’ wherever they are.

The ability to work virtually presents significant benefits for your business – from reduced staff turnover to higher productivity and less stress.  We explore why in more detail as well as looking at some of the practicalities of creating your own virtual workforce – it’s easier than you might think.

If you think that your business can benefit from a flexible workspace and you would like to consider adopting a virtual office for you and your employees, Synergy Technology can advise you and provide the technology to make it happen!

The virtual workforce is about more than just the available technology. It also needs to be seen in relation to a range of additional trends which are beginning to affect businesses everywhere.

  • A demand for greater flexibility:
    The virtual workforce is now widely possible. As a result, many employees have come to expect that they will have the option to work from home a couple of days per week. The employers that allow for virtual working are seen as more attractive by prospective job seekers.
  • The ‘gig’ economy:
    The last decade has seen an explosion in the number of people in the UK describing themselves as self-employed. Offering a virtual working environment gives you the opportunity to rapidly provide external employees access to your environments.
  • Sustainability and employee satisfaction:
    There aren’t many workers who relish a long commute to work. Not only are season tickets expensive commuting is also stressful and can be harmful to the environment. Allowing employees to work virtually and travel to the office less often can have multiple benefits.

 

Boost productivity, cut stress and reduce turnover

Data from the Office for National Statistics’ Labour Force Survey found that last year, around 13.7% of the population works from home, a figure which is constantly on the rise. The benefits of creating a virtual workforce are significant: YouGov research published in October 2015 found that 30% of virtual workers felt that their productivity increased when they worked remotely. The PGI found that 82% of virtual workers were less stressed than office-based colleagues and a study by Stanford University found that employee turnover dropped by as much as 50% at companies with a virtual workforce.

This all represents an exciting opportunity. Nevertheless, employers have valid concerns about the virtual workforce. Managers need to feel they can trust employees to actually do their jobs.

Regulated industries may feel nervous about employees accessing sensitive data from their local café and many workers might miss the interaction and relationships they build with colleagues.

Create the virtual workforce that is right for you

As with any new technology or management trend, the way you react to the opportunities it presents will determine its success. Understanding how the virtual workforce could be applied in your business, and implementing it in a way that brings about change positively, will take long term planning, strategy and change management.

Done well, you will be excellently placed to reap the rewards of this new workforce evolution years in advance of your competitors.

Contact Synergy Technology to discuss how you can develop your office to offer employees a flexible and modern virtual office. For further information about the virtual workforce, read our online magazine.

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