29 Mar 2016

The most overlooked requirement in choosing an ERP system

The most overlooked requirement in choosing an ERP system is ensuring your approved partner has the breadth of experience to combine all the necessary components together into the most practical long-term solution that maximises the full use of technology.

During ERP system selection, the various costs and possible benefits are analysed in considerable detail and then assessed for each vendor. Oddly enough, one important component is often completely missed during this process. Which one? The cost of the next ERP system!

The selection of a new ERP application is never done as a back-of-an-envelope exercise. After all, most organisations want to profit from the new tool for many years. Many prospective buyers tell us something like the following: “From a bookkeeping standpoint, the investment’s term of depreciation is 5 years. But ideally we want to work with the new solution for 10 years or more”, claims Guus Krabbenborg, co-founder of the QBS Group.

Anyone who wants to work with a system for that long must have a really good crystal ball. Because in 10 years’ time, a lot can change! What will the world look like in the year 2026? Which devices will we be working with then? How far will the technology be developed? And which parts of our future have yet even to be invented, developed and marketed? So there are plenty of questions, and from today’s vantage point we can only guess at the answers.

To get a handle on this challenge, it can be instructive to turn the clock back some 10 years. Can you remember the exact state of technology in 2006? No one had ever heard of tablets back then. Let alone the verb ‘swiping’! WhatsApp didn’t even exist at that point. Google was a relatively unknown company. And cloud technology was in its infancy. Perhaps this comparison provides you a bit of perspective into what we can expect in terms of new developments in the coming 10 years. But far more importantly – can you comprehend what all this means for your potential ERP suppliers? Consider the required competencies, for example; or the required R&D budgets, the availability of international sales channels or the necessary entrepreneurship and decisiveness, of course.

If you think about the future of ERP technology, you come to the conclusion that you are selecting more of an ERP concept these days than an ERP solution – a concept that is developing at a furious pace. And which must develop! Because vendors that fall behind or miss the boat at any time are quickly lost in this market. And the most painful bit: their clients are lost, too.

Companies that are considering new ERP solutions would do well to test their vendors’ degree of future-proofing rigorously. Do the vendors on your shortlist have any chance at all of surviving this rat race until 2026? Are they (sufficiently) profitable these days, for example? Do they have sufficient international scale? What is the size of their R&D budget? How innovative are they? And is a formal product roadmap available for the solution on offer?

By getting a good understanding of the prospective vendors’ commercial legitimacy during the selection process, you can prevent many unpleasant surprises in the future. However, if you fail to look to the future, then just make sure you include a huge sum in your budget for the next ERP system!

Guus Krabbenborg has been active in the world of business software for more than 25 years. Guus is co-founder and co-owner in QBS Group, the largest and fastest growing, international network of Microsoft Dynamics partners, and has responsibility for the training and coaching activities. 

This blog was published on MSDynamicsWorld.com

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03 Dec 2015

Add Lead Management to your SuperOffice CRM

Get qualified lead management from web and marketing activities delivered automatically to your SuperOffice CRM while they are still hot using eMarketeer.

Developed using a set of best practices learned through hundreds of CRM integrations, eMarketeer’s lead management solution provides a quick self-deployment process that helps you determine which data should be shared between the two systems and what kind of information you want to pass over to your sales team.

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18 Sep 2015

The Flexible Work Place

Flexibility has become the norm for many companies. Shifts in technology, a changing market and streamlined workforces are just a few reasons why. Whilst some companies don’t have a formal set of rules for a flexible workplace, there are countless advantages to be gained by taking that flexible attitude on.

 

The advantages from an employee’s perspective.

  • Embracing a change can expand your opportunities. Those employees who are able to adapt to priority shifts are considered a valuable asset no matter their skills or experience. Being able to adjust to shifts is necessary in today’s world.
  • Get your work/life balance. As technology grows the lines between work and personal have blurred. Embrace the change, in this case going with the flow is the exact approach you should take rather than fighting the current. Whilst you may need to reply to the odd email in your evenings, you can use the flexibility to your advantage. Personal needs, once delegated to weekends alone, can be addressed more easily since we are always connected, in and out of the office.
  • More responsive to change. Resisting change can lead to stress. Recognising and embracing flexibility will help you adapt to difficult situations more easily.

The advantages from the employer’s perspective.

  • Signals you value diversity in the workplace. Differing cultures, religions, and employee needs mean that today’s employer must accommodate diversity when it comes to working, thinking and interacting with others. Being flexible will enable you to accommodate the needs of your diverse workforce more readily.
  • Flexibility is a good management decision. Managers need to adapt to day-to-day shifts in workplace schedules – employee personal issues, an unexpected influx of work and more. Being flexible creates an environment where employers and employees can look at work and personal needs in a balanced approach, which is mutually beneficial.
  • Being flexible is a win-win. Being flexible with your employees is good for business. It builds employee trust and commitment, helps attract and keep key talent, as well as drives everyone to find solutions that work for all those involved.
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16 Sep 2015

Get your Jurassic Marketing Strategy up to date!

Is your marketing strategy a bit old and fossilised? Chances are you’re probably not seeing the value from your email campaigns. Don’t worry though, with a few quick fixes we can bring your strategy out of the Jurassic Period and into the 21st century!

 

  1. Get your head in gear and go mobile!

Evolution is an important part of progression, I mean even raptors learned how to open doors. Even if we aren’t evolving at the same speed as the technology we create, that doesn’t mean we can dismiss it as it is here to stay. In today’s dual-screen, fast paced world, evolving your email marketing strategy to cater for mobile is a change everyone should be making.

Did you know 65% are now accessed by mobile devices? It’s only going to continue to grow, as it grows if your emails aren’t accessible to them they aren’t going to get read, no one’s going to readjust an email if it’s not personal and most people delete them straight away if it’s not optimised for view.

It’s not all about being mobile friendly you know; it’s also about giving messages a fully responsive design – one that adapts with its environment, changes its display of content dependent of screen size. While you’re on this whole optimisation kick, it might be worth checking out your websites responsiveness too. Google loves an optimised website like you love your emails getting read.

  1. This is not the time to be anti-social!

Statistics don’t lie. Brands need a presence on social media. We live in a world where everyone has a comment they want to share and being able to interact with the brand they want to comment on is instant and free publicity. Email Marketing and social media work hand-in-hand and give each other the boot they need.

Clearly display those social media icons to display that brand you’ve been working so hard to set up. This easily converts your readers into action-takers by telling them to share your email on social media. A great sneaky tactic to boost your campaigns click through rate.

In fact you could be really sneaky and take it one step further by including a hashtag in your message to encourage conversation; you might even include different hashtags for different topics in the email. Tracking these hashtags and other social interactions allows you to identify those consumers of yours and then making it easier for you to adjust your content to being more relevant and it’ll help you optimise your future campaigns.

Go one step further by including a hashtag within your message to encourage.

  1. Clickable Content.

Email campaigns these days are all about engaging and rewarding your audience. Every message needs some clickable content preferably in the form of a call to action button. It could be as simple a line as “Read More”, encouraging them to enter a competition or offering discount. I you can get a call to action across simply and clearly, you’ll be more likely to get a response from your new age audience.

  1. Up to date data

32% of organisations believe their consumer data is as outdated as your Marketing Strategy. If you consistently send email campaigns to outdated lists, then you and your campaign may risk extinction. Be sure to keep your subscriber list current, segmented and engaged.

  1. Know your audience.

The last thing you want to do is mix up your dinosaurs. Always organise your database according to your customer’s needs, wants and likes and your targeting will be spot on. Failure to do this means your campaigns will be trapped in the inboxes of the wrong reader.

A short scientific look at your email analytics will help you understand how to target your content based on demographics and psychographic information. It’s also good to remember your customers are human, not dinosaurs, and prefer to be spoken to as such. Personalised analytics will help you target customers with the relevant content rather than just changing their name at the top of the page.

 

Need new up to date software to help get your marketing campaign out of the Jurassic era? Give us a call: 0845 456 0050

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28 Aug 2015

Five technology trends that took the business world by storm!

It’s amazing to think that a decade ago mobiles were bricks, the best game you was going to get was snake and taking pictures was a thing dreams were made of. Now look at us with our sleek phones that break a lot easier, multiple games your friends invite you to through Facebook and we’ve just had the uproar of the selfie stick. Whilst the basics of technology are being thrown at you left, right and center people often forget how important technology could be if used properly.

So here’s five trends that have taken the workplace by storm and will carry on changing it:

Distributed Workforce: With more and more technology available such as tablets, phones, laptops, etc. For collaborating and communication, companies are taking the best person for the job because businesses don’t have to narrow their recruitment hunt by location anymore.

The indirect effect of this trend is less use of a meeting space as you can do it from the comfort of your own home with a brew, your shirt, tie (because you want to look professional on skype) and PJ bottoms. But as traditional meeting/training rooms see a decline, companies will be taking the money they save and use it towards investments on cloud based collaboration tools, we offer this service: https://www.synergytechnology.co.uk/services/hostedplatform/, as businesses are growing at a rapid rate cloud computing is becoming a business necessity.

De-materialization/Mobility: So we’ve watched phones grow in technology but shrink in size. There was a time when we were wondering if technology was going to become invisible as it was shrinking at an extreme rate. Little did we know the size would start to go up again!

De-materialization has started to happen as stationary has become obsolete you don’t need the fancy diaries or business cards anymore, although both these examples are lovely to have, it’s all saved electronically now. With specific software dedicated to businesses and their needs with diaries that everyone can look at, at any time to check availability of people and a place to store all business contacts and even the people who work there such as the software we offer: https://www.synergytechnology.co.uk/products/superofficecrm/,

Consumerisation: For the longest time commercial/pro products drove the development of consumer products. The coolest gadgets were developed for the workplace and then with a bit of tweaking in the looks department to make them ‘fashionable’ they’d power their way through to the consumer market. Over the past several years this trend has been turned upside down. The technology in the work place is now being driven from the consumer back to the workplace. This led to the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) movement.

This created a much needed boost for businesses to embrace the technology that runs on consumer platforms as they weren’t getting the new toys first anymore. Now smart gadgets are the center of the work force eco-system. Why would an employee with a skip in his step and an iPad in his hand want to swap that for a big, clunky laptop and back problems that comes from carrying it around? Sadistic maybe or they generally don’t want to. This was creating mass headaches everywhere until they realised there’s nothing wrong with them using their own iPads as long as it’s kitted out with the relevant software.

Social Media & Social CRM: If there’s still a few people shying away from this then I suggest you put on your big boy pants, get rid of the dummy and realise social media is here to stay and it is growing at an alarmingly fast rate. People and businesses are not just searching the web for insightful information, they’re searching their friends and colleagues recommendations, occasionally you’re going to see a cat playing a piano or get those dreaded Facebook game requests that have put a lot of people off getting into social media in the first place but little do they know they can control their surroundings. If it’s only for business use hide the things you don’t want to see and focus on what the web has to offer you. You can look at what your connections like through a legacy method like search. Google was the first to embrace this, obviously, as it is the most recently used search engine, and coined the phrase ‘google it’. But Bing got one over on Google and entered a partnership with Facebook that will further the process. Businesses added this to their decision process as they will leverage this capability to seek the input of influencers.

To capture, track, store and utilize the raw data, Social CRM will further revolutionise how we interact with the web to better the workplace. It is becoming inherent in the way we work and live, why wouldn’t it be a part of the way we manage relationships for business? So if you’re not social media savvy and your business isn’t on there, it might be time to give that marketing team a new challenge.

Unified Communications (UC): The phrase that everyone says and no one has a clue what it means. UC as a practice was developed to capture the vast silos of communication and bring them to a single platform. This includes messaging, video, voice, email, social media and apps. The solutions for this type of integration are still complex but with the previously mentioned expectations and the fact people can do voice, messaging, video and email from a single platform via google apps, the expectation from the CI’s customers are going to increase very quickly.

The cloud can be used as the solution for how people want to consume UC. This will allow enterprise unified communications to be delivered to smaller organisations with smaller out of pocket investments. The incredible demand for this among the work force will continue to rise. Assuming they can chat, use voice and video, and applications for free with the tools like Facebook and Google.

Whilst some business owners are jumping on the band wagon and improving their business with all the new tech there’s still some business owners that sit back and watch the world change and hope they can wait it out. Well the world isn’t going to change back to what it was before technology hit the business world hard. Fortunately, we can help you get your business up to speed with the software we sell and we have a support team in place for any worries or problems you might have.

Just send us an email.

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10 Aug 2015

To Build or Buy Cloud Computing?

For those contemplating this question with regards to offering backup and DR as a service, be careful when it comes to purchasing and managing your storage.

Analogy:

Say you’re looking at your options to buy or build your house. To build you would first need to buy a plot of land, working out the plans, getting plans approved and then buying all the materials you need. With the basic elements on site, now comes the hard part. Digging the trenches, erecting the framework in which to pour the concrete, then adding wall, doors, windows, electricity, plumbing and many other details. Any of these could trip you up and add time onto the project.

Many projects run way over budget and can be delayed by many months, or even years!

The only way this method would have any possibility of success is if you had a broad DIY skillset, or have generous contractor friends.

Currently the preferred approach is to buy a new-build house and move in, or buy a fixer-upper and pay someone else to create your vision. This typically saves a lot of money, time and heartbreak, but also enables you to focus on other priorities rather than sinking into a hole of unending financial surprises.

 

These are the very same reasons why many decide to shelve projects to erect their own storage infrastructures in support of their plans to add backup and DR services to their repertoire. Those thinking about building their own storage subsystems should look before they leap. There are many factors they need to be aware of to do with supporting and managing storage.

A lot of time and resources are taken up, for example, in product evaluation/selection/acquisition. Once purchased, there is much to be cautious about when it comes to implementation and integration, which includes third-party backup and recovery software. Once the storage assets are in place and functioning, they will need to be maintained. All this assumes, of course, that the necessary storage management and administration resources exist internally. This means have adequate storage personnel with the skills to efficiently manage your customers’ storage.

Those that follow this path often rue the day they opened the door to endless storage complexity, hassle and expenses, just because they wanted to ensure their back up customers never run out of capacity.

 

Synergy Technology offers a Private Cloud Platform, which works better for businesses as it is restricted to a single customer or trusted community and offers security and flexibility.

 

Examples of what Cloud Computing services:

 

Virtual IT – This is where we can configure and utilize remote, third-party servers as extensions to a company’s local IT network.

 

Software – We utilize all our software applications.

 

Network Storage – We back up or archive data across the internet to a provider without needing to know a physical location of storage.

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