08 Aug 2018

Five tips for businesses preparing for a digital tax system

The HMRC has indicated that by 2020 there will be a digital tax system.

Making Tax Digital is a key part of the government’s plans to make it easier for individuals and businesses to get their tax right and keep on top of their affairs – meaning the end of the annual tax return for millions. Digital record keeping software will be linked directly to HMRC systems, allowing customers to send and receive information directly from their software.

Eventually paper records will no longer be sufficient and it will become mandatory for almost all businesses (self-employed, partnerships and limited companies) and landlords to use accounting software or an electronic spreadsheet to keep accounting records. The day will come when paper accounting records will cease to meet the requirements of tax law. It is important that SMEs are ready to meet the requirements set out by HMRC along the way.

Here are our five tips for making sure you and your accounting system is ready:

TIP 1: For SMEs is it imperative that your operating system and accounting software is set up to create records and store data in a digital form.

TIP 2: Check your accounting software is set up to function over the cloud and has the capacity to be accessed and updated using mobile devices.

TIP 3: Make sure you have a secure internet service and your team are trained to use data over the internet safely and securely.

TIP 4: To meet the first deadline ensure your system can create a VAT return from digital records and provide HMRC with VAT data on a voluntary basis.

TIP 5: Make sure your software partners have a product road map for updating your software to comply with a digital tax system and ensuring it will include necessary adjustments to keep up with developments from HMRC. Your software needs to be able to receive information from HMRC via the API (application programme interfaces) platform. This will allow HMRC to send ‘nudges’ to the business/agent.

Read our BLOG >> Getting ready for Digital Tax for business

For further information contact Synergy Technology on 0345 456 0050.

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03 Jul 2018

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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23 Apr 2018

Realise your business intelligence

Often, the image surrounding Big Data and business intelligence focuses on how giant corporations can hoover up an extraordinary amount of information, feed it into powerful computers that spit out a stream of crucial analysis and insights that the corporation uses to save itself billions.

According to a recent report by Research and Markets:
“the global big data market for small and medium-sized enterprises will grow at a compound annual rate of annual rate of 43 percent until 2018.”

While certainly a cliché, there are big companies harvesting incredibly large amounts of data, putting it to work and achieving great results. However, Big Data is not only reserved for ‘big companies’. More and more small and medium-sized enterprises are capitalising on the advantages that Big Data gives their business processes. By harnessing a large volume of data, and based on the right analysis, SMEs can:

  • Improve knowledge of what makes customers tick
  • Find new entries into markets
  • Reduce costs
  • Uncover new insights
  • Make better and more precise business decisions

‘Little’ Big Data – how to make it work

Analytics is the essential component when it comes to making your data work for you.

For SMEs, smaller data sets gleaned from social media, email marketing programmes or CRM tools can provide customer patterns and marketplace trends or reveal overlooked opportunities, which can be turned into important business insights.

The benefits of the cloud and Big Data

When we talk about recent technological innovations, the cloud is never far from the conversation. The thing about Big Data is, there’s a lot of it. So, companies need to be able to handle the bandwidth that the continued cycle of collecting, analysing and storing a large amount of information will cost. This is especially true for SMEs. The cloud is a far more cost-effective platform when implementing Big Data analytics and allows SMEs to control how they scale their data function.

For example, imagine you are a medium sized company whose flagship product is doing well. With the right analytics, you can study who is buying your product and start to build a profile of your ideal customer, demographic, etc. Naturally, you want to figure this stuff out fast because a rival company is gaining on your market share, so Big Data will be crucial. Similarly, if your product is not doing well, analytics can help you gain insight into why.

Synergy Technology can help you develop your BIG Data strategy. Our business applications all include data reporting modules to help you maximise the amount of business intelligence you can gain from your data.

Getting started with business intelligence

Beyond the question of budget, storage and physical capacity to engage with high volumes of data, one of the keys to utilising Big Data effectively as an SME is preparation:

1. Define your goals

Are you looking to increase customer satisfaction or to get a better sense of your competition? One of the first steps to make big data work for an SME is through defining what it is you want to achieve from your data strategy.

2. Start with the data you already have

Most SMEs have data stored across several different areas – information is often isolated from other information. By bringing these isolated sources together you can consolidate your data and build a strategy. Imagine, as a small retailer you could look specifically at the relationship between social media conversations and buying trends.

3. Create a centralised view of your data

Make your data easier to discover and access. Once you’ve identified the various sources of data you hold, you can bring that data together in a single place. For example, many organisations opt to build a customer data hub, where information is gathered one everything to do with customers, helping analysts to pull out customer insights.

4. Fire up the dashboard and get analysing

Once you bring the data into a single location, you can put the dashboard to work. Using the same customer data hub example, you should be able to test your key performance indicators against communications data that you already had. You will be able to see previous orders, email and phone correspondence, and who you have been in contact with. You can review recordings of previous calls and turn that experience to a more positive customer service in the future.

5. Refine and retune your process

It might take a teething period, but once you are up and running you’ll know what works best for your data strategy, and can tweak it accordingly. Based on a specific workflow you can be sure of what customers are expecting and in that way predict customer behaviour, which will enable you to enhance your business processes and, ultimately, your bottom line.

Synergy Technology can advise you how to maximise on the business intelligence you can gain from your data call us on 0345 456 0050 for further information.

Click on this link : Read our Business Talk online

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10 Apr 2018
05 Apr 2018

Sell online? Start with data integration from your ERP system

As a retail outlet, you may already sell online to increase the distribution of your products and services to a wider network of customers and to keep ahead of competitors. But does it work effectively with your internal systems. Is it integrated with your ERP system?

Setting up an effective order processing and distribution system in-house that can then integrate with your web store is the most necessary first step before setting up business online or, if you are looking to reimplement your systems. This ensures your ERP system is the foundation for your online store.

This integrated link between the two systems ensures the pricing structure and order calculations modelled specifically to your business can be automatically transferred to your web store environment. Likewise, all relevant ERP integration means that your web store software uses your ERP data as the foundation for your web store information. Likewise, all relevant data entered within your web store environment will automatically appear in you ERP system.

By setting up your web store in this manner it uses your ERP system to execute the required calculations, pricing and orders — all from one source.

The result is streamlined sales processes, an optimised customer experience and a wider access to a global client base.

So before you set up your retail web store, read our ten reasons why you should establish your ERP system first!

1. Get your data from a single source

Operating with a single source of data ensures all areas of your business uses the same information. This ensures accuracy across your entire organisation, as fewer errors can be made in mapping and interpreting information.

Not only does integrated e-commerce use your ERP’s master database, it also actively ensures that newly created records, such as orders, are instantly available at the source. What’s more, it does so without replicating, synchronising or mapping any data. This validation is performed by the same system, which ensures data accuracy.

You can create your web store to sell online with classifications and categorisations defined in your ERP system. This gives you a much more efficient way to build the navigation structure for your online store.

2. Accurate online order processing and improved efficiency

An integrated e-commerce platform minimises mistakes by only processing orders from within the ERP system. Because information from your ERP is available to share online with clients — including their past and recurring orders — you can also expect more repeat sales and increased efficiency.

3. A better customer experience

One of the biggest advantages of deploying the right integrated e-commerce is that your ERP processes the online orders immediately. This is opposed to the delay that would come with scheduled synchronisation in an interfaced system.

Using this synchronisation, your employees will always see what is actually available when they take orders by phone or email. Your customers benefit too: they see real-time inventory availability in the web store and can access the information around the clock without having to call or email.

This is because all your inventory information is stored in your ERP system. This data contains a lot of important business logic that relies on current inventory availability, inventory location, and projection of future inventory levels based on planned production and/or purchase orders.

4. Quickly launch multiple web stores

In our global society, many businesses are keen to sell internationally. An integrated e-commerce and ERP solution makes it possible to roll out multiple web stores based on multiple companies.

For businesses with multiple web stores, whether it’s for localisation purposes or to divide product offerings among multiple storefronts it’s important to be able to easily assign your products to the correct store(s). And, you only need to define your product assignments once, in your ERP system!

5. Add faceted search functionality for even more details filtering

An integrated e-commerce solution makes it possible to retrieve details related to faceted searches and browsing directly from your ERP system.
By setting up your ERP system first, you can select the attributes of the item you’d like to use in your web store, and your clients can search, filter and refine their product results in detail.

6. Tracking and recording Bill of Materials (BOM) / kitting and assembly

Industrial and technical wholesale and manufacturing companies know all about the complexity of composite product structures. These are products that are built from a Bill of Materials (BOM), or through kitting and assembly. These complex products can then be easily broken down into their respective parts in the web store. This lets your clients order individual parts and have them listed as separate line items on their invoice. Make sure your e-commerce software and ERP system can do this TOGETHER!

7. Share product images and information from your ERP in your web store

The biggest advantage of setting up your ERP system first is the ability to fully leverage the data already present in your ERP system and then integrate it into your web store, rather than the other way round.

By setting up your system this way, and then choosing the right web store system, you can display the product images already stored in your ERP in your online catalogue. There’s no need to upload photos to multiple systems, and your web store will always feature the most recent versions of your product images as they appear in your ERP.

Many distribution businesses and wholesalers are starting to look at not just promoting their business online but actually selling their products online too. With an ERP back end system already in place, many e-commerce systems are designed to bolt onto the ERP system and integrate directly into existing processes to quickly provide a front end online store ready to go. Read our blog: Six Benefits of Setting up a B2B e-commerce Store

 

8. Always display inventory availability in real time

It’s essential that you can sell the products offered in your web store as promised. However, keeping your inventory availability current across systems can be complex. With an integrated e-commerce platform, mistakes such as selling out-of-stock items just don’t happen. Inventory levels can then be checked directly from your ERP system during the order process, and inventory levels are updated instantly in your ERP when a client submits an order online.

9. Product export to marketplaces (add-on)

Another benefit of integration is the option to export detailed product information to marketplaces like eBay, Amazon and Google. By deploying the right web store solution this will allow product sets to be defined and exported using extensive ERP filtering. Combining product master data from your ERP system with semantic enrichment for improved web descriptions and images results in a powerful combination that helps you publish professional catalogues in large marketplaces.

So set up your ERP system first, and make it easier to sell online, in more than one place!

10. Display product customisations directly in the web store

ERP systems are designed to suit a wide range of businesses and industries. Sometimes, however, it is still necessary to create custom product attributes or user-defined fields to store and process the catalogues for a specific business or industry. Integrated web stores can easily process these custom product characteristics because they share the same product database as your ERP system.

Choosing Dynamics NAV as your ERP system “The Microsoft functionality makes it more straight forward for our website developers working behind the scenes between the website and NAV. It’s like we are all singing from the same hymn sheet!” Mike Hendon, Leisuretec Distribution. Read the full case study

Working with Dynamics NAV ERP system

ERP systems are designed to suit a wide range of business and industries. Dynamics NAV has been specifically designed to support client specific enhancements that work alongside its standard functionality and can be tailored by developers to suit a wide range of requirements and is ideal as the ERP system behind your web store. Development work can cover integration between Dynamics NAV and third party add-ons or modules including e-commerce, and creating sophisticated reporting systems that combines data from several systems linked to Dynamics NAV.

Read our blog on ERP bespoke development for further information.

Your Microsoft Dynamics NAV ERP system lets you bring together all your product information and business logic. This is an invaluable resource for your sales department – so why not use Dynamics NAV as the driving force behind your online store? Synergy Technology is an accredited Microsoft partner with specialist Dynamics NAV consultants that can develop your ERP system, and advise you of the most suitable e-Commerce solution for your business.

Coupled with Sana e-commerce you will be ready to sell online.

Getting started and sell online

There are many more reasons why you should consider setting up your ERP system first. For further information on Dynamics NAV and Sana e-commerce systems or to receive a detailed whitepaper on e-commerce please contact Synergy Technology

Information provided to help compile this article is kindly supported by our partners Sana Commerce specialists in e-Commerce systems.

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01 Apr 2018

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 and Dynamics 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 workspace, provided by Synergy Technology offers 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 Dyamaics 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 consider 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 services such as Citadel provides 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 advise you on setting up cloud-based services including:

  • Citadel hosted secure workspace : Which provides SMEs with a flexible, scalable alternative to in-house IT systems.
  • Pegasus Business Cloud : A flexible, secure and reliable infrastructure which is used to host Opera 3.
  • Microsoft Azure: Microsoft’s hosting service for Dynamics 365, a cloud base solution that unifies business applications (sales, service, operations, marketing, and finance) into one business solution.

 

We can check whether your business software is compatible with hosting services. 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 may not be currently in the cloud.

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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