SaaS and On-Premises Software Disaster Recovery Plan

September 8, 2015

SaaS and On-Premises Software Disaster Recovery

You can’t predict when your offices will experience an event such as a power failure or a bigger disaster, such as flooding, however you can protect it to minimize the damages that can occur as a result of such a situation.

Many companies rely on their Accounting ERP software on a daily basis for managing their business, and any time without access to it can result in loss of sales, loss of income and loss of ongoing business.  Having a disaster recovery plan (which does not have to be complex or costly) can mitigate the damages caused by downtime.  Yet many small to mid size businesses do not have such a plan in place.

While a full blown plan should start with a risk assessment, followed by complete documentation of procedures and steps to follow, the key components of a basic plan include immediate backup power, data backups and facilities from which to access the data.

Immediate Backup Power

It is critical that servers hosting key data, a workstation and a printer all have an un-interruptable power supply (UPS).  In the case of a power failure, depending on the power of the UPS this should give a minimum of 20 – 30 minutes of time to save documents, complete transactions which are in the middle of being processed, download any spreadsheets or other documents onto portable storage and print any key documents which will be needed.  If using a laptop, as long as the batteries are charged this acts as a built in UPS.

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Factors to Consider When Upgrading Software: Employee Skill Set

March 10, 2015

upgrading your softwareIntroductory software systems, such as QuickBooks, are great tools for small and start-up businesses.    They require minimal training and set-up, are intuitive and easy to use and come with a relatively low price tag.  However, as your business grows and order volume increases, there may come a time where more robust accounting ERP software is required.  ERP systems provide functionality across a variety of departments and are designed to handle large amounts of data, increase automation and reduce the need for duplicate entry. As a result, the implementation process is much more complex and requires significant planning, the benefit being a system that will continue to grow with your company for years to come.  ERP software is a good solution for businesses who have outgrown their existing systems, but what happens when a company outgrows its staff?

Implementing an appropriate mid-market accounting ERP solution can reduce or delay the need to hire additional employees by providing opportunities for automation.  There is less need for manual entry as the system integrates data across all departments including inventory, accounting, contact management, and order entry and processing. However, there are two instances where employees with a more advanced skill set may be needed; (1) when IT management is required, (2) when no one at the company has advanced knowledge of accounting practices.

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Is Cloud Based Wholesale ERP Software Right for Your Business?

January 27, 2015

is-cloud-erp-software-right-for-your-companyDeciding to make the switch to a fully integrated ERP system as a wholesale distribution company – whether you’re transitioning from existing software or manual processes – requires a lot of time and resources.  It also involves making a choice between implementing a system on-premises or hosted through the cloud.  So which method is better suited for your business? Although there is no single right answer to this question, there are certain elements that could make a strong case in favour of a cloud solution.  Companies are increasingly opting for this method from the get-go, and others are switching from their current on-premises installation. To better understand why and when it would make sense for your company to seriously evaluate hosting software through the cloud, let’s first take a look at exactly what we mean by each implementation method.

On-premises software was historically the only option available to companies looking for wholesale ERP software which made it more feasible for larger companies.  On-premises refers to software applications installed on-location on a client owned server.  This requires up-to-date hardware and either internal or outsourced personnel for IT management.  It also requires a bit of a larger initial investment when it comes to cost as companies buy the software licenses outright.

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Wholesale ERP in the 21st Century

May 7, 2014

Wholesale ERP in the 21st CenturyThere is no doubt that wholesale ERP software – and technology in general– has changed drastically over the past 15, 10, 5 and even 2 years.  With such a fast rate of change, it can be hard for businesses to keep up to the latest trends leading some to miss out on the advantages provided by these changes.  When it comes to wholesale ERP software specifically, advances in technology have brought more flexibility, simplified migrations, seamless upgrades, and global partnerships.  The latest ERP technology offers many benefits, and failure to evaluate your systems and processes on a regular basis can be dangerous, as many software companies stop supporting legacy systems once they have released several new versions.  Some of the ways in which new technology has improved ERP systems are discussed below.

Cloud (Hosted) Implementations

Cloud software has been around for a while now, but there are still many companies wary of choosing it as a deployment method. Although there is no right answer when it comes to determining which method is best for your company, cloud software offers many benefits that were not previously available with on-premises solutions. The most obvious benefit is that backups (or the lack thereof) are no longer a risk factor, and of course cloud software also allows users with a reliable internet connection to access the system remotely from anywhere in the world.  This has provided opportunities for companies operating offices in multiple countries, for sales reps frequently travelling on the road and for employees who work remotely.  Cloud software also ensures companies continue to receive the latest system enhancements with seamless upgrades.  Vendors are able to deploy new versions much more easily when doing so on their own servers and within their own hardware environments.  Companies no longer have to manage and maintain their own servers and hardware, allowing them to focus their attention on other areas of the company.

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Understanding Software End of Support

April 15, 2014

End of Support WarningWe’ve all received that ominous notice that the software we are using will soon no longer be supported – with the most recent example coming from Microsoft in regards to the end of support for Windows XP as of April 8th 2014. Even though this news tends to be received negatively, it doesn’t always have to be, as there are many legitimate reasons as to why a company would discontinue software support, and benefits that can come as a result of having to upgrade. The worst approach to dealing with end of support is to “do nothing”, and it is important to fully understand the reasons behind the decision and your options for moving forward.

What does “end of support” mean?

Before we begin, let’s first take a look at what the dreaded “end of support” means, and why many software companies choose to do this. When companies discontinue a site or service and stop development and support, this is referred as “sunsetting” the product. Many large companies do this as a way of herding customers into larger concentrated groups of users.  For smaller companies though, this is usually performed when several newer versions of the software have been released, and the cost to support older systems outweighs the benefits of maintaining them. More specifically, vendors who offer several versions of software must have their support team trained on all versions in order to manage any issues.  Once a system has reached a certain age, and only a minimum number of customers are using it, it becomes cumbersome to train new employees on old versions and load applicable technology in order to continue to support them.  There may also be several improvements to the system or inherent reasons why the product was never good from the start, which would validate sunsetting the product and ending support.

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Looking to Replace QuickBooks? Consider the Following…

March 7, 2014

Considering Replacing QuickBooks?Investing in ERP software is a huge decision for a company of any size. Moving from manual processes or an introductory system such as QuickBooks to completely automated, sophisticated practices can be a costly, time-consuming, and often confusing, decision-making process. So where should you start? Consider this list of basic questions to ask yourself…

Cloud or On-Premises?

Today, one of the biggest decisions facing companies regarding ERP implementations is whether to run the system on-premises or as a hosted solution. There are pros and cons to each option – it really does depend on your business model and needs. Here’s a brief look at some of the differences:

Cloud vs. On-Premises

There is no “right answer” when it comes to choosing between on-premises or cloud, so just be sure to do your research! (Of course the software suitability and vendor’s service level are even more important). Consider looking at a provider who will offer both, so your company has more flexibility to make a decision, will be given unbiased recommendations, and has the option of moving from one to the other.

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A Look Ahead to ERP Software in 2014

January 3, 2014

ERP TrendsBusinesses that are planning to implement ERP software are now, more than ever, focusing on specific needs, and doing their homework before approaching software providers. We expect to see the following trends in 2014:

1.       Smarter buyers

With the availability of information in today’s world, consumers are increasingly well-informed, making it easier to conduct research and compare products before ever speaking with a sales person.  With the help of a company’s website, online review sites, smart phone apps, forums and other information, consumers looking for inventory and accounting ERP software are now spending more time educating themselves on their purchase options, and evaluating these options more carefully. This means that sales people are becoming involved in the sales process a lot later than before (and sometimes not at all).  If sales people do become involved, it is important that they take on a more consulting based role as an industry expert – spending the time to understand a customer’s business and software needs.  The traditional sales approach is no longer valid, and consumers are becoming more and more wary of  “the used car sales person”.

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