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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4 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Inventory and Accounting ERP Software

September 16, 2014

getting-the-most-out-of-erp-softwareERP systems are costly.  They also involve a significant investment of other resources to implement and maintain, including human resources and time.  So when choosing a system, you want to go with a solution that will grow with your company and not require replacement in a couple of years’ time.  Investment in accounting and inventory software does not end after the check is signed, and there are several options for extending the life of your system over many years, long after go-live.   In order to get the most bang for your buck, consider the following:

Sign up for maintenance.

Maintenance is an extra option provided to businesses that can vary from vendor to vendor, but is generally designed to cover the cost of annual software upgrades and keep the application in warranty.  These fees usually amount to a percentage of the cost of software licenses, and can be paid on a monthly or annual basis.  The idea is that since most software vendors are continuously adding new features and improving on the technology of their systems, every year or so they release an upgraded version of the software.  Paying for maintenance means you receive these upgrades whenever they are released, as opposed to having to purchase a newer version outright.  It makes the transition to new technology and features easier if you’re upgrading every year instead of every couple of years. When negotiating maintenance fees with vendors, pay attention to the costs to make sure they also include the cost of the actual implementation and consulting time required to manage the upgrades. If they are not included, these additional fees can exceed the actual maintenance fees themselves.

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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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