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Clients First Business Solutions has Acumatica 6

Q&A: What’s new in Acumatica 6?

It’s official! Acumatica 6 has landed on a cloud near you.

The much anticipated release of the latest version of Acumatica happened Sept. 8 at a conference in Boston and the world of cloud ERP is buzzing! You may not have the time to do all the research, but Clients First makes it’s our job to make your work life easier so this article will be a quick Q&A on everything you want to know about Acumatica 6.

Acumatica is already known for being a truly cloud-based, all-in-one ERP solution that was designed with SMBs in mind. Now, Acumatica has reintroduced itself with a simpler and even more user friendly interface for increased productivity in the workplace.

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erp implementation failure

The Buzz in the Cloud: An Acumatica Review

Leading companies are realizing that they need to change as we change the way we store and share information and recognize the value of Cloud ERP software to keep their business relevant and competitive. In this article we will be reviewing Acumatica, the fastest growing complete cloud ERP system. Acumatica is an all-in-one business management solution that’s known for having a “no user license fee” pricing model, solid financial applications (along with distribution, project accounting, CRM, and manufacturing suites), and robust customization options.

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Researching the Cost of Dynamics NAV?

Woman contemplating price of NAV

Dynamics NAV does not come in a box with a bar code, so it’s difficult to get a true definitive price before an actual quote or implementation.  Reason being, no two businesses are the same, the standard factors affecting ERP implementations are usually coupled with many different elements that drive different levels of customization and affect ERP implementation costs. However, there are several buying options that can help any CEO or CFO know NAV’s ballpark price before entering negotiations with any partner.  Even though the research can seem daunting, 110,000 businesses have already implemented this powerful business software.

In the “What’s my price?” e-book, Microsoft presents the factors a business person should take into account to determine the total cost of implementing Dynamics NAV.  Below find many of the factors that affect ERP implementation costs, including a few of those often overlooked: Read more

Cloud ERP Software

6 Reasons Why You Should Choose Cloud ERP Software

When searching for an ERP solution, you will have to consider the deployment model to go for. Both on-premise ERP and cloud solutions have their merits and shortcomings and the option to go for should be based on your organization’s needs.

Businesses that choose cloud solutions do so to achieve various benefits.  According to the 2012 EPR Benchmark Survey report published by The Aberdeen Group, there are six main benefits that organizations cited for choosing cloud solutions. These are:

  1. Lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

The major reason why companies choose cloud ERP is the lower cost of ownership. Cloud solutions are charged on a subscription basis. Organizations only pay for the amount of service they wish to consume.

Cloud ERP Software

The lower TCO of cloud ERP means companies can achieve ROI faster than those using on-premise solutions. According to the Nucleus Research:  Cloud application projects deliver 2.1 times the ROI of on-premise ones – up 24 percent since 2012.

  1. Lower Upfront Implementation Cost

Implementing on-premise ERP is very costly. This is mainly because organizations have to cater for all the costs involved including the software, infrastructure, upgrades, data conversions, implementation and so on.

Cloud ERP vendors eliminate expensive upfront costs for users since they handle the infrastructure, deployment, upgrades, etc. on their own. The vendors can also afford to charge lower subscription fees per user by taking advantage of economies of scale.

  1. Lower Cost of Upgrading

The cost of upgrading ERP can be costly for any organization. With time, ERP vendors release patches to enhance their solutions and customers have no option but to upgrade their systems or risk incompatibilities, security issues, instabilities and other problems.

Cloud ERP software makes upgrading and installing updates easier for customers. Since the solution is available on the cloud, vendors can automatically update or upgrade them without requiring any input from users. Moreover, cloud updates are usually offered for free and do not require complex configurations like is the case with some on-premise systems.

  1. Ease of Implementation

Cloud ERP can be deployed easily and faster than on-premise solutions. Implementing a cloud ERP software causes less disruption to a company’s business processes. Lower deployment times means less requirements for outside help, which means lower implementation cost.

Majority of cloud ERP systems are modeled on software solutions that employees are already familiar with. Thus, it is easy to install and get started with them. Moreover, the solutions feature user-friendly and familiar interfaces, which reduce the learning curve of employees.

  1. Scalability

As your business grows, you cannot outgrow your cloud solution. There are many ways to expand the ERP cloud without having to shop for new software. For example, most vendors offer user packages suitable for the majority of businesses they are targeting.

During the initial stages of your company, you may opt for a lower package with basic functionality important for your operations. As your business grows, you can upgrade your consumption by opting for higher packages with more robust functionality. The same also applies in case your business volume decreases; you can opt for a lower package or plan of the ERP solution.

  1. Data on Demand

One of the advantages of cloud ERP is that users can access data from multiple locations. As business in the 21st century becomes more globalized, organizations are establishing plants in different geographic regions and need executives and employees to be able to access critical data on performance and processes of the business.

Cloud ERP software allows users to access data from anywhere they are provided they have an Internet connection and the credentials of the organization’s users. Moreover, security is at the forefront of cloud solution providers. Majority of vendors offer 128-bit encryption to ensure the integrity of their users’ accounts.

The above are some of the reasons why many small and medium-sized businesses are opting for cloud based ERP software rather than on-premise solutions. Some larger companies are however adopting a hybrid solution of on-premise systems with some cloud functionality. IT management can help to determine which route the organization should take depending on the future of its ERP needs.

Five Steps to Navigating ERP Selection and Implementation



Cloud ERP

Cloud ERP The Key To Start Up’s Success

PMSNZ, an electronic component manufacturer based in New Zealand, has recently found itself in a situation that many start-ups will identify with: trying to develop and market new products, while there was no incoming revenue; keeping operating costs down; tracking capital from multiple investors; accurately reporting to investors; complying with customer-specific contractual agreements; and meeting complex industry regulations and accounting rules.

Cloud ERP

Additionally, as the organization grew quite rapidly, it had to handle an increasing amount of data, including financial operations, transactions, work orders, employee and customer information, etc. Though the company struggled to manage all these with Microsoft Excel, Word, PDF files, and different accounting software solutions, Nathanial Fairweather, the managing director of PMSNZ, has come to the conclusion that they needed a cloud ERP solution able to sustain rapid growth and adapt easily to new business needs. After a series of deliberations, they’ve chosen Acumatica’s cloud software startup program.

Why?

Unlike other ERP systems, Acumatica’s start-up program has been especially developed for small, young organizations. This means that it can help start-ups go a long distance without upgrading to advanced functionality. The system not only is affordable, but also can keep up with unique business requirements, while offering the functionality a start-up may need to grow its organizational structure and expand into new markets.

Furthermore, companies must find a way to comply with unique needs and demands if they want to remain competitive. Often, this means developing custom products and services. But how can a small start-up handle the complexity usually associated with custom processes? By adopting an agile, flexible yet robust cloud ERP solution, such as Acumatica.

Embedded with a complete suite of business management capabilities, Acumatica can help you:

  • Save money – Delivering cloud-based ERP functionality, this system allows organizations to avoid investments in hardware infrastructure and IT support, which translates into lower costs.
  • Eliminate the need for in-house IT personnel – By hosting your applications in the cloud, you don’t need personnel to manage specific IT tasks, such as server configurations, maintenance, and technical problems. Instead, your staff can focus more on business processes that improve revenue generation.
  • Benefit from advanced scalability – Acumatica is one of the few cloud ERP solutions that are completely scalable. This means that it can grow together with your business, enabling user and functionality adjustments according to changing business demands. You can also try out new third-party software and implement applications for small user groups without making a large investment.
  • Get flexible, accurate reporting – Unlike other enterprise management solutions, which limit the number of reporting functions users can access, Acumatica makes available the same reporting options to all of its customers, including start-ups.
  • Develop a business continuity plan – Business continuity is very important for a young organization trying to build its brand reputation. To help you with this, Acumatica provides a series of tools that facilitate real-time backups, off-site encrypted synchronization, automatic failure testing, etc., enabling efficient disaster recovery and business continuity planning.
  • Get the latest security features – The team behind Acumatica has much more experience in securing company information than a typical in-house IT department. Since Acumatica provides a variety of security features, from access controls to data encryption and sever-based logic processing, your data is more secure with this solution deployed to Microsoft’s Windows Azure than it would be in your own server room.

Acumatica: The Cloud ERP System You May Be Looking For

Coming back to the case study mentioned above, Acumatica helped PMSNZ increase its productivity by 20 percent and obtain ISO 9001 Quality management System certification in the first year, while keeping integration, customization, and licensing costs at a minimum.

As Fairweather said, the biggest payoffs of using this cloud ERP system were the ISO certification and the flexible licensing model, which enabled easy addition of new users without having to pay extra fees. Another key benefit was the perfect integration of business data with key processes, allowing the start-up to streamline all operations from day one. Additionally, as this young company continues to grow, many of the features it needs are already there or can be configured quickly and easily.






On-Premise vs Cloud Based ERP

Cloud Based vs On-Premise ERP: Which Is Right For You?

Choosing between cloud-based and on-premise ERP deployment methods has become a common issue in today’s business world. While on-premise solutions, also referred to as legacy or traditional systems, are built on time-tested concepts with proven success across various horizontals and verticals, cloud ERP software solutions have been developed much later, proposing a quite new deployment model whose efficiency and reliability are yet to be thoroughly tested.

On-Premise vs Cloud Based ERP

In this post, we’ll explore the differences between cloud-based and on-premise ERP systems along with their advantages and disadvantages so that you can select the best deployment option for your organization.

The Could-Based Model

Cloud ERP solutions propose a software delivery model in which infrastructure and data are hosted on remote hardware, commonly referred to as “cloud.” In this deployment method, apps and data are accessed via an interface, across the Internet.

Advantages

  • Flexible Pricing: Cloud-based ERP is available in “lease it” and “buy it” software alternatives. While the former involves monthly recurring charges for software, hardware and IT services, the latter implies buying the software and/or the hardware and paying monthly hosting and maintenance fees. Although both alternatives require a much lower startup cost compared to an on-premise system, an organization may need to pay significant annual subscription fees, which will add up, potentially going beyond the overall cost of an on-premise solution over the long run.
  • Easy Implementation: Cloud solutions provide ready-made platforms that are implemented and tested by service providers. Basically, this means that there are no servers to set up, no CDs to install, and no risky customizations to be made by your employee.
  • No Maintenance: Since the service provider offering the ERP solution will take care of any hardware and software issues, you don’t need to hire IT staff to monitor and maintain your cloud ERP system.
  • Superior Flexibility: Most cloud-based ERP solutions allow for adjustments in activity levels, facilitating addition/removal of users, apps and features. Additionally, even though cloud-based systems are associated with a series of bundled services, you only pay for what you actually use. Even greater is the fact that you and your employees can access the system from anywhere, at any time.

Disadvantages

  • Dependence on the Internet: When it comes to cloud ERP solutions, it’s very important to know that accessing the system is impossible without an Internet connection. For the best results, you must ensure that there are no Internet connection problems before implementing the system.
  • Lack of Control: An essential drawback is that cloud-based software are unable to provide the same level of control as on-premise systems. Besides, these solutions imply specific restrictions on supplying complex functionality, which may prevent large enterprises from achieving certain objectives.
  • Security Issues: Since cloud-based ERP systems can only be accessed via the Internet, they involve certain security risks, ranging from non-targeted cyber attacks to cyber espionage.

The On-Premise Model

On-premise ERP systems imply sourcing the software together with additional apps in-house. This means that you need to invest in software and hardware, designate a physical location to store the equipment and hire IT experienced staff to monitor and maintain your system.

Advantages

  • More Control:  Since you own both the solution and the equipment, you can replace equipment pieces, upgrade the software and make customizations whenever you want. Furthermore, on-premise systems are highly customizable, allowing consultants and in-house staff to adjust different software and hardware areas in order to deliver very specific business uses.
  • Advanced Security: Since data is stored internally, accessing sensitive information is almost impossible without authorization.

Disadvantages

  • Massive Upfront Investments: If you choose an on-premise ERP solution, you not only need office space, hardware and software, but also air conditioning, IT staff and advanced security equipment, such as CCTV systems, access controls and burglar alarms.
  • Maintenance Issues: Regardless of how knowledgeable and skilled your IT employees are, they may be unable to fix certain issues. In this case, you may need to hire a consultant or outsource particular tasks, which implies additional costs.

Which Model Should You Choose?

The CFOs who are more concerned with optimizing return on assets will always favor on-premise ERP solutions. In contrast, those who want to reduce annual expenses will lean toward cloud ERP systems.

From a strategic, functional perspective, we advise you to select an on-premise ERP solution only if your company has more than 50 employees. Why? Simply because an on-premise system includes two additional yet indispensable advantages, especially for large companies:

  1. It offers advanced flexibility for accessing app databases, facilitating custom reporting and leveraging the power of business intelligence and analysis capabilities.
  2. It provides more control of when and how to upgrade the system or replace the hardware.

Regardless of the deployment model you wish to adopt, it’s critical that you examine the pros and cons in the context of your own company’s needs and priorities in order to make the right decision.






Wearable Technology

Google Glass: Seeing The Future Of Cloud ERP

Manufacturing is one of the best industries for new technologies to be tested and deployed. Take Google Glass. Delivering an innovative technology that can be used by anyone, from students to technicians and physicians, Google Glass can find more uses in manufacturing than in any other sector. This theory has been recently demonstrated by Plex Systems, Inc., a software company specializing in cloud ERP solutions for manufacturing.

Manufacturing Experts Are Testing Google Glass

Plex Systems specialists have used Google Glass in conjunction with their ERP system to perform a series of tasks according to different employees’ roles and responsibilities. With this wearable device, they’ve monitored activities, performed financial operations, accessed, recorded and shared information with other users, and even implemented emergency settings for increased operator safety.

Based on their findings, Plex technicians have confirmed that Google Glass is able to extend the capabilities of exiting ERP solutions, adding significant value by increasing operational efficiency in manufacturing and other industry sectors dependent on mobile workforce.

businessman with digital glasses

Concisely, Plex Systems project has revealed that Google Glass not only provides indispensable hands-free equipment for the shop floor, facilitating seamless connectivity with cloud ERP solutions, real-time access to information, and accurate monitoring and recording – critical elements in the manufacturing industry; it can also manage diverse administrative and financial tasks, with more features for new jobs roles to be developed. As a result, Google Glass is expected to change enterprise environments for good.

The Impact of Wearable Technology on Cloud ERP

Delivering context-sensitive information to help users make informed task-oriented decisions, Google Glass-like products are very useful. But what makes them special? Unlike regular laptops, tablets and Smartphones, wearable devices provide key benefits hands-free, a critical feature when users must perform certain tasks hands-free and with minimal distraction.

What else? Newly developed wearable devices are embedded with cutting-edge technologies that make possible:

  • Object/Image Recognition – Developments in digital imaging provide superior resolution and incredible scanning capabilities, turning wearable devices into reliable cameras, barcode readers and even 3D scanners. But Google Glass not only detects, it also inspects objects. This means that it can be used to analyze whether an item meets specific criteria or falls outside the specification limits.
  • Speech Recognition – Equipped with state-of-the-art speech recognition technology that incorporates new advances in Artificial Intelligence, Google Glass enables true hands-free functionality.

Unfortunately, Google Glass has no cellular radio capability, which means that it can only connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Without network connection, you can use this device to take pictures, record videos, get directions and access Google’s offline search engine. Once connected to the Internet, Google Glass delivers the functionality of a Smartphone as a hands-free device. Because Google Glass has minimal functionality on its own, developing a reliable enterprise network capable to support multiple devices is of the utmost importance.

Despite the negatives, this wearable device is likely to have a significant positive impact on cloud ERP. Besides making it easier than ever for professionals to communicate with each other and perform a variety of tasks, regardless of whether they’re in the office or on the shop floor, Google Glass is poised to eliminate error and rework — two major pain points in manufacturing. Considering all these, anyone can easily understand why an increasing number of manufacturers are eager to exploit the true potential of this new technology.

But, Google Glass promises much more. For instance, receiving staff can use Google Glass to send information to the office as they scan bar codes on newly arrived packages. With the same device, engineers can look at machines, diagnose problems and order replacement parts on the spot to avoid prolonged downtime. As well, maintenance staff can use Google Glass to consult repair instructions without having to put tools down in order to use a handheld device. Because wearable technology allows workers to access information from anywhere, at any time, it’s expected to offer unlimited possibilities and even open up new horizons for cloud ERP.

In conclusion, no one can deny the reciprocal relationship between cloud computing and wearable technology. While cloud computing encourages the development of Google Glass-like devices, wearable technology provides a new point of reference for cloud developers.

Cloud ERP Rankings




Cloud based ERP

Acumatica Cloud ERP: Improve Operations And Increase Revenues

Today’s customers are more sophisticated and require personalized attention to spend more. With increased competition from online stores and offline competitors, retailers need to find ways to improve their revenues and keep their costs down through agile methods that improve value delivery. One of the ways retailers can do this is by using cloud ERP.

Cloud ERP software solutions like Acumatica can help retail stores have a centralized view of their business and get real-time information on inventory, status of orders, and customer history.  Cloud ERP enables retailers with multi-location channels to have a better view of their operations since the application can be accessed from any location.

Benefits of Using Cloud ERP

Some of the benefits of cloud ERP software solutions include:

Cloud ERP

i) Control Operating Costs

Stores can streamline their entire business processes including ordering, inventory, invoicing and accounting. Since the solutions are available on the cloud, warehouses, franchises, and offices can be easily linked without the need to have additional communications infrastructure.

ii) Optimize Inventory, Ordering , and Sales

With cloud ERP, retailers can automate all their business processes in multiple locations. Automation allows for accurate decision making regarding, price, promotions, inventory, overheads and revenues.

iii) Integrate Point of Sale (POS) and Ecommerce Orders

Solutions like Acumatica have robust APIs that enable them to be integrated with third party apps and hardware that a retail store may be using. Cloud ERP can be integrated with touch screens, scanners, credit card readers and POS systems.

Improving Revenues through Customer Optimization

Beyond optimizing operations, cloud ERP has much potential for improving revenues through customer offer optimization. Retailers can improve their revenues when they understand more about their customers and hence provide more relevant recommendations at the right time.

Cloud ERP software systems can help retail stores capture customer data and shopping history, allowing them to see purchase patterns and spending. From this information, retailers can position their offerings based on the customer’s purchase history. This relevant positioning helps in delivering a consistent message and leads to more sales.

Improve Cross-Selling Revenues

With in-depth customer shopping behavior data available in the cloud ERP, stores can provide on-time recommendations and increase cross-selling opportunities. For example, a customer purchasing a particular machine may also be interested in buying its accessories. When these accessories are recommended to them at the right time (when making a purchase), the customer is likely to buy them.

Better Inventory Flow Control

Retailers can use ERP to see the flow of inventory over different seasons. This information can help the purchasing department determine which inventories should be procured based on the frequency of their replenishment.

Apart from this, the store can know which inventory needs to be scaled down or augmented in sales and promotions activities based on how they are selling.

Accurate Store Pricing

One factor that reduces loyalty among retail customers is a disconnect between prices of goods on offer and price at the point of sale. For example, if a store advertises a particular item is on sale but when the customer goes to pay for it the item is found to be no longer on sale, this can create friction towards buying.

To reduce such friction, retail stores can use ERP to control promotional pricing for their products. Cloud ERP software solutions can be integrated with other applications like CRMs to ensure accurate data is relayed at all times. Integration reduces price mismatch between ERP and CRM applications, leading to better customer experience at the store.

Manage Complex Information

Cloud ERP helps in managing complex information retailers handling different products usually have. Retail stores may add hundreds of products every year. This increases the complexity of managing inventory and supply chain. Cloud ERP can help stores modernize their businesses keep their inventory up to date and hence gain a competitive advantage on order fulfillment.

ERP applications like Acumatica have become important tools for today’s retailers looking to improve operations and keep costs at a minimum. The cloud applications enable retailers to have a clear view of their operations and identify areas where processes can be optimized to improve efficiency and revenues.






Cloud ERP software

Acumatica Cloud ERP: Real Time Warehouse Management

About 90 percent of C-level executive decision makers see cloud computing as key to business success – an unsurprising fact considering that cloud ERP solutions have already helped thousands of enterprises efficiently manage different business areas and boost profit.

Cloud ERP

What about warehouse management? Will your warehouse thrive in the cloud? Is cloud-based software the best alternative for your organization? To efficiently manage warehouse operations, maintaining information flow is of the utmost importance. Even short delays in delivering real-time information can have serious consequences, such as stock outages resulting in lost sales and warehouse congestion jeopardizing in-bound and out-bound activities.

Unfortunately, one of the biggest disadvantages of cloud computing is delay in communication due to slow remote servers and disruptions in links. Since this can literally cripple your entire activity, having a cloud-based software solution capable to manage the issues known to cause communication delays while executing many other tasks is critical when handling dynamic, fast-paced operations.

The Solution

Acumatica, an industry leader in manufacturing and warehouse control software, proposes an intelligent cloud ERP solution that eliminates information lag time typically occurring in cloud computing. Not only this system downloads information from remote locations, it also maintains it locally. Essentially, this means that Acumatica can process data quickly, in real time and maintain warehouse operations even when remote servers experience communication delays or disruptions.

Combining a full spectrum of capabilities, Acumatica delivers an adaptable, highly configurable cloud-based ERP system that you can use to manage:

  • Multiple warehouses. For each warehouse, Acumatica allows you to select several employees who can perform inventory transactions and access warehouse information. Additionally, this cloud ERP system can be used to track products and pallets; customize grids with filtering and sorting; perform inventory and cycle counts; and draft reports of profitability by business unit, location, product line and warehouse.
  • Inventory. The inventory management module included in Acumatica gives your real-time access to inventory in stock, in transit, on sales orders, on back orders, on purchase orders, and even to damaged and expired inventory, while calculating the inventory needed to complete certain work orders. Integrated with order, purchasing and financial management features, this module can also be used to check warehouse space, lots, expiration dates, inventory sub-items, and negative inventory; analyze location-specific inventory allocations, quantities and costs; track inventory by lot or serial numbers; set item-specific valuation methods to develop and view reports by quantity and costs; obtain detailed cost allocation data based on inventory-related transactions; and create multiple accounts for different groups of items so that you can keep a detailed record of your inventory.
  • Purchasing. This cloud ERP system also contains a purchasing module that can be fine-tuned to automate different processes commonly used to acquire materials, require vendor quotes, issue purchase orders, receive orders and create vouchers. A series of analytics tools and ordering algorithms included in this module can help improve procurement process efficiency.
  • Orders. With Acumatica, you’ll be able to optimize not only the way you enter work orders, but also the way you fulfill them. You can split jobs among different subsidiaries, allocate inventories according to the tasks that must be completed, accept returns, and set up notifications and alerts to improve the entire operation.
  • Requisition. Streamlining the complex distribution process involving multiple products, suppliers, warehouses and shipping routes has never been easier. Acumatica makes available a series of requisition management tools appropriate for obtaining bids, gathering requests, creating and approving quotes, and managing purchases and orders in the most efficient way.

Acumatica is one of the few cloud ERP solutions that provide a single point of control to direct and manage equipment and personnel along any physical activities within manufacturing and warehousing facilities in real-time, enabling your organization to quickly adapt to last-minute changes. Real-time verification capability also enhances order accuracy, leading to fewer errors, improved throughput, on-time delivery and lower operating cost. All these mean more revenue and profit for your organization.

Additionally, Acumatica can be customized and configured to optimize a series of business operations, ranging from manufacturing to picking, packing and shipping. Whether your organization grows or shrinks, this agile software solution can easily adapt to changing business environments, improving performance and optimizing operations to improve financial performance.