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Managing a Global Network with ERP

Lights shine across a global networkIn an increasingly global marketplace, mid to large size businesses need to be able to effectively manage their organization across different countries, and even continents. The simple truth is that, for many industries, it is absolutely essential to be international with your business, if you hope to be competitive in the overall market share. Enterprise resource planning software (ERP) enables enterprises to control their global network through a convenient, yet powerful tool.  

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Reduce Headaches with ERP

A businessman holds his head in his handsAt the end of the day, the purpose of utilizing any business tool is to simplify the processes and reduce the amount of headaches that are created by operating a successful enterprise. At its heart, this is what enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is all about: reducing headaches. Here are several of the ways that ERP software can streamline a business and simplify the process for executives and employees, alike...  

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When to Upgrade to ERP

Vector of finger hitting pro buttonIn a business’ maturation cycle, there comes a point of growth where a company must make a jump from small to midsize business. Before this can happen, though, it is going to require an audit of internal processes and systems that may or may not be slowing down the prospective growth of the business. In today’s marketplace, to remain competitive, this is probably going to mean that an adoption of enterprise resource planning software (ERP) is going to be required. How do you know when it is time to take this step, though?  

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The Key to a Successful Software Rollout is Not What You Might Think

Are you in the middle of launching new ERP software or planning an implementation in the coming months? Without effective communication guiding your rollout, even the most powerful, useful platform will go unused. Set your implementation up for success by creating an effective launch communication plan. Let these 5 questions guide you.

  1. How will this system make the lives of my colleagues better?
Adoption of the new technology hinges on how effectively you communicate the vision for it. What does it do and why are we moving to it? If you lead with the technical details and pre-launch checklists, you'll lose your audience. In a piece by Harvard Business Review, Didier Bonnet of Capgemini Consulting says, “Employees need to understand why [the new technology] is an improvement from what they had before." Without compelling reasons to transition, most employees will perceive the new technology as disruptive to their comfortable routine. Put yourselves in each department’s shoes. What’s in it for Accounting and for Manufacturing? What about Sales and Marketing? Also remember that communicating the vision doesn’t end once you’ve announced the new system. You must reiterate the “what and why” at each stage of the rollout process.
  1. What influencers can I ask to champion the rollout?
First, if top leadership isn't backing this new technology and making that clear to the rest of the company, very few people will adopt it. But beyond the executive team, who else in your company could you ask to be an ambassador for this change? Choose someone who has demonstrated enthusiasm and success in championing other initiatives.
  1. How will we educate people about using this new tool?
Your colleagues already have a full-time job. Asking them to learn a new platform is almost like giving them a part-time job on top of that. Be sensitive to this. How can you communicate in ways that make the most of people’s time and make it easy for them to learn? Simplicity People are daunted by software user documentation because it’s murky, cumbersome, and bursting with jargon. Communicate in everyday language. Keep videos or documentation short and organized. And if your mom couldn’t understand your communication, start over. Motivation Build incentives into your communication plan. The first 5 people to sign up for a training webcast get a $10 Starbucks gift card. The first 5 people to do XYZ in preparation for launch get a $25 Amazon gift card. And so on.
  1. How will we set expectations for day of go-live?
Create and communicate schedules. Are you rolling out in phases? Outline the “who” and the “when” clearly so that people aren’t surprised when they can’t access legacy systems any longer. What can people expect on the day of rollout? Who do they contact if they have problems with the system? When questions, concerns, or problems roll in, be quick to address them. For those who experience a critical issue on launch day, you need to provide a response that at least sets expectations for a solution.
  1. How will we sustain engagement on our new ERP system?
Many companies mistakenly think that once the new technology launches, the job of communicating is done. Making it past launch day is only half the battle. You've got to show up after rollout through continued communication and guidance. Continually communicate why people should keep using the tool and motivate them use it. Celebrate quick wins departments are experiencing to create momentum. Create FOMO throughout the company by sharing employee success stories of those who are benefiting from using the new system. It’s not too late! If you’ve already started your software transition without considering these questions, it’s not too late to finish strong. Review the suggestions and see what you and your team can pull together. We’re here to help, if you still have questions, contact us!

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4 Ways to Keep Your Project from Going off the Rails

Small to midsize companies have several things to worry about to ensure business runs smoothly, and it can be difficult to prioritize and manage concerns. At the end of the day, whether you can consistently deliver projects within agreed upon parameters is of utmost importance. Across all industries, time and budget are often clients’ key measurements of a successful project. With around one third projects successfully completed on time and on budget during a given year, it’s no surprise that capturing project resources and cost is one of the biggest challenges for service companies. Here are 4 ways to make sure you’re getting your projects completed on schedule and on budget: Set attainable expectations and project scope You must first look to a project’s beginning to set the foundation for a favorable outcome. You don’t want to start off a project playing catch-up by promising a client something you can’t deliver. If the client has a desired timeline and budget, can you reasonably meet their needs? Think about how many and what types of resources you will need, for how long, and whether existing resources have the bandwidth or if you will need to staff for the project. Are there any hidden project costs, such as training, permitting or travel? Upfront planning and forecasting will help you set project timelines and budgets that are feasible for you to follow. Implement scalable project management practices and capabilities Since 97% of organizations believe project management is critical to business performance and organizational success, your organization most likely falls into the same mindset. But perhaps you haven’t known where or how to start. Project management processes fall into 5 groups:

  • Initiating
  • Planning
  • Executing
  • Monitoring and Controlling
  • Closing
Project management isn’t just essential for you to keep projects on track, but it’s also beneficial to your business overall. As your company grows, managing projects and resources will become more complex, placing further importance on solid project management processes and systems. Maintain communication and visibility across all stages of the project Life isn’t perfect, and neither is every project. Your projects may hit snags along the road, but communication is key to steer them back in the right direction. You need to have collaborative processes in place across your distributed workforce and with your clients. Enabling a universal way for project managers to document changes in scope, timeline and budget will streamline efforts. Providing stakeholders regular progress reports with insight into project performance, cost direction, and resource handling can help mitigate any issues before they get unwieldly. Review previous projects and learn from them What you’ve done before will help you now. If you’ve failed to deliver a project on time and on budget, see where things went wrong. Conversely, create a success model from a project that you completed within timeline and financial expectations. Keeping accurate, detailed, and readily-accessible project records will provide you the insight you need as to what may or may not have worked, and help you determine best practices as you plan your next projects. If you’d like to learn more about how to stay on track by delivering on-time and on-budget projects, contact us today for a free consultation.

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5 Reasons It’s Time for You to Leave QuickBooks Behind

Countless small businesses rely on QuickBooks to manage their finances. This software has served your company well in the early stages of growth, but it may be showing signs of wear as you continue to expand. So, when is the right time for you to upgrade to more advanced Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software? The short answer: when everyday accounting tasks become complicated for your team to perform. Here are 5 common moments that signal it's time for you to move on from QuickBooks. 1. When you're struggling to track your growing inventory You've got an exciting problem on your hands. Product demand is out-pacing your ability to keep tabs on your current inventory. Maybe you're even adding a warehouse to meet your growing needs. Inventory tracking is now more critical for you than ever. How can you know what you have in real time so that you fulfill customer orders fast? And what about tracking backorders? ERP software offers all this and more. 2. When your customer data causes QuickBooks to crash Those mumblings of mutiny you're hearing in the accounting office are no joke. When file sizes get too large for QuickBooks, that causes instability and program crashes. This means lost work and lost time, which translates to a frustrated accounting team. The more customer accounts you earn the more transactions you need to enter, causing file size to increase. With QuickBooks’ Enterprise tier, the file size limitation is 1.5 GB. To regain file size, you need to delete history. When you’re hovering near max file size, you’ll notice problems like reports taking too long to load, random error messages, or all out crashing. ERP software databases have more capacity and also support transaction archiving, which you aren’t able to do in QuickBooks. 3.  When reporting has become a major challenge Though QuickBooks handles reporting, these features aren’t robust or easy to use. Does your team rely on 1 or 2 QuickBooks reporting gurus to generate the right reports for your company? Are people having to export data from QuickBooks and then manipulate it in Excel to produce the reports you need? If so, it's time to upgrade to an ERP that makes creating and publishing reports, charts, and dashboards fast and easy for everyone. 4.  When you need fully integrated CRM functionality With QuickBooks there’s an add-on CRM solution but it’s not a complete integration and there isn’t any drill down capability. With good ERP software, you get CRM functions integrated throughout the entire application. You can manage your customers everywhere in the system, rather than in a separate module. 5.  When you need an easier way to maintain GAAP compliance QuickBooks as standalone software is not GAAP compliant. You’ve likely struggled to build your financial statements using data from QuickBooks, a network of spreadsheets, and even other systems. GAAP compliance is either expected or mandatory for:

  • Securing VC funding
  • Getting bank loans
  • Filing your taxes
  • Your company’s valuation
  • And more
When you’re financials are consistent, you’ll also get more reliable forecasts. Given how crucial this record-keeping is, why not use a single system that’s already GAAP compliant for managing your finances?

Summing it Up

When a company has gotten used to any software, it’s challenging and even a little painful at first to make a change. But what you’re gaining from ERP software—the scalability, flexibility, time savings, and increase in features and integrations—will provide huge returns on your new investment. Is your company outgrowing Quickbooks?  Register to attend an overview demo on SAP's Business One platform, geared for companies just like yours.  Click here.  

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Why Some Companies Are Afraid to Adapt

Business people hide from changeThe foundation of the marketplace in the 21st century has inevitably shifted. The emergence of the digital revolutions has changed the way that many companies do businesses. However, many businesses have struggled to carry out meaningful advances to move their business model into one that is more practical for digital solutions. The threat of digital obstacles forms the crux of nightmares for many CEOs. Not only does a business model that doesn’t involve a digital strategy suffer from the existential threat of a digital upstart completely eradicating their industry (see: Uber), but it runs the risk of having their profit margins slowly dissolve over time. Here are some reasons why businesses are terrified to fall behind in the digital world...  

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How to Evolve Your Midsize Company to ERP

A bird's eye view of business people working on computersThe digitization of the modern marketplace necessitates the use of digital tools to stay relevant. As the 21st century continues to change in favor of technology, this fact becomes even more true. For this reason, many midsize companies, as well as some small and large companies, have found that evolving their system to incorporate enterprise resource planning software (ERP) to help organize their operations.  

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Cloud ERP Chatter: When Skill & Hard Work Meets Opportunity

Navigator Business Solutions, cloud pioneer, SAP Gold Partner, and perennial award winner within the ERP SME space, has again been in the news recently.  To better understand how Navigator drives success year over year, Carolyn Horiel from the Cloud Ecosystem and Channels team sat down with Grant Fraser, Navigator President and CEO, to learn what makes them tick and what he sees as the future of business solution industry. Tell us a little about Navigator. Founded in 2005, Navigator’s headquarters is based in Salt Lake City, Utah and employs 60+ staff to support sales and services nationally.  We are an early adopter of using a cloud solution, signing on as a SAP Business ByDesign partner in 2009, and making the switch to ByDesign internally here at Navigator in 2013.   When and why did your firm become a SAP Cloud Partner? Cloud is the future, although that was not as obvious in 2009.  We felt that we could provide better value to our customers, especially the smaller ones removing the hardware/database component.  We also felt the recurring revenue of the Cloud was attractive, although cash and margin is challenging in the initial years.  We felt that in 5 years (back in 2009) that 80% of all ERP sales would be Cloud, so we better get started now.  As it turned out – in 2009, we had 0 new customers, 20% new customers in 2010 were Cloud, 2011 it was 40%, 2012 was 60%, 2013 was 72%, 2014 was 86% and so on.  Now all of our new customers are implemented on the Cloud. What would you say is Navigator’s niche market; what separates you from other partners? Our focus on the Cloud separates us from most – we have more Cloud experience and provide a fixed price implementation, and off the shelf integration tools to EDI, eCommerce, Sales Tax, Credit Card, Shipping, POS, and Configurator.  We provide rapid response to prospective customers, and current customers’ needs for proposals, demos, and solutions.  We have core competency in manufacturing, wholesale distribution, and professional / commercial services.  We have developed special functionality for Life Sciences, Capital Equipment and even Cannabis. What major business benefits has Navigator realized from forming a partnership with SAP? Our long term competency has been manufacturing, and the SAP product line has allowed us to expand our offering to wholesale distribution and professional and commercial services.  Through the SAP Ecosystem, we have leveraged our products and abilities to winning customers in every state in the continental US, and through our development efforts and SAP extensions, through other SAP partners to every continent.  Finally, SAP’s support of the Cloud has helped drive some great growth for our business. Okay last question, balancing so many business priorities day to day, how do you unwind? I like to cook for my family and I have become a decent chef.   Outside of the kitchen, I do enjoy spending time on a houseboat on Lake Mead with no cell phone, and no email.  But, that doesn’t happen very often. Thank you Grant.  Your insight into the industry and why Navigator is so successful has been a tremendous learning experience for me.   You truly run your business by your personal philosophy, “luck happens when skill and hard work meets opportunity.”  It’s not mystery why Navigator has been chosen as a perennial SAP Cloud Partner of the Year.  Navigator runs not by luck, but by your skill and tenacity while supporting SAP cloud customers.  To learn more about Navigator and how they can bolster your business through the Cloud, click here.

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The Edge of Cloud-based ERP

A business man holding an icon of cloud erpCloud-based business planning software used to be a solution that was associated with smaller businesses. However, in recent years, the viability of using a cloud-based enterprise resource planning software (ERP) has exponentially increased, to the point where surpasses the effectiveness of on-premise ERP, and allow your midsize business to cut major costs.  

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