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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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Business Data Benefits with SAP

A business man holds dataThere are numerous benefits of utilizing real-time, integrated ERP at the heart of your business operations. However, one of the most complex aspects of managing business growth is handling the massive amounts of data that a midsize business will begin to accumulate. Pretty soon, you’ll need entire divisions dedicated to just managing the logistics of your company’s data. However, using enterprise resource planning software (ERP) like SAP will enable your business simplify its data processes, saving you enormous amounts of money in IT costs.  

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Three Strategic Reasons for Moving to Cloud-Based ERP

Manufacturing, distribution, and service-oriented companies are facing critical challenges in today’s marketplace. To service the new global economy, companies need to be continuously reinventing themselves by rapidly adding new products and acquiring new businesses. They need to build new partnerships and expand their channels of business, because they will not be able to depend on the same set of suppliers tomorrow that they do today. Simply put, businesses cannot expect to do business the same way as the world changes around them. For these reasons, enterprises large and small need a new kind of ERP; one that's faster to deploy, and contains these characteristics:  

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The Necessity to Digitize Now

Signals bounce between clouds and cityThe global marketplace is not something that is known for standing still. Every year, many businesses get left behind in a market that rapidly changes, and one that demands innovation and evolution. Small-to-midsize businesses need to be prepared to tackle the tide of technological advancement, or else get washed away in the storm. Essentially, not going digital in the modern marketplace is dooming your company to mediocrity. According to Digitalist Magazine, every company is a tech company in a global marketplace like this one. The only way to maintain and grow market share is to innovate, digitally. This is why real-time, integrated ERP systems are becoming the norm in the contemporary marketplace. There are a handful of reasons that digital innovation is so crucial, and why it is absolutely necessary to digitize in the way that cloud ERP can help you accomplish...  

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Learning from Walmart’s Supply Chain Woes

Warehouse stocking Walmart is a leader in competitive pricing around the nation, thanks in large part to supply chain management and inventory control. Nightly stocking and real-time monitoring of purchases means that they’re able to get their customers what they need when they need it. However, the past few years have proved more difficult to manage. In 2014 Walmart acknowledged in a corporate meeting that it was losing about $3 billion just as a result of empty shelves. Keeping online inventory stocked as well as in-store items where they need to be is a whole new challenge, and Walmart isn’t the only one feeling the pinch. Target is also struggling to maintain supply chains and prevent empty shelves. In fact, it’s the main reason that Target’s launch in Canada failed last year. Paula Rosenblum, business analyst and writer for Forbes, said that for the past three years, top retailers have cited unproductive inventory as one of the top three business challenges facing them. Back rooms are filled with products that no one wants. Businesses are facing a difficult balancing act: how can you keep shelves filled, but avoid overstocking with unwanted products?

The Challenges of Stocking Today

  • So many of our products today come from overseas, so re-ordering needs to take place way ahead of time. Shipping could take a month or more, depending on who you're working with.
  • Online ordering requires you to balance two different businesses, often using the same inventory. We’re still learning how to best meet the needs of online customers and merge that with an in-store business model.
  • Cutbacks on salaries and the amount of workers often means that there just aren’t enough people managing the stock.

Intelligent Technology Can Offer the Solution

Here at Navigator, we work with small to mid-size companies just like yours. We know that even though you’re not dealing with the same volume as Target or Walmart, you probably face similar challenges. You need to manage exchange rates and shipping times with trans-continental supply chains, online ordering, and good point-of-sale systems that will be user-friendly for your customers and yet offer your business insights that will help you plan your ordering and your workload. Our integrated platforms offer enhanced analytics to help you determine how to order and how to keep your retail store functioning properly. We’re a leader in creating add-ons that are custom-built to accommodate your growing needs. Interested to learn more?  Click here for more information.

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On Measuring Success

measurements How do you measure success in your company? Is it by quarterly sales numbers? How many 5-star reviews you have on Google? Is it employee or client retention, or perhaps the accolades that your business is rewarded? Numbers are used to measure success because it’s the only definitive measuring device we have. Nothing else shows up on a presentation graph half as well. However, the numbers that you’re using aren’t always the best way to measure your unique business.

Use the Right Metrics

Best selling author Seth Godin has made impassioned arguments for measuring the right thing in order to actually determine how your company is progressing. Because while numbers may be our best vehicle for measuring success, they can also be easily fudged. For example, certain pharmacies will have return-customer promotions offering gift cards to customers who have moved to other locations. However, when you’re counting how many return customers you’ve roped in with the promotion, are you counting the same people gaming the system over and over again? Are you counting the amount of gift cards you’ve given out? Is there a way to measure the amount of true-blue loyal customers that you’ve actually gained through creative measures?

Technology Can Help You Measure Correctly

We’re not saying that businesses need to eliminate measurements! On the contrary, it’s essential that you keep an up-to-date documentation of your performance and operation. It’s the only way to see what’s working and what isn’t. However, a close look at what we’re measuring will determine whether it’s actually matching up with our goals and purpose. There are two primary reasons companies measure the wrong things:
  1. Lack of inter-departmental communication, or communication between management and lower-level employees. This causes a disconnect between what the people at the front lines are seeing, and what people at the decision-making and budgeting level are deciding.
  2. Software that’s not flexible enough to understand your business’ goals. When you compromise with software built for a different business format, you start measuring things that are important to other businesses, and not necessarily yours.
You can overcome both of these challenges with proper business management software. Here at Navigator, we provide solutions and develop add-ons that can answer the needs of your business. Let us show you how our integrated cloud-based platforms improve collaboration between all levels and departments of your business.  We're here to enable you to monitor the things that mean the most. Be sure to register for one of our demo's to find out more.

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Making an Effective Transition to New Software

frustrated Between the rapidly-changing tech world and the shifting needs of small businesses, employees today need to be flexible. One company may transition between three different software systems within a year or two. There’s software to manage client contacts, software for editing documents, software for project management, as well as programs for finances, accounting, sales, and inventory. As a manager, your hardest job is acquiring efficient software, then putting it into action effectively in your workplace. Some employees will quickly learn and adapt to new software. Others will have to be dragged kicking and screaming.

Tips to Make Your Transition Easier

  • Explain the overall benefits to them. No one wants change just for change’s sake, and they certainly don’t want it to adversely affect them. Explain the reasoning for the transition, and how it will affect the whole company in a positive way. Once the new software is rolled out, measure positive changes and share the victories that it enables. Celebrate the good moments and reflect a positive attitude.
  • Give some extra time to employees so that they can play around with the software without feeling like they’re wasting time or about to screw something up. You can even consider rolling out a beta version and giving employees some exercises to do. The trouble with new software is that most of us will just learn a couple functions, and never expand past that to learn about what amazing capabilities and access they have.
  • Get official, professional training for everyone. Navigator offers professional on-site training as part of our setup. Having a specialist on hand for the launch to explain it to employees gives everyone firsthand knowledge. This is much better than getting training from third-hand sources that are just learning themselves.
  • Offer additional training for a few select employees in the office. You might choose the department heads, or just open up additional training for anyone who’s interested. Make sure that you’ll have a few people distributed around the office who can help others comfortably with the software. You might also think about mixing younger employees in with older employees, since the younger generation is more likely to be comfortable adopting new tech.
  • Most important of all, choose your software wisely so you aren’t constantly switching to new systems. Investing in a good platform now can save you a lot of grief down the road. You’ll want a program with room for expansion and growing needs. Make sure that you have a plan in place before you launch the new software.
To learn more about the benefits of SAP software for companies just like yours, click here to register for a demo.

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Navigator Named to Bob Scott’s VAR Stars 2016 List

bobscottvarstarsSALT LAKE CITY - December 6, 2016 - Navigator Business Solutions has been selected as a member of the Bob Scott’s VAR Stars for 2016, a group of 100 organizations honored for their accomplishments in the field of midmarket financial software Members of the VAR Stars were selected based on factors such growth, industry leadership and recognition, and innovation. Selection is not based on revenue and those firms chosen represent a wide range of size and many different software publishers of accounting software. “Each year, 100 VAR Stars are picked from the best organizations that market financial software. It is always an honor to recognize those who contribute to the development of our business,” Bob Scott said. Eric Dahl, Vice President of Marketing for Navigator, added "We are again delighted to be included in Bob Scott's roster of VAR Stars.  This recognition speaks to our commitment to provide value of the highest degree, in multiple facets, to our rapidly growing list of clients." About Bob Scott Bob Scott has been informing and entertaining the mid-market financial software community via his email newsletters for 17 years. He has published this information via the “Bob Scott’s Insights” newsletter and website since 2009. He has covered this market for more than 25 years through print and electronic publications, first as technology editor of Accounting Today and then as the Editor of Accounting Technology from 1997 through 2009. He has covered the traditional tax and accounting profession during the same time and has continued to address that market as executive editor of the Progressive Accountant since 2009. About Navigator Business Solutions Navigator Business Solutions is the premier Cloud value added reseller and SAP Cloud Partner of the Year for SAP Business One and ByDesign software platforms, services and proprietary add-on software. Navigator’s cloud first, agile methodology has enabled effective implementations for over 500 small and medium sized manufacturers, distributors, professional and commercial service providers, retailers, and industrial focused companies worldwide. www.nbs-us.com

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7 Key Aspects of Real-Time, Integrated ERP

A web of services stems from a cell phoneMore and more small-to-midsize businesses are recognizing the value of real-time information that is enabled by cloud ERP systems. Further, many of these companies are adopting mobile/smart device strategies, thus enabling employees and executives to gain access to the information they need, when they need it. However, access to real-time information is not the only reason that companies are making this move. Real-time access delivers at least seven additional benefits that can help make a business more competitive in the contemporary marketplace.  

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