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Navigator Blog

Is ERP in the cloud secure?

Cloud Security NBSAs more and more companies make the switch to cloud-based ERP platforms, one of the ongoing concerns is the security of critical enterprise information.  It’s been a long standing misconception that this technology solution requires companies to somewhat loosen their control of important data.  While on-demand convenience elements of cloud-based platforms remain attractive, many businesses are focused on the perception of a weaker grasp on vital data.  But are those concerns well founded? In a day and age where viruses, data theft, and hackers are regular topics within business publications, making the jump to the cloud can be a very nerve-wracking proposition.  The thought alone of compromising intellectual property, customer information, employee records, sales figures, and other imperative financials, could keep any CEO up for days. The truth is that industry security standards are evolving rapidly and cloud-based ERP providers have invested millions of dollars to ensure information management processes are at top levels.  The good news is that the information is on lockdown 24/7 in an encrypted state.  Still, the responsibility rests heavily on the shoulders of IT security managers to evaluate the effectiveness of an ERP solution that meets their continuity requirements and level of expectation for security issues. Some security focused questions to ask a solution provider when considering the risk vs. reward of cloud-based ERP are as follows: -What types of encryption does the solution provider use? -What measures are in place during data transfers? -What process is in place to guarantee protection if there is a security breach? -What are the security specifics of the back-up data centers? One notable positive is the ability that cloud-based ERP provides in disaster recovery scenarios.  Such issues as fires, floods, storms, and earthquakes are heavily mitigated due to secure data back-ups and secured back up data centers.  This obviously would not be the case with on-premise solutions, with the associated on site hardware. In the end, the answer to the question at hand rests firmly upon the system that is utilized and the people who access it regularly.  Every business has unique needs, so taking appropriate time to determine the proper resolution is significant. To learn more about secure cloud-based ERP, please contact us.

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Navigator Quick Demo: Time Entry for Projects, SAP ByDesign

TimeEntryToday's quick demo from Navigator's Value Engineer Kent Blackhurst focuses on Time Entry for Projects within SAP's Business ByDesign. Some of the topics covered include Work Packages, Editing Time Sheets, and Approvals.  

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Cloud-Based ERP: The sharpest of tools

Navigator AxeAs Abraham Lincoln once famously stated: “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”.  It is the plight of all small to midsize business to determine how they will plan ahead and prepare for the operational hurdles that are sure to challenge them.  What is the sharpest tool available to ensure your business is operating efficiently? In this fast paced, high tech work environment to which we’ve become accustomed, a beneficial and fundamental component is found in enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.  These all-in-one business management software tools enable respective departments to track data in real-time through one streamlined solution.  Within the last several years, cloud-based ERP business networks have further empowered employees, customers, partners, and suppliers to stay organized and efficient with no bulky or dated hardware to deal with. If you’ve outgrown your current accounting software, or are looking to transition into a more sensible cloud based system, let’s look at some of the ways your axe will be sharpened by upgrading to the connected technologies of ERP in the cloud. Agility:  With cloud-based ERP, employees can access data and make timely decisions wherever they might be.  This 24/7 access can be utilized at home, in remote locations, or on the go.  This freedom provides additional control and convenience to your enterprise. Flexibility:  CIO’s and executives within the information technology realm know that the ability to scale with the growth of their ever expanding data requirements, not to mention the organization as a whole, is an imperative.  The flexibility of a cloud based ERP is instantaneous, and can grow with your increasing data or business needs. Speed:   The need for speed is an adage that continues to be significant within this hyper-competitive digital age.  The capability to get products or services to market in a timely manner is a definite make-or-break element.  A cloud-based ERP will track transactions immediately and reliably. Cost:  As briefly referenced earlier, with no expensive and cumbersome hardware to maintain, the price of ERP has become more customer friendly as these services are paid for in a subscription model.  Overall, the total cost of ownership for a cloud-based solution can be 50-60% less over a 10 year period. As you can gather, there are multiple reasons to why sharpening your axe in the fashion of Cloud ERP makes sense. Have questions?  With 500+ ERP implementations, and the distinction of being named SAP’s #1 Cloud Partner of 2015, Navigator stands ready to place a sharp axe into your company’s hands.  More information can be found here.

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Energy Service Companies: Finally, the way to see the whole picture

Energy Services 1

Most energy service companies do not have proper visibility.  It’s all too commonplace not to know whether a job will be profitable until all the paperwork is complete. Navigator will help you eliminate the guess work.  Through our solutions, we can show you how to best manage your projects while enlightening you on exact profitability amounts. Whether your business is construction, services, equipment, or rentals, it is imperative to have absolute command over cost, time, and profit.  Navigator is your trusted source to help you manage these imperatives.  Our programs offer tailor made solutions which were created specifically for energy companies.  Let us help you bolster your capacity within Job Costing, Work Orders, Rentals, Third Party Billing, Unit Costing, Field Ticket Management, Dispatch, HRM & Certifications, and Labor Sheets, among others. At the core, Navigator’s offerings present an affordable way to manage your business from top to bottom.  Through our General Business Management Functionality, we can help you manage and streamline your financial operations by automating every accounting task.  Our Sales and Customer Management capability will help you to better track opportunities from first contact to close.  Inventory and Distribution will provide accurate information about shipments, inventory, and item location.  Finally, the Reporting and Administration functionality will allow you to efficiently gather data from multiple sources, ensuring accurate reports. Navigator stands ready to assist you in discovering what system will best fit the way you do business, while addressing your budget and time, your level of IT expertise, and the way your employees work.  For more information, click here.

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Navigator Customer Support Teams continue to shine

Navigator Customer Service Tickets DownIn keeping with Navigator’s goal of creating a stellar customer experience, and retaining all customers as “Customers for Life”, the customer support teams have showed their mettle in improving customer satisfaction in significant ways. As reported in Navigator’s semi-annual All Hands Meetings in January, the customer support teams resolved a total of 1,906 tickets in 2015.  Q4 in particular was an outstanding quarter for the team as 100% of all tickets were ultimately resolved while maintaining a customer satisfaction level of 93%.  Response time to customers open requests was also slashed on average by a staggering 72% during the year. Additionally, Navigator continued to prove their commitment to existing and future clients by bringing on new and exceptionally capable agents to the customer support teams in Q3 & Q4. Understanding the uniqueness of each respective customer continues to be at the forefront of the efforts of the Navigator customer support teams.  With dozens of new implementations expected during 2016, Navigator is ready to continue these impressive trends throughout 2016 and beyond.

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2016: How are you going to focus on your time?

2016 Focus AheadThe start of a new year tends to bring with it the temptation to reflect on the past year in order to determine what our focus, priorities and opportunities will be going forward.  As 2016 has started, let's focus on one very important resolution for any company that bills for time as well as other products or services. Resolve to finally take the steps necessary to convert from a “hard skills” focused company to a “soft skills” centric organization.  What, you might ask, does that mean?  Unless your organization is fighting off clients who are demanding unlimited billable time, you probably need to start recognizing that many of your current problems are the result of your continued reliance and focus on “traditional” skills and experiences, delivered in a “high touch” model by very expensive resources, with an almost absolute focus on nothing but billable time. Ask yourself this very important question: “Would you like one client with a 2,000 hour project, or 20 clients with 100 hour projects, or 200 clients with 10 hour projects?” The answer to this question is very telling. Very few project management or professional services companies have moved away from their reliance on billable time even as the marketplace has become less and less willing to invest in this legacy strategy.  Utilization and realization rates, and other traditional key performance indicators (KPI’s), have remained unchanged for more than four decades and it is time to reconsider what the prime motivators of priorities, activities, evaluation and compensation should be? The historical focus on billable time has not allowed for investments in more esoteric (and sometimes non-billable) skills such as:

  • Effective communications skills that are specific to the 21st Century business model. This could mean that your people need to start publishing white papers, participating in blogs, hosting webinars and other “social” events.  But of course this won’t or can’t happen unless they are encouraged and incented to take such action.
  • Communications must also become more “specific” to the prospect and client. Gone are the days where generic messages drive prospects to your organization.  Your communication needs to be relevant.  Direct mail is dead.  Phone calls are unproductive.  What new, unique and creative communications skills and techniques are you utilizing in 2016?
  • Effective communications by role (including 1099 consultants): Your clients are looking for an “experience”.  This experience will be made up of many different touch points.  Some of them are human-to-human.  Some of them will be systems-based.  Some will exist on your portal (or a vendor’s portal that you link to).  Some of the communications will be with back office resources such as accounting, warehouse and other areas that need to contribute to the overall communications experience.  Some of these resources are not used to dealing with clients or prospect and as such, might need some training.  ALL of these communication touch points have to be current, accurate and easy for the prospect or client to find and obtain.
  • Have you created the ability to deliver multiple experiences? Traditional professional services organizations are very adept at delivering a very specific experience tied to very specific methodologies which are designed to deliver statements of work which control a relationship built upon billable hours.  21st Century prospects and clients want a much different experience.  They want information (and on-line).  They want reviews (on-line).  They want to download trials, demos, whitepapers, and other information.  The experience they want and demand is very much a part of their background and experience.  These are GenX decision-makers.  They work, act and decide differently.  Can your organization keep up with them?
  • Which brings us to the next point… Can your organization deliver value 24x7?  Can your prospects and clients obtain valuable information on the device of their choosing?  Is it possible for your prospects and clients to place orders and obtain subscriptions, products, information or offers with no human interaction?  If you can’t deliver it, it will take your prospects or clients six seconds or less to find it somewhere else.  And what’s worse, any prospect or client that has a bad experience with your company will make that experience known to the world in about two minutes.  And that review will last – forever.  For better or for worse, this is the internet age we live in.
  • Are your expensive resources incented to package their domain experience into “self-service” modules? Do they have job descriptions that clearly define their responsibilities in this area?  When you evaluate your employees (IF you evaluate your employees), is packaging and keeping self-service resources current and accurate, a component?  You have thousands of hours’ worth of knowledge and experience sitting in file cabinets and hard drives.   You have decades of reports and other deliverables created for one client, but appropriate for dozens of additional clients.  You have millions of dollars of value lying untouched. 2016 needs to include a resolution to package your value.
Has your business model evolved to the point where it is costing you business? These are some tough questions in need of honest answers. And if you determine your business model might be holding you back, what can you do? There is so much involved in moving from a hard skills model to a soft skills focus.  But the good news is, most of the assets required are already in place.  It is the environment that needs an audit.  It is the model that needs to be re-thought.  It is the business plan that needs to be updated.  Most likely you will need new role descriptions, compensation and incentive plans.  But the people… they are ready to step up to the plate. Creating the environment and effectively communicating that environment to your company is the responsibility of the principal, owner or executive (POE).  There will not be any change in behavior unless you, as the POE, promote and reward it.  You are the role model.  You are the leader. Creating the environment and effectively communicating that environment to your company is also the opportunity before you.  While most humans instinctively resist change, this is almost always due to a lack of understanding.  If you can clearly communicate the “what’s in it for me” to your people, you can follow that up with the tools, systems, plans, and rewards that empower them to exceed all of your expectations. Finally, if you can create the environment, and effectively communicate that environment to your company, you can create a critical mass that cannot be denied.  Your people have amazing capabilities.  They can rise to any occasion.  Once they see the benefits to them, and the advantages for the organization, they can work passionately to deliver a stellar experience. Make 2016 your breakout year.

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Navigator looks ahead to 2016 with All Hands meetings

Navigator BusiNavigator All Hands 2016ness Solutions’ semi-annual All Hands Meetings concluded a successful 2015 campaign while shifting focus to continued growth and achievement in 2016.  The event, held at the Provo Utah Marriott Hotel from January 14-16, brought together the entire Navigator team from 27 offices throughout the country.  Continuous improvement took the center stage in the dialogue of the meetings as Navigator engages to secure its status in the coming years as SAP’s top worldwide cloud reseller. Geoffrey Ashley, guest speaker and business transformation specialist, spent the week instructing the team of best practices and areas of refinement in multiple categories.  Within his presentations, Mr. Ashley also focused on the current state of the company, Navigator’s Values, Mission, and Vision, leadership and role models, doing business within the 21st century, and general complexities of being a top VAR (value-added reseller)  within the ERP (enterprise resource planning) community. In addition, employees received product and project training and updates from Navigator’s executive and management teams during the event, and company meals were provided throughout.  One of the highlights was on the evening of January 14th as top performing employees were presented with President’s Club awards, and President’s Team awards at a special dinner event held off-site. During the trainings, Navigator CEO Grant Fraser presented a new set of Value’s, Mission, and Vision for the Navigator team, in addition to refining guiding principles to create a stellar customer experience,  which reflects Navigator’s ongoing goal to retain customers for life.  These items were among the key take-aways for the event. Of the All Hands experience, Mr. Fraser remarked “We have had great success the last ten years … I look forward to working with (the team) the next five years as we take Navigator to the next level …and continue to dominate our industry.  We have a lot to do…the next five years start today!” Navigator will reconvene in April this year for a Virtual All Hands, and plan to be back at the Marriott for the next full All Hands in July of 2016.

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SAP Business ByDesign Update – November 2015

With the global marketplace changing and growing more complex every day, SAP is continually adding new, industry-leading functionality to its already robust SAP Business ByDesign offering.  The video below will show you just some of the most recent, available enhancements to ByDesign, and what you can do with them:

  • Automatic renewals of contracts
  • Easier creation of service quotes
  • Quickly add fields when working with journal entry vouchers (JEV)
  • More complete overview of project tasks
To see more of enhancements like this, and to see Business ByDesign in action, join our weekly, live web demonstration occurring every Friday at 11:00 AM EST.  Register here.

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BioDerm Relieving The Pressure With SAP Business ByDesign

How do you know when software is hampering your growth?  One clue is that you find yourself doing manual workarounds to key business processes.  Another is that you can’t get the answers you need without an act of Congress (and we know how rare those are these days). That’s what happened to BioDerm Inc., a Largo, Florida-based medical device company.  Because the company operated two different databases – QuickBooks for financials, warehousing, and manufacturing and Act! for CRM – Byron Dyke, BioDerm CFO, found himself spending three weeks after biodermthe close of every month just reconciling inventory and getting financials out.  “We tried importing records into QuickBooks,” he says, “but it really didn’t work very well.”  The company had no budget for IT hardware, software, and staffing. So they looked for a cloud-based ERP application.  That search led them to SAP Business ByDesign and SAP Partner, Navigator. One Solution for Everything “SAP Business ByDesign came up as the one solution that would handle everything we needed to handle,” says Dyke.  “It’s got the marketing capabilities, it’s got the CRM capabilities, and the inter-company capabilities.  There was no other product out there that had that kind of coverage.” The Advantages of the Cloud For BioDerm, a cloud-based ERP was essential.  “The cloud has several advantages,” Dyke says.  “It’s much less expensive, much less hardware-intensive, and much less labor-intensive to implement.  And you can get so much more value for your money than trying to put in a huge networking system, and hiring an IT staff.  We have basically one person that handles all of SAP Business ByDesign.” Faster and Easier Since using SAP Business ByDesign, BioDerm has doubled its revenue.  Financial statements are now generated two days after the close of the month.  And inventory management is far easier.  “It’s been a pleasure not to have to go out and do physical inventories, and to not have to go in and edit spreadsheets of data,” Dyke says.  Perhaps the most important benefit is that BioDerm employees trust that the information they receive is accurate and up-to-the-minute. And they use that information to make better decisions.  “The disciplines that SAP puts into SAP Business ByDesign are just invaluable,” Dyke says. What’s Holding You Back? If you’re not growing as fast as you’d like, take a look at your software.  Does it support you or thwart you?  Does it provide the answers you need to make key decisions?  If your software comes up short, perhaps it’s time for a change – to SAP Business ByDesign.  Join SAP for the 4th Annual SAP Business ByDesign Users Conference, October 11-14 at the Mirage Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. To learn more and how to register, visit http://sapbydesignconference.com

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Navigator To Host 4th Annual SAP Business ByDesign Users Conference

In an effort to continue providing world-class service, and as a repeat of the last three years, Navigator is again thrilled to host the 4th Annual SAP Business ByDesign Users Conference, being held October 11-14, 2015 at the fabulous Mirage Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The SAP Business ByDesign Users Conference is designed for users of all types to descend on Las Vegas to get three full days of training, collaboration, consulting, and networking opportunities all geared to help them better leverage their SAP system.  Speakers and presenters have been tapped from SAP, Navigator, ERP Logic, Projexia as well as several customers aimed at providing insight to success as well as overcoming obstacles.  In addition, several SSPs (software solution providers) are sponsoring the conference and likewise will be on hand to demonstrate integrated functionality including but not limited to EDI, 3PL, Sales Tax automation, Credit Card integration, and shipping. Over the past 3 years, support for the conference has grown exponentially, and in 2015, it is expected that more than 400 people will attend, making this the biggest gathering of SAP Business ByDesign Users worldwide. Whether you are brand new to the SAP Business ByDesign world, currently implementing, or a live customer, here is why SAP believes you should attend the conference:

  • Hear directly from top SAP ByDesign executives including Dr. Michael Schmitt, Rainer Zainow, and Pradeep Nair on development and what's next for ByDesign
  •  Learn best practices and implementation tips from other customers and ByDesign partners
  • Network with the rest of the SAP ByDesign community
  • Participate in 50+ role-specific breakout sessions designed to help you get more out of your existing system
  • Discover industry-leading extensions from top-tier software solution partners
  • Enjoy a night out socializing with your SAP ByDesign colleagues and SAP executives.
Tickets for the conference start at $695 per person, and include all food for the 3 day conference.  Heavily discounted hotel accommodations of $145/night are also available, but are on a first-come first serve basis.  To register, visit http://byduc.nbs-us.com, or for questions, please call Curtis Campbell at 877.395.4SAP.

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