Three Trends Impacting ERP in 2016

Enterprise Resource Planing System

2015 brought many advances and changes to Enterprise Resource Planning as the industry continually seeks to improve product and service offerings for companies doing business in a global economy. Some of the trends we spotted last year may impact any ERP implementation you have planned for this year. Make sure that your ERP vendor keeps you abreast of all the latest trends and understands how it affects your particular business.

Here are three things to consider as you move forward:

  1. As more organizations (including small and medium businesses) continue to adopt ERP solutions, cloud solutions have become easier to deploy and more cost-effective. In fact, “cloud” is no longer just a trendy buzzword within the industry but a viable option for many organizations; cloud ERP implementations may eventually become more the rule than the exception. Weigh the benefits of cloud vs. on-premise ERP implementation If you haven’t already.
  2. While 2015 saw plenty of ERP implementation success stories, it also saw a rising number of failures. Even an experienced project manager may not have the skill set required to get a difficult ERP implementation back on track if something goes wrong. Your ERP implementation partner should have project recovery specialists on their team as these are becoming more critical to successful implementations.
  3. Success depends largely on how well your organization is willing to effect the necessary business process reengineering and change management that should accompany any ERP implementation. You can’t expect to roll out an enterprise-wide solution without a significant amount of planning, training and ongoing support. Make sure training sessions are tailored to meet the needs of each department or function and that your ERP vendor will continue to work with you through and beyond the transition.

Accountnet has helped hundreds of companies adopt an ERP solution that matches their business goals and has deployed it according to our clients’ timetables and within their budgets.  We are Gold Certified Partners for Microsoft Dynamics in New York City, serving the Northeast from Boston, MA to Washington, DC.  Contact us today for a free needs assessment or to learn more about Accountet’s services.

Microsoft Dynamics GP Cloud ERP: Easier Than You Think

cloud_accountingFor customers already running an on-premise implementation of Microsoft Dynamics GP, the issue of whether to move to the cloud is no longer a real option – the question is when to make the move.  The latest version of Dynamics GP was engineered especially for the cloud, and upgrading can be easy with the right partner and plan.

Why upgrade to cloud-based Microsoft Dynamics GP?

  • Monthly subscription pricing can save a significant amount of money over the old software licensing model, where you would purchase a per-user license and then pay a yearly enhancement fee.
  • The ERP hosting provider maintains all the software, so your in-house IT Staff can be free of the burden of updates and upgrades, which are including in monthly subscriptions.

Is it worth the trouble to move to the cloud?

Almost nobody welcomes change, regardless of the benefits. One of the most common and understandable concerns expressed by Dynamics GP customers is how making the move to the cloud might impact workflow. It’s important to make sure the process is well thought out and managed. Make sure you partner with a Gold Certified Partner for Microsoft Dynamics ERP to help you every step of the way.

At Accountnet, we help with every phase of the move to the cloud, beginning with helping our clients identify and document requirements:

  • Assess whether you currently have the right set of modules, whether they are being used, and if there is additional functionality you need immediately (or in future).
  • Determine any regulatory requirements (for example, HIPPA, SOX) for your industry. Note any seasonal reporting as this may affect your decision around timing around rolling out a new system.
  • Select a host.  We help our client determine which hosting solution is best for your company (i.e., cloud, multi-tenant hosting or dedicated hosting environment). Make sure to talk about disaster recovery requirements when considering any hosting provider.
  • Identify types of users within the organization and how they will be accessing the system.

Your Microsoft Partner will configure the core system and any new modules. Once the initial system is set up, they will upload copies of your existing databases to the cloud servers for testing (migrations can usually be performed overnight or on a weekend with little to no downtime).  Final integrations with any Microsoft Office products (like Excel and Outlook) or external applications can be completed and validated.

Contact us at Accountnet today if you’re ready to take the next step toward cloud ERP with Microsoft Dynamics GP.

What to Expect for ERP in 2016

Back in May 2014, while reporting on the growth of cloud ERP systems, like Microsoft Dynamics, we cited a study conducted by Gartner, Survey Analysis: Adoption of Cloud ERP, 2013 Through 2023, which looked at the adoption rates among organizations moving their core ERP systems to the cloud.  In addition to predicting that half of the surveyed companies would eventually embrace cloud ERP, the Gartner survey saw an increase in the number of small and medium-sized businesses embracing both ERP and mobile-accessible solutions.

Great Mobility & Accessibility

ERP in 2016

With mobile device use now outpacing desktop computing, it’s inevitable that ERP products will continue to make remote accessibility a priority in 2016. Business professionals in any size company need the ability to retrieve and share information through mobile devices which has led more ERP players to build apps and/or mobile-friendly user interfaces to access reports and dashboards. User experience has come a long way since ERP’s early days, with a minimal, intuitive design built around the user’s role and needs.

Smaller Companies Adopting ERP Solutions

With products like Microsoft Dynamics offering greater customization and mobile-accessibility, small and medium businesses have greater incentive to adopt ERP solutions for their organizations. Cloud-based options (which offer quicker implementations and fewer internal IT requirements) mean that ERP is no longer just for the large enterprise; even small start-ups can consider ERP options without having to make a large investment in IT infrastructure. Expect to see more SMBs getting on board with cloud ERP in the upcoming year.

Continued Focus on Security

Data breaches and security threats are pervasive and growing, particularly when it comes to large-scale enterprise data (think banks and retailers). Last week we addressed some of the concerns around security of cloud ERP systems, and expect that providers will continue to improve data encryption and security practices, and work on additional safeguards to ensure your business data is not compromised.

Whatever the New Year may bring, Accountnet (a Gold Certified Partner for Microsoft Dynamics) will continue its long history of working with clients to ensure their ERP selection, implementation and rollout goes smoothly. Contact us for a free needs assessment.

Three Ways Cloud ERP Can Cut Costs

For the past few years we’ve witnessed cloud ERP solutions, like Microsoft Dynamics, become widely adopted and hailed for their ability to save money on upfront licensing and hardware costs. But there are other savings to be had when deploying ERP in the cloud, including these three things you might not have thought of when considering Microsoft Dynamics in the cloud.

Implementing an ERP Solution | AccountantCost Efficient Scalability

When you purchase any on-premise software license, the cost of scaling up or down can be surprisingly expensive.  Most software licenses apply to a single individual so if your bookkeeper leaves the company you can’t just pass her license on to her replacement. Security and user access concerns dictate that you purchase a new user license for a new employee.  Costs can also mount if you fail to renew your annual maintenance plan. On premise software installations will require you to pay back fees before you can add new users, modules or updates.  With a cloud solution you can easily terminate a subscription to one user license and add another without losing any money, and your cloud ERP provider handles all the user onboarding so your IT department is not bogged down with the routine set-up tasks of every time you add or remove a user.

Upgrades, service packs and hot fixes

Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions installed on premises give you the ability to purchase a maintenance plan that lets you upgrade to newer versions of the product and install service packs and hot fixes. Pricing for an annual plan of this kind can range between 16% and 25% of the total cost of the system.  Compare that to a cloud-hosted system where updates, hot fixes/patches and services packs are included as part of your monthly subscription. Here again, not only is there a savings on the cost of an annual maintenance plan, but internal IT resources spent on ongoing management and maintenance of the system are eliminated.

Identical experience regardless of location

Perhaps the least obvious (but most important) cost savings occurs when you consider remote access and mobility. Think of the cost of deploying Dynamics in house and having to build, secure and maintain a secure VPN connection to allow employees to connect to the system. In addition to the additional expense, you may see decreased functionality and usability of the tools. This, in turn, may slow down remote users’ productivity. A cloud-based ERP system allows you to provide a seamless digital experience — the same environment workers would find in the office.  Again, because cloud ERP solutions are maintained and secured by host, you save significantly on the resources required to support remote users.

Want to know more about Microsoft Dynamics in the cloud?  Contact Accountnet.

ERP System Basics

Among the things our clients cite as their top business challenges, trying to come to grips with the choice of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems and vendors remains the most vexing.  That’s because every organization has unique needs and requirements, so ERP will never be a “one size fits all” solution.  At Accountnet, we conduct a full Needs Assessment and assist with the ERP software selection process to determine which solution will work best for your business.

ERP system basics | Accountnet | New York, NYHaving a basic understanding of what ERP software is, where and how it originated, and what the benefits and drawbacks are is always a good place to start.  Here are a few quick points to know:

  • While ERP has its roots in the manufacturing industry, over the decades ERP systems have evolved and expanded to include all core business functions for almost every industry sector. ERP software come in all shapes and sizes and is usually available as a client server application, a hosted service, or even as a cloud-based web portal.
  • ERP applications are generally modular in nature (for example, supply chain management, sales order processing, accounting and human resources) with modules sharing vital business information in a central database repository. ERP systems typically carry out financial and business planning functions that might formerly have been handled by many smaller, standalone applications.
  • A major benefit of having a modular ERP system is that it can integrate multiple processes and parts of the business, making the business run more efficiently. By automating various functions, you eliminate overlap and duplication of effort, and also benefit from improved system processing (for example, better order tracking from acceptance through fulfilment).
  • By centralizing data, the usual problem of keeping information in synch between multiple systems is reduced, allowing managers to get a more accurate view of vital business statistics.  Having a single data repository can also lower the risk of losing or exposing sensitive data, assuming you take appropriate data security measures.

Along with the many benefits and advantages, you should understand the potential problems you may encounter BEFORE moving ahead with purchasing an ERP system.  ERP systems can prove to be complex and difficult to customize – make sure you have the support and guidance of a trusted ERP vendor.  Accountnet is a Gold Certified Partner for Microsoft Enterprise Resource Planning. Contact us to learn more about how we can get your business started with ERP.

The Case for the Cloud

By the end of the year, more than 80% of medium-sized business in the U.S. are expected to adopt some form of cloud computing system, which signals that cloud technologies are being adopted faster than the IT industry overall.

Case for Microsoft Cloud Most of the companies that Accountnet moves to the cloud have chosen Microsoft as their provider. The Microsoft Cloud gives businesses a connected platform that helps automate their core processes and lets them grow their operations efficiently by easily scaling up or down as their business needs change.  Since the introduction of Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics ERP becomes one piece of a total business solution that helps SMBs focus less on their infrastructure and more on their strategic needs.

The move to the cloud is just part and parcel of the revolution happening in business today, with more flexible ways of sharing information and the ability to visualize and interact with data in real time from virtually anywhere.  Microsoft meets the needs of businesses by uniquely bringing together the tools they need to manage operations, keep team members productive and bring you closer to your customers. Microsoft Dynamics in the cloud can have your team sharing, connecting, and collaborating regardless of where they need to work with security-enhanced access via web browser.

Pairing Dynamics ERP with Office 365 allows you to bring your email, calendar, and files together with your data, reports, and business management software, giving you the ability to see the big picture with one-click access to the details.  You can also simplify your workday with a single sign-on user experience – no need to remember separate passwords for separate functions.

The Microsoft Cloud provides a connected cloud platform that gives you the freedom to deploy and use technology in the way that makes the most sense for your business. It also keeps your IT manageable so you get the most out of your investments. Click on the image above to see the full “Case for Cloud” infographic and contact Accountnet when you are ready to make the move. We can help you determine the best solution for your unique business needs.

Leveraging ERP with the Best Reporting Tools

The widespread adoption of ERP systems has enabled companies of all sizes to store more data with greater accuracy than ever before, but sometimes that introduces new problems — like not having easy ways to report on all that data.  Inferior reporting tools will limit an ERP’s usefulness, and most companies still rely on the same sort of operational reporting they’ve used for decades; reports that typically provide only a transactional level of detail, for example: open purchase orders by customer.

Newer methods and tools look at trends over time, consolidating organized views from multiple data sources to provide a more analytical approach to reporting.  This is known as Business Intelligence – the information you need to make better decisions about how to run the business, not just reporting on transactions.  One example of a BI report might be determining your top ten vendors based on purchase order dollars over the last five months.  Meaningful BI reports should be available to your managers and workers in real-time. Data should be presented in an easy-to-use format with the original system of record as its source.  Your business users should be able to easily access reports without requiring any special IT skills or having to learn how to use complicated reporting software.

If you’re planning an ERP implementation for your business, it’s important to consider your business users’ reporting needs as an integral part of your overall system requirements.  Don’t rely solely on a product demo to determine if the ERP software and reporting solution will work. If your reporting falls short, user adoption may be low and your ERP rollout may ultimately fail. After all, it’s the reports that your users need – timely and accurate data delivered to them when and where they need it.

Accountnet can help you determine your business’s unique requirements and find the right ERP and BI reporting solution for you.  We are a Gold Certified Partner for Microsoft Dynamics, and can help you determine whether Microsoft Dynamics GP or Microsoft Dynamics SL, paired with powerful BI reporting tools, might benefit your operation or whether a cloud ERP solution, like Acumatica, is a better fit. Contact us to take advantage of a free needs assessment to get started.

Adoption of Cloud ERP Systems Continues to Grow in 2014

Late last year, Gartner conducted a survey of CIOs and business leaders regarding their plans to move core business systems to the cloud.  While only two percent of respondents said they had enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems running in the cloud, almost half indicated they planned to make the move within five years. These numbers indicate that cloud ERP is indeed making the transition into the mainstream.

Cloud ERP with Microsoft Dynamics SLCloud ERP software hasn’t really caught on in a big way yet, but Gartner insists it will. Here are a few of the trends that seem to be driving more and more organizations towards cloud-based ERP.

  1. Because an ERP system is likely to be the biggest IT investment a company will make in its lifetime, implementations are not for the faint of heart.  On-premise ERP solutions can have a company’s IT department tied up in knots for years to come.  A big part of the cloud’s appeal is that organizations won’t have to put as much time and money into the project and can reap the benefits sooner.
  2. While larger, more mature companies (like manufacturers who typically deploy ERP tools specific to their industry vertical) aren’t likely to make the transition to the cloud, mid-sized organizations with more general or administrative ERP requirements centered upon financials and HR are better candidates for cloud ERP.  Companies that are more complex may have difficulty adjusting to cloud solutions, simply because they generally want more control over their applications. Small or medium sized companies that want the flexibility of on-premise software but want someone else to host it and maintain it for them can enjoy the best of both worlds with a cloud ERP solution.
  3. Because some companies find it difficult to wean themselves off aging applications that may have been written in older code or be running on ancient hardware, cloud ERP lends itself naturally to two-stage deployments in which an organization may retain certain functions on-premise but add new features to the cloud. For example, an old accounting system running on a mainframe (which might be difficult to port to a new system) could be retained on premises, while additional consolidation and reporting tools are deployed in the cloud to take advantage of web-based functionality.

For a free needs assessment and phone consultation, contact us at Accountnet.  We’ve help hundreds of customers find the right solution for their business ERP needs, regardless of whether they want to keep it in house or move to the cloud.


Acumatica Cloud ERP and Reporting

As smaller businesses come to embrace Enterprise Resource Planning software (either as an on-premises installation or by leveraging the growing number of cloud ERP providers), we see that systems are often badly implemented.  Perhaps it’s because the vendor miscalculated the implementation costs, or poor planning ran up the budget, causing the customer to scale back on functionality and sacrifice the more powerful features. Or maybe the customer hadn’t taken steps to ensure adoption of the new system.

Regardless of the reasons, one area that is often overlooked during the planning and scoping of an ERP implementation are the reporting needs.  Reporting is a clear point of frustration for smaller companies, many of whom may have becoming used to the flexibility of reporting in QuickBooks.  The majority of small business users will have no internal resources to work with products like Crystal Reports.  So it’s important when considering any ERP software solution to take a look at the reporting tools that are available for the platform.acumatica

One ERP system with a very good set of reporting features is Acumatica.  Acumatica offers cloud-based ERP applications for small and midsized businesses including financial management, distribution, CRM, and project accounting suites.  Acumatica also includes a set of general purpose reporting tools that and tailored to meet the information needs of all roles and people in your organization and can be used to deliver customized views of business data to every department in your organization.

Acumatica’s reporting dashboards present summarized views of key information using tables, pie charts, and other graphics. Clicking on a web-based dashboard element enables users to drill-down to successively higher levels of detail. Each user can design their own dashboard with little or no training to deliver real-time information, customized for their particular needs, and each can create their own “home” dashboard as well dashboards for different modules.

Acumatica provides a desktop application and web based tools for developing new reports.  The desktop application allows you to create new reports or customize any predefined report using a visual report designer. The web based reporting engine allows you to create reports which are tightly integrated with your general ledger account and sub account structures across multiple ledgers. The report writer allows you to specify row sets, column sets, and unit sets to create complex reports with a hierarchical drill down structure.

Interested in learning more? Contact us at Accountnet for a free phone consultation. 

Better Business Intelligence Reporting

When ERP systems started emerging in the 90s, businesses embraced them as they held out the promise of improving their business processes with an integrated set of tools and applications. Now, with the introduction of vastly improved Business Intelligence (BI) reporting software, like Solver’s BI360, organizations are finally provided with a way to make educated decisions based on real-time information.

BI360 is an Excel-based reporting application with predefined templates and user-defined reports that run live on Microsoft Dynamics GP. Metrics from other data sources (spreadsheets, cloud, in-house databases, etc.) can also be included. The easy-to-use report writer provides financial professionals with detailed reporting capabilities in a variety of layouts and presentation formats, providing a 360-degree view the organization’s overall health and arming the executive staff with the information they need to make better and timelier decisions.accnet

BI360 dashboards unify the organizations most important assets: its people and its data. Using convenient, web-based dashboards, your people have a way to visualize trends in the data, identifying issues, and ultimately driving success.  With BI360, you can create your first dashboard and see results in minutes — not weeks!

Today’s ERP applications make it easier than ever to view real-time, daily cash flow and budget-versus-actual reports.  BI360’s budgeting module is a flexible budgeting, forecasting and modeling solution without the typical long implementation and high cost of other legacy planning software.

At Accountnet, not only do we work with our client organizations throughout the process of ERP selection, software integration and implementation, we also assist post-rollout, providing assistance with internal change management, training and support.  When clients engage Accountnet, they know we have the experience to hedge against project cost overruns and they won’t be stuck with ERP software that doesn’t meet their unique business needs. Our industry-specific expertise helps our clients achieve measurable business improvements and a real return on investment. Contact us for a free consultation around your ERP and business intelligence reporting needs.