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ERP Software or Accounting Software: Which Is Better?

Nigel Wooden
February 1st, 2020

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Cloud computing has made the cost of software cheaper and more modular. As a result, ERP and Accounting Software are now both jockeying for position among both small enterprise and SMB companies. As Forrest Burnson put it,  the cloud has made it “a lot easier for SMBs to treat ERP more like an operating expense, instead of a capital expenditure.”

However, knowing which type of platform can benefit your business requires a bit of research. Knowing the difference between Accounting Software and full Enterprise Resource Planning can help smooth an otherwise rocky transition. In this article we take a look at both technology platforms and recommend how, when and why businesses should make the transition from accounting software to a full ERP like NetSuite.

More than just the General Ledger

Prior to the rise of cloud based software and IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), Accounting Software focused specifically on the General Ledger; debits, credits and financial statements for businesses big and small. They filled a highly specific role, and they filled it well.

Familiar to Small Business in this area are products like MYOB, Quickbooks and more recent companies like Xero. These services provide accurate and essential accounting software targeted at Small Business and lower end SMBs and designed to make the General Ledger easier to track and manage at an affordable price for smaller businesses.

However, as the marketplace has become more crowded and the needs of companies have evolved, the line between what an SMB needs and what is essential to an enterprise level organisation has also blurred. Accounting Software players broadened their scope to try and include more features. Now, it’s not uncommon to find the following included in Accounting Software platforms:

  • Payroll
  • Quote generation
  • Invoicing and Payments
  • Purchase Order generation and reconciliation
  • Inventory integration
  • …and more.

Previously, even more advanced features were associated with ERP platforms.

Why is Accounting Software moving into the ERP space, and is it enough for SMB or Enterprise level organisations to stick with Accounting Software rather than making the switch to a full ERP?

We’ll get to that, but first, let’s take a look at how the cloud is changing the way software platforms do business in the eCommerce industry.

How the cloud has changed the way ERP and Accounting Software interact

The move to cloud and hybrid hosted platforms has been a boon for businesses across the board. True Cloud architecture not only make it easier for newly engineered software platform companies to ensure version control and bug patching happens smoothly and holistically, but also provides efficient and scalable options for their customers; budget conscious businesses that want to ensure maximum ROI.

This means that an ERP can scale down and offer modular benefits to an SMB, directly competing with Accounting Software and offering several forward moving benefits that potentially make Accounting Software less valuable.

Integrated architecture

Cloud hosted software, also called SaaS (Software as a Service) integrates better with other SaaS platforms. With companies beholden to many pieces of software, integration and data synchronisation is essential. To achieve this, cloud hosted platforms use APIs to communicate better across the network.

At face value the benefits are clear; CRMs can talk easily with Accounting Software , Inventory Management and eCommerce. Apps that don’t integrate quickly find themselves left out of the market, and this pushes software vendors to keep providing excellent integration and top level software service.

However, with so many different systems communicating through layers of network infrastructure, these new methods present their own risks. It is here that we find the main challenges for both vendors and businesses, and unearth the primary motivations for the crossover in feature sets with ERP and Accounting Software.

Defining Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) in the cloud

Netsuite defines ERP as “A set of integrated applications that collect, store, manage, and interpret data from all sorts of business activities.”

An ERP’s exact function will depend largely on the type of business, but generally includes such activities as:

  • Sales & Marketing
  • Manufacturing
  • SRP
  • Inventory Management
  • Shipping and Tracking
  • Payment
  • Data collection and reporting
  • And more.

A fully functioning ERP should cover the business workflow from lead/custom engagement to customer purchase to delivery, including stock management, post sale service and asset, equity and liability management. It serves as a central hub for eCommerce activities.

As an umbrella term, ERP can be seen to include Accounting Software within its purview. Here we come to the crux of the difference between a fully fledged ERP and an accounting software.

Owner operated

Most Accounting Software platforms have SMBs as their target demographic. Owner operated businesses that don’t have the need or resources for a fully fledged ERP, and instead are focused on tracking financials, tax, debits and credits.

SMB Accounting Software platforms are feature-light ERPs that are simpler to use for small businesses, but don’t provide the complexity and data fidelity of ERPs. However, with cloud hosted software, ERPs are beginning to offer their own versions of SMB relatable software.

Workflow security and approval

Accounting software generally has less customisation when it comes to secure access to workflows within the platform. With a focus on SMBs it’s a given that there’s less staff, less staff turnover, and overall less need to protect and secure data within the organisation.

Organisations that scale into enterprise are generally more concerned with access controls. Cloud based platforms with web portal access have to be even more careful about who and how access to particular workflows is managed.

In ERP parlance, this is often referred to as Full Access versus Approval Workflows. While modern accounting software does make some efforts towards user control, ERP platforms are generally have more granularity of control over their process and workflow management.

Interface interference

A big drawcard for SMB’s and enterprise organisations considering the transition to ERP from a pure accounting platform is the efficiency that comes with a single interface.

While an ERP shou;l consists of a single framework and workflows connecting features and processes, some of them may be third party, integration happens at the back end of the platform. Front end user interaction happens over a single interface. The benefits of this should be clear at an executive level, but let’s list some of them anyway:

  • Less staff training
  • More efficient workflows
  • Better data integration and reporting
  • Easier version control and patching.

Accounting software, with its more traditional focus on financial activity, can’t provide that same uniformity of interface. Your accounting software platform might have the capability to integrate with CRM and inventory software, but they are ultimately different pieces of software with different user experiences, GUIs and maintenance schedules. For an SMB where only a small group of staff are interacting with the software on a regular basis, this might not be a problem. For larger SMB or enterprise level activity, it means considerable waste in man hours when it comes to staff training and workflow.

Database integrity

The ERP versus Accounting Software debate has many ins and outs, but perhaps the most important to any business heading into the connected future is the integrity of data.

Accounting software isn’t less accurate than ERP by nature. In fact, good accounting software is all about accuracy. But the fact that accounting platforms themselves must share data between third party software to realise maximum benefits for an organisation puts Accounting Software at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to data fidelity.

ERPs are able to manage data loads more accurately than Accounting software. Instead of separate applications sharing, syncing and drawing information from individual databases, the ERP manages a single database to which multiple features, from CRM and inventory to financial, HR and Commission Management access, update and validate.

With the Internet of Things fast becoming a reality, enterprise level Big Data is going to require high fidelity to be of use to the organisation. While this might be primarily the purview of CTOs and CIOs, all C-Suite execs should consider how their current data collection and validation feeds into their big data analysis. These reasons could be motivating factors for both enterprise and SMBs for switching from Accounting Software to a full service ERP.

Accounting for change

Earlier, we touched on the propensity for accounting software platforms to introduce new features that take the platform outside of the specifics of the General Ledger. Now that we’ve dived into the functions of ERP, it’s a bit clearer why accounting software is growing outward into aspects of business not traditionally associated with accounting. Let’s examine further:

  • No platform wants to be redundant – In many ways, accounting software can be a victim of it’s own success. MYOB, Xero and friends help SMBs grow into enterprise level organisations. When they reach enterprise, they now look to ERP to manage business activity across the network. While that doesn’t immediately make accounting software redundant, it does make it beholden to an umbrella platform that could phase the accounting software out through deployment of it’s own accounting module.
  • Platforms need to keep growing – Business needs change and software platforms need to adopt. A business that isn’t growing is at risk. Accounting software platforms are feeling the pressure to innovate to acquire new customers.
  • API invasion – While APIs are integral to the interfacing of multiple platforms across the cloud, they also blur the lines between where one piece of software begins and the other ends. Data is power to software, and platforms that don’t innovate could see themselves API’d out of the equation. 

Advantages and challenges of moving to ERP

For a small or medium business considering the move from accounting software to an ERP, the challenges can be seen to reflect the larger issues many SMBs face in making the leap to enterprise, a jump in scale that fundamentally changes the business workflow, increases staff, complexity, revenue and risk. A successful ERP implementation is a step towards a successful move from SMB to enterprise, but executives need to consider the following in their business strategy.

ERP Complexity: A blessing or a curse?

Anson Ang, Director at PMC says “At the very core of ERP is the centralization of data across various departments that comes with the integration.”

That centralisation leads to a number of on-paper benefits to ERP:

  • Unified database
  • Workflow visibility and integration
  • Efficiency across departments
  • Higher capacity.

But can these benefits be realised without disruption to business as usual?

ERPs are by their nature complex. Even the best implemented ERPs have many working parts and for an SMB making the jump to enterprise  resource allocation needs to be strongly considered. Avoid over-complication of smooth business practice by consulting with an ERP strategist to see which features of ERP you need and which might be redundant to your business workflows.

Costs of ERP implementation

WIth many working parts and responsibilities, ERP costs can be prohibitive to an SMB. Consider the following:

  • Ongoing licensing fees
  • Costs of hosting
  • Potential for incurred costs when scaling
  • Maintenance and staffing costs (I.E. IT contractors or staff).

Receiving value for money and return on investment means research into the costs and benefits of different ERP suites. Consulting with an experienced professional for a cost benefit analysis on ERP and your business. 

Advantages of ERP to small and medium business

We’ve looked a lot at the distinction between ERP and Account Software as the delineation between enterprise and SMB, but are there advantages for small and medium businesses in using an ERP instead of, or in concert with, Accounting Software?

It today’s cloud hosted world, the answer is yes.

In fact, Small Business Computing reports up to 59% of SMB are considering implementing ERPs while not being enterprise level companies. Advantages cited include:

  • All data in one place
  • One overarching system
  • Less reliance on a combination of databases and platforms
  • Streamlined technology
  • Improved CRM

However the same data suggests that ERPs aren’t quite the norm in small businesses. While cloud computing has brought the price of ERPs down to levels scalable to SMBs, two thirds of SMBs aren’t using an ERP right now.

Which is for me – ERP or accounting software?

Some might say the simple answer to this question is if you are a small business then go with accounting software, and if you are an larger SMB or Enterprise, then go with the one that has word ‘enterprise’ in it (ERP).

However, we already know that’s no longer such an easy distinction. Consider the following questions and how they might apply to your business:

  • Does my current platform meet all my current and future needs?
  • What steps need to be taken to effectively transition from accounting software to ERP?
  • Will I still need my accounting software platform under the new ERP?

The most important element in any technology facing business (which is every business) is the forward strategy. Regardless of whether it’s now or in the future, your company will most likely want to move to an ERP at some point.

To speak with an expert in ERP about how they can benefit your organisation, contact the team at DWR today. They’ll be able to tailor a solution to suit your business needs, resulting in a more scaleable future for your organisation.

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NetSuite

Why B2B Features aren’t Right for B2C Processes

Tiernan OConnor
January 20th, 2020

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If you’re in a B2C business, you probably already know that B2B software features differ in significant ways from B2C solutions. Since customer demographics and the nature of the customer relationship tend to be very different, both B2B and B2C business needs to use features and process that are designed specifically for these processes.

Customer volumes

B2B process are usually designed for a modest volume of in-depth, complex customer relationships, whereas B2C solutions are designed to accommodatevery high volumes of transactions, orders, and customer accounts. Your reach as a B2C business may be far and wide, while a B2B business in the same industry might focus on as little as a few dozen key client relationships.

This can impact things like the amount of detail (form and fields that your sales personnel and contact centre staff fill out) in your CRM, along with the types of reports and analytics you can generate and carry out on your platform. For example, if a B2B process offers detailed reports for individual customers, a B2C process might focus on aggregate figures for a huge volume of customers rather than that same level of detail.

The lead generation process can be markedly different, with B2C businesses chasing far more leads than B2B organisations and therefore needing a platform that helps them track higher volumes of leads.

Level of personalisation

B2B businesses are concerned with a smaller volume of highly valued customers with higher per-transaction values. As a result, their order management, supply processing, and other operational software services are focused on more personalisation and information capture.

B2C organisations are usually concerned with less personalisation in the lead generation, sales, and ordering process. Of course, there may be exceptions to this when you have highly personalised product offerings, but often the personalisation will be automated through the eCommerce platform in the B2C, high volume environment. B2B aims for services with features such as those that let you track your customer relationships in detail can be superfluous and unused in B2C organisations.

Multiple corporate relationships

B2B often deliver features that let you track multiple corporate relationships. Typically the salesperson is dealing with everyone from marketing personnel and accounting staff, to senior management. The platform will allow you to track the key decision-makers and allow your sales staff to understand who are the decision-makers and influencers.

On the other hand, B2C transactions often involve just the consumer, so the buyer is actually the user, unlike in the B2B transaction. There are not multiple corporate relationships, so doesn’t need to have a feature for tracking multiple stakeholders on the customer’s side.

More complex and variable transactions

B2B transactions can be much more complex and involved than B2B, so software services – from sales and invoice functions to marketing and after-sales stages – tend to have more features that accommodate the complexities, variability, and personalisation. For B2C organisations, the sales process is typically high volume, uniform within customer segments or product lines, and less variable. As a B2C business, you probably won’t need the features that B2B process requires, which can include communications tools as well as recording and reporting features.

Longer sales/purchase cycles and contracts

B2B features are designed for longer-term sales cycles and contracts, with sales processes lasting months or even years. With the greater complexity and more personnel involved in the sales-decision process, B2B solutions offer features that allow you to track both complexity and long-time lags.

On the other hand, B2C features are designed to accommodate shorter sales times, which might last hours, days, or weeks. This might mean the platform is designed to assist with self-select e-commerce purchases, rapid in-store purchases, and contact-centre transactions. The amount of detail you would need to capture is probably much lower than a B2B transaction, and the focus would be on completing the transaction quickly rather than capturing complex information and facilitating an ongoing relationship.

Sales are complex business decisions

B2B software services are designed to reflect that B2B sales tend to be strictly business decisions that are guided by a chain of command or a team of people in the customer organisation. B2C transactions, however, may be driven by different factors, which can include spur of the moment purchases, viral marketing campaigns, emotions, and other drivers.

The B2B buyer is often looking for efficiency, expertise, after-sales support and training, and other benefits. B2C customers are the final users or consumers, and they might be looking for a great deal, emotional satisfaction, or entertainment rather than business benefits. Your solution as a B2C organisation should be designed to leverage the emotional impact or brand image of your marketing campaign to create a seamless brand experience for the consumer.

Technical and industry terms

B2B platforms can use industry terms and specialised language for a strong marketing impact. For B2C organisations, however, their consumer-facing software (such as an e-commerce site) probably would not benefit from the use of technical terms and language. In fact, the use of this could be off-putting to consumers. Simpler language in the design process of your customer-facing elements can be important for marketing outcomes, but B2B features are typically not designed for this.

Greater product customisation

B2B service platforms may be designed to offer more configurations to buyers, while B2C are typically focused on high volumes of uniform products. In a B2B environment, it can be necessary to offer this, but for B2C industries, these configuration features can be extraneous. Given this, it’s useful to consider whether or not you need product or service features on your B2C solution, and whether you might be paying for something that your customers and sales personnel will not actually end up using.

Direct contact with customers

B2B sales staff typically have direct contact with customers and develop in-depth, long-term relationships with these clients. In contrast, B2C organisations often use contact centres to manage high volumes of leads and sales or rely mainly on the e-commerce platform to support the lead-to-sale process. As a B2C business, you might find that some B2B software features and process are inadequate to support your call agents, who need to be able to access high volumes of detailed customer data for numerous calls each day.

Price negotiation

B2B sales processes often allow for price negotiation depending on the volumes and customer relationship, but B2C organisations usually sell at the same price to all customers. Given this, B2B payment tools and features can differ greatly from the uniform payment and pricing tools in, say, the e-commerce platform of a B2C business. Similarly, customers in B2C transactions will pay for their goods at the time of order, while B2B customers might be invoiced and be given a generous timeline for payment.

Segmentations and campaign management

The B2C sales process may require much more segmentation and campaign management than B2B. These tools can include engagement scores, surveys, purchase histories, brand preference, conversion propensity and other metrics.

Finding the right software

If you’re a B2C organisation that’s for some reason using a process designed for B2B, you’re probably paying (with $ or Time) for features you don’t need and not focusing on features, such as sophisticated analytics and reporting, that you can benefit from. Ultimately, keeping aware of the distinctions between the two sectors can help you choose a solution whose features closely aligned to your requirements and help you leverage your resources for the best possible operations and customer outcomes.

Contact the experts at DWR today to discuss which software features are right for your business.

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NetSuite

How to Choose the Right ERP Software System

Nigel Wooden
December 9th, 2019

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If your organisation has outgrown its ERP software, then you’re probably already thinking about implementing a new system. Given it’s a major process that requires substantial investment in time and capital, as well as a long-term commitment, you’ll want to choose carefully and make sure you end up with an ERP platform that matches your organisation’s requirements. The best possible outcome if you choose smart, is that you have an ERP that supports all your organisation’s functions and allows you to increase efficiency significantly.

1. Define current and future requirements (Not Solution)

The most important first step in choosing a new ERP system – one which you should take before you start researching vendors – is to assess your current and future requirements. You need to align these to your company objectives and your organisational function areas. This might be a formal process involving a number of people from relevant function areas, but it’s important to take this step in detail so you can achieve a good match with your current and future needs when it comes time to settle on an option.

One challenge we consistently come across is that the requirements are often developed in terms of solution instead of requirements. Often this thought pattern arises because an organisation is extremely wedded to the current “solution”. We often recommend that organisations identify the “good” components of the current solution and breakdown requirements that are actually required – not a like for like comparison, but identify the process that is taking place (not so much its actual steps).

Current requirements

Define what your current requirements are and assess how well they’re being met by your current ERP system, if you’re using one. For example, you might have a strong inventory management processes that you can build around. Outline any pain points you currently have, along with any strengths in your processes.

Future requirements

Outline what your future requirements are likely to be given your organisation’s strategic objectives. These might be efficiency goals, speed-to-market goals, and better accounting processes. Ask what you need out of an ERP system to achieve these objectives. Define the actual functionalities and features, including specific business processes and system requirements. The more specific you are, the easier it will be to let vendors know what you’re looking for.

Functional areas

Your functional areas can encompass accounting and financials, human capital or resource management, manufacturing and distribution, materials management, research and development, sales and inventory management, and supply chain management. It can also include customer service management, integration capabilities, and support. List the features and tools that each functional area might need.

2. Define the evaluation process

If you’re a large organisation, it’s vital to define who the key decision-makers will be and outline how you’ll be evaluating your ERP options. Collectively, the decision-makers need to understand each functional area and the required features in a new ERP. They need to be able to assess how well the proposed options actually align with the company’s overall and specific goals.

The decision-making team should undertake a formal process of review and analysis to evaluate the best option. This includes the first step of defining current and future requirements, communicating with vendors, and assessing how well ERP platforms match with requirements. You might want to have a formal time frame for the evaluation process to ensure you complete the evaluation with a specific time period and to avoid the process dragging out.

If you are a mid-sized organisation, then the capacity to get bogged down in data and evaluations is very real. Set up sessions with key people to explain the process, and clearly articulate that feedback is essential. Also bear in mind that the Project Sponsor or Key Decision maker has a lot more importance in this scenario and will need to be able to sell their decision effectively. 

3. Know What you are looking for

In our experience I see there are 2 types of business software approaches: a Product or a Solution.

A Product is where you sell out of the box applications that people can effectively plug and play. Eg MYOB, Xero, Waveapps etc. This product provides simple to use and can be run effectively out of the box wizard sign up etc

The second is the Solution, usually ERP, and traditionally markets to the top of SME’s and up. It addresses individual pain points and needs in the sales cycle. It is not plug and play, not wizard drive etc. It address your organisation’s pains and requirements.

A more in depth assessment of this can be read in our blog article Don’t Bring a Gun to a Knife Fight.

4. Budget

ERP software solutions can vary considerably when it comes to price. Work out what your budget is for your ERP requirements and check with vendors about how realistic your budget is given the level of functionality you require.

The sooner you can identify broad-brushed budget and an indicative cost of any ERP solution, the sooner you will be able to start to measure, assess, and balance out benefits against costs with some comfort.

Total cost of ownership

As you assess the ROI (Return On Investment) of an ERP systems, remember to factor in the total cost of ownership rather than simply the initial outlay. Costs will include obvious components implementation costs, configuration, training and migration, but may also include “downstream costs” such as  monitoring usage, not only hardware but ERP software upgrades, downtime and so on.

5. Be specific when asking for demos

In today’s world any ERP software worth considering should have a dedicated Youtube or video demonstration distribution network (as long as you can put up with the twang of the the presenters). In addition to being specific when asking for a demonstration, ensure you come as educated as possible to the actual demonstration of the software.

A good flexible ERP solution will be able to take your specifics and not only deliver a demonstration that fits your requirements but enhance that so you can identify the true benefits of what the technology provides.

It is very difficult for almost any resource to reasonably use a “Demo” account of an ERP system without an instant frustration factor overcoming them. Please ensure that you take this into account.

6. Consider mobile usability (now and into the future)

If you have a mobile workforce or teams that work on mobile devices, make sure the ERP fully supports smartphones and tablets. Consider whether you need the full range of features to be available on mobile devices or just the core functionalities of your ERP system. Work with the actual users on your team and have them test the demo versions to ensure they’re happy with the way the platform works on their devices.

7. Ask for testimonials and references

If you’re in a specialised industry, it can help to ask partner organisations for recommendations, testimonials and references. This can simplify the review process and allow you to find out more about ERP systems that you might otherwise not have heard about.

At the same time, make sure you ask the ERP solution vendor for references and testimonials from their existing customers. If you have the opportunity to do so, speak to these customers directly and find out as much as you can about their experience in using the ERP platform. Ask them about strengths, limitations, and possible areas of improvement so you can learn from their experience.

8. Ensure you understand the concept of “Configuration” and “Customisation” in terms of each solution

All ERPs will need some sort of Configuration and or Customisation. The key is understanding what is configuration and what customisation means. Modern ERP platforms allow mid level organisation to configure much more than previously and have built in tools that means you are customising in the ERP solution not outside it. In short, with a modern platform the merging of Configuration and Customisation has accelerated.

I see the definition as if the change is made, built or developed within the application – not outside – and it uses the tools provided, then it is configuration not customisation. Addressing this carefully in your specific demo will considerably improve your understanding of this.

Older legacy systems allow customisation that may not be integrated with new version, and leave your version locked because a third party solution that you used to customise the solution cannot move to windows 10, etc.

9. Future scalability and technology

Technology moves rapidly today, so ensure you include a step for assessing future scalability and technology longevity in your evaluation process. Changing to another ERP incurs costs and most organisations would probably prefer not to do it often. If the ERP system is based on newer technology, you can probably achieve a much longer working life with it.

The technology stack is not only critical to the best fit approach for your organisation, but if it’s not addressed effectively it may well place an anchor around your organisation’s neck for years to come.

Thorough understanding of today’s terminology, eg. around the term “cloud”, in respect to ERP is critical. Never before have I seen a word that is means such different things to so many different people, depending on their perspective.

Choosing the right ERP

Choosing an ERP can be a complex process, especially if you’re a mid sized organisation up with numerous functional areas. It’s crucial to assess your goals and pain points so that you end up with an ERP platform that truly supports your organisation at all levels and functional areas. A poorly chosen ERP can incur unnecessary costs and hinder your organisation’s performance, while the right ERP can drive higher productivity, efficiency, and profitability.

For more information on how an ERP can assist your organisation, contact the experts at DWR today.

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NetSuite

When sport is business … and business is good!

Nigel Wooden
November 22nd, 2019

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There were some great underdog stories in sport this year – The Sharkies and Footscray (sorry, showing my age there!) winning the flag, Chloe Esposito winning gold (look it up, it’s a Rio story everyone should know) and, one of my favourites, the Chicago Cubs winning the ‘World Series’ after one of the longest drought in world sporting history.

Some people make sure they see the best art gallery in each city they visit whereas I seek out a good quality local sporting contest.  I attended a Cubs game at Wrigley Field when I was in Chicago in August 1998. It was an amazing experience as both Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire were chasing Roger Maris’s 37 year record for most home runs hit in a season (61) and the Cubs played the St Louis Cardinals the day I was in town.

At the game Sosa hit one for the Cubs and McGwire hit back with two, helping the Cardinals win 8-6 and taking the lead in the home run contest 49 to 48. McGwire went on to finish the season with 70 home runs, Sosa with 66.

On November 3 this year, the night the Chicago Cubs secured their first World Series championship in 108 years, Eric Castellucci, a lifelong fan was at home frantically sending texts and emails to his co-workers.

As the Online Manager for Wrigleyville Sports, a Chicago-based sports store located across the road from Wrigley Field, he was preparing for an ordering rush unlike anything he’d ever known.

Cubs fans have gone generations without seeing their hometown team win a championship so almost immediately after the 7th and deciding game finished, people began visiting the Wrigleyville Sports website for commemorative hats, shirts and posters. Crowds lined up around the block for days to visit the retail store.

He and his team worked late into the night of the deciding game to make sure all products were up on the site within minutes of the historic win.

Wrigleyville Sports normally operates its warehouse with five staff but for the World Series they rented a temporary warehouse down the street and ultimately had a team of 50 managing inventory and fulfilling orders.

“For the next few weeks we had hundreds of boxes coming in every day and were trying to get thousands of packages out the door. All up we had about 60,000 pieces of inventory come through and we were able to fulfil orders within three working days. We turned over as much in the month of November as we did for the entire baseball season combined,” he said.

One reason Wrigleyville  Sports was able to adapt so quickly is because of the flexibility and agility of NetSuite, which it uses to run inventory management, order management, financials and ecommerce.

“We had the temporary warehouse set up after Game 5 and the next day it was up in NetSuite. We were able to easily transfer and receive inventory between the warehouses and the store. I don’t know how we would have gotten through it without NetSuite and without the inventory visibility it enables,” Castellucci said.

If you’d like to learn how NetSuite can help your business prepare for its next big win with a cloud-based omni-channel platform please get in touch with us at www.dwr.com.au or call us on 1800 197 403.

@wrigleysports

Earlier this week I had my bi-annual visit to the dentist. I learned the hard way years ago when I put off going to the dentist for ten years and ended up making a sizable contribution to the new deck on his weekender at Whale Beach!

Thankfully the nett result of my most recent trip was a thorough clean and a tone talk about the importance of dental hygiene.

Anyway when I went to pay, the delightful receptionist, Sandy kept disappearing to a room behind the reception area. She left the counter three times during the payment transaction.

In the past their admin staff have been as sharp as a scalper at a sold out teenybopper concert so I asked Sandy about the hold up. She explained that their “computers had died” and their IT guy couldn’t come until later that day or, more likely, the following one.

I asked her if all their applications were stored locally (not my exact words, but you get my drift) to which she replied ‘Yes’.

They had no access to any client records, historical data or integrated payment faciility!

It got me thinking …  how many businesses have this potential risk hanging over their business?

Plenty I’d reckon, including much larger businesses with more to lose than a suburban dentist. And when a major system failure happens in a bigger organisation it’s not the receptionist who is most inconvenienced, it’s the CFO and finance team working back until midnight to manually retrieve data and recreate reports or the warehouse/shipping manager sleeping under his or her desk after ensuring all orders have been manually cross checked and labels correctly handwritten. Not to mention the I.T. team, who are going to rack up some serious ‘time in lieu’ as well!

Imagine if you could have your critical business data ready to access at any time from anywhere in the world wherever you can access a web browser? If one of your machines dies, simply boot up another machine, get on-line and log-into your dedicated, secure account www.netsuite.com . Voila, you’re back in business with nothing lost but a minute or two of your time.  You can even access it with your phone or tablet if need be!

If you’re becoming increasingly worried about the risk of ‘interruption’ hanging over your business, give us a call for a chat and we can explain how to permanently remove this threat! We can even show you an accurate ROI so you can see much the investment in Netsuite will benefit your business over the longer term. See more about the power of Cloud ERP at www.dwr.com.au or call us on 1800 197 403.

Food for thought hey! Just make sure you brush and floss afterwards!

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NetSuite

Why IT managers need to start thinking like a customer

Nigel Wooden
September 19th, 2019

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The role of the Information Technology Manager (or Chief Technology Officer) has changed dramatically in the past 20 years as technology takes an exponential leap forward every few years.

For decades, most employees – even some owners and shareholders – thought the primary objective of an IT Manager was simply to keeps the lights on and make sure the emails got through.

Things have changed a lot since Windows 95 was launched and, in this new era of customer centric commerce where the “user experience” is core to every aspect of a business, IT managers are faced with a raft of challenges and demands.

Firstly, proactive business owners now hire IT Managers to help formulate strategyand drive business planning yet in reality they still spend most of their time managing the day-to-day operations of their department.

Secondly, technology is constantly changing which means IT professional have to be constantly learning and researching to ensure they have the best solution in place, something that’s difficult if time is precious.

Thirdly, results that are often enabled by implementing new technology are sometimes not seen for 12 months or more yet many businesses analyse (and reward) their managers on quarterly results.

And lastly, the obvious successes attributed to technology are often invisible but the rare failures are always highly visible. Just ask the Tesltra IT management team how they feel about this phenomenon!

No-one said it’s an easy job but, despite all these hurdles, it is critical that IT Managers focus on the end game – happy customers.

According to a recent report from Forrester (Engaging Customers with Business Technology, 2015) which surveyed thousands of technology decision-makers from companies with 100 or more employees in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, New Zealand, the UK and the US, IT professionals need to extend their focus from improving internal operations (approximately 22% of their budget) to implementing technology that enhances the customer experience.

The report said that over 40 percent of business decision-makers viewed their IT as an impediment to accelerating business success!

It states that IT managers devote too much time and attention to managing traditional internal systems, lack strong relationships with executives in customer-facing roles and don’t have the skills to identify and deploy systems and processes that win and retain customers.

Now more than ever, IT Managers need to think and act like a product/account manager – constantly considering what customers want, how to deliver this to them, and how to capture information that continues to enhance their experience.

“Technology-fuelled, customer-led disruption will continue to arrive unexpectedly on your doorstep. From the customer’s perspective, your business is technology and technology is your business no matter what sector you are in,” says the report’s author, Peter Burris.

The upside of this is that IT Managers now find themselves on the cusp of an era where they are crucial to business success. For those who manage this transition to customer-centric management their prominence in the organisation will continue to rise.

If you are a Business Owner, GM or Operations Manager who’d like to know more about the way SaaS technology can make the customer central to everything you do, I’d love to speak with you.

Or if you are an IT Manager who is interested in learning how the Cloud can add enormous value to your role please visit our website (www.dwr.com.au) or email me at nigel.wooden@dwr.com.au.

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NetSuite

The true meaning of EOFY … End Of Functional Yearning

Nigel Wooden
August 23rd, 2019

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It’s the time of the year when many businesses are scrambling to meet deadlines.

We are all busy and many of us leave things to the last minute however, in my opinion, the focus shouldn’t be about how much you can expense in the last week of June or juggling creditors to either squeeze in or hold off certain payments depending on what the balance sheet demands.

It should also be used to think about the longer term.

Specifically, this “silly season” should be a trigger point to get systems in place so EOFY doesn’t remain an annual cliche.

The weeks/months immediately before and after June 30 is, tragically, a great time for true inefficiencies to shine! Form here it should be a time for owners and senior executives to do some business related soul searching about how to make 2016/17 bigger and better that the FY that’s coming to a close.

More often than not the biggest pain point associated with the end of financial year is around getting clean, accurate data and getting this data in a timely fashion, if at all!

By automating and work flowing the key functions in your business you can take the inefficiencies out of reconciling your accounts and reporting the true status of your operation in real time with 100% accuracy in a single consolidated systems. Allow this reporting to happen at any time, from anywhere! Not just EOFY.

Don’t yearn for better workflow, accurate data, true accountability through the whole organisation and excellent visibility (of stock, projects, case management, etc) this time next year like you have each June for the past how every many years.

Speak

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NetSuite

Is your business suffering from MacGyver Syndrome?

Nigel Wooden
August 7th, 2019

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Back in the late 1980s a popular television program, built on the premise that a man could solve tricky problems and escape captivity with nothing but chewing gum, salt and a business card, gave rise to a whole new term.

The amazing ability of the main character to save the day using everyday objects became a worldwide phenomenon and, as a result, the word transitioned from the title of a TV show to a verb used in everyday conversation.

Not surprisingly, when the concept is applied to a business environment the result is much less positive.

For many reasons a business may have created a patchwork of systems and software to conduct certain tasks or meet specific requirements. This environment resembles some kind of MacGyver built concoction which might be broadly useful, but is often unstable, hinders productivity and requires immense resources to maintain.

We see this all the time with our prospective clients. These disparate systems are rampant in businesses across Australia to the point where it’s actually more of a pandemic than isolated case of MacGyver syndrome!

It’s clearly not cost and time effective to have ad-hoc and unaligned business processes. The importance of streamlined systems is growing as the business world embraces the digital age however, it’s surprising how many businesses decide to ‘make do’ with patchwork systems and quick fixes.

Whilst MacGyver was able to continually extricate himself from short term predicaments sometimes the best approach isn’t the one that provides the quick fix.

A more tangible solution is going to be much more beneficial in the long run. Less sticky tape, paperclips and match-sticks and more efficient technology that can be used to streamline multiple services and features onto one single platform. <

If you’re tired of MacGyver processes in your business you should really consider a modern, robust platform which has a proven track record and continues to be a pioneer in cloud technology. The power, functionality and flexibility of the NetSuite platform is why we chose to partner with them.

We are Australia’s fastest growing NetSuite partner and we deal exclusively with the NetSuite solution which means we are a true subject matter expert when it comes to cloud-based finance/ERP/CRM and Project Management software.

If you want to eradicate MacGyver syndrome in your business, please contact us today and we can discuss a solution.

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NetSuite

Pimp my software … said no-one, ever

Nigel Wooden
July 23rd, 2019

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While accessorising your favourite outfit with great shoes or some fancy jewellery may actually improve the overall look, doing the same to your business software is actually more akin to putting lipstick on a pig.

Many systems start as single piece of software and, as a company grows or acquires other businesses, the original system becomes something it was never intended to be.

Things are added, customised and manipulated. Other pieces of software are integrated and soon enough there’s a very interesting creature that’s unique if nothing else. It does some things very well, some things partially and a few other things haphazardly.

Often there are only one or two people in the business that know its idiosyncrasies and a few more that know bits and pieces about it.

On the upside, it probably paid for itself years ago. But is it really of any value?

More than likely it inhibits efficient workflows, duplicates processes and delivers inaccurate or incomplete reports.

If you are running a “pimped up” system you are using multiple systems to manage accounting, enterprise resource planning (ERP), payroll, marketing, customer management (CRM) and ecommerce, I implore you to consider a robust cloud-based business platform such as NetSuite.

Over the past five years the cloud had proven itself to be secure, reliable and extremely cost effective and NetSuite has cemented itself as the most innovative and dynamic solution.

NetSuite allows you to:

  • Save time and money by eradicating double entry 
  • Improve accuracy by removing duplicate data
  • Increase visibility of each site/department so you can make faster, more informed business decisions
  • Automate processes across the entire business 
  • Efficiently manage the complexity of running multiple systems 
  • Eliminate high IT cost of on-site servers and dealing with multiple vendors
  • Generate extremely accurate and real-time business intelligence.

It gives you a single source of truth that ensures consistency, efficiency, visibility and control in your business.

We are the fastest growing partner of NetSuite in Australia and are ideally placed to assist you if you’re interested to know more. We’d be pleased to introduce you to a host of DWR customers who are all more than happy to share their positive experience with others.

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NetSuite

The story of the red book

Nigel Wooden
June 21st, 2019

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It was a thick A4 exercise book and it was RED. The “Red Book” was the only place to record information about the job status and all work associated with each task. Sales would be the first to enter information into the “Red Book”, Operations would maintain it and Finance would borrow (under strict sign in-out protocols!) the “Red Book” from Operations periodically to transfer the details into the financial system and invoice and match against supplier invoices.

In about 2001 there was a change to the Red Book system. The Red Book became a massive Excel spreadsheet. The excel file was of course still named “Red Book.xls”! Although several versions emerged over time and no-one was ever sure exactly how up-to-date the information was, at least the staff and management found it was a little easier to access the book and data could also be ‘cut and pasted’ a little easier.

In 2015 there was a giant leap forward in the red book system … the client purchased Netsuite.

And it has revolutionised their business:

  • Unlimited (not 10) Analysis fields
  • No more costly painful Upgrades – EVER
  • Access anywhere anytime from any device
  • No IT Infrastructure (Servers, RDP connections etc) costs or challenges
  • Unlimited flexibility
  • Dashboard Technology and Data Distribution at the core of the technology

If you’re still using a “Red Book” in your business, we need to talk. Perhaps there is room for your Red Book in the ‘DWR Red Book Hall of Fame’?!

Contact Nigel Wooden today for a totally confidential and no-obligation conversation about the business pains affecting your organisation today.