News

February 1, 2017

How an ERP system that used to be out of reach for many companies is now affordable

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First starters, how is this possible? The short answer is a Template Approach. It is an uber-efficient approach to ERP implementations that brings the benefits and efficiencies of a modern ERP system without the high barrier of entry – the large investment.

However, a Template Approach is NOT for everyone. Here is a breakdown of the companies who ARE an ideal candidate and which ones are NOT – and why.

A Template Approach IS for you if:

  • Small to Mid-Tier Company
  • Revenue $100 million – $2 Billion
  • Larger companies for certain processes (accounts payable & core financials)
  • Have Your Own Processes (but you don’t need to)
  • Boutique Retailers
  • Telco Coops (Utility Industry Coops)

A Template Approach is NOT for you if:

  • Cutting edge companies with cutting edge processes
  • Highly technical businesses with set, custom processes
  • Highly complex conglomerates (Fortune 50)

How is this possible?

How is it that companies – who have the biggest need of becoming more competitive and sharing data throughout their organizations – can now run their businesses with the efficiency of a Fortune 500 company? We leverage the 80/20 Principle. Here’s what we mean by that.

Instead of mapping ALL of your processes, we spend time hunting down the areas where you have your own processes, but you don’t need to. Instead of reinventing the wheel, we use a tested-in-the-field process that gets results. We spend 80% of our time on the areas that will get you the most leverage.

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 One Caveat

There is a catch, however. A Template Approach only works when you know the processes for your industry. Not every Software Integrator (SI) does; ITK Solutions Group does. When your SI  doesn’t know the industry best practices for your industry, they can’t distinguish between the unique processes within your business and where to follow best practices. For some software consulting companies or SI’s, who know software but not business processes, this becomes a wild goose chase with suboptimal results.

You can find out more about how to become a more competitive company that runs like a Fortune 500 company with our free white paper, A Template Approach to ERP Implementations. Or, if you have questions and are interested in finding out how to transform your business, contact Chris Fibbe at cfibbe@itksolutiongroup.com.

 

 

 

September 8, 2016

Seven Reasons It Takes so Long to Close the Books

7 reasons it takes so long to close

Do any of these seven reasons sound familiar?

Reason #1: Manual Spreadsheets

These are one of the more obvious and common speed bumps in the close process. Using spreadsheets is one of leading indicators of companies who are good candidates for improvement in the close process. Spreadsheets have evolved over the years but they have their limitations. Like all tools, it’s important to use the right tool for the job. What they aren’t particularly well suited for is collecting data from disparate ERP systems and handing off that data. Using manual spreadsheets often add an average of 3-4 days to your close cycle. Plus, if you move off of spreadsheets you can help avoid the next three reasons: people, errors and duct tape.

Reason #2: People

In a process that is largely manual speed is dictated by the pace of the slowest moving element. That means that you can’t close the books until you get whatever you need from other team members (who are often in another office). Your speed, therefore, will be dictated by the pace of the slowest moving individual. “Did Victor get pulled into crunching the numbers for that merger possibility? Great, that means we’ll be closing the books two days later this month. No, there is no “i” in close.

Reason #3: Errors

This problem is an offshoot of people and manual spreadsheets. People are human. Even though finance people are often superhuman, they are fallible. That means errors happen. And when they’re caught, you have to go back and figure out what happened exactly. More importantly, you need to recrunch the numbers. It’s been said that there’s never enough time to do the job. But there’s always time to do it over. Imagine never having to do the job over because of a mistake. Yes, it’s possible. It looks something like this.

Reason #4: Duct Tape

Manual Spreadsheets. An ERP system in the US. Another ERP system in France. Perhaps another system in Sweden. You will have to essentially use Duct Tape to bring all these systems together. To bring all these numbers together. Closing the books isn’t going to be easy. Or is it? Imagine if there was a system that could bring disparate ERP systems together. That’s what Unit4’s Cash and Consolidations makes possible. It brings all your data together. And, unlike duct tape, it does it automatically. Click below to find out how it works.

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Reason #5: Vacations

Vacations are important. There is more and more research addressing not just the importance but NEED for vacations. If you want to be productive over the long term, you MUST take time off. But what happens when Sven takes two weeks off and he’s responsible for consolidations for his region but everyone in the home office in the US is waiting for him. When Sven doesn’t provide his numbers then the global books can’t be closed. The solution is not to cancel vacations. And it’s not to ask everyone to work harder when Sven’s on vacation. It’s to work smarter, not harder. Like using software to bring all your disparate data together. Simply. Automatically.

You may think you don’t have enough time to attend our 30 minute webinar, Shorten the Close Cycle, because you’re busy closing the books. But that is the very reason to attend. 

Reason #6: Fear

For some people involved in the closing process there are concerns that they won’t have anything to do. Often this is a time of constant, frenetic movement. Will someone think we’re not needed. Again, I think you’d be hard pressed to find a controller who couldn’t be leverage in a more strategic way beyond the transactional nature of their old job.

Reason #7: No Close Process

Many companies close the books, they just don’t have a repeatable process to do it. A lack of an understanding of the critical path of the close and efforts to reduce the items in the critical path is often what gets in the way of an efficient close process. A company with multiple currencies, multiple companies can benefit from a process grounded in project management best practices. For the uninitiated that’s a systematic and strategic way to approach the close. Sometimes the close process that really isn’t a process is a product of “that’s just the way we do it here” thinking. If, instead, you think of closing the books as any other project, you can remove reason #7 for why you may be taking so long to close.


These aren’t just seven reasons it takes so long to close the books. They’re seven reason you should attend our 30 minute webinar, shorten the close process. If you’re using manual spreadsheets, deal with multiple currencies and have disparate ERP systems, this webinar is for you.

April 13, 2016

Facilitating Omni-Channel Retail Experiences

About a month ago, I bought some jeans from my favorite retail clothing chain. The jeans fit perfectly- at first. After a few wears, they stretched out beyond return and I wanted to exchange the jeans. Problem: I didn’t have a receipt and I had washed them several times. To my surprise, it wasn’t a problem! The clothing store had my purchase history chronicled in my user account. I just had to provide my email address. They accepted the jeans, no questions asked, ordered the correct size since they didn’t have them in store, to be delivered to my front door. I was delighted at the ease of the experience! I walked away happy and satisfied, with an increased sense of loyalty towards the company that just took amazing care of my needs. Read More

January 28, 2016

These charts show just how popular Microsoft still is with big businesses

Gartner has published research that shows which companies provide the online services used by multi-billion-dollar companies. The report, titled “Microsoft Dominates Clould Email in Large Public Companies,” looks at how Office 365, the cloud services component, compares to Google’s Apps for Work. Garnter looked at over 5,000 companies in total. Read more…

November 17, 2015

Microsoft and Unit4: One Step Closer to “Self-Driving” ERP

At Unit4, we think ERP should be an intelligent system that pro-actively warns, predicts and advises based on historical data, trends and users’ patterns like their whereabouts and meeting agenda topics. We also think everything should be contained within the system, eliminating the need for dozens of emails, complex Excel spreadsheets and multiple add-on software solutions to perform specific tasks. Click here to read more…

June 10, 2015

Microsoft: The Future of Retail is Available Today

Microsoft has been setting the innovation pace for decades. The monster of Redmond, WA not only has a pipeline of genius tech on the horizon, it also has a host of technology available today that looks like it stepped right off the pages of a sci-fi novel. To read the rest of this article, click here.

April 29, 2015

Adobe and Microsoft partner to transform customer engagement across sales, service and marketing

London and Redmond, Wash. — April 29, 2015 — At Adobe Summit in London, Adobe’s annual European Digital Marketing conference, Adobe (Nasdaq: “ADBE”) and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: “MSFT”) today announced a strategic partnership that will redefine how enterprises manage their marketing, sales and service to better engage with customers across touch points. The partnership will include the integration of Adobe’s industry-leading Marketing Cloud Solutions with the best-in-class Microsoft Dynamics CRM solution and will allow brands to deliver experiences that take all customer engagements into account — from reach and acquisition to retention and loyalty. This new integration will help eliminate the frustrating customer experiences that result when marketing, sales and service interactions are siloed. To read the rest of this article, click here.