What to focus on when you’re receiving an ERP demo

erp demo

ERP demo scripts: guide and examples

Today’s enterprise software systems represent a host of challenges to commercial operators. This assertion is particularly true when it relates to ERP platforms, since as resources platforms begin to target and subsume within a company.

Consequently, to ensure that users start on the right foot, it is best to apply various ‘knowledge-maps’ that establish clearly stated operating requirements, thereby leading to solid decisions when they’re needed most – like the moment when an enormous check is about the be written. One of the most fundamental maps involves the design and application of software demo scripts when selecting ERP systems.

It should be understood that this kind of guidance should be driven by an inside out perspective, rather than the other way round. Many enterprises fail to adhere to this decision bias when buying new systems; and instead, end up settling for product demo script samples that are provided by salespeople.

As a core principle, this is a bad idea, and should never be applied. The enterprise itself is the entity that is going to have to accept a system once in it’s in operation, and that same entity is going to have to overcome, and/or pay for, any subsequent problems if the whole thing goes wrong, so  beware, since this requirement must be adhered to at all times.

Here are some tips to help you move toward your own tailored demo script for your business.

What do you include in a demo script?

As a matter of efficiency, scripted demonstration templates should be as granular as possible. Consequently, any module or task within a targeted ERP platform should be included. For example, here’s a very short sample of the information typically included in a comprehensive ERP demo script:

  • Global overview
  • Global functions

Individual module investigations should be added accordingly including:

  • General Ledger
  • Accounts payable
  • Accounts receivable
  • Cash management
  • Inventory

Within each major script heading, individually defined subordinate and individually defined tasks are typically included such as:

  • Specific feature sets
  • Related functions
  • Processed integrations
  • Individual security necessities
  • Utility operations
  • Report needs

Bear in mind, the aforementioned list represents only a small sampling of what a complete demo presentation script entails.

What to exclude in a demo script

For all the detail necessary to craft a proper vendor demo scorecard template, there are other elements that shouldn’t be applied at all. Here are a couple of ways to avoid these areas of weakness:

  • Direct product comparisons – every product is different in the same way that each enterprise is different. Focus on what you need, rather than what one or more vendors want to sell you.
  • Avoid the easy stuff – it’s pretty simple to build a software demo script that only applies to system features that involve current operations; but what about particular elements that apply to growth? The latter question is usually more useful, since considering future-proofing during a demo script round is a solid hedge against obsolescence later. if you always think forward than backward, you’ll be a lot happier later.
  • Don’t look for commonality between systems, look for diversity – when you’re defining ERP demo script examples ensure that you’re looking for sure ways to delineate differences between one system and another, rather than trying to re-validate the same wheel time after time. Literary sources suggest that Einstein defined insanity as ‘doing the same thing time after time while expecting a different result’.

At allonline365 our focus is determining your current and future needs, and that is what we focus on in our demos. What are your biggest challenges? What can we show you that will help stabilize issues and promote efficiency? We look past all the ‘fluff” and show you what really matters to you. Contact us on  info@allonline365.com or  +27 (21) 205 3650.

www.allonline365.com 

Resource Credit | ERPFocus

What’s in the new Edge for enterprises

edge

Edge is getting work options AAD sign-in, privacy tools, managing IE Mode and Microsoft search integration

Changing the Edge browser to be based on Chromium rather than its own EdgeHTML allows Microsoft to promise better compatibility with websites, alongside backward compatibility with IE for line-of-business apps. The weekly Dev channel release now includes enterprise features so that admins can start evaluating it for deployment in pilot and production channels, although a number of key features around security and localization are still in development.

Offline installers for Edge Dev builds are available for Windows 7, 8.1, 10, Windows Server, and macOS. (Unlike the current version of Edge, Chromium-based Edge can be installed on LTSB versions of Windows and Windows Server). Microsoft is also publishing ADMX files with the 180+ group policies that can be used to configure deployment and browser settings. That includes controlling updates to the browser.

You can use policy to pause updates to keep users on a specific browser version if you’re testing new ones for compatibility, and you can combine that with the way you may already be using rings to flight new versions of Windows 10 to a pilot group of users. Or you can take full control of the update process by pushing MSIs (or PKGs for Macs) to managed devices.

A future update to the new Edge browser will support more integrated deployment and configuration with System Center Configuration Manager, Microsoft Intune, MDM tools (for Windows 10) and Mac deployment tools like JAMF. Expect that to look similar to the management options for Edge on iOS and Android, which include conditional access, single sign-on, managed favorites, and separating personal and work accounts into different profiles.

The latest Edge Dev build lets users sign-in with their Azure AD account and get a single sign-on to company sites that support AAD. User profiles will now sync across devices through AAD accounts, which includes usernames and passwords for sites that users have chosen to save in the same way they already do for users signing into Edge with a Microsoft account. Use policy to make sure corporate sites open with the work AAD profile and those passwords will sync securely through AAD. Edge profile sync is rolling out to AAD tenants soon, but Microsoft says it will take several weeks to reach all tenants.

The same rollout schedule applies to the integration with Microsoft search, which will show up in Edge in two ways. If you’re using Microsoft search to make it easier to find people and internal sites (you need to enable that from your Office 365 admin portal), search results shown as users type in the address bar will include people and intranet sites. That means searching for ‘booking a holiday’ will show the company site for booking time off as well as travel and hotel sites on the web.

The new tab page for users signed in with an AAD account will also use Microsoft search to show recent Office 365 documents, company apps, and sites, plus recommended content. The latter might include documents that colleagues are working on to which your account has access that the Microsoft Graph highlights as possibly relevant to you. This is basically building in the features from the Microsoft search extension that’s already available for Chrome and the current version of Edge. Users can still pick a different new tab page, but if admins invest some time in setting the keywords for internal sites and connecting line-of-business apps using the Microsoft search connectors, this could become a useful landing page. It’s certainly going to be consistent with all the other places that Microsoft search shows up, from SharePoint to the desktop Office clients, because this is the way Microsoft is trying to make Office 365 for central to enterprise workflows.

Some of those corporate may well be ones that need IE rather than Edge. if you’ve already created an Enterprise Mode Site List for websites that use older IE document modes or ActiveX controls like Silverlight, you can have those open in IE Mode in a tab inside Edge, rather than in IE as a separate browser.

You can control whether users see those sites in an Edge tab or a new IE browser window using the IE integration policy in Edge. You can also use a new tag in the Enterprise Mode Site List that forces sites to open in the full version of Internet Explorer. If you want IE Mode to be the default but you have sites that need to be in IE11 either for technical reasons or because your ISV doesn’t offer support if you use IE Mode.

If you do have sites that you set to open in IE11, you can also configure a new policy in IE11 to have links to sites that aren’t on the Enterprise Mode Site List open in the right version of Edge, otherwise users may find themselves bouncing from Edge on Chromium to IE and then on to the current version of Edge.

IE Mode doesn’t change Microsoft’s plans to phase out support for Flash before Adobe stops supporting it at the end of 2020; Flash will be disabled by default in the browser later this year.

Security and privacy in progress

If you’re using Windows 10, Edge Dev supports the Conditional Access and Application Guard (which runs chosen sites in a container for extra security). A future version of Edge will add support for Microsoft Information Protection (again, only on Windows 10); that means sensitive or confidential emails, documents, and other data that you label and apply policies to will be protected in web apps. PDF support in Edge Dev has lagged behind what’s already available in Edge, but Microsoft says that has improved and a future version will support digital signatures, as well as MIP tags and policies.

The promised tracking prevention feature is still under an experimental flag because it’s still being tested. The strict option may break some sites that use scripts and cookies, so it’s worth testing your company web apps to see if they will need adding to the tracking exceptions list.

Edge Dev is now available in ten languages, and both the browser and the browser developer tools will support more languages in the future (up to the 110 languages and variations that Microsoft’s enterprise software typically supports).

Chromium-based Edge hasn’t reached beta yet and Microsoft isn’t expecting businesses to start deploying it straight away, but there are enough planned enterprise features in this release to start formal evaluations and pilot programs – especially for legacy sites that will use IE Mode. Microsoft hopes that the combination of security, password sync, and the improved user experience through having all sites open in what looks like the same browser will encourage organizations to consider Edge as a default corporate browser in due course.

www.allonline365.com

Resource Credit | TechRepublic

What small business requirements can an ERP system meet?

small business

Before we get into small business requirements-setting, perhaps it might be best to consider the goals of an ERP in a small enterprise environment.

There are typically three core values involved:

Operational Clarity

Small businesses have limited resources at their disposal, so it’s essential to eliminate sources of inefficiency like data silos.

Rather than having disjointed departments dealing with challenges associated with the development of stove-piped information, data can be centralized, and easily accessed, shared, and migrated. This reduces the potential for human error, associated costs, and increases efficiency.

Enhanced Decision-Making Ability

The ability to adapt quickly to market changes, and to make decisions without having to go through several layers of management, can provide small businesses with an advantage in an arena that all too often favor larger firms.

Leveraging common data, provided by a central ERP platform, can be used across sales, production, inventory management, and financial operations to inform a company’s next move. Altogether these values allow small firms to make vital decisions quickly and accurately while reducing operational waste.

Expanded Productivity

The use of common data-sets tends to streamline overall operational processes, while also allowing staff resources to refocus on direct management and the expansion of business volume. Essentially, it gives your staff more time to do their job – and in a fast-paced, pushed-for-time small business environment that can only be a good thing.

Also, because ERP is largely regimented within its operational framework, this characteristic tends to positively alter the nature of businesses in general, leading to better efficiency throughout.

Why you need to make a move

While there is no sure way to know when it’s time to consider an ERP selection, there are typically some general characteristics that apply. These include:

  • If the company’s business intelligence has become spotty, and what ‘information’ is of dubious value, it’s usually a good time to look at an ERP option.
  • If the company is challenged by growth management, particularly in the case of a sudden-expansion in sales volume, it’s usually a good time to look at an ERP option.
  • If the company is no longer able to manage its transactions accurately, or that accuracy is challenged by the time necessary to resolve your accounting reports, it’s usually a good time to look at an ERP option.
  • If the company finds itself dealing with glaring inaccuracies in terms of static and dynamic inventory levels, it’s usually a good time to look at an ERP option.
  • If the company’s sales forecasts are largely based on the WAG-method (wild a** guess), it’s usually a good time to look at an ERP option.

Key characteristics for a small business ERP

In this case, there are numerous ‘must’s’ when considering ERP in the small business environment.

Avoiding specific feature requirements (these vary wildly from business to business), major themes include:

Ease and speed of initiation: This normally points to a cloud ERP as implementation is faster and upfront costs are lower. A rapid launch phase allows small companies to leverage big company advantages.

Cost efficiency: to avoid blowing a hole in the size of Manhattan in small business budgets, costs (including ‘hidden’ costs like training and support) need to be affordable, and the system should offer a relatively quick return on investment.

Elimination of the need to utilize internal tech resources: This characteristic offers further cost reductions in terms of the use of internal resources.

Support on-demand: regardless of the sophisticated nature of a particular company, ERP applications typically take some time to get used to. Consequently, ready support is a must. Unexpected system downtime can be a spanner in the works for small businesses, so it’s important that you have the help on-hand when you need it.

Flexible access controls: in small businesses people end up wearing many hats. There may not be a division of labor across departments as there is in larger companies, so being able to modify access quickly is essential.

A good UI: If you work for a small business, you know it’s ‘all hands on deck’. You can’t afford for your workforce to be bogged down with multiple training sessions, so software which is intuitive to use is a must.

If you are considering implementing an ERP solution into your business, contact us to get more advice and find the best fit for your business. Contact allonline365 on  info@allonline365.com or  +27 (21) 205 3650.

www.allonline365.com

Resource Credit | ERP Focus

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