Acumatica 2019 R2 Launch Series

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, Events | No Comments

Join us at the launch the latest release of Acumatica. Hear how Acumatica 2019 R2 will increase your productivity and accelerate your growth.

Agenda (Waltham, MA):

  • 8:00am – 9:30am: Registration, Breakfast, & Networking in Partner Showcase
  • 9:30am – 10:30am: Business Benefits & Functionality of Acumatica 2019 R2
  • 10:30am – 10:45am: Break
  • 10:45am – 11:00am: Title Partner Spotlight
  • 11:00am – 11:10am: Exhibitor Partner Spotlight
  • 11:10am – 11:40am: Industry Analyst Perspective
  • 11:40am – 12:00pm: Customer Panel
  • 12:00pm – 1:00pm: Closing, Peer & Partner Networking

Agenda (Roadshow Cities):

  • 11:00am – 12:30pm: Registration, Lunch, & Networking in Partner Showcase
  • 12:30pm – 1:30pm: Business Benefits & Functionality of Acumatica 2019 R2
  • 1:30pm – 1:45pm: Break
  • 1:45pm – 2:00pm: Title Partner Spotlight
  • 2:00pm – 2:10pm: Exhibitor Partner Spotlight
  • 2:10pm – 2:30pm  Customer Panel
  • 2:30pm – 3:00pm: Industry Analyst Perspective
  • 3:00pm – 4:00pm Closing, Peer & Partner Networking

Boston, MA

September 11, 2019

The Westin Waltham Boston
70 Third Avenue
Waltham, MA 02451

New York, NY

October 1, 2019

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Metropolitan
569 Lexington Avenue
New York, New York, 10022

Philadelphia, PA

October 3, 2019

Hilton Philadelphia City Avenue
4200 City Avenue
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19131

Dallas, TX

October 8, 2019

The Westin Galleria Dallas
13340 Dallas Parkway
Dallas, Texas, 75240-6603

Bellevue, WA

October 10, 2019

Hilton Bellevue
300 112th Avenue Southeast
Bellevue, Washington, 98004-6412

Portland, OR

October 15, 2019

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Portland
1000 NE Multnomah Street
Portland, Oregon, 97232

Anaheim, CA

October 17, 2019

Anaheim Marriott Suites
12015 Harbor Boulevard
Garden Grove, California, 92840

Atlanta, GA

October 22, 2019

Hyatt Regency Atlanta Perimeter-Villa Christina
4000 Summit Boulevard
Atlanta, Georgia, 30319

Orlando, FL

October 24, 2019

Wyndham Grand Orlando Bonnet Creek
14651 Chelonia Parkway
Orlando, Florida, 32821

Chicago, IL

October 29, 2019

Location TBD

Columbus, OH

October 31, 2019

The Westin Great Southern Columbus
310 South High Street
Columbus, Ohio, 43215-4508

Man wearing a red hardhat and holding a clipboard.

4 Supply chain trends and how the right ERP helps businesses prepare

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, ERP | No Comments
Man with a red hard hat and clipboard.

To improve the efficacy of your supply chain, you need an ERP solution that can deliver data and insights in real time.

Businesses looking to improve efficiency and reduce operating costs often focus on supply chain improvements. In 2019, that means taking a closer look at integrating new technologies, providing more transparency and changes in customer channels.

To achieve optimal supply chain management, businesses need the right enterprise resource planning software solution. Here’s a look at 4 supply chain trends and how the right ERP helps businesses prepare.

1. Increased transparency. Business leaders today need real-time analytics and reports on the state of operations. To achieve this level of detail, companies need data transparency at all stages of the supply chain, driven by an ERP that collects and presents data in the moment of need. Visibility allows leaders to respond to problems faster, anticipate and prevent issues, and gain short- and long-term insights.

2. New customer channels. Businesses across industries are shifting from retail channels to direct-to-consumer selling. That means having a different approach to supply chains, including accurate inventory and distribution systems integrated with sales, marketing and customer service. The right ERP provides those system and data integrations to delight customers. That means added pressure on employees and drivers to increase perfect-order rates, with deliveries arriving on time to the right location and with the right contents.

Man controlling machinery with a tablet.

Automation and augmented reality tied to ERP data and processes are increasingly common in supply chain components.

3. Integrated technologies. Companies continue to need ERP solutions that use and integrate emerging technology into the supply chain. Among the ERP-related technologies emerging this year are:

  • Artificial intelligence. Self-learning tools need to generate, analyze, connect and report on multiple supply chain components. Data drawn from customers, objects, interactions and processes need to be available and usable within an ERP system.
  • Immersive technology. Virtual and augmented realities have applications across the supply chain, from logistics to manufacturing to warehousing. Wearable tech, such as smart glasses, can feed data to and from an ERP to improve and accelerate picking and packaging.
  • Data visualization. Collecting the data from the supply chain is one thing. It’s another to have the information presented and stored in your ERP in such a way that cogent decisions can be made in real time.
  • Automation. As more drones, robots, chatbots and machines are used within the supply chain, there are tremendous opportunities for cost savings and faster operations. Automation needs accurate data and processes generated by your ERP to be fully effective.

4. Process flexibility. Logistics is becoming more elastic, as companies deploy flexible solutions to respond to market fluctuations and seasonal variances. That means on-demand warehousing and on-demand logistics that require accurate, updatable and configurable ERP solutions.

Choosing the right supply chain ERP

Acumatica delivers ERP solutions that serve your industry and your needs. It has won consecutive annual (2018 and 2017) SIIA CODiE Awards for Best Cloud ERP Solution, recognizing the products that display technological excellence and innovation. In 2018, it was also named Best Manufacturing Solution and two years prior was named Best Supply Chain Management Solution.

Selecting and optimizing your ERP solution requires a steady hand. At NexTec, we help companies identify ERP needs, choose the right product and implement the solution. To learn more about how NexTec and Acumatica give your business supply chain management mastery, take the Acumatica software tour.

Artificial intelligence: What does it mean for ERP?

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Artificial Intelligence and ERP

Whether it allows for better support through natural language processing, faster analysis and smarter decision making, or more productivity at your workforce, the introduction of AI technology into ERP is something that will deliver benefits in the near and long-term.

One of the hottest topics in the business and technological world right now is the rise of artificial intelligence. Set to transform every aspect of society, business, and industry, companies continue to innovate, and we are approaching an AI-driven world at breakneck speed. But how will AI—and its ability to learn (machine learning) affect the future of business, finance, and decision-making? How will it fit into an ERP strategy?

A brief primer on artificial intelligence

Two of the most-hyped terms since the rise of cloud computing in the 2010s have been artificial intelligence and machine learning. Applying efficiency to business operations through automation of boring and repetitive tasks, AI can analyze and present information on vast swaths of data and do so in much less time than a human.

However, there are many different ways to apply AI to different tasks, with one of the most important of these being the financial world.

More than hype

The tech industry is no stranger to hype—neither is finance. However, as businesses and finance teams process an ever-expanding amount of data, humans are becoming less and less efficient at tracking, measuring, and analyzing it. As the speed of business increases, however, companies are turning to robots for the ‘grunt work’ in the finance department and empowering people to do more with the information they have available—all as a result of artificial intelligence.

Capabilities like data integration and blending, data catalog, data preparation, data enrichment, governance, discovery, and visualization, are now designed as a modern continuum to support enhanced business decisions.

The many ‘flavors’ of artificial intelligence

As it continues to expand, there are many ‘flavors’ of AI coming into play that will change the way your software operates now and in the future. According to the Harvard Business Review, there are currently seven key areas in which AI is gaining a foothold:

Robotic process automation (RPA)

The automation of basic tasks using business logic and rules. RPA “bots” are used for highly repetitive tasks such as those used to process transactions, manipulate data, respond to queries, and communicate with other systems. Some question whether RPA qualifies as AI. Under the above definition, it does.

Machine learning: Getting robots to think like humans

Machine learning is a key subset of AI, which originated with the idea that machines could be taught to learn in ways similar to how humans learn.

A way of achieving AI without complex programming, rules, and decision trees. Instead, with machine learning, data—often in very large amounts—is fed into an algorithm so the algorithm can train itself and learn.

Deep learning

Deep learning is a subset of machine learning. It uses some ML techniques to solve real-world problems by tapping into neural networks that simulate human decision-making. Deep artificial neural networks are a set of algorithms that have set new records in accuracy for many important problems, such as image recognition, sound recognition, recommender systems, etc.

Computer vision

A field of artificial intelligence that trains computers to interpret and understand the visual world. Using digital images and deep learning models, machines can accurately identify and classify objects—and then react to what they “see.”

Natural language processing (NLP)

A subset of AI that helps computers understand, interpret, and manipulate human language.

Explainable AI

Machine learning techniques that make it possible for human users to understand, appropriately trust, and effectively manage AI. Various organizations, including the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, are working on this.

AIOps

A term coined by Gartner to refer to technology platforms that automate and enhance IT operations by

  1. using analytics and machine learning to analyze big data collected from various IT operations tools and devices in order to
  2. automatically spot and react to issues in real time.

How AI will affect Enterprise Resource Planning

Although set to enter nearly every aspect of personal and professional lives, ERP vendors have recently begun to integrate AI into their products. Whether it allows for better support through natural language processing, faster analysis and smarter decision making, or more productivity and happiness at your workforce, the introduction of AI technology into ERP is something that will deliver benefits in the near and long-term.

From RPA to AI

Based on a survey of 64 corporate controllers at companies with greater than $1 billion in revenue, Gartner found that 50% of controllers and their teams are either in the process of implementing RPA (31%) or are in what it calls “operational” mode (19%). And within just two years, Gartner expects 88% of such controllership functions to be in one of those two buckets.

However, it’s much bigger than that. McKinsey found that the activity is not confined to large companies—businesses across the size spectrum are piloting this flexible, promising software to automate workflows like procure-to-pay, order-to-cash, and record-to-report.

Depending on the scenario, robotic process automation may or may not be included officially as a part of AI, but did play a major role in getting vendors to where they are today. RPA is designed for business-rules-based, non-subjective, repetitive tasks; AI does more.

Making AI work for you

As you look toward the future, AI should be at least on the CFO radar—even if your only foray into it is through embedded AI. AI uses the power of today’s computer systems to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence. ML uses algorithms that allow financial software applications to learn by being trained to identify key patterns. Both have matured to the point where now they have become key financial management technologies used by the modern CFO.

While most ERP systems feature dashboards that can provide real-time information on everything from inventory turnover to employee productivity, dashboards can’t tell you when to re-order inventory or hire your next employee. This is where AI and ML can be an essential tool. Using your ERP system, you can quickly gather data and generate reports with the push of a button. But ML can take data gathering one step further and help CFOs reduce repetitive tasks and make more strategic business decisions.

Choosing an ERP with the future in mind

When it comes to selecting ERP, you are looking for a product that will last you up to, and possibly exceeding, a decade—something that grows with your business and positions your company for success. While many companies have forayed into the AI world, Acumatica Cloud ERP is actively evolving their AI platform. As demoed at Acumatica Summit 2019, the company continues to improve AI skills and with their recent acquisition by EQT Partners, will have the backing of a powerhouse and code base of another ERP vendor focused on ERP—IFS.

It’s an exciting time for ERP, and if you are looking to find your way into the cloud and onto an intelligent ERP platform, we invite you to learn more about Acumatica and NexTec.

NexTec Group is proud to work with Acumatica to deliver this powerful solution for our customers. As one of the leading partners, we have the skills to customize and deliver Acumatica, no matter your size, focus, or complexity. Get to know more about the updatethe product, and our work with Acumatica, and when you’re ready to learn more, contact us for a free consultation.

Outgrowing QuickBooks: Securing the go-ahead from the C-suite

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, ERP, Replace old software | No Comments
Outgrowing QuickBooks

Throughout the C-suite, you may have individuals who are skeptical of a software upgrade. This is especially true if the executives have never been part of an organization that used a solution beyond QuickBooks.

In the move from accounting software to Enterprise Resource Planning, it’s incredibly likely that you will face pushback, distraction, or other challenges. It’s an exciting time for your organization (you’re growing), but it can also be a stressful one (you’re about to embark on a major software project). These two competing factors often present challenges. However, if you can take the right steps leading up to an implementation, you will save yourself time and headaches.

Following our previous blogs documenting the warning signs and communications initiatives you should take on your path to fully-functional Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, we would today like to explore a couple of the hardest and most crucial steps on the journey: Securing executive buy-in.

Pitching the investment: Securing executive approval for an ERP project

Companies start out with QuickBooks for a variety of reasons. It’s familiar for users and makes it easy if you choose to outsource your accounting work. It gives your first few accounting users a reasonably functional accounting solution for small business needs. Small businesses could buy and implement the software in an afternoon.

Most importantly for companies just starting out, however, is that it’s insanely affordable. As an accounting software, it’s not meant to do everything an ERP solution does.

Accounting software like QuickBooks is affordable in the same way that a studio apartment is more affordable than a three-bedroom house. Both offer a roof and walls, but each serves a different purpose. ERP software is the three-bedroom house. It does more, is ready for growth, and ultimately provides more comfort and utility.

Challenges in securing executive buy-in

Selling the idea to executives is a challenge, however. While you may know the struggles faced by end users, the extra hours it takes to generate a basic report, and the frustration experienced trying to bring everything into a spreadsheet, when you’re trying to pitch someone who isn’t on the front lines, they may not see the same value in an ERP investment as you. This is especially true if the executives have never been part of an organization that used a solution beyond QuickBooks or worse, have seen an ERP project fail.

Throughout the C-suite, you may have individuals who are skeptical of a software upgrade.

For example, your CEO, known for his or her big picture ideas, may not use the accounting software. The CMO may have his or her own agenda and feel that the organization should look towards something for the front office before the back office. The CFO, responsible as the gatekeeper and steward at the organization, may not feel the investment is worth the cost.

Getting the C-suite on board: Different rationales require different tactics

While all of these individuals (and others) may be skeptical, they are also among the biggest beneficiaries of ERP. Selling each of these is a process.

Convincing the CEO: Readily available insights

The CEO may not use accounting software. However, he or she would benefit greatly from real-time, customized dashboards that can present exactly where the company is. No more asking for a report and waiting hours or days to see it. Simply log in and see the big picture metrics.

Selling the CMO: Integration makes everyone’s job easier

The CMO might feel that the sales and marketing departments should be the top priority when it comes to business management software and think ERP is just fancy accounting software. Not the case. Today’s ERP includes or is designed to integrate with CRM, inventory, and business intelligence tools.

With accounting standards like ASC 606 impacting the entire company and requiring increased attention to the way contracts are managed, alignment between finance and sales will become an imperative. A simplified quote-to-cash process and easy performance obligation tracking will save the entire organization time.

Facing down the CFO: Improve finance productivity and satisfaction

While in many cases, the decision to move from accounting software to ERP is made by a CFO looking to make finance better equipped for company growth, sometimes you still need to do a bit of selling. In recent years, the role of the CFO has continued to evolve, and as the company grows, the responsibilities will continue to add up. CFOs are moving into operations, risk management, and more.

Now, rather than being the head accountant and chief of the ‘no department’, the CFO needs to increase visibility, control, and decision-making—three things ERP is known to help with. Added to this, the move to ERP Is going to save time for many people in the organization, including the finance department. With a current talent shortage in finance and accounting, a move to ERP will result in fewer late nights at the office and more satisfaction.

Informing the CIO: More security, less scud work

Another person who may be a driver of an ERP decision, the CIO may also be the person pushing back against a software change. The most likely of the group to have read an ERP implementation horror story or to have experienced failed software implementations previously, getting the CIO on board is either incredibly easy or annoyingly complicated.

Whether there’s pushback against the cloud or against the risk that comes from a complex software implementation, the CIO is another one to benefit from the move to ERP—especially in the cloud. Inherently more secure, cloud ERP will reduce the risk that the IT department faces. Added to this, cloud ERP is designed to reduce the amount of maintenance that the IT department has to accomplish, making for less time spent troubleshooting servers or hand coding and maintaining integrations.

Reel in the buy-in: Take time to talk ROI

While you may have everyone on board with the benefits of upgrading from QuickBooks or any other entry level accounting software, if you’re not talking about the costs associated with the benefits, you’re just pitching a pipedream. This is where ROI comes in.

Justifying a large expenditure requires estimating the cost of the investment, from licensing and implementing it to training users and maintaining the system. Cost (and timeframes) can be gleaned from your ERP vendor. The total cost is then weighed against the benefits of a new system.

Whether it’s in the form of reduced costs, better access to business opportunities, or improvements to employee and customer satisfaction, the decision to implement ERP often presents real, measurable benefits for your company.

In addition to the measurable financial benefits of a move to cloud ERP, you likely can present additional benefits—both tangible and intangible:

  • Improved customer satisfaction with faster response times
  • Increased data analysis and visibility for better decision making,
  • Improved employee productivity through more comprehensive and intuitive workflows.
  • Centralizing documentation online for constant availability of a single source of truth
  • Minimizing Accounts Receivable days outstanding

Calculating ROI should be done at a couple points in the ERP decision, but to get a high level overview of the benefits (without sending out for quotes from vendors), this free calculator from Acumatica will help you to understand the value of making a move to ERP, comparing it with your current expenditures. Simply enter a couple numbers about expenditures today, and it will help you to understand whether a move is beneficial.

Outgrowing QuickBooks: your next steps

When you begin to outgrow QuickBooks, you are facing one of the most exciting challenges that exists. It means that your business has grown and you are ready for a solution that can take you to the next level. NexTec helps organizations just like you to move beyond QuickBooks and into a more robust accounting and ERP software designed to meet the needs of your business today, tomorrow, and ten years from now.

For our growing small and mid-size (SMB) clients, we recommend Acumatica, a solution that features flexible deployment, scalable resource-based pricing, and the functionality and usability you need. We invite you to learn more about our work, compare QuickBooks to Acumatica using this helpful tool, and contact us to discuss your needs and learn more about your next steps.

distribution KPIs

Distribution: Key metrics/KPIs for distribution

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, Distribution / Supply Chain, ERP | No Comments
Distribution KPIs

Whether you are trying to see where you are or where you need to be, there are many types of KPIs you need to track when it comes to your distribution firm.

“The most valuable commodity I know of is information.” This quote from Wall Street’s Gordon Gecko, while not used by a moral or righteous character, is something that holds true for every business. Information matters, and no matter your industry, your ability to turn data into useful information is something that determines your success or failure now and in the future.

Unfortunately, with more and more data to measure and manage with each new supplier, customer, and product, it becomes harder for today’s distribution firm to get meaning from it.

In a world where too much data can be worse than having too little data, financial professionals often get buried in reports that they miss the important details and trends that indicate where the business is and where it’s heading.

Key performance indicators: The right information for each situation

As a finance professional, you abide by GAAP. You can answer the basic managerial needs—profit and loss, cash flow, inventory turns, and the like. However, there’s more to your business than just being able to measure necessary information and generate reports. This is where key performance indicators, or KPIs, come into play. These represent a wide variety of measurements unique to a specific industry, that can unlock the true health of a business and uncover previously unknown opportunities or challenges that traditional reporting measures fail to address.

Managing and tracking these, however, presents challenges with an ever-expanding pool of data. While new technologies such as the industrial internet of things (IIoT) present new levels of visibility, they also create more sources of data you need to track, often requiring finance professionals to spend more time trying to distill it into something useful.

Types of KPIs

Whether you are trying to see where you are or where you need to be, there are many types of KPIs you need to track.

Financial vs. Operational KPIs

Among the most common, as well as the easiest to track and understand KPIs are financial, as this is the most common language of business decisions. Common financial KPIs in every industry monitor sales, costs, margins, cash flow, and asset utilization.

However, for product-focused businesses like distribution in which relationships and reputation rely on on-time shipments and inventory availability, operational measures come into play. These metrics are inherently non-financial, but play a major role in the present and future of your business: transportation schedules, inventory, on-time delivery, backorders, customer service and more.

Historical and Predictive KPIs

In addition to this, KPIs can tell you not only where you’ve been, but where you are or may be heading.

Historical KPIs can be set up with alerts and warnings that monitor and detect exceptions, calling attention to issues or “push” alert messages sent via email or text.

On the other hand, predictive KPIs can make it easier to see where you may be heading at a glance. Leveraging internal and external data, these can help you order smarter and plan for where you need to be. Predictive KPIs for distribution may use economic indicators, demographic trends, or specific industry indicators.

The basics: Three things to track closely

When it comes to your distribution firm, it pays to know which items are being ordered, how fast each item is being shipped, and which items are profitable, with each of these accessible in real time:

  • Inventory turnover ratio: Shows the current status in the familiar ratio format as well as some key indicators that a purchasing manager might want to watch like open POs and purchasing trends.
  • On-time shipping ratio: Compares the on-time shipping performance for different warehouses, items, and trends. For example, are your warehouses getting better or worse at getting items shipped on time? Is it location-specific or systemic?
  • Profitability by item: Savvy distributors are well-advised to periodically review the relative profitability of customers, markets, channels and products as they formulate sales and distribution plans and budgets to optimize overall business plans and strategies. Being able to slice and dice information to see exactly who and what is profitable is a necessity.

Going further: More than out-of-the-box KPIs

Distribution ERP should be able to deliver these out of the box, but once you get comfortable, your business serves to benefit from finding relevant and customized KPIs, making it easy to generate new reports without a ton of additional labor. Out-of-the-box is one thing, but your system needs to be flexible enough to handle it and usable enough for each end user to generate reports without much extra coding.

Free guide: Selecting and utilizing KPIs that matter for your business

In a recent whitepaper, Acumatica explored even more about the KPIs for distribution companies, discussing how the right measurements can deliver a clearer picture of your business with less effort.

In “Key Performance Indicators for Distribution,” you’ll learn:

  • What historical and predictive KPIs can tell you about your business.
  • Which three distribution KPIs to track most closely.
  • Why out-of-the-box KPIs aren’t enough to improve performance.
  • How to systematize your KPI process.
  • The ideal number of KPIs to track on a daily basis.

Finding a distribution solution for your business: Get to know NexTec

NexTec Group specializes in helping a wide range of distributors to get what they need and want out of the solutions they use. No matter what unique focus your business has, we have the experience and expertise to deliver what you need. Get to know more about our work with Acumatica, read customer testimonials, and contact us for a free consultation.

Additional Distribution Resources

ERP and Business Intelligence in the distribution industry

Multi-warehouse woes: challenges in maintaining visibility

Cloud Digital Transformation

The role of the cloud in digital transformation

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, Cloud | No Comments
Cloud Digital Transformation

Companies that succeed in digital transformation have plotted their course along two dimensions—operational efficiency and customer experience.

It’s a term that could mean anything from ‘going paperless’ to ‘changing the way your business operates’. It affects everything from intraorganizational communications to the way you work with suppliers and customers. It is digital transformation and it’s something many organizations are either late to the game on or struggling to catch up with.

Defining digital transformation

Business leaders expect and demand certainty, and any form of transformation is inherently uncertain. However, when it comes to planning the long-term goals of a company, knowing how, when, and why you need to take risks and dive into uncertainty is necessary for growth. The path to and through digital transformation is one of those risks, and in fact, it’s even more risky to ignore transformation than it is to embrace it. So… What is digital transformation?

What defines digital transformation?

There are many ways to define digital transformation, but nearly all of them revolve around doing more for your business by leveraging technology.

According to Techopedia,

“Digital transformation is the changes associated with digital technology application and integration into all aspects of human life and society. […] Digital tools and technology are changing how people interact, and in turn this changes how people do business. […] In a more business-related aspect, digital transformation refers to how a company has or is transforming its core business processes using digital technology in order to gain competitive advantage and gain differentiation in its market segment.”

Wikipedia adds that “Digital Transformation (DX) is the novel use of digital technology to solve traditional problems. These digital solutions enable inherently new types of innovation and creativity, rather than simply enhance and support traditional methods.

Challenges in defining the term

Like many terms dismissed as jargon, the reason companies fail to embrace digital transformation is because digital transformation journeys rarely follow the same path from company to company and have no clear endpoint.

Digital transformation isn’t a standard process

A digital transformation journey is going to look different for your company than it will for a competitor—even if you are in the same industry or have similar revenues or valuations. Some companies are much closer to digitizing processes and others are still much further away, making it hard to deliver exact steps. Knowing this, there are general focuses and goals present for all companies looking to transform their business, some of which we will discuss below.

Digital transformation has no endpoint

Added to the fact that there is no clear starting point, there also isn’t a clear endpoint. The thing about digital transformation is that it’s not a ‘caterpillar and butterfly’ metamorphosis. You’re not going to walk in one Monday and be transformed. Think of digital transformation more as a snowball rolling down a hill—it gets bigger and moves faster as it gains momentum.

In essence, digital transformation means that you are moving faster and embracing more digitalization than the status quo and are able to do more than your competitors. However, as businesses move faster, it becomes harder to catch and keep up if you don’t take steps in the right direction.

Two key components on the road to digital transformation

As mentioned, it’s hard to make a plan for something with no starting or ending point. However, recent MIT research found that companies that succeed in digital transformation have plotted their course along two dimensions—operational efficiency and customer experience.

“They knew they had to become great in operational efficiency: increasing automation, standardization, reuse and productivity. And at the same time, they were really ramping up on their customer experience,” said MIT research scientist Stephanie Woerner, who works on business transformation at MIT Sloan’s Center for Information Systems Research (CISR) with Chairman Peter Weill.  In other words, digitally transformed companies are “ambidextrous,” she said — both efficient and big on customer delight.

Woerner goes on to explain the four quadrants of digital transformation and four pathways to success:

  • Focus on a platform and make solution-based decisions.
  • Encourage a minimum viable product approach and think like an early stage company looking for promoters, not just customers.
  • Keep your team on the same page by providing the right information at the right time to the right people using dashboards.
  • Focus on agility, making big changes with big ideas.

Many ways to the end goal, but the first step is the cloud

As you look to transform your business, the process may seem complex. However, one of the best steps toward a transformed business is to find a solution-based product that can deliver the platform you need, offer dashboards, allow your business to focus on customer experience, and ultimately get your business on the right path quickly.

In a recent whitepaper from Mint Jutras, this leading analyst firm explored the path to digital transformation and the value of acting now. This guide, “Digital Transformation: It’s Time to Develop a Sense of Urgency,” will discuss:

  • Why technology adoption is like a hip replacement, not brain surgery.
  • How technology is leveling the playing field for smaller companies.
  • Why it’s dangerous not to be concerned about disruption.
  • The surprising truth about spreadsheet-dependency in today’s companies.
  • Shocking stats on how few companies have invested in digital.

Click here to download this free guide, courtesy of Acumatica.

At NexTec, we have spent decades helping businesses like yours to leverage the right technology to and through their digital transformation journeys. While one single solution may not be a cure-all for your entire business needs, one of the best places to start is to leverage ERP solutions that can deliver better results and more visibility. Get to know more about our work and contact us for a free consultation.

Acumatica Innovation Mint Jutras Report

A look at the ongoing innovations from Acumatica: Mint Jutras Report

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, ERP | No Comments
Acumatica Innovations Mint Jutras Report

Get to know more about Acumatica’s path to innovation by downloading the Mint Jutras report.

With 5,000 new customers in just over a decade of operation, Acumatica has continued to deliver innovation for its customers and prospects.

Whether that’s in user-requested functionality or by looking at new ways to push the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) market with things users didn’t even know they needed, Acumatica has worked hard to avoid the complacency that comes with success, according to a recent report from ERP analyst Mint Jutras.

Following our recent blogs highlighting what the company has done: enhancements and innovations delivered in Acumatica 2019 R1 and the announcement of the company’s Alexa for Business skill that gives users the power to check inventory, look up and approve expenses, and even update CRM, we would today like to look at how they approach innovation.

Collaborate, innovate, accelerate: A different approach to innovation

Since the advent of cloud business applications two decades ago, the competition moved from ‘doing things well’ to ‘doing things better.’ Offering a centralized hosting environment for customers, vendors could update software more easily. Rather than offering one or two updates throughout the life of a product’s license, early entrants like Salesforce created a new way of delivering innovation.

Acumatica, who launched in 2007, followed along in this light, delivering twice-yearly updates to their ERP product while continuing to make their product more viable on their path to market leadership. However, this alone wasn’t what made the company more innovative than competitors—nearly all cloud vendors deliver updates two or more times per year.

What truly allowed the company to deliver, according to Mint Jutras, was their ability to remain forward-thinking while being aggressively customer focused. Due in part to their unique 100% partner model, the company can put seventy-four percent of their staff into their research and development department. This gives them more flexibility to deliver on many levels, not only responding to requests but planning for what’s next.

The “ideas” site

The basic expectation of any software vendor is its ability to listen to customers. Whether this comes in the form of support requests or an “Ideas” website, the company keeps an ear to the ground on ways they can improve the product. However, this is a strategy employed by a variety of providers—what really matters is the engagement that exists on such a platform and the vendor’s ability to react.

Focus groups and face to face discussions

While nearly three-quarters of Acumatica’s staff is focused on developing enhancements, they also take steps to see what customers want in person. Mint Jutras notes in their report that Acumatica is known to conduct focus groups and send top level executives and developers to see how customers use their product.

This is the first area in which the company looks to go above and beyond—a tactic that has led to many innovations including the Acumatica CRM Plugin for Microsoft Outlook, a seemingly simple feature that saves a surprising amount of time transferring information from email to CRM.

Meetings like this often highlight ways to make the product more intuitive. For example, the “side panel” delivered another profoundly intelligent enhancement. This allowed a user to check information without having to close navigate away from what he or she was working on to open another window.

Relying on partners

One of the biggest problems with the software landscape—and one largely fixed by Acumatica’s partner model— is competition of partners. However, with no worry that the vendor will “steal a sale,” VARs, ISVs, and OEMs have found a place and felt more comfortable delivering innovations and updates to improve the product and provide the company insight into making Acumatica better. In fact, NexTec works with a variety of ISV partners known for making  Acumatica even better.

Asking “what’s next?”

Few companies can thrive by being reactive, delivering on what customers need and failing to plan for the next steps. Imagine Apple without Siri. As noted in the report, “customers never asked Apple for natural language processing and machine learning. […] Nobody said, ‘I’m not buying an iPhone unless I can talk to it.”

The key to any innovation is determining what’s going to be indispensable in the future and offering it before it’s necessary. New technologies, like machine learning, are already making their way into applications, and it’s on a software provider, like Acumatica, to offer it early so that they can refine the product before it becomes the status quo.

This is where Acumatica is delivering, looking at the next levels of AI and ML technologies to develop products with zero-touch automation, interactive assistance, and intelligent advisor technology.

Getting what you need, finding what you want: Acumatica innovation, NexTec service

Acumatica is constantly focused on delivering not only what current customers need but finding out what potential customers want in the coming months or years. However, before you can leverage advancements in ERP technology, you need to find the right partner who can take you there.

NexTec Group has an established history working with Acumatica to deliver a customized, tailored product that improves your business decisions and allows you to understand what’s next for your company. Get to know more about Acumatica’s path to innovation by downloading the Mint Jutras report, The Push and Pull of Acumatica’s Cloud ERP Innovation, read about the work we do for customers like you, and contact us for a consultation.

Outgrowing QuickBooks

Outgrowing QuickBooks: The early stages of communicating a change

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, ERP, Replace old software | No Comments
Outgrowing QuickBooks

Getting to know what your users want from your QuickBooks replacement will do two things. Not only will this help you to weed out certain products from the outset, it will help to increase optimism about the project.

When you outgrow entry-level software like QuickBooks, you know it. Your business starts to slow down, the lights at your office stay on a bit later each month, and you begin to worry if everything is accurate.

Following our last blog on the major warning signs that QuickBooks is failing to deliver for your business needs—namely spreadsheets, lack of visibility and auditability, and data instability—we would today like to turn our attention to your company’s first step in leading the charge to a new, viable, and innovative ERP solution: Communication.

Start talking with users

QuickBooks is built for simplicity and ease of use. Used by tens of millions of users at millions of small businesses worldwide, the company’s success in this market is also the reason it’s often hard to convince people it’s time to move on—many users haven’t seen better options.  For these users, manual and spreadsheet-laden processes and software crashes are considered part of life, and few people have seen the alternatives or next steps for growing businesses.

QuickBooks is familiar, and the reality is that there’s probably more than one person on your staff who has never used a different accounting solution. Change is stressful, and while the thought of more automation, flexibility, and functionality may be welcomed by some, others may dread or even fear the change.

To address this, you need to speak with (and listen to) those who use the product. Your goal here is not just to “rally the troops,” but to understand their concerns and get to know what features their ideal solution will have.

Rally the troops

Throughout the ERP implementation process, there will be many things that could lower morale and ultimately derail the project. Knowing this, it pays to start off with high—but tempered—hopes. Help users to understand that despite the challenges and stress that may come about throughout the implementation process, the company is moving to something better.

Allay fears

While many of your users will be optimistic about the move to automated and advanced software, some may fear for their livelihoods. Just as in the Industrial Revolution, people fear that automation would replace them, and the same fears pop up when you decide to move beyond QuickBooks. As you begin to communicate your company’s decision to select and implement new software, it’s vital to remind these people that these fears are unfounded.

Automation is going to give your people more freedom to help the business. Without the manual processes that exist, your team will have more time to analyze and deliver insight about data, providing context for decision-making. While some of your staff may need to learn new skills (communication, strategy, creativity, etc.), the decision to implement new ERP software will not result in massive staff cuts or layoffs.

Understand what your people want (and need)

Communication is a two-way street, and possibly the most important part of speaking with your users about this change is to listen. End users are the most heavily affected by a change in technology, and should play a major role in informing the functionality your product will have.

Getting to know what your users want from your QuickBooks replacement will do two things. Not only will this help you to weed out certain products from the outset, it will help to increase optimism about the project. Listening to the wants and needs of your staff will instill a sense of ownership in the project and reduce the likelihood they push back against some decision that didn’t include them.

The long journey to ERP starts with the right information and advice

Over the next few months, we at NexTec look forward to discussing the ongoing path to selecting a replacement for your underperforming QuickBooks product. While getting your users on board for a change is one key part of your decision, you will need to build a project team, discuss internally the budget and opportunities, discuss potential ROI, and more.

For our growing midsized clients, we recommend Acumatica, a solution that features flexible deployment, scalable resource-based pricing, and the functionality and usability you need. We invite you to learn more about our work, compare QuickBooks to Acumatica using this helpful tool, and contact us to discuss your needs and learn more about your next steps.

Financial Management

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, ERP | No Comments

Financial Management functionality to power your business

Acumatica Financial Management gives you the visibility and control your company needs

Take control of finance, accounting with financial management for businesses of all sizes

Today’s businesses need to navigate an increasingly complex web of regulations, taxes, accounting standards, and competition. To succeed when information is needed faster than ever, your business needs a flexible yet robust system to streamline operations, work globally and locally, and see the complete picture. NexTec and Acumatica have the answer.

Benefits of financial management functionality for your business

Close faster, work smarter

Save time, close your books faster, and give your employees more time to focus on improving your business. With powerful automation and integration, flexible workflows, and audit-ready controls, you can handle month-end activities faster and with fewer errors.

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See the big picture at your business

Integrate financial management functionality with a wide range of other applications including customer relationship management and business intelligence to give your people a clear picture of your business in real time.

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A solution as simple or as complex as you need

Simple enough for small shops and comprehensive enough for complex multi-nationals, Acumatica provides an extremely customizable and robust and feature-rich accounting suite, fully integrated with Acumatica’s Customer Management, Distribution Management, Manufacturing Management, Field Services Management, and Project Accounting product suites.

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Manage your business across entities or currencies

Take control of your entire business—whether you are working across multiple locations, tax codes, or currencies. Acumatica financial management lets you work locally and internationally with powerful multi-entity management, tax management, and currency management solutions.

Keep everyone on the same page

Gain accurate, real-time visibility into business activities and performance with financial reports and personalized dashboards that access the shared, centralized database (single version of the truth).

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Know where you stand anytime and anywhere

Give employees the access they need to applications—whether in the office, at home, or on the road—with mobile applications and secure browser-based access to financial management software.

Ready to learn more? Request a demo today.

NexTec Group is an award-winning business software consulting firm with over a quarter-century of experience customizing ERP, CRM, and Business Intelligence solutions for businesses of all sizes. With 14 locations across North America, we provide local service and support for our clients who need robust, feature-rich ERP. Ready to learn more about taking your business further with Acumatica?

Contact us to learn more.

Acumatica Cloud ERP

Project Accounting

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, ERP | No Comments

Technology to power your project-based business

Acumatica Project Accounting gives project-based businesses control and visibility

Take control of people, projects, processes, and more

Today’s project-based businesses face an increasingly competitive landscape driven by new entrants and increasing customer expectations. To succeed in this, your business needs a flexible, robust, and integrated solution to manage finances, projects, costs, and customer interactions all in one place. NexTec and Acumatica Project Accounting have the answer.

Benefits for project-based businesses

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Take control of project costs

  • Integrate your project accounting solution with financial management, accounts payable, accounts receivable, time management and more
  • Get a complete view of project-related costs for materials, labor, services, and inventory items
  • Allocate shared costs and overhead quickly and easily.
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Run your project-based business on your terms

  • Keep your customers and team members happy, your billable hours high, and your decisions well-informed by integrating your project accounting solution with business intelligence and more.
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Leverage flexible billing for increased profits and satisfaction

  • Manage all billing scenarios: cost plus, fixed price, time and materials, milestone billing, and contract-specific pricing with a flexible and accurate billing solution built into your ERP
  • Vary billing rates by employee / customer, type of work, or specific project.
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Handle changes without hassles

  • Project scope can change quickly, and whether requests are made by the client or internally, your solution should be flexible enough to adapt
  • Create change orders with documentation, including costs, revenue and more with a full audit trail
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Deliver accurate quotes with ease

  • Simplify project sales and pricing by supporting complex quote processes, improving project control and management
  • Create quotes, update them, link them to CRM and track versions
  • Create approved projects and provide billing details.
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Manage your projects in multiple currencies

  • Enter project transactions in different currencies and maintain projects in both the base currency and the project currency
  • Leverage multi-currency project accounting to give your entire team more visibility into costs, revenues, and profits—no matter which currencies your suppliers, locations, or customers operate in.

Ready to learn more? Request a demo today.

NexTec Group is an award-winning business software consulting firm with over 24 years in the industry. As a firm founded by consultants, we know the challenges that project-based businesses like yours face in organizing projects and managing resources. Respond to today’s opportunities, improve customer relationships, and grow your business with the power of ERP, CRM, and BI customized and delivered for the professional services industry.

Contact us for a free demo.

Acumatica Cloud ERP