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Posted by & filed under Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Microsoft Dynamics.

Read more on "Convergence 2015: It Was the Best of Conferences" »

Everything from the announcements of exciting new features to look for in the latest version of Microsoft Dynamics GP, to the great people I had the opportunity to meet in the Expo, made this conference informative, productive, engaging, and energizing.

Everything, that is, except for the part where my bus crashed.

My arrival at the Atlanta, Georgia convention centre where Microsoft Convergence 2015 was held last week was, shall we say, a little less than optimal. The bus I was riding in actually managed to crash into a traffic signal along the way, and shatter two of its windows. Luckily, no one was hurt, but the accident definitely got my day off to a dramatic start!

Once safely inside the convention center, though, things took a turn for the better.

Over 12,000 people from 76 countries were in attendance. That’s a lot of Microsoft users!

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella delivered the keynote address, announcing the dawn of a new era in enterprise resource planning due to all the powerful new technology available.

I also attended a GP presentation with Errol sharing Microsoft’s roadmap for developing Dynamics GP into the future. This summer, new features such as historical received but not invoiced purchasing report capabilities, the ability to auto deposit cash receipts to the bank, and AP invoice approval capabilities will be released, along with a new Dynamics GP Time Management app for iOS, Android, and Windows. Later this year, HTML5 will allow access via smartphones – we were even shown how it would look on a Samsung Galaxy! 

Beyond that, we were told that 2016 would bring with it an enhanced user experience, more support for web clients, enhanced workflow capabilities, and enhanced cloud deployment. Top features requested by customers will continue to be incorporated into the product as well. The future looks extremely bright for Microsoft Dynamics GP – and its users!

Throughout the week, I was able to meet up with a few of our partners at the Expo – Avalara, EOne, Professional Advantage, K-eCommerce, Wennsoft – the usual suspects.
Later, I had the opportunity to attend a presentation about the new GP workflow, boasting ultra convenient new features like the ability to approve workflow via an email link on a smart phone. That would be especially helpful in a situation where, say, someone’s bus gets in an accident, for instance, and they need to approve workflow on the fly. Just sayin’.

So in summary, Microsoft Convergence 2015 was definitely the best of conferences, in spite of a rocky start for yours truly. If you’d like to learn more about the updates and new features in the works for Microsoft Dynamics GP, or find out more about how we here at TGO Consulting can help you upgrade your own ERP system, contact us today!  

Posted by & filed under Corporate Performance Management (CPM).

Read more on "True Sky: An Excel-lent Business Solution" »

Excel offers companies a powerful tool to gather, organize, and present data from many sources. And while it is the most common application used by businesses, it has limitations that can result in decreased efficiency, missed timelines, and a breakdown in analysis.

The Budgeting Barrier
For any company, the budgeting cycle is a major annual process. And hand in hand with that process is the need to secure an accurate financial picture of all departments. And Excel is often the tool through which this picture is obtained.

But relying on Excel alone to create templates for end users to input data can in some instances be setting up the merging of documents and the finalizing of the budget for failure.

A large number of end users, especially spread across departments, increases the chance that the structures created in the Excel workbook by budget managers are modified by those end users. Altering a formula, deleting a column, or applying text in an inappropriate location can make for major headaches when those documents are merged.

Tip: What Is Your Budgeting Cycle Costing You?

A Solution That Solves Your Budgeting Needs
True Sky is a powerful budgeting, planning, and forecasting solution that was designed to meet the needs of companies with unique or complex business needs.

Tip: Excel vs. CPM: True Sky Lets You Have Both

Use What You Already Have
Because it is Excel-interface True Sky allows you to leverage the knowledge your team already possesses, making training easier and faster. Consequently, it can be deployed without extensive IT involvement, and once deployed, it can be maintained by your own business groups.

Tip: 5 Essential Questions Successful Companies Should Ask When Choosing A Budgeting And Forecasting Solution

Revolutionize The Planning Process
True Sky can move your business forward by powering a reassessment of the planning process, moving it from a focus on data capture to performance management and information analysis. Providing at the same time centralized control and reusable content, True Sky reduces the effort needed to manage your process.

Tip: Why Annual Budgeting Has Become A Thing Of The Past

Make Budgeting More Accurate
Facilitating driver-based budgeting, True Sky gives your business the tools to capture critical data often overlooked in budgeting cycles. The solution can pave the way toward the elimination of budgeting as a yearly process in favor of rolling forecasts, giving you insight into more accurate and up-to-date information about your business that can be used to drive better decision making processes.

Tip: Where Did That Number Come From? A Guide To Driver Based Budgeting

Business solutions are proliferating, and it can be tough to find the one that really suits your unique needs. TGO can help – with over 26 years of experience, our industry expertise can help you make a critical decision that will have a major impact on the daily performance of your company for years to come. Contact us today and learn about the options that can make your enterprise leaner, more agile, more profitable. 

Posted by & filed under Budgeting and Forecasting, Financial Planning.

Read more on "4 Tips to Building a Better Business Budget" »

In small, medium and large companies, the common denominator is that every single one must design and adhere to a budget. For many, this is easier said than done. With many professionals focusing on providing the core product or service the business is built on, the importance of budgeting can be easily lost.

The importance of budgeting

Without a budget or a plan, every business runs the risk of spending more money than it is bringing in or more than it expects to bring in. On the opposite extreme, some businesses remain too conservative with spending and don’t invest in their own personal growth. Considering both ends of the spectrum are not ideal locations, following the budgeting basics can help to find a happy medium where the company can run at a financially efficient level.

When it comes to expenses, it is important to consider every cost it takes to get an idea born in the company into the hands of your consumers. From product development to raw materials to marketing campaigns and customer service, there are many facets that come together in a budget.

As such an important business function, here are four steps to remember to help your company get on the right track when it comes to budgeting.

1. Use industry standards

Every individual company is different, but it can be helpful to compare yours against others in the same industry. Similarities do exist, so finding the average financial data from a few of your closest competitors can be helpful when setting your budgeting standards.

2. Invest in a budgeting solution

Budgeting solutions not only help to set a budget, but to also plan and forecast metrics such as expected demand. By taking your budget to an advanced technological program, you will have more detailed information, reliable forecasts and all of the important data aggregated in the same location. There are a variety of budgeting solutions available on the market today, at least one of which can meet the specific needs of every company.

3. Factor in slack

Many companies are so focused on the bottom line and achieving a specific net profit margin, that they underestimate the expenses they have to pay before meeting that goal. By making realistic forecasts and then building in slack, you can account for any unforeseen circumstances that may arise. If every expense lines up according to your forecast, then you’ll get to enjoy even higher profits than expected. The important thing here is to overestimate your expenses rather than underestimate!

4. Review the budget periodically

For many firms, budgeting is an annual activity. For some, this timing works, but other companies many require more frequent updates. Whether market factors are changing or the company has an influx of cash it wants to invest, there are a number of reasons why the budget should be adjusted. Staying mindful of this and maintaining flexibility in the budget, will help to propel the company forward and set it on the path for success.

Budgeting is an essential business function that requires planning, forecasting and, finally, the allocation of financial resources. The goal is to create a healthy balance between earnings and expenses, while also remembering to invest and grow.

If you are interested in learning more about a budgeting solution, contact us today.

Posted by & filed under Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Microsoft Dynamics GP.

Read more on "5 Tips for Selecting and Implementing an ERP System" »

An Enterprise Resource Planning system is an intricate tool that can prove extremely useful for companies across a wide variety of industries. Often times, however, there is a disconnect between the functions an organization knows are available and the ones they have successfully implemented. Expectations of instant fixes and increased profits can sometimes overshadow the steps a company needs to take to get there.

Considering the major financial investment an ERP system can be in both upfront and maintenance costs, companies are looking for surefire ways to both select and implement the system more effectively. Below are five tips to help your company achieve success with its ERP system.

1. Know your requirements

Before you venture out and start comparing available ERP systems, it is important to know what your company is looking to gain. By knowing the specific business processes and system requirements, you can better define the scope of your project. As a knowledgeable buyer, you can be more detail-oriented, look for industry-specific solutions and position yourself to enjoy long-term financial benefits.

2. Engage all levels of management

While upper level management may have the power to make a final decision, lower level managers are more in tune with the intricacies of the business. Lower managers know exactly which areas cause delays in production and the minute configuration details. These specifics can help upper management outline their requirements before going to the market and speaking with various ERP vendors.

3. Find references

Once you’ve narrowed down your search to a handful of vendors, ask each of them for at least three references. When speaking with their customers, you can gain valuable insight into what went right, what went wrong and what could have been different. While you can assume the vendor will provide you with names of three happy customers, knowing that they have satisfied customers points to the vendor’s credibility.

4. Carefully consider customization

Customizable ERP systems provide additional flexibility to an organization, especially in the long-term. This flexibility, however, comes with a hefty price tag, not just in the initial deployment but also in subsequent upgrades and maintenance. A standardized system may be less flexible but can also be more stable in terms of cost, efficiency and ROI. Carefully considering the advantages and disadvantages for customization will make it easier to select the right ERP system for your company.

5. Plan for organizational change

The implementation of an ERP system means that many tasks and, in some cases, full job positions once performed by people will now be replaced by the software. As an organization, being mindful of these changes and the effects they will have on your employees is extremely important. To reduce barriers to adopting the ERP system or negative feelings towards it, companies can execute communication plans and workshops both before and after the implementation. It may not eliminate all negative feelings, but showing a compassion for this change is a sign of responsible leadership.

Investing in an ERP system is a major financial decision for an organization. These five tips help ensure that the selection and implementation of such a system are executed smoothly – promoting positive and forward thinking changes in your organization. If you would like more information about available ERP systems and how they can benefit your company, contact us today!

Posted by & filed under Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Microsoft Dynamics GP.

Read more on "How To Improve A Retail Store With ERP" »

With the growth of the retail industry back on track after the economic recession, companies are preparing by making smart, technological investments. These environmental changes paired with the sheer amount of information available to retail stores today, makes technology a welcome addition to many retailers. One of the most prevalent technology investments is the implementation of a retail ERP system.

An ERP system for retail stores is meant to support retailers in areas including inventory, cost, purchase order and price management. In today’s retail environment, customers expect personalization when it comes to both products and services, further complicating the business processes of any company. Implementing an ERP system can help keep up with this demand in a variety of ways.

Product Consistency

In the retail industry, it is often times difficult for company headquarters to get each, individual store to operate in the same way. Each manager puts their own spin on operations and slightly alters some of the information they receive from headquarters. In fact, a recent study said 74% of multi-channel retail operations are conducted in independent channels.

In order to achieve a greater sense of consistency and unification across all channels, an ERP system can ensure the same message is relayed to consumers. With a centralized database, the company can promote branded messages throughout the store, ensuring that each customer receives the same information about a product before making their purchase decision. For example, QR codes next to products can be scanned for accessory suggestions, provide stock levels about a different size or color or place an online order if the item they need is not in stock. Providing this level of consistency helps to make a unified customer experience across all channels.

Eliminate Price Confusion

Across multiple retail channels, it often happens that prices and applicable promotions are not streamlined. For consumers, this creates a lot of frustration when, for example, they enter a store to buy a product they saw advertised at a discount, only to find that the discount doesn’t apply in that particular store. Instances such as these decrease customer loyalty, decrease the company’s credibility and, ultimately, will result in a loss of customers.

To combat this issue, ERP systems can provide the pricing consistency that every retail store needs. Online promotional activities, for example, can help with customer-specific pricing strategies – further creating the personalization aspect today’s customers require.

Build Loyalty

By utilizing an ERP system in your retail store, you are able to collect and analyze a large amount of customer information helping to respond to customer demand. This information, in turn, can be used to make these customer-specific promotions based; for example, on how often a customer visits the store or how much money they spend annually.

In addition, this information can be used to send updates when stock levels of their favorite product are updated or advanced order options for a regular. Without an ERP system, companies wouldn’t be able to make these types of targeted campaigns towards their customers, resulting in an overall lower customer satisfaction and loyalty.

When implementing an ERP system in your retail store, you can enjoy these three benefits, among many more. For more information about the types of ERP systems available, contact us today!


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