The Decision Maker’s Playbook for a Low-Stress ERP Implementation

For many business leaders, end users, and company stakeholders, the ERP implementation process is one of the highest-stress periods you might face in an average decade. A process that takes anywhere from three months to more than a year, the process involves a lot of work, a lot of trust, and occasionally a lot of risk.

Following our last blogs on the importance of usability and functionality and the steps to finalizing your selection, we would today like to turn our attention to the home stretch—getting the job done.

The Legwork is Done: Now It’s Time to Implement

As we discussed in each of these blogs, functionality and usability need to be well balanced to allow for a flat learning curve and a future-proof solution, and it pays to be incredibly diligent not only when choosing a vendor, but a partner to get you there. Now, it’s time that all of the legwork you’ve done to pay off.

This should be an exciting time. You’re gearing up for a move to a product that is going to save users time, help them do their job more effectively, and facilitate operations for years to come. We’re not saying it’s going to be a walk in the park, but with the right advice, you can get things up and running within a reasonable time frame.

Approaching an Implementation: Setting Yourself Up for Success

As discussed in the Acumatica whitepaper titled Navigating ERP Selection and Implementation: A 5-Step Process, “An ERP implementation project doesn’t have to be traumatic or overwhelming, but it can be a lot of work. It is very important to bring the project in on time and within budget, so there’s definitely a lot at stake.”

Knowing this, it all starts with a project management framework and a set of tools to keep everyone on task, up to speed, and highly motivated. Added to this, a well-organized and managed implementation team, with adequate budget and a reasonable time frame, backed by strong senior management commitment, and a clear goal and direction will help you get where you want to go.

In turn, the following tips can take you a long way in maneuvering from hypothetical to real—and ensure your team is ready for a stress-free go-live:

  • Do take the time to lay out a complete and thorough plan.
  • Use standard tracking tools like Microsoft Project to manage the effort.
  • Have regular (weekly) project team meetings to monitor progress and address any issues.
  • Keep the project and its progress highly visible to the entire enterprise.
  • Get future users involved early to establish a sense of ownership in the new system.
  • Don’t skimp on training – it’s the best investment you can make in future system success and benefit.
  • Pay attention to change management – to build on the feeling of ownership company-wide and eliminate resistance to the new system.

The Right Partner to Help You Achieve: Get to Know CCS

When companies move from accounting software to ERP, they are making a big decision that will impact the next decade of operations. The right partner can build, configure, and deliver the solution you need now and in the future, and if you’re looking for a local partner with the skills and expertise to make your ERP journey a reality, look no further than CCS Technology.

We were founded on the principle that technology should make it easier to run your business, and have spent our time in this industry ensuring our clients realize this.

We invite you to learn more about your journey from entry level to the cloud by reading Seven Signs You Need ERP Software5 Benefits of ERP for Accounting and Financial Management, and How to Improve Efficiency with a New ERP Solution. Read to learn even more? Contact us for a free consultation.

Don’t Let ERP Projects Turn into a War of Attrition

When you think of “classic war movies,” what comes to mind? Patton? The Great Escape? Saving Private Ryan? World War II made for a much better story than it’s predecessor. This isn’t to discount movies depicting World War I—All Quiet on the Western Front and 1917 were both incredible movies. But they don’t provide the same message as the action and intensity that went into storming the beaches or retaking Paris. Why? In a simple word—motion.

Cinema depicting World War II gave us a clearly defined good versus evil plotline, tales of heroism, a story that could be related to a parent or grandparent, and most importantly, action. World War I showed us how hellish and slow war could be.

It depicted a time between heroic cavalry charges and combined arms. A war known for trench warfare, everything about WWI was based on waiting. Every single charge was risky. But so was standing still. It was demoralizing and not at all glamorous.

So what does this have to do with an ERP deployment? A lot more than you’d think.

The Dangers of ERP Implementation Trench Warfare

ERP deployments have long been considered risky. Long and laborious, the process quite closely resembled trench warfare. People start out with high expectations and morale. Might even make it through a few phases. But then it comes to a grinding halt. A wrench in the system or a hiccup in one of the many phases resulted in deadlines moving back, costs edging up, and a little less motivation. Keep this up over the course of a few months with no end in sight and people start to get impatient.

But much like the time between WWI and WWII, technology has improved. Like the introduction of armored warfare and combined arms sped up battles, smarter deployment methodologies and the cloud have made it easier to tackle a deployment.

Rather than fighting a slow, risky, and inefficient battle that puts the morale of your employees at risk and the success of your project in jeopardy, companies like Acumatica have introduced fast yet thorough ways to get up and running with a powerful solution without the hurry up and wait mentality of the past.

Acumatica FastTrack: Into the Cloud in 90 Days or Less

Whether you’re in the distribution space or looking to get your finances in order, Acumatica has developed a new methodology built to help you get up and running without the slow “trench warfare” implementation process that traditional ERP was known for.

What Is the FastTrack Deployment Model?

By speeding up your ERP deployment timeline, you can experience faster time to productivity (and decreased time to value), higher customer satisfaction, and lower cost of entry. Recently introduced, the Acumatica FastTrack deployment allows you and other midmarket growth businesses to go-live in 90 days or less.

How Does FastTrack Work?

The Acumatica FastTrack Deployment methodology is a phased, in-the-box (ITB) approach using best practices-based templates and configuration checklists. Relying on standardized migration tools and fixed timelines, the process facilitates ERP deployment by simplifying phases.

Traditional ERP deployments begin with the Discovery phase before heading to Analyze, Build, Stabilize, with continuous Planning & Monitor phases. However, FastTrack connects the process, consisting of four well-researched phases: Initiation (Discovery and SOW); Adapt (Analyze, Design, Build, Stabilize); and Deploy (Go Live and Post Go Live). The final phase is Sustain, which involves continuous improvement and customer feedback.

Benefits of Getting on the FastTrack

Designed for midmarket growth businesses, Acumatica’s FastTrack Deployment provides a robust, scalable, and repeatable framework to deliver successful deployments.

Here are just a few benefits of the accelerated implementation program known as Acumatica FastTrack:

  • Lower Cost to Get Up and Running: With a fixed cost deployment, you can have a clear picture of exactly how long implementation will take and better yet, how much it will cost.
  • A Scientific and Phase Based Approach: So much goes into the planning in an ERP project. But by taking a standardized and incremental approach, you can realize faster time to productivity (and faster payback).
  • Increase Your ROI: ROI means a lot more than radio on internet. If you’re looking to minimize the time it takes to start seeing value, you also get to maximize the return on investment. The combination of a fixed price, fixed schedule, and straightforward approach helps you maximize your ROI.

Get to know more about what goes into an Acumatica FastTrack deployment here.

Functionality and Usability: A Perfect Pairing for User Adoption

For growing businesses, an ERP decision is a hefty, stressful decision. As a decision maker, you already know you can’t please everyone—especially when looking at a software as broadly used as ERP currently is. From gaining value to recouping costs, there are two factors that need to be well balanced to ensure users adopt and embrace a project.

As we begin to wrap up our series on the realizations you may have when outgrowing entry level accounting software like QuickBooks, we would today like to turn our attention to two critical factors in getting users to embrace a new software—functionality and usability.

One of the many considerations you need to make as you vet and select your ERP vendor and partner, the ability to deliver these two criteria may be one of the most important.

Catch up with our accounting to ERP series by reading our latest postsThe Hassles of Using Desktop Software in a Socially Distanced BusinessNever Let a QuickBooks File Size Hold You Back: Grow with Confidence in the Cloud, and Are QuickBooks Workarounds Putting Your Business at Risk?

Are You Getting the Most of Your Software?

For many businesses, QuickBooks delivered both of these in the early days. One of the easiest to use platforms, this software was built for the early stage, low-user business who just needed the basics. The file size maximum once felt like an unreachable ceiling. The processing power was enough, and it did basic accounting tasks easily. Familiar and functional, there’s no denying that it made life easy for millions of businesses just starting out.

But times have changed. That once-unreachable file size? You passed the limit years ago. Now It either puts you at massive risk of corruption or slows you down. The processing power? It was great for 5 users. The basic accounting tasks? Still does those—just a lot slower. But for many growing businesses, this isn’t enough. It’s still just as easy to use as ever, if you’re willing to put up with slowdowns, happy with disconnected processes, and content with lackluster information.

Why Both Functionality and Usability Matter

Though QuickBooks does provide the usability, you’ve long since outgrown the functionality. This leaves you at a crossroads en route to new ERP, and finding a solution that’s not only easy to use but able to deliver matters.

However, this does present a challenge—finding a usable software. Though nearly every solution available provides a wealth of features, ERP is a complicated beast, and has historically been known for having a steep learning curve. That’s why it pays to find a solution that delivers both a comprehensive product and a flattened learning curve.

The best software in the world won’t do much for you if no one’s using it. The easiest software can’t help you if it doesn’t do anything you need. More often than not, if a product lacks one of these two factors, it’s likely to be ignored—leading to very expensive shelfware.

Nucleus ERP Value Matrix Looks to Guide Leaders to Functional, Usable ERP

Luckily, a recent analyst report from Nucleus sets out to help decision makers focus their software choices by striking a balance between functionality and usability.  Analysts note,

“The race to the cloud has been reignited as fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic caused an abrupt and permanent spike in the demand for the ability to work remotely. Cloud-native solutions stand to gain the most from this paradigm shift, but vendors with large on-premises deployment bases will have the chance to make good on their own transition roadmaps.”

An annual report on who’s who, the Nucleus Research ERP Technology Value Matrix 2020 lists eight Leaders—including Acumatica—and provides detailed profiles of 23 ERP vendors to enhance your research. Here are just a few things they had to say about Acumatica:

  • The Channel Model Delivers Innovation: “No competition among vendor and partner sales teams for similar customers, allowing Acumatica to focus on product development and customer support.”
  • Easy to Understand from the Start, Ready to Deliver What You Need: “Customers note that the solution’s usability is a differentiator during initial evaluation and implementation, but the software can then scale to handle complex and high-volume data processing as well. New users can be onboarded quickly and collaborate efficiently across departments and geographies.”
  • Still Improving, too: “Since the 2019 Value Matrix, Acumatica has maintained a regular product update pattern, with major releases arriving twice per year.” Nucleus notes that everything from Acumatica’s machine learning initiative to its better integration with even more tools will make life easier for users for years to come.

This report is provided to users free of charge by Acumatica, and will also discuss the following:

  • Nucleus Research’s rationale for categorizing 23 ERP vendors as Leaders, Facilitators, Experts, or Core Providers.
  • Why even long and costly cloud migrations may be essential for your company’s survival.
  • Which vendors are making significant product investments to deliver more value.
  • Why customers believe Acumatica delivers value by providing an ideal balance of usability and scalability.
  • The biggest benefits of Acumatica’s 2019 R2 release.

Click here to read the entire report.

The Right Partner Helps You Go Further: Just Call CCS

When companies move from accounting software to ERP, they are making a big decision that will impact the next decade of operations. If you’re looking for a local partner with the skills and expertise to make your ERP journey a reality, look no further than CCS Technology.

We were founded on the principle that technology should make it easier to run your business, and have spent our time in this industry ensuring our clients realize this.

We invite you to learn more about your journey from entry level to the cloud by reading Seven Signs You Need ERP Software5 Benefits of ERP for Accounting and Financial Management, and How to Improve Efficiency with a New ERP Solution. Read to learn even more? Contact us for a free consultation.

Getting Your House in Order as You Move from Recovery to Operations

The recovery is coming. Slowly but surely, businesses are trying to get back to normal and focusing on a strong year-end and a better 2021. But before you do, it may be time for a bit of self-reflection. Things have been great for so long, you may have gotten a bit complacent, milking growth and living as usual. But the shock to the system provided by the recent pandemic and lockdowns may be a sign that it’s time to think of your next steps.

Following our last article on some of the technological challenges you may run into during the process of phasing in employees and restarting your business, we would today like to explore some of the ways to clear a path for takeoff.

From managing your current financials to planning for a variety of scenarios over the next 3-6 months to exploring ways you can modify your operations to focus on business transformation, smart decisions early on can go a long way in establishing resiliency at your business. Today, we discuss some of the steps you can take to fortify your business against present and future threats.

Take a Deep Look at Your Business

Hard times create or reward strong business models. It’s a lot harder to see gaps in your business when things are going well. With GDP growth more than 4 percent in the past few years, growth just came naturally. But the past few months presented economic adversity for the first time in a while.

Lessons Learned from Two Decades Back

Think back to the dot-com bubble, a time when internet companies could essentially launch a website, prove growth, and have investors beating on their doors. Especially during the ramp-up, no one really looked at how these companies spent their money. But when reality hit, it hit hard.

But take a look at some of the notable companies at the heart of the bubble, many of these companies had good ideas. While there were a lot of questionable ones, there were also a lot of players before the crash that delivered services you don’t think twice about using today. You could just as easily be watching your favorite gamer streaming on, posting hot takes to theGlobe, holding virtual meetings on Radvision, or connecting with suppliers on Traxex, VerticalNet, or PFSweb.

Part of this boom was built on impressions. Rather than focusing efforts on delivering for customers, improving (or even building) the product, or investing in talent, these companies put more effort into hosting lavish parties to announce the launch.

The crash hit and within months, tech companies either ended up folding, getting acquired for pennies on the dollar, or going under the radar for a while to focus on value. It resulted in the move to agile in the space, and set up a lot of case studies for the last decade of tech companies to learn from.

The Same Goes Today

Even if you’re not in the tech space, the lessons from the dot-com bubble still hold true. Smart, future-proof strategies and good business models are timeless. Being able to understand your business, deliver results, and focus on what improves both is critical.

Forging into a Recovery Starts with a Better Understanding

The challenges presented during the lockdowns have probably put stress on your company. Money may be tight, and it may feel like you’re starting all over again. So where do you begin?

Assess Your Business Model

One of the first steps as you push towards a new business model is to look at how everything about your business works together, determining if you need to make any changes in processes. Start with the key performance indicators that define success and tailor your business around improving specific models.

Not sure where to begin? Check out these guides including Key Performance Indicators for Manufacturing and Key Performance Indicators for Distribution. From here, take steps to establish change management metrics. Is a customer segment looking more lucrative in the next few years? Now is the time to make the pivot to serve them.

Ensure the Financials Are Ready for Anything

One of the hardest parts of the recovery process? No one knows the degree or speed of the bounce back. Business owners sound optimistic, but you can’t assume that. Begin by planning around a few recovery models in the second half of the year, running analyses that include acceleration, slowdowns, and consistent revenue flows.

Depending on how things look at your business, this is also the time to look at funding options. Maybe this includes renegotiating credit agreements, seeking new funding or credit, or finding grants.

Take a Look at Your Revenue Model

Paired with the aforementioned business model analysis, you may also want to look at the way your goods and services are sold and offered. Is there a way to make the money go further? Would a change in pricing model help you spur your recovery? These and other approaches need to be aligned with your business goals and put you in a position to achieve them.

Consider a Technological Update

Whether it’s measuring KPIs, planning and analysis built on a variety of scenarios, or understanding what’s working at your business, the right technology can go a long way in taking you there. Not only does it deliver more powerful analysis, it’s also a switch that might be easier now. People have already spent the last few months changing the way they work around the business, so why not offer a change that will help them do more?

Learn More: Five Companies Who Kept Their Business Running Smoothly

Despite the move from lockdown to reality looking less like flipping the switch and more like accelerating, resilient businesses who turned to the cloud either before or during the lockdown have been reaping the rewards. A recent Acumatica blog discussed how some of the companies who did embrace the cloud made it work.

Ready to learn more about empowering your employees no matter where they stand? Read How 5 Acumatica Customers Keep Business Running Smoothly from Anywhere, download the free IDC report discussing how the cloud enables business resiliency, and contact us for more information.

Gaining Momentum before the Recovery: Preparing for a Safe Return to Work

The last few months have been, for lack of a better term, a wild ride. This isn’t to discount the challenges that you, your family, your employees, and your business have faced, but when you look at things like the stock market, retail spending, and confidence reports, there is optimism for the post-lockdown world. But you didn’t get this far in your career through blind faith in macroeconomic trends or surveys. You know that success is built on pragmatism, planning, and performance.

Your Journey Back to Business as “Usual”

Understandably, the same goes for your business’s recovery plan. There are many steps you’ll need to take to combine planning with action, optimism with caution, and the safety of your workers with the sustainability of your business.

Rather than thinking about the speed with which you get back to full capacity, you need to think about the steps involved and explore how to efficiently take such steps. Can you afford to take the step today or will you have to wait another month? Can you readjust your office to fit ten more people, or will that put them at risk? Should you go so far as to change your business model, pricing strategy, or vendor relationships? All valuable questions you need to ask.

That said, there’s not exactly a lot of time to ask them. Lockdowns could have lasted for months longer than they did, which would have put you in a different position than you are today. But with even slow-to-recover states jumping on board with the recovery, it’s safe to assume that you can start opening your doors to a few more employees, customers, and dollars.

So, as phases go from two to three or three to four, how can you build up your momentum while keeping a wary eye on your business to avoid any backsliding? Today, we explore a few tips for making that a reality.

Technical Challenges That May Emerge During Phased Reentry

The last thing anyone needs right now is a second lockdown. With articles coming out predicting that to be the case, your number one priority should be to avoid letting your workplace become ground zero for a new outbreak. From cleaning to distancing, you will need to take steps to prevent this.

This starts with the adoption of new practices focused on a combination of cleaning (removes dirt and germs), disinfecting (kills the germs), and sanitizing (lowers the number of germs). Develop a regimen that involves each. Learn more about some of the practices from the CDC.

Whether it’s a change in work schedule, a new floor plan, or temporary closure of common areas, communicate with your staff how their lives will change. No more water cooler (literally or figuratively), no more coffeepot, and maybe even a reimagined break process.

Technical Challenge: Hybrid Work-From-Home and a Single Source of Truth

The most likely scenario will be a phased recovery plan that allows for some employees to work from the office and others to work from home. In turn, for those companies using desktop software or who relied on limited access to software over the last few months may face challenges when half the office is back at the office. This may result in delayed decisions or slower processing—as those at the office have the instantaneous processing and those still at home might be minutes (or more) behind.

Technical Challenge: Easier to Call in Sick—But What About the Hardware?

When the first symptom is a dry cough, it’s better to be cautious. Luckily, we’ve gotten accustomed to working from home, so for most businesses, it’s okay to be overly cautious and allow sick days. Ensure you’ve communicated explicitly about how employees should report to human resources if they become sick or start experiencing any symptoms.

Unfortunately, for those legacy companies who had to buy new laptops or take hardware home to access on-premises software, this makes for a challenging time. Employees probably had to bring back the devices they used—and now those whose cough might have simply been the result of cold are left out of the loop. Luckily, for those companies in the cloud, it’s simply log in and go.

Learn More: Five Companies Who Kept Their Business Running Smoothly

Despite the move from lockdown to reality looking less like flipping the switch and more like accelerating, resilient businesses who turned to the cloud either before or during the lockdown have been reaping the rewards. A recent Acumatica blog discussed how some of the companies who did embrace the cloud made it work.

For example, C&O Nursery improved customer relationships without missing a beat.

“Before, if we were out in the field and a grower said, ‘By the way, do we have XYZ variety?’, we would call into the office. Now that we’re cloud based, we can actually log in, look at our inventory, and answer that person within about three minutes with an accurate answer,” says CEO and President Todd Snyder in the company’s customer success story.

Ready to learn more about empowering your employees no matter where they stand? Read How 5 Acumatica Customers Keep Business Running Smoothly from Anywhere, download the free IDC report discussing how the cloud enables business resiliency, and contact us for more information.

Additional Acumatica Resources

What is the Total Economic Impact of Your ERP?

ERP Evaluation Checklist: 5 Important Things to Consider

Why Every IT Executive Needs Cloud ERP Software

Decision Maker’s Guide to Vetting and Selecting an ERP Solution

Following our articles discussing the challenges that growing businesses face when using desktop accounting software when they should be embracing ERP, we would today like to explore a few tips to make the selection and decision process easier.

Catch up with our accounting to ERP series by reading our latest posts: The Hassles of Using Desktop Software in a Socially Distanced Business, Never Let a QuickBooks File Size Hold You Back: Grow with Confidence in the Cloud, and Are QuickBooks Workarounds Putting Your Business at Risk?

It Starts with Getting Users on Board

Getting from accounting software to ERP is rarely an easy task. Your people are used to a specific operating environment. The workarounds that we mentioned in our last blog have become a way of life. Your employees, who may be resistant to change, will say that the hiccups and hassles are just ‘quirks’.

However, this is a challenge you can overcome. Getting users on board starts with talking to them about their opinions and thoughts on how to better the current processes. Find out what the pain points are from each department that uses the current accounting software, evaluate which software and users would be brought into a larger ERP solution, and ask how you can help.

This will help you to not only drive the point home that there are better solutions out there, but will also inform your decision.

Use the Pain Points as a Guideline

With so many solutions available to you, the number of options available to you may seem overwhelming. This is even harder for companies who haven’t gone about a move from single-focused products to comprehensive solutions. It may feel like every product is better, but few are perfect.

Some solutions are better tailored to your processes than others, some have a flatter learning curve, and others deliver more customization and configuration. With user critiques in mind, you have a reasonably nebulous picture of your needs, and can generally piece together a dozen options.

Take Advice

ERP is a big market and in turn has spawned its own cottage industry of analysts and review sites whose goal is to help you understand your move. These companies are built on their word, and take steps to minimize bias, vet reviews, and take their own approach to evaluating solutions.

In jour journey from accounting software to ERP, you’re going to want to take the advice of the analyst reports and reviews to understand metrics for evaluation, reasons behind the decision, and recommendations from those who are in the know.

Analyst Reports

In the same manner that software vendors compete for customers, analyst firms need to provide value for those who pay to commission or reproduce the report. Often, this means that each analyst firm will take a unique approach to the way they look at software using clearly defined metrics to create an apples to apples comparison. Additionally, these reports often discuss broader market trends that can be used to understand which platform fits into their criteria.

Here are just a couple examples:

  • IDC MarketScape Reports: Compares vendors on their capabilities and strategies to determine which vendors are leaders, major players, contenders, and participants. Their recent report, Worldwide SaaS and Cloud-Enabled Operational ERP Applications 2019 Vendor Assessment, evaluated 14 firms and provided in-depth analysis of each. Read more about this report here.
  • ERP Technology Value Matrix: Written to evaluate vendors on two criteria (usability and functionality), the ERP Value Matrix explains how easy it is to get up and running with a solution and how much it delivers. Written by Nucleus Research, this can help you understand whether the software has a steep learning curve and whether or not it makes your job easier. Read more about this report here.
  • Gartner Magic Quadrant: A report on the health and future of the ERP vendors you’re evaluating, this takes a broader view of the companies themselves, looking 15 criteria to determine a company’s ability to execute and completeness of vision. Get to know more about the latest Gartner Magic Quadrant here.

User Reviews

Though your processes may be unique in total, it’s likely that each process has been tackled by a system before. With thousands of companies having used each of the solutions you’re looking at, it shouldn’t be hard to see if a solution has been configured to the way you work. This is where user reviews come in.

User reviews are vetted for accuracy and honesty, often discussing the company’s journey to the solution and aftereffects of installing. Here are just a few places to look:

Bonus: Analysis Based on User Sentiment

One analyst firm went further, consolidating user reviews to create an emotional footprint, exploring how well a company delivers on user expectation. The Info-Tech Enterprise Resource Planning Emotional Footprint Report provides a comprehensive evaluation of popular products in the Enterprise Resource Planning market. This buyer’s guide is designed to help prospective purchasers make better decisions by leveraging the experiences of real users. Learn more about this report and download it here.

Test the Solution

Given that most ERPs do most basic business processes equally well, the important functionality differentiators are at the fringes – those functions and needs that pertain to your industry and your specific business. But the best way to see what this means is to get in the weeds.

Separate out and review the systems that have a solution for your industry. There are a number of software selection services and websites available that can help you whittle your list of candidate systems down from hundreds to a manageable handful. Your goal at this stage is to identify your “short list” of no more than 3 to 5 candidate systems that fit your needs. You should be able to do that in your review of the systems targeted at your industry.

After cutting down your list, begin to explore product demos. Discuss with your vendor and potential partner the things you want to see in a demo including the most important functions so that anyone who might use a product can see it in real time. You’re in control here, so ensure that before the demonstrator leaves, they show you everything you need to see.

Seek out a Partner

If you’ve made it this far, there’s one more decision to make—who’s going to help you get up and running. Though many ERP vendors offer internal implementation teams, these are rarely the top-tier partners for your business.

The implementation partner industry is built on personalization, local service, and customer focus. As they have dedicated teams to implement and support customers, these partners often make it easier to implement, configure, and tailor your solution than the internal vendor resources. For example, companies like Acumatica rely exclusively on a partner network to do this work, focusing the internal teams on innovation and giving you the focus that you can only get from a local partner.

The Right Partner Helps You Go Further: Just Call CCS

When companies move from accounting software to ERP, they are making a big decision that will impact the next decade of operations. The right partner can build, configure, and deliver the solution you need now and in the future, and if you’re looking for a local partner with the skills and expertise to make your ERP journey a reality, look no further than CCS Technology.

We were founded on the principle that technology should make it easier to run your business, and have spent our time in this industry ensuring our clients realize this.

We invite you to learn more about your journey from entry level to the cloud by reading Seven Signs You Need ERP Software5 Benefits of ERP for Accounting and Financial Management, and How to Improve Efficiency with a New ERP Solution. Read to learn even more? Contact us for a free consultation.

Avoiding an Implementation Plot Twist: Beware the ERP Predator

Whether you have kids or just enjoy movies from Disney and Pixar (don’t lie), you’ve probably seen a trend in their story writing over the last decade, the twist villain. The twist villain (surprise antagonist) trope exists when a character is expected to aid the heroes, only to show their true face later in the movie. From Charles Muntz in the movie Up to Hans in Frozen or Lotso in Toy Story 3, these characters were made to subvert expectations.

A well-executed twist villain delivers an exciting surprise for viewers. A poorly executed one was either far-too-obvious, weakly written, or both.

“That’s great and all,” you may be telling yourself, “but what does this have to do with IT services or ERP implementations?” A lot more than you think. ERP implementations are already risky, stress-filled, and costly enough when everything goes smoothly. But now, imagine that the company you trusted to improve your business starts to hit you with surprises, predatory practices, and traps that you weren’t prepared for.

Analyst Report Asks: Partner or Predator?

While this is great for a movie villain, it’s not so great when your ERP vendor or partner—companies you intend to work with for the better part of a decade—flip the script. If your goal is to avoid surprises, you need to be able to tell who’s looking out for your best interests before you even reach Act I.

Luckily, a recent report from Techventive, Inc. set out to show you some of the best and worst practices that potential technology partners may practice so that you can enjoy a plot twist-free ERP project.

Cultural Fit: An Often-Overlooked Factor in ERP Decisions

When you’re looking at ERP, you have a lot of questions to ask. Does the software do what it’s supposed to? Is it easy to learn? Does the vendor put a lot of effort into improving the software? Is it going to help us remain compliant? You might even look at the history and financial stability of the company to know whether they will be around.

Unfortunately, many overlook how a company acts towards its customers, developers, and channel, leaving decision makers blindsided and projects in limbo.

The Face of a Predator

Like the twist villain, the true face never shows until later in the story. In Toy Story 3, Lotso was simply a soft and soft-spoken bear who managed the toys at the daycare—until the truth was revealed that he had a dictatorial rule over the toys. Much like his backstory, your vendor may appear friendly, but deeply rooted in the company culture is a dark truth.

Techventive notes that you should look at the following four areas and ask whether the following are true:

  • Pricing Problems: Is the vendor reluctant to discuss prices until late in the buying cycle? Are the prices only available after signing a non-disclosure agreement? Have customers reported that these prices change frequently—either in the form of insane discounts during the first year, price increases that exceed business growth, or pricing that never seems to come down even if it should?
  • Usage Audit Aggressiveness: Does your vendor aggressively audit its customers’ usage? Many do—and it’s not to protect themselves. In fact, one of the largest vendors has a separate sales unit whose only goal is to push additional products when they see infractions.
  • Contract Confusion: Contracts are essential to the purchase, but not every contract is created equal. Too often, a predatory vendors true colors shine when it’s time to sign—and you’re presented with a hundred-plus page contract rife with ambiguous terms and the right to change their end through unilateral updates.
  • A Legacy of Litigation: Contract lawyers know everything in their contract and put it there for a reason. If a vendor is writing a 100-page contract that is going to change constantly, it exists because of precedent and power. Many clauses were likely added after these companies were sued for their own failures and are used to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen again.

Looking at each of the above factors, how many of these are you going to see during the early phases of your selection process? One? You can look up court filings—if the lawsuit didn’t end up getting settled or dismissed in arbitration. The rest only come up after you’ve put hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars into the selection process.

How to Avoid Becoming Prey

The thing about predators? Their priority is their next meal. These are the kind of companies who want a short-term relationship with your company—but a long-term one with your checkbook. Partners, on the other hand, work hard to prove themselves to you day in and day out.

Whether it’s something as simple as providing transparent pricing in the early stages, writing a service-level agreement that puts customers in control, or has actively built a customer-focused culture, these companies talk the talk and walk the walk.

Acumatica and CCS: Your Partners for the Long Road Ahead

Surprises are great in movies. Conflict is a necessary plot driver, and you pay to see a hero triumph over adversity.

But these are the last things you need in an ERP implementation project. Surprises turn into missed deadlines, cost overruns, and poor performance. Conflict often results in legally binding decisions, and the implementation process itself already gives you enough adversity. An ERP decision is already an exciting time for your firm—you don’t need it to be any more intense than it already is.

If you’re seeking a vendor who walks the walk—and a channel partner who’s committed to delivering on their promises, look no further than Acumatica and CCS Technology Group. When you partner with Acumatica, you know what you’re going to get—it’s enshrined in their Customer Bill of Rights.

When you entrust CCS Technology Group to get you there, you can expect IT support that’s responsive, effective and convenient. After all, technology should make it easier to run your business. We believe in only making promises we can keep, building trust in every interaction, and consistently evolving to better serve you. It’s these core principles that have gotten us here, and these core principles that will help us last for decades to come.

We invite you to download the entire Partner or Predator report here, read about how Acumatica makes good on their promises by reading their Customer Bill of Rights, and get to know about other firms who have made the move.

Contact us to learn more or see a demo of Acumatica.

Freedom to Grow: How True Cloud Scalability Empowers Distributors

It’s hard to remain competitive in the distribution space. Whether you’re working to fend off the rise of Amazon’s recent B2B initiative or stand up to traditional competitors, your customers expect you to work faster, more accurately, and more effectively than ever to deliver their needs.

From Survivability to “Thriveability”

For many businesses, Spring 2020 was a nightmare, but as things slowly get back to normal, you’re coming close to a pivot—moving from survivability and stop loss to ‘thriveability’ and growth. Understandably, you’re not out of the woods—the lockdowns have changed customer expectations, reinforced Amazon’s brand, and likely resulted in shorter fuses for your customers.

That said, you might have big pants to fill, and meeting your customers’ needs may require you to grow into them. In the coming months and years, your ability to adapt to customer needs will likely require you to embrace a smarter system of growth.

Maybe you see an opportunity to acquire a competitor or distributor in a different market who was hit particularly hard in the last few months. Maybe you need to add a few new SKUs to meet the expectations of your customer base. Maybe you could buy up an empty facility to get closer to your customer base.

Learn more: How True Cloud Technologies Help Distributors Stay Future-Proof

Growing Needs for Growing Distributors

If you’ve been solvent over the past few months, you may have an opportunity to embrace cheap growth. But before you do, you need to ask yourself whether your people, processes, and systems are ready to handle this.

  • Say you’re adding a second, tenth, or fiftieth facility. Do you know how you’re going to route your orders?
  • Say you’re trying to embrace an ecommerce initiative, build up a customer portal, or start selling on a third-party marketplace. Do you have the visibility into each warehouse to provide customers with the exact information about each product?
  • Say your largest, make-or-break customer wants you to reduce shipping times. Can you route and fulfill orders fast enough to satisfy them?

Not only will this require you to bring on the people to do the job, you will also need to expand the processing power required to manage the data generated from this expansion. What will that take?

Technology Needs to Scale with You

Unfortunately, for those companies who do have the money and motive to pivot, they may end up running into problems in other areas, namely technology. For example, if you’ve been using a legacy system for a while, are you ready to buy ‘perpetual’ licenses and physical servers, train new employees on the limitations and nuances of the software, and run inventory for the additional warehouses or SKUs?

Too often, those with legacy software have more trouble getting their software up at a new location than they do securing property and setting up the warehouse space. If you’re outgrowing your distribution product, you may look to the cloud. Why? For one reason, scalability.

Scalability refers to a solution’s ability to handle tomorrow’s needs—when you need them. Unlike legacy (or fake cloud) products, true cloud scalability doesn’t require you to anticipate your needs, it simply ‘grows with you’, adding or removing capacity as needed.

Acumatica: The True Cloud Product for Tomorrow’s Distributor

From new locations to SKUs, you can’t let outdated technology stand in your way. Luckily, Cloud ERP delivers. Acumatica is a true cloud solution, ready to grow with you, deliver the insights you need, and evolve when you need it to.

Not only does it grow with you, it doesn’t rely on growth-crippling per-user pricing either. Acumatica bills strictly on resources used, allowing you to add new users, suppliers, or customers without hassle. Not only this, but its true cloud architecture helps you do so much more. “Like what?,” you may ask.

If you’re looking to know this, we invite you to download the free whitepaper titled  True Cloud vs. Fake Cloud: How Companies Can Tell the Difference in Distribution right now. It’s an invaluable resource for comparing your distribution management software options, including Acumatica Distribution Edition.

Acumatica and CCS: True Cloud Partners for Distribution Firms

If you’re looking for a flexible and powerful solution that doesn’t hinder your initiatives, it’s time to get rolling with Acumatica. Built in the cloud to deliver the adaptable, feature rich, and integrated enterprise resource planning software that streamlines your processes and facilitates your decisions, this solution is ready for the needs of distribution firms.

Get to know more about how this product has helped distributors like you by reading these case studies, reading 7 irresistible qualities of cloud ERP, and contacting leading Acumatica Partner CCS Technology for a consultation.

Additional Distribution Resources

4 Strategies for Smarter Inventory Control

Top Reasons for Installing a Warehouse Management System (WMS)

Recommendations for Selecting a Distribution ERP Solution

What is the Total Economic Impact of Your ERP?

Whether you’re moving on from accounting software or addressing the challenges presented by legacy ERP products, the move to a new software often represents a significant investment. But like any investment, the decision is one that is meant to create value—no different than moving to a new facility, buying a fleet of vehicles that deliver better fuel economy, or introducing a new product line.

It Pays to Analyze the Big Picture of Your Investment

Understandably, an investment needs to be justified. A new facility in a higher-taxed jurisdiction could expose you to unnecessary damage to your margins. Higher insurance or maintenance costs could override any fuel savings. Your new product might not work for your customers, and your ERP implementation project could fail to deliver the benefits you need.

Balancing risks, costs, and potential benefits is a major part of any business decision, and to help companies in need of advice, leading analyst firm Forrester Research recently took a different look at measuring the value of ERP. From the report,

“To better understand the benefits, costs, and risks associated with this investment, Forrester interviewed four Acumatica customers with various before states. Some interviewed customers had legacy on-premises ERP solutions that had outlived their usefulness. Some organizations often ran numerous (or dozens in one case) of instances of various ERP solutions. Integration, management, and upgrades were labor-intensive and time-consuming. Other organizations had no ERP solution at all, relying on a mishmash of disparate solutions to run their businesses. Each of the interviewed customers recognized that they needed to overhaul their environment to drive growth and reduce costs.”

In turn, the firm used the interviews to look at the potential financial impact of Acumatica on their organizations

Total Economic Impact: A Broader Look at Return on Investment

While the concept of Return on Investment has long been part of an ERP analysis, and still delivers a direct understanding of the potential value of a project, better metrics and a broader understanding of ERP has led to a broader understanding of ROI.

What is the Total Economic Impact Framework?

This framework, called Total Economic Impact, seeks to identify the cost, benefit, flexibility, and risk factors that affect the investment decision, noting,

“The TEI methodology helps companies demonstrate, justify, and realize the tangible value of IT initiatives to both senior management and other key business stakeholders.”

Four Pillars of TEI

This approach accounts for the following:

  • Benefits represent the value delivered to the business by the product. The TEI methodology places equal weight on the measure of benefits and the measure of costs, allowing for a full examination of the effect of the technology on the entire organization.
  • Costs consider all expenses necessary to deliver the proposed value, or benefits, of the product. The cost category within TEI captures incremental costs over the existing environment for ongoing costs associated with the solution.
  • Flexibility represents the strategic value that can be obtained for some future additional investment building on top of the initial investment already made. Having the ability to capture that benefit has a PV that can be estimated.
  • Risks measure the uncertainty of benefit and cost estimates given: 1) the likelihood that estimates will meet original projections and 2) the likelihood that estimates will be tracked over time. TEI risk factors are based on “triangular distribution.”

Combining customer interviews, analysis, and interviews with Acumatica stakeholders, Forrester was able to create a composite organization based on characteristics of the interviewed organizations.

The Results: The Combined Experiences of Four Real-Life Customers

The composite organization is representative of the four organizations that Forrester interviewed, and it’s used to present the aggregate financial analysis used in the study.

So how did this composite organization fare? Though the report goes into much greater detail on the path to purchase, the outcomes, and the benefits, Forrester found the composite organization was able to:

  • Increase their gross margins for gains of $1.3 million.
  • Reallocate 50% of IT time, saving $614,300.
  • Increase sales volume by 15%, boosting revenue by $471,700.
  • Eliminate legacy licensing costs for savings of $464,300.
  • Enhance operational efficiency by 45% for a $309,600 savings in labor costs.

Get the Entire Report and Get to Know TEI

If you’re looking to understand just how much of an impact Acumatica can have on your business, the entire report offers much more detail, exploring every single moving part that goes into the numbers. The Total Economic Impact™ Of Acumatica: Cost Savings And Business Benefits Enabled By Acumatica provides nearly 30 pages of insights and analysis, discussing how Acumatica Cloud ERP equips organizations with the tools they need to succeed in today’s rapidly changing atmosphere.

The Right Solution Starts with the Right Partner: CCS Technology

One of the hardest parts of an ERP decision is not just the solution, but the partner who gets you there. The wrong ERP partner can derail even the best ERP for you, so it pays to work with someone who has been there, done that, and can get you where you need to be.

With centuries of combined experience, the CCS team has led software projects of all sizes and has the skills to deliver for you. Get to know more about our process, our skills, and our team, and when you’re ready to get started, reach out.

Additional Resources

Getting More from ERP: New Gartner Report Predicts Push Toward Enterprise Business Capabilities

ERP Evaluation Checklist: 5 Important Things to Consider

Why Growing Companies Need ERP Software

Four Reasons Leading Analyst Mint Jutras Believes Acumatica is Primed for Unprecedented Growth

What makes an ERP solution better than the rest? It’s a question that many companies hope to answer but few realize. From personalization to pricing to partnership, so many things go into an ERP decision, and selecting the right one can be the line between easy growth and painful progression.

One of many ways to compare this is to look at how fast the company is growing to see if other businesses like yours have embraced the solution. But the term fastest-growing is a misnomer, with little backing from companies who know the solution best. But a recent report from leading Analyst Firm Mint Jutras has a few things to say about their beliefs about one such solution, Acumatica.

Customer Friendliness

One of the most important reasons that Acumatica has and will continue to grow is that the company is known as one who treats customers right. Something discussed in many other reports including the Emotional Footprint Buyer’s Guide from Info-Tech and the Nucleus Research Value Matrix, Acumatica is among the most highly rated when it comes to satisfaction.

This comes down to the company’s willingness to not only talk a big game, but walk the walk when they say that they are customer-first. How? Through the Acumatica Customer Bill of Rights—a no jargon, no malarkey way of telling customers exactly what they’re entitled to when they choose the software.

Acumatica customers have a right to:

  • A readily comprehensible and unchanging SaaS end-user license agreement
  • A flexible, open platform for rapid integrations
  • Consumption-based licensing that does not inhibit business growth
  • Sustainable pricing with annual increases of no more than 3% when needed
  • ERP implementations without hidden fees
  • Deployment flexibility
  • Access to THEIR data, anytime
  • Consistent, 24/7 customer service
  • Local channel expertise
  • 5% uptime

Built on Innovation

Paired with the focus on the customers, Acumatica has been able to deliver innovation—not only through its own team but through its vast network of partners. Part of its 100% channel model, Acumatica’s staff is there for two reasons: to build a better product and support it. In this, nearly three quarters of its staff is focused on research and development, meaning the company can stay more agile than competitors and deliver innovation its customers need.

But Acumatica goes further. With no sales staff of their own, the goal of the company is to empower partners. This means that partners have more flexibility to create products to enhance the ERP.

Mint Jutras notes,

“While many software vendors, even those that have modernized development platforms, might pay lip service to encouraging partners to fill gaps in functionality and extend their solutions into new verticals, these kinds of fees often present an economic barrier to executing on that strategy.

Not only does Acumatica make its platform available to all, with no added fees, it also hosts an online Marketplace in which viable, certified extensions can be showcased and purchased.”

Priced for Growth

An ERP vendor can’t grow if it doesn’t deliver for customers, and the easiest way to grow is to help customers grow alongside them. Not only is Acumatica a scalable solution that makes life easier for companies who choose the solution, it facilitates growth as well. As noted:

“Most other ERP vendors price based on number of users. Per-user licensing is very common, both in the traditional on-premise and the SaaS worlds and anywhere in between. But it can also raise some barriers to growth. As you add more employees or you expand your implementation to a new department or function within your organization, the user count goes up, and so does the cost.

Acumatica is different. Its price is based on the computing resources you use, not on the number of users. Need a price? Just answer a few questions including, “What applications do you want to start using now?,” “What type of license are you considering: SaaS Subscription, Private Cloud Subscription, or Private Perpetual License?,” and “What is your projected level of consumption based on the volume of your business transactions and data storage?”

This unlimited user model means that everyone from the occasional report reader to the power user can have an account—all without scaling up costs.

Designed for Usability

Products need to be functional, well-supported, and usable. While the first two were discussed above, the last of these three concepts is often overlooked. Without usability, customers will be spending a lot of time talking with support to get the functionality. Especially in today’s world where more people need to use ERP, learning curves can’t be steep.

Acumatica has flattened the curve, delivering easy-to-use functionality that encourages growth and collaboration. Acumatica 2020 R1 strives to improve navigation, business intelligence, and import processing. This is a collection of seemingly “little things” that make a huge difference in the day-to-day use of Acumatica, plugging typical leaks in productivity.

From dashboards to easier uploads, usability continues to be a core focus of the provider, and they deliver with ease.

Get to Know More: Free Report Dives Deeper

As the growth of ERP continues and more cloud vendors get into the game, read this report to find out what separates the leaders from the also-rans. The Mint Jutras report, Innovation Fuels Acumatica’s Accelerated Growth, explores a variety of reasons that the analyst firm backs the product, including:

  • Why Acumatica’s “100% channel” sales strategy is driving growth.
  • How Acumatica’s flexible development platform gives you a cost-effective way to customize.
  • What Acumatica’s unique pricing policy can mean for your bottom line.
  • How Acumatica’s platform enables continuous innovation that gets passed along to customers twice a year.
  • Which powerful new features to look out for in Acumatica 2020 R1.

Download it here.

Acumatica and CCS: True Cloud Partners

If you’re looking for a flexible and powerful solution that doesn’t hinder your initiatives, it’s time to get rolling with Acumatica. Built in the cloud to deliver the adaptable, feature rich, and integrated enterprise resource planning software that streamlines your processes and facilitates your decisions, this solution is ready for the needs of distribution firms.

Get to know more about how this product has helped distributors like you by reading these case studies, reading 7 irresistible qualities of cloud ERP, and contacting leading Acumatica Partner CCS Technology for a consultation.

Additional Resources

Getting More from ERP: New Gartner Report Predicts Push Toward Enterprise Business Capabilities

ERP Evaluation Checklist: 5 Important Things to Consider

Compare the Top 14 Cloud ERP Solutions