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6 Benefits of the Cloud for your Business

One of the most rapidly emerging technologies in the past years, and especially 2017 is making use of cloud computing. Cloud applications are advancing in providing various services, and creating a secure, scalable and facile environment for business owners. In this article, we want to see the benefits of the cloud and how you can make use of it in your business.

Benefits of the Cloud: What is Cloud?

In order to see the benefits of the cloud, we first need to learn the term. In simple words, cloud computing means making use of hosted services over the internet. The “cloud” is the internet, and cloud computing is making use of the services provided over the internet.

So why is it so important and listed as one of the emerging techs in 2017? Of course, because of the changes it will make to our lives in business. Below are benefits of the cloud that will affect your business life.

Self-Managed and Automatic Updates

Cloud services are self-managed, which is one of the best benefits of the cloud. You don’t need to have a separate IT guy to manage your dedicated or VPS server, or shared hosting, and you don’t need to install hardware and other software and integrations. In contrary to non-cloud services, you don’t even have to worry about software updates. For example, just recently Twitter had an interface update. Since it’s a cloud platform, you just logged in one morning and voila, your account was updated. No need for installation of new software. You have probably noticed the same on LinkedIn or in other Cloud services.

Capacity Unlimited

Another of the benefits of the cloud is that the size you need for your resources are tailored for you. You will be using a shared space so you don’t need to worry about running out of space and you can basically use an infinite amount of space. For example, I don’t ever recall worrying about my Gmail inbox and it running out of space. The same goes for other cloud services. Such as Salesforce, where each account has its own space and size, and you basically have infinite capacity and resources.

Accessible Anywhere with Anything

This benefit is one of my favorites. I remember a time where I was in charge of setting up a management system software. One of the challenges I had to conquer was the type of computer and its features, the software to be used and installed, the infrastructure of the office and then what if an update came? Oh, that was the worst part. An obvious benefit of the cloud is, whether you’re on your PC, Mac, tablet, or smartphone, you can have instant access to your account. No need of anything except an internet connection.

Reduction in Costs in the Long Run

The cost-effective factor is very important for businesses, especially those trying to invest and plan out their future strategies. Using cloud services, you have the benefit of removing extra expenses such as hardware updates, software updated, maintenance updates and much more. So even though most cloud services have a monthly or annual subscription fee, you will benefit in the long run in terms of the time, energy and money you put in (and ROI you get back).

Fast Implementation and Scalability

Most companies like the fast startup of cloud services as one of the best benefits of the cloud. In cloud setup and implementation, the platform is ready to use, and you usually just have to sign up, and there is no need for complex server setups by your specially trained IT guys. Right from the start, you can setup your cloud-based applications as well. I’ve seen the cloud option in many applications, from Salesforce Products to Odoo ERP to Bitrix24 and many other cloud services.

Better Security

Here’s the best part. No need to worry about your backups and security. Another benefit of the cloud is how you can free your mind on the what if’s of if your laptops and network experience a security breach. Most cloud applications have layers of security so bad experience with a hardware or software issue in your office won’t affect your data stored in the cloud. What if all your sensitive data was on a hard disk and prone to damage? What if your laptop is stolen or lost? With your data safe in cloud servers, you can be sure that your company data is secure and non-dependent on a specific machine.

Wrapping Up, see who’s using it

So you can see that Cloud Computing and cloud services are rising and you need to learn how the benefits of the cloud can change your life and business. As indicated here, cloud providers like Amazon, Salesforce and Google now dominate a large part of our life and are emerging to higher profits as most businesses are migrating to the cloud.

Just to get familiar with the most important companies in cloud computing, you can check out this interesting article in Business Insider but Amazon is ranking #1, with Rackspace, Microsoft, and Google right behind.

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ERP Misconceptions: To Implement or Not To Implement

When it comes to ERP implementation, many businesses have a fear on the general scope and don’t know how to overcome this fear. Most of the fear comes from ambiguities they have in the process or the scope in terms of time and energy. What they don’t consider is what they are losing by not implementing an ERP and moving forward in business without one. If you’re a startup, not building your business on strong foundations will cause controversy and unstable grounds in your future strategy. If you’re a business with experience but looking to improve your system, every minute you lose in strengthening your workflow is a score point to your competitors. So no matter what type of business you are, whatever industry, whatever experience, it’s a big ERP misconception if you’re not overcoming your fear to implement. See the answers to some of the most common ERP misconceptions.

ERP Misconceptions: It costs too much

Many business stop at ERP implementation when they see the costs of a full system or just user license fees. What they don’t consider is that ERP implementation is a way of thinking and operating your business. If you want to progress and have a leading strategy, you need to invest in your future. Besides all this, there are many cost-effective and affordable ERP solutions, especially for startups. So don’t let it get to you and ERP costs are sometimes the biggest ERP misconceptions, and you can plan carefully and phase by phase to reduce costs but get a return on your investment.

No help in my ROI

Like I said before, an ERP implementation is a state of mind and way of thinking in your business. If you have all your real data recorded in your ERP system, you’ll be able to analyze your business results properly. For example you can see what time of the year you had the most sales, what product/service had the most income for you, which employee had the most conversions, you expense and your real-time balance sheet and P & L statement. So it’s a big ERP misconception to think your ERP isn’t helping your ROI because the mere fact that you have an ERP and are recording your cash-in and cash-out will help you in your analytics and sales strategy.

Staff don’t get used to it

One of the things that burdens on managements’ minds as a large ERP misconception is the ability to setup and train their staff to use the ERP. Many employees prefer to use a system they’re comfortable with and if there’s a lack of training and practice in the ERP system, they will refrain from using it. Also, if the processes they take in real life is not defined properly in the ERP system, it will also cause them to deviate from this path. So it’s actually an ERP misconception to say “staff don’t get used to it” and it will depend on you and how you define your workflow, and teach and guide your staff to enter their real-time data and keep track in the ERP.

My manual system is easier

Now this one is a deep fatal ERP misconception and don’t let it fool you. Honestly, I’ve seen people who prefer a manual system or Excel-based system even after the light shines on them and they see what an ERP can do for them. So what makes them say this? Easy, it’s hard to step out of your comfort zone and the human being resists change at first, but face it, if you want your business to survive, you have to embrace it and you will be surprised to see what difference it will make in you and your future strategy. Once you put one tiny step outside the boundaries of your comfort zone you will see the new possibilities and vast opportunities that were at your fingertips but you were too afraid to take them and risk on it.

Bottom line

Bottom line is, we’re in 2017. The world is revolutionizing. Businesses that aren’t digitalized will fail. Digitizing your business = having an online management system = ERP.

Not getting digitized due to ERP misconceptions = fatal mistake in 2017.

And no, having an ERP does NOT need to be limited to costs and budget and training and lack of tech resources. Just go for the change in your business, and don’t worry, what you seek is what you’ll find.

Follow Nadia Kamil on Twitter.
erp misconceptions - seeker is the finder

 

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5 Success Factors for your Business Startup

In the digital transformation era, many business startups strive to find a place in the ever-growing market. Before, I’ve mentioned what you need to do to prevent failure in your business, but today, we’ll discuss what the key success factors sum up to in a business startup. According to business startup statistics, there is no elevator to success and you have to take the stairs. It needs delicate planning, hard-worked for efforts, summing it up, failure, and getting up and trying again. So, to help those on the start line, I’ve mentioned a couple of success factors for business startups:

1: Start the Idea, Go Phase by Phase

Your business startup might be a new innovative idea, or it might be something inspired by another business. Whichever the idea, you can help build it by detailing it out, breaking it into phases, and setting timelines and dates on it. Your success factor won’t depend on the strength of your idea or the originality of it, but it WILL depend on how you plan it out, execute it and persist on it.

 2: Determine your Business and Growth Strategy Success Factors

One of the most important success factors in business startups is your strategy. You have to know who your target customers are, their region, age group, lifestyles and so on. Moreover, what sets you ahead of your competitors and makes the difference? These are questions you have to first ask yourself to be able to determine your strategy. You will then need to work with statistics and set your goals, how many leads you plan to hit on the first week, your conversions, sales, and your growth rate percentage. According to this article, 90% of startups failed just because they made a product no one wanted. So first, plan and set out to determine all the aspects of your business strategy.

3: Training and Acquiring Skills

In today’s business, people love to work for what they do, and startups encouraging development of the skills and knowledge of their employees have the highest success factor rate. Your staff need direction and organization but you should always give room for growth  in their skills and provide the necessary resources for self-training or occasional training sessions to keep everyone in line.

4: Capital and Equity Success Factors

Everyone knows, in order to start a business you need a base capital source. Maybe you have an external investor, or have crowd funded your initial equity but be careful in your starting steps. From the very start, you should consider an accountant as your CFO to control the cash-in and cash-out flows, and be able to calculate the final ROI. Needless to mention, an ERP application to manage your accounts is one of the most vital success factors.

5: Organize, Manage, Grow with an All-in-One

Last but not least, face it, you’re in 2017. EVERYTHING is digital. Manual tracking of your sales, accounts, and purchases is out of date. Controlling your leads, market, quotes is essential to be in line with your social media and marketing tactics. You need an All-in-One application, to manage all your departments separately, release energy of yourself and your employees by automating your system (instead of tedious manual work, which always ends up wrong), an overview to measure and manage your growth. Trust me, you might think, ok I need to get started a bit, but as the famous quote says “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”…

Here are some real statistics form 2016 on how an ERP can affect your business and lead to success so even if you scroll and look at a few of the numbers, you’ll get the idea.

Bottom Line

There are much more success factors in a business setup than listed here and if you have a will to realize your dream, you are bound to do it for sure. As a word of advice, see and read on what others have gone through and what roads have been paved. Be in line with technology and use what it offers to push yourself forward and up the ladder of success.

Follow Nadia Kamil on Twitter 
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Don’t start with Salesforce CRM without a clear plan

A key success factor for any Salesforce CRM or sales force automation (SFA) project is making sure to plan out the project ahead of time.

Just like you wouldn’t build a house without a blueprint, you don’t want to start with Salesforce CRM without a plan. A plan will help you communicate with everyone, to do things in the right order, identify key resources, and know when you’re done.

As you plan and prepare to get Salesforce CRM up and running, complete the following steps (in order):

1.Build your team

2.Define and prioritize your goals

3.Define your process

4.Map your process to Salesforce CRM functionality

5.Define the fields you need

6.Define the reports you need

7.Train your administrator

8.Communicate with your users

if you need assistance to plan out your CRM strategy, feel free to get in touch with Comelite IT Solutions or write a comment.

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6 Reasons Why NGOs Love Salesforce?

1- To have a unified view anytime

Imagine a unified view of every interaction with clients, supporters, members, founders, volunteers and affiliates have with your organization. Salesforce for Nonprofits is the set of end-to-end solutions any nonprofit needs to become a connected nonprofit. Built for the social and mobile era, Salesforce for Nonprofits will connect your entire nonprofit— your partners, supporters, employees, and programs— so you can, deliver better programs and services, engage and strengthen your community, communicate more effectively, and raise more resources.

2- Raise More Resources

Break down the silos and empower your entire nonprofit to make a case for giving with a complete picture of your donors, volunteers, members and other constituents in one place.

3- Communicate More Effectively

The rise of social and mobile technology means there are more ways than ever to connect with the people who matter to your organization. Whether you’re engaging a new prospect or spreading the word about your cause, delivering the message to the right person at the right time can amplify your impact.

4- Engage and Strengthen Your Community

Today’s constituents want to be part of the solution. Nourish that desire through internal and external communities that tap the expertise of your entire ecosystem and amplify your impact. Collaborate in real time to create alignment, find and share information, and streamline resolutions.

5- Deliver Better Programs and Services

Providing excellent programs and services can be stymied by cumbersome manual processes. Quickly build or install social and mobile custom apps to manage your programs, so you can spend less time on administration and more time delivery quality service.

6- Instant Insight Across Your Nonprofit

Turn your nonprofit’s big data into big impact. We have reinvented analytic for social impact with Salesforce Wave Analytic. Go beyond reports and dashboards – dynamically drill into data to identify opportunities and make better decisions. Wave Analytic is a cloud-based platform designed for any member of your team to get instant insights on any device.

By Sandra Rendel , Project Manager & Salesforce Consultant at Comelite IT Solutions

Need more information about Salesforce CRM? Contact us today!

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What is Business Automation?

In the era of communication, we find ourselves overwhelmed with all sorts of technology to automate our daily tasks. From apps to install on our smartphone to organize our schedule, to software to install on our desktop computers to help a workflow, to websites and portals for our daily shopping, business needs and tracking, let alone digital devices allowing our lives to be connected to the internet (IoT), like smartwatches to digital machines, and more.

So how can we make the best of the advantages our epoch provides for our business?

  • Whether you’re in retail, manufacturing, or a service providing business, an ERP is VITAL for your business. Otherwise, you will find yourself attending to administration and control more than running your actual business, improving your sales, and flourishing your future strategy.
  • Don’t think of business automation as just taking the same papers and converting them to Word and PDF docs. Business automation means to create the process which will define your business flows. Make your work streamlined and integrated, error-proof, saving energy and ensuring overall efficiency.
  • An automated system will allow you to integrate your business flow, whether it’s from lead management to sales, to accounting, procurement, and the constant flow. So you can tailor your application to suit the exact standard flow of your business. This way you will resolve communication issues, unnecessary follow ups, and increase productivity of your employees.
  • The heart of all businesses is equal to their assets. Business automation can easily make sure you have full control of your cash, fixed assets, transactions, and all your financial needs. Instead of spending time to track expenses, receipts, budgets and more, you can use a business automation software and daily control the cash in and out of your company.
  • If you define your workflows within the system, you will make sure your departments will be working together seamlessly, and approval systems can be defined to guarantee workflow systems. This way instead on administrative tasks, your employees can focus on customer services.

These are just a few of the best you can make of the technologies available today. To elaborate on the advantages that a management system can provide for you, whether it’s a strong CRM system like Salesforce, a collaboration system like Bitrix24 or a fully integrated ERP like Odoo, will be in our next articles.

Whether you’re a startup or an ancient running business, you need to get automated if you want to stay in business. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself piled up with administrative and financial tasks, unnecessary expenses, uncontrolled services and much more.

By Nadia Kamil , Technical & Project Manager at Comelite IT Solutions

7 Things to Consider in an ERP Setup

An ERP setup can lead you to success if you take the right steps, but what if it’s your first time? If it’s your first, then it might be hard and troubling for you, and a cause for your frustration.

So in a few short steps, you can check out how to prevent future pains and use the paved path taken by those before you:

  • Get to know your own system

Basically, you should know your departments, the process each one takes, their relations to one another, who has to approve what, and a step by step workflow of your business.

  • List out your current problems and future goals

By knowing your current problems, you can get focused on your goals. Also this will help you narrow out what solution you want, how many users will need to use the system, how detailed you want your system to be, and so on.

  • Budget

When you want to start this project, first plan out your budget. You will need to consider a budget for the implementation, hosting, future maintenance, training and so on. Also, since this will be a reflection of your real life business, you should consider an ongoing budget for future changes, until your solution reaches a stable point.

  • POC in charge

As an ERP setup is a minimum 2-3 month project, you should always consider a POC to take over and take all issues in hand. This golden guy should be completely aware of your business workflow, processes, departments, and should have the authority to make decisions to form your future management system application.

  • Staff Training

This part is tricky as a lot of people are grudging when it comes to change, especially in their methods of work. You should practice easy and simple training methods to get your staff going in the new software. This could be webinars, documents, or the best: hands-on sessions where they can access a test system and work with different scenarios.

  • Data Migration

Data Migration is a necessary step in ERP implementation but in order to save time and energy, you should first analyze how much of the current data is required and mandatory to move into the new system. For example maybe it’s best to leave out the previous year’s finance transactions and sales orders, and include your new info. Or changing your coding systems of your customers or products, get this stable and setup at the beginning, or even your categorization. So, bottom line is, think about the data you have and how much you want to preserve and what to change from the very beginning.

  • Go Live

The timing to go live is also very important. You should start going live with minimum preparations and continue to build the info and data as you move along. Just get your basic data transferred, then start the system. Also remember to count the first few months of the ERP system as your testing the system time, since the best testers of your system are your current users. You should have checkpoints on when to go live after your data is setup.

In conclusion, setting up an ERP is essential for your business strategy, but as said here, in brief, you should plan out accordingly and consider every step of the way to reach success.

By Nadia Kamil, Technical & Project Manager at Comelite IT Solutions

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6 Benefits of an ERP for Retail

Do you know that over retails is one of the biggest and profitable industries in the world? Just in the US alone, 30% of annual sales come from retail. So, what is “retail”?

Here’s a simple definition: retail is the act of selling goods or services to customers. So if you’re selling products and services, surely you have customers. Then you must have an inventory or warehouse for your goods, and if you’re providing services, or doing shipping, then you have expenses….So let’s see, if you’re in retail, and you’re dealing with all these aspects, then how are you managing them?

Well, first of all you need to get an ERP for your business. Whether a small application or an enterprise one, you need to set the foundations of order and organized work in your business. Now an ERP for a retail business has a lot of benefits but today we will name a few:

1.   Real-Time info:

When you have an integrated ERP system, you can always keep track of your financial status, sales, orders, etc. You can even integrate a POS system to have a seamless solution. Also, you can always keep your stock accurate by keeping it up to date with real pricing and procurement info.

2.   Increased Productivity and Operational Efficiency

With all your info in place, you can save the energy of putting time to count stock, to check for misplaced info and miscalculations, and thus put energy on providing solutions for better presenting your goods, advertisement, and serving clients. Customers appreciate fast working retail businesses and will always remember good services, resulting in their loyalty to your business over time.

3.   Finance Management

If you’re dealing with cash-in and cash-out, then you will need to track every finance transaction. So don’t lay off your financial tasks for the end of the month. With an ERP, you can manage your General Ledger, Chart of Accounts, Balances, Profits & Loss by the day and by the hour. Because everything will be automated. So if you were thinking of hiring an accountant to sort everything out for you at the end of the month, or if your accountants are already spending tons of hours to settle the month, then you should consider an ERP, with an accounting module that will get the heartbeat going in your business.

4.   Boost in your Procurement flow

With an ERP, you can always control your minimum stock quantity, when you have to send your POs and RFQs, and compare your suppliers’ prices, and be in control. With overview and summarizing reports, you can see when each product was sold, to which customers, your shipping expenses, your supplier’s info and so on. So when you take control of your main source, you can serve better, and make more ROI.

5.   POS

Most ERPs, integrate seamlessly with a POS system. This will allow you the accuracy of having your stock and transactions updated by the order. Nowadays, it’s best to have a seamless solution integrating all aspects of your business, then stitching together different applications. If the computer automates it for you, then you should put your valuable time and energy on more complex strategic tasks.

6.   Reports

One of the best aspects of an ERP is its reporting system. This is what allows management to get control of all departments. From Sales, to Marketing, to Purchases and more. You can do analytics, make strategic decisions such as what product to buy at what time of the year, what goods to invest on and so on. You can always know your profit and loss, and your company balance will be at your fingertips.

Conclusion

To make a long story short, an ERP for Retail equals a boost in your ROI, employee productivity, and basically, success in your business. Don’t get struck down by the challenges to pave the path. Where there is a will, there is a way, and you can get your business automated in no time, and use the tools of technology to pave the way to success.

By Nadia Kamil, Technical & Project Manager at Comelite IT Solutions

The Benefits of ERP [Infographic]

There are many benefits to deploying an ERP solution for your business, especially in the budget, time and staffing sector. Mistakes are reduced, risks are mitigated, and you can more reliably forecast sales, costs.

Here are some of the top advantages to expect from ERP. Read more

5 signs you should start thinking about getting an ERP

Is reconciling financials becoming a more daunting task with each passing month? Are you using guesswork rather than actual solid figures for your sales forecasts? Is keeping up with your order volume becoming more troublesome? And are you faltering with customer satisfaction as a result? Are you lost in figuring out the actual amount of your warehouse inventory, and is it becoming a dire task to find out? If your answers for your business are yes, or somewhere near a yes, you should consider launching an ERP system for your company? Read more