Many accountants have relied solely or partially on Microsoft Excel to assist in their role for decades, leading many firms to ask when the next legacy solution will arrive.
Enter Microsoft Dynamics.
Over the past couple of years, Microsoft has shifted their focus to collaboration and have invested in new ways of working through Office 365. D365 Business Central is part of a wider product line of enterprise applications that all work together including applications focusing on sales, marketing, service, operations and CRM. D365 Business Central is the successor product for Microsoft NAV.
As D365 Business Central is still a relatively new offering in terms of ERP (enterprise resource planning) solutions Monpellier are here to clear up a few common misconceptions and equip you with the information you need to make an informed decision for your business.
Myth 1: ‘ERP solutions from Microsoft are far too expensive!’
A D365 Business Central licence is £52.80/user/month. A company with a financial director, controller, and management accountant would pay a little over £150/month for its ERP software.
Myth 2: ‘I will have to do a lot of work outside of D365 Business Central’
There’s a huge amount of connectivity with reporting tools like Power BI, which can be built directly into your ledgers. You can easily create bespoke reporting dashboards and have all of your valuable information at your fingertips.
Myth 3: ‘Extensive training to learn the new software will be needed’
D365 Business Central is a cloud ERP solution, meaning that delivery and installation is seamless giving users the ability to get up and going quickly. Furthermore, all applications are designed to work together and integrate with Office 365 creating a familiar layout for users.
Myth 4: ‘It won’t communicate with my emails’
If you get an email in Office 365 and use Business Central, there’s a direct interface that will recognise any email address affiliated with a customer or supplier. From there you can raise a sales quote or purchase order or invoice without having to leave your Outlook email inbox
Myth 5: ‘It’s just another accountancy package’
Like your Office 365 subscription, D365 Business Central runs on the Microsoft Common Data Service meaning that all your information is securely stored in the same place. This cloud-based storage option gives you the ability to supercharge your data by working seamlessly with Power Apps and Power Automate (previously known as Microsoft Flow).
D365 Business Central and Monpellier
Monpellier are experts in providing custom, integrated solutions and delivering first-class support across a wide range of areas. Grounded in technical expertise, the team is made up of professional financial accounting advisors and technology experts, who work together to advise, install and support the best business software on the market Give us a call on 01228 550 167 or email [email protected] for a free onsite consultation.
First published: In Cumbria Magazine’s January Issue, 2020.
Originally designed for the Microsoft Surface Pro the Whiteboard app became widely available earlier this year for web and within Microsoft Teams. You can now easily collaborate with people using Microsoft Whiteboard regardless of what device they’re using or if they have an app installed.
But what is the Microsoft Whiteboard App? Whiteboard is an interactive canvas jam-packed with intuitive features to help you visually communicate with others. It’s a fantastic tool for meetings and has the added ability to include remote team members, as it now works seamlessly with Microsoft Teams.
Save automatically – Your whiteboards are stored safely in the cloud until you’re ready to use them again. Gone are the days of taking pictures of whiteboards and flip charts following meetings, with the Whiteboard it’s all there ready without you even having to click save.
Share seamlessly – Microsoft has created several pre-designed templates for Whiteboard to help you mimic workplace scenarios such as brainstorms, project planning, sprint planning etc. More templates are being added each month so keep your eyes peeled for your new favourite.
Limit-free creation – Restrictions can block creativity. Whiteboard can transform your work into editable images, charts, flows, sticky notes and shapes on an interface designed for mouse, pen, touch or keyboard.
For more information on the Whiteboard and other applications within Office 365 give our team a call and make the most of your Office 365 subscription.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 is an application suite of ERP and CRM modules. This October saw the greatly anticipated Dynamics 365 Wave 2 release. The update gave users 400 new features and capabilities across Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform. This is one of Microsoft’s largest release waves to date and we wanted to highlight our favourite aspects that produce proactive insight and drive intelligent action.
Microsoft recorded their entire virtual launch event which you can watch by clicking the LINK.
If you’re interested in what Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 can do for your business, Monpellier can help. We are offering free, personalised onsite consultations designed to showcase the areas that would work for your individual business. Call our experts today on 0191 500 8150 or drop us an email [email protected]
OneDrive is Microsoft’s storage service facility for hosting files in the cloud. Although you can sign up for OneDrive for free, you gain more as an Office 365 customer. OneDrive has been designed to provide a simple solution to store and share various types of documents and files.
If you need to share a file with confidential data for a fixed period of time you can create a shareable link that is constrained by a set expiry date and time that you’ve pre-set.
Want to share very sensitive data? Microsoft has added password functionality so that the data you share has another layer of security.
By using the OneDrive app you can scan, save and share documents that you can snap straight from your camera phone. It also lets you save these images as PDFs or directly into other applications such as OneNote.
OneDrive gives you the option to make folders offline so that you can work on the go without an internet connection and back-up to the cloud once you’re back in the office.
Whilst it’s important to make sure you are always working on the most up-to-date version of any document it’s also beneficial to refer back to older versions. OneDrive lets you look back at previous versions of each document to make sure no vital information is lost.
We are all guilty of clogging up our inboxes with emails that on their own are useless but they have an attachment we want to keep. OneDrive lets you save these attachments straight to your chosen folder on OneDrive so that your Inbox stays clean and you don’t misplace important documents.
Are you interested in what Microsoft’s Office 365 Apps can do for your business? OneDrive is but a drop in the ocean when it comes to the capabilities provided by the Office 365 suite. If you are interested in finding out more and how they can integrate into your business give us a call today to arrange your free onsite consultation.
Imagine climbing out of bed before dawn but instead of pulling on your boots and heading into the cold you simply check your PC for any urgent updates on your livestock or crops? This vision is a reality for many working in agriculture thanks to the power of AI the IoT.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) revolves around the simulation of intelligent behaviours in machines of all kinds. For example, a drone using a robotic lens examining the yellow flower of a tomato seedling to estimate the time it will take to become ripe, picked, packed and distributed. In comparison, the Internet of Things (IoT) is all about helping farmers reduce waste and enhance productivity by using connecting machines to gather data.
Technology is constantly evolving and changing the agricultural industry in many ways from driverless tractors, drones, automated irrigation systems and crop health monitoring. Companies such as Microsoft have invested millions into partnerships and sustainable AI and IoT projects to help farmers maximise their profits. And they are not the only ones focusing on smart technology; many companies have developed solutions that work in harmony with Microsoft to combat the coming demand for increased production. The UN predicts the world’s population will reach 10 billion by 2050 which is a massive 2.5billion increase from 1970.
As useful as it is to read about the coming technological advances businesses in the North West can often feel forgotten and wondering how and what is available right now. The Azure solution from Microsoft gives you the perfect future-proof foundation to get started with AI and IoT. Azure is an ever-expanding set of cloud services with over 100 services and end-to-end tools that are designed to meet your exacting needs. Here are some examples of revolutionary solutions that work seamlessly with Microsoft.
SCR Dairy: Cow-monitoring system that gives farmers insight into milk production, the calving process and ensures healthier cows
GrassSat: Subscription service that gives online daily updates on grass cover and clear and actionable visualised maps and charts
Whether you’re ready to dive headfirst into AI or just need a knowledgeable partner to help you maximise your existing solution Monpellier can help. Based in Cumbria and the North East Monpellier provide support and solutions across a wide range of areas from accounting & payroll to CRM and EPOS. Give us a call on 01228 550 167 or email [email protected] to start farming for the future, today.
First published: In Cumbria Magazine’s August’s 2019 issue.
Another tool within Office 365’s robust suite of services is the popular Microsoft Teams. Teams is a chat-based collaboration tool released by Microsoft in 2017. Although the tool is still somewhat ‘new’ to the market it has flattened the competitors and is now leading the space with the highest number of raw-user.
Microsoft Teams gives you and your team the space to collaborate, creating a shared work-space where you can chat, meet, share files and work with business apps.
The question is how does Teams help your business and which of its features would you find useful? We have pulled together our favourite features that our clients love for you to better understand if Teams is the right choice for your organisation.
Microsoft Teams really shines when it comes to meeting functionality. Teams gives you the ability to host audio, video and web conferences with anyone inside your company or an external third party.
Features like scheduling assistance, note-taking, desktop sharing, uploading files, and chat messaging really highlights that Microsoft are focusing on making Teams the best-in-class tool for collaboration. Microsoft have announced Skype’s end-of-life date for July 2021 so for those that predominantly use this for their business conferencing needs it may be worth looking at making the switch to Teams.
In addition to its regular meeting features Microsoft Teams also has the capability to host live large meetings and events. For example, if you needed, with Teams’ help you could give a virtual presentation to up to 10,000 attendees!
The phone system within Microsoft Teams has PBX (Private Branch Exchange) capabilities and can even replace your on-premise PBX. Specialist calling features allows you to create call groups so that a specific colleague can answer your calls and gives you the ability to create and configure shared numbers.
First-line employees are often mobile, Microsoft Teams gives you access to training materials, handbooks, policies and on-demand video content via a mobile device. Compatibility with apps such as ‘Shifts’ creates seamless integration with your workforce management system.
Microsoft Teams was designed with your organisation’s advanced security needs in mind. Admin functionality grants you the ability to make granular changes and includes capabilities such as; data loss prevention, information barriers, retention policies, eDiscovery, legal hold, and more.
If your business is ready to make the switch to Microsoft Teams, Monpellier are here to help. Monpellier are a trusted Microsoft partner specialising in providing an end-to-end solution and support. If you would like more information on Teams or any of Microsoft’s products, give our team a call on 0191 500 8150.
It’s hard to avoid a mention of SharePoint these days with many productivity experts hailing it as a must-have collaboration tool. But what exactly is SharePoint and how can it be used to help your business?
In very simple terms SharePoint is a web-based document management and collaboration tool. It works with Office 365 and has a core set of functionalities including; document storage, intranet capabilities, and organisation sharing.
Monpellier are a trusted Microsoft partner specialising in providing an end-to-end solution and support. If you would like more information on SharePoint or any other Microsoft products give our team a call on 0191 500 8150.
When used correctly, technology will enable any company, large or small, to reach their goals. Unfortunately, some businesses have had bad experiences with marketing automation tools early on. The wrong strategies and investments will only create problems for both sales and marketing.
To get things right from the start with this type of software, here are five of the most common marketing pitfalls to avoid.
Many executives make the mistake at focusing too much on technology pricing before considering long-term value. As a result of this, they allow for the unsupported implementation of poor-quality automation tools.
It’s important to do some serious research before selecting the first tool which will meet your budgeting expectations. Get everyone on board to choose the right tool without compromising too much on price.
You can and should always automate:
Did you know that you can even automate follow-up scheduling for sales representatives? On the flip side, try not to automate every communication channel. Your audience will soon begin to notice when communications are “canned”.
Make sure to balance automated activities with live interactions from staff members. Within your organisation, get every marketing, sales and customer success agent involved.
It’s essential to understand the connection between marketing and sales. The right combination will have you on your way to being able to fully capitalise on the automated marketing process.
If you don’t have proven methodology, automating the process won’t change the results. The lack of strategic focus can only highlight any existing dysfunction.
At the end of the day, marketing automation can only do so much. To really succeed, businesses should encourage marketing and sales team’s collaboration to generate qualified leads and then follow them through.
When it comes to the digital world, the lines between marketing and sales are still a little blurred. Professional collaboration can improve marketing tool utilisation which in turn drives revenue strings.
The right measurements can have a major impact on the efficiency of marketing automation. In terms of online engagement analytics, quality comes ahead of quantity. It’s essential to make sure your measurement tactics focus on consumers who are likely to convert rather than those who may be identified as low-quality leads.
Why not try targeting conversion pathways? This will provide the number of sales you generate from each marketing pathway. Stay clear of unhelpful benchmarks which will only have a detrimental effect on your business.
Make no mistake, marketing automation has the potential for success. When used correctly, it will keep your business moving forward. Get in touch with us today!
Power BI is Microsoft’s cloud-based business intelligence technology. It’s part of the Office 365 suite – a cloud-based suite of productivity applications. This particular Microsoft feature is a suite of business analytics tools which analyse data and share insights. The Power BI dashboard also provides a 360-degree view for business users helping to highlight metrics in one place.
Whether in cloud or on-premise, Power BI can be used to unify all of your organisation’s data. It will connect you to a wealth of Microsoft Azure services which you can use to power up your apps and data analysis beyond visualisation services like:
The power tools within this particular Microsoft application include:
Power BI can enable you to explore data in vivid new ways. From reports to graphs and charts, your data takes on an entirely new perspective. This will help you and your organisation make informed decisions, while at the same time monitoring your company’s growth.
Whether your data lives in a cloud service or on-premises, Power BI can connect, clean, shape, model and visualise live reports as well as dashboards. You can get started in minutes with Content Packs, reports for popular services including pre-built dashboards.
At the heart of Power BI, is data. This Microsoft cloud-based business intelligence technology brings all of your business intelligence together. It allows users to interact and visualise data in one place. What could be better than to analyse and share insights in real time? You’ll also have the ability to access your data at anytime and anywhere.
Your business has the ability to access data across all devices with:
With Power BI mobile apps, you can streamline your data and reports from anywhere in the world. Expect update changes to your dashboard to be processed automatically. By integrating Power BI into your organisation’s office tools, your data will be transformed to enable greater insights for quicker, more focused, informed decisions.
Cut down on operational time
It doesn’t matter whether your data comes from Excel spreadsheets, big data, the cloud or on-premises. Power BI will allow you to connect with all of your current data sources in one centralised location. As Power BI is shifted to a cloud-base and stand-alone framework, it’s easily integrated with existing data such as that found in SQL Server cubes.
Businesses can now access and gain insights from existing data without the need to have to move this data. This concept cuts down on operational time while helping to make the actual analytic process much more streamlined.
Why not get in touch with one of our consultants about the prospect of implementing Power BI into your organisation? Training can be provided where needed such as teaching you how to use Power Queries and charts. It pays to get the best out of Microsoft’s Power BI software.
This is because an ERP project cuts across each area of the business, impacting functional areas from finance, accounting and supply chain, to shop floor, production, inventory, quality management, shipping and more. Manufacturers and distributors have already gone through lean initiatives, cutting away excess and thereby are operating with lean staff.
While it’s tempting to consider these initiatives as pure ‘technology or projects’, that perspective is not effective and often results in an implementation that fails to meet expectations. IT may lead the project and certainly has a major role, but ERP projects touch almost every area of the business. The new system will naturally bring some change to how business is done, so it’s important that business process owners are heavily involved.
Thus, when a project team is considering an ERP selection project, it’s imperative that the selection process is based on a solid foundation of industry expertise, vendor research and intimate knowledge of the business, all aligned with the goal of improved business performance.
At its most fundamental, establishing strategic software decision drivers during a selection project involves matching the future state of requirements a business must achieve to drive business process transformation against the system features a technology solution offers.
Monpellier’s ERP consultant team has guided organisations on this very approach. This set of software decision drivers will vary for every organisation dependent on what is the best match for the specific functional areas of the business.
Manufacturers and distributors should take into consideration the following software decision drivers when entering an ERP project:
When the focus is business process improvement, and not solely technology, the project team has a better chance of conducting an effective technology evaluation that is designed to meet future state needs. That’s the power of a strategic approach to software decision drivers.
In a perfect world, once you implement ERP software, you don’t have to worry about your centralised business system again. The realist is that an ERP system needs upgrading like any other piece of software. Chances are good that you aren’t driving the same car you did 5 years ago and I highly doubt that you are even using the same smartphone you had 2 years ago. The fact is that technology is not just changing, it’s constantly improving.
That means software built even a few years ago starts to age and new versions are needed to take advantage of the incredible new opportunities today. For instance, ERP systems are moving towards mobile solutions to augment the core package. That wasn’t possible even 3 years ago.
Whether you are investigating the benefits of ERP software for the first time of have a system in place, it is best to plan for periodic upgrades in software. Just like you schedule tune-ups for your car, tune-ups are also good for ERP software.
The thing about upgrades is, while they bring a host of improvements, fixes and new features, it can take time before employees using the system are totally familiar with what’s new. There can also be slight downtime to the system while the ERP upgrade commits to your system. That’s why its extraordinarily important that you have a plan in place for updates.
Generally, creating a plan for downtime – how to minimise it – and training on new features is essential. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but communicating the expected changes and how it will impact day-to-day operations needs is key. All that could be rolled up into a simple company-wide email or phased in with specialised support from your ERP implementation partner.
Upgrades are also like spring cleaning for your data. Before installing the upgrade, you should perform a backup of the existing data. You might also sort out old data, archive old records, and optimise the configuration of the database server to get the best performance from your system.
All of this preparation is important to keep your ERP software running smoothly and at optimal speed. Once your upgrade is complete, you have an ERP system that works even better than it did before.
Also, ERP system security improvements are generally parts of updates. You don’t need me telling you how many data breaches have happened, you can flip on the news and you’ll likely hear about a new cyber attack. ERP systems house an incredible amount of data that powers your company. Not everybody can afford to recover from the pain of lapses in security and upgrading your ERP system is one of the tools you have control over.
It all comes down to driving to work in a Model-T car and using a rotary-dial phone which is inefficient in this modern era, and so is using old software.
For more information about ERP upgrades, or if you just simply want to see what solutions are out there, that might fit your business processes better, you can contact us here, or give us a call on 0191 500 8150 and speak to a Business Software Consultant.
Is your business ready for the data revolution?
According to some commentators, we are in the throes of the fourth industrial revolution. Technology has changed the way we think about the world and affects every interaction, from ordering a pizza to watching a movie to chatting with our friends.
From a business perspective, it is no different. The outward signs are obvious enough to see, with changes in communication and dynamics, an increase in flexible and remote working practices and so on. But perhaps the biggest game-changer concerns data.
Quite simply, we are now producing volumes of data that would have been inconceivable just a few years ago. Today’s data comes from a variety of sources: every web search, mouse click and purchase; every like, share and retweet on social media. It all creates its very own data stream and the business that makes the best use of the insights that are hidden in all that data will be the one that gets an edge over the competition.
Given that it is such a new discipline, our full understanding of just how much we can do with big data is still developing every day. What is clear, though, is that the biggest and most successful organisations in the world are devoting ever more budget into developing their data analytics capacity. Those who fail to capitalise on the opportunity are at risk of being left behind.
It is worth taking a step back and looking at some everyday applications of big data. Here is a perfect example – you might sometimes feel as if you are living in some Orwellian dystopia with Big Brother looking over your shoulder as you search the net for, let’s say a flight to Amsterdam, then log on to Facebook to be bombarded by banner ads offering you bargain rates for that exact flight.
There it is, big data in action. Machine processes watch our every move and try to predict what we are likely to do next, and this capacity will grow beyond our wildest dreams over the coming years. It might sound sinister, but all it is trying to do is help us do what we want to do as easily as possible.
Other examples abound – while you sit reading this article, Siri is there on your wrist, quietly keeping an eye on your health and exercise, and your LinkedIn profile is busy looking for a great next step in your career.
From a business perspective, there have already been some major transformations in the finance sector that have been brought about by big data, including enhanced customer service levels and streamlined back office functions. Increasingly, we are seeing data-driven technology behind every innovative business practice.
Businesses have many driving factors in deciding whether to implement a new ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system, often sharing the same wish lists and requirements with other organisations.
Streamlining business processes, increasing revenue and driving forward growth against market competitors are key targets to attain.
So, what are the benefits of implementing an ERP system? In this post, we’re going to look at the rewards of bringing an Enterprise Resource Planning solution to your business.
One of the top requirements for many organisations implementing a new ERP system is bringing together multiple parts of the business into a unified solution. Sales, accounting, production, and customer service are tied together to allow free-flowing communication and information, resulting in a streamlined and efficient process.
Secondly, if not a defining requirement for many, is increasing the company revenue. ERP systems are best-in-class when it comes to helping you minimise costs within your organisation. They are also staggeringly intelligent when it comes to helping you identify and capitalise on opportunities you may have not previously been aware of. CRM modules can help your sales team keep track of all your customer data, including sales history and eligibility for cross-selling.
A key benefit of implementing an ERP solution not widely expressed is the increase in employee engagement and morale. It’s a difficult metric to measure, but many report seeing a boost in morale after an ERP system implementation. Manual processes become automated, freeing up time for other tasks, information is delivered quicker and tasks become easier to execute.
Many businesses are still comprised of several legacy systems and processes that have left the current structuring inefficient and incredibly expensive. An ERP solution replaces and eradicates these problems. That’s not to say that bringing in an ERP solution will fix all niggles in your organisation, but it’s important to remember that it can help bridge the gap between restructured processes and your desired business outcomes.
Companies that hold a significant amount of product often find themselves with problems such as not having the capacity for their stock levels, or an excess due to the inability to accurately predict product demand. An ERP system can analyse demand from your customer base and accurately predict future consumption, so you will know exactly how much to allocate to your warehouse and at what time, inadvertently minimising waste and reducing associated warehousing costs.
Monpellier are experts in ERP software solutions including Microsoft, Sage and Pegasus and we can advise on a range of popular products that could be right for your business needs. If you are thinking about the benefits of an ERP solution and what it could provide to your business, then contact us today – we’ll talk you through the options and help you implement a system that’s right for your business.
You can either contact us here, or give us a call on 0191 500 8150 to speak to a Business Software Consultant.