Alternative Technology Solutions http://alttechsolutions.com Alternative Technology Solutions | Epicor ERP and Salesforce CRM Consulting Services Fri, 19 Dec 2014 17:51:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Mobility: Then and Now and Salesforce1 http://alttechsolutions.com/salesforce/the-case-for-salesforce1/ http://alttechsolutions.com/salesforce/the-case-for-salesforce1/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 17:33:34 +0000 http://alttechsolutions.com/?p=1970 It wasn’t but a few years ago that manufacturers and field service organizations looking for a mobile solution to access their enterprise data and ERP transactions met nothing but a long list of reasons the project wasn’t feasible.  Mobile deployments were only viable for those companies who had fat wallets to invest blindly hoping that...

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Salesforce1 manufacturers

Salesforce1 makes it easy to access all customer and sales data from anywhere.

It wasn’t but a few years ago that manufacturers and field service organizations looking for a mobile solution to access their enterprise data and ERP transactions met nothing but a long list of reasons the project wasn’t feasible.  Mobile deployments were only viable for those companies who had fat wallets to invest blindly hoping that their end result would lead to something valuable.

Fast forward to today.  A couple of months ago I was sitting in the audience at Salesforce’s Salesforce1 World Tour conference.  Over and over the speakers kept reinforcing the value of “running your business from your phone” and painting a picture where professionals out of the office or simply away from their desks could prepare quotes, enter orders, approve purchases, or access a 360 degree-view of their business.  My first thought was, “Great, but who can afford this?”

As the speakers continued, I decided to explore the App Store and see if I would find the Salesforce1 app.  Sure enough, there it was and a minute later the app was on my phone.  The next minute I was logged into my Salesforce account viewing my customer opportunities, orders, and invoices.  Unbelievably, I had just completed a free implementation of mobility while sitting in the audience.

Amazed, but still a bit skeptical, I decided to put my testing into high gear.  Surely my company-specific forecast fields, custom reports, and CPQ engine wouldn’t be available quite so easily.  But it was.  Every aspect of my Salesforce world was right there on my phone.  Screens and reports were already tailored to fit my mobile screen and the menus were all build into the app.

As if I was texting while driving and traffic came to a stop, the crowd started applauding and the speaker had finished.  Although I probably would have learned even more from the presentation if I wasn’t implementing my new mobile solution, I can now say with confidence that I can “run my business from my phone”.  I’d encourage everyone using Salesforce to explore their own free and instant implementation of Salesforce1 mobility. It’s a great way to not only maximize your day, but to maximize the value and effectiveness of your Salesforce investment.

Learn more about setting up and using Salesforce1 at your organization:

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Cloud ERP for Manufacturers: 3 Reasons to Head for the Cloud http://alttechsolutions.com/erp/cloud-erp-manufacturers-3-reasons-head-cloud/ http://alttechsolutions.com/erp/cloud-erp-manufacturers-3-reasons-head-cloud/#comments Thu, 11 Dec 2014 17:28:48 +0000 http://alttechsolutions.com/?p=1931 Ten years ago, concerns over security, access to data, and reliability of wide-area networks created barriers to accepting cloud solutions for core business functions. Over time, wide-area computing has become a reality of doing business and companies have come to realize that large cloud providers can secure data much more reliably than smaller companies whose core...

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Ten years ago, concerns over security, access to data, and reliability of wide-area networks created barriers to accepting cloud solutions for core business functions. Over time, wide-area computing has become a reality of doing business and companies have come to realize that large cloud providers can secure data much more reliably than smaller companies whose core competency isn’t IT.

Five years ago, cloud technology became mainstream and slowly became an acceptable option for manufacturers to consider for their business systems.  ERP functionality, however, that was fit for a complex manufacturing business wasn’t yet available.

Manufacturing Picture (purchased Jan. 2014)

Today, I believe manufacturers are ready to go to the cloud and solutions are rapidly becoming ready for manufacturers. NetSuite for example has clearly defined manufacturing as a key focus vertical and has delivered robust functionality around Bills of Materials, Routings, Forecasting, and Demand Planning to meet the needs of manufacturing companies. Manufacturing focused functionality will continue to play a large role in their upcoming releases.

Why should manufacturers go to the cloud?

Manufacturing, like most other business, can be highly competitive and successfully growing the business means out-performing the competition. Technology, specifically, cloud-based systems, can provide the infrastructure to enable differentiation. I believe three of the differentiating technologies are mobility, self-service and social media—all of which can be enhanced by enterprise cloud applications.

  1. Mobility. True mobility means updating data real-time and accessing information instantly from wherever users are and from whatever device they happen to be using.  Mobile computing provides the ability to empower remote teams to provide better client service, to work more efficiently, and to keep the head office up to date on their activities. Enterprise cloud systems are by nature already accessible via the web and by smart devices. The typical barriers to mobile deployment such as security concerns, data accessibility challenges, and complex integrations are addressed natively within the cloud architecture.
  2. Self-Service. Research shows that in today’s business climate, people prefer to use their desktop or mobile technology to answer their own questions, rather than dial out to a support desk, possibly wait on hold, and then explain to someone else what information they need.  Because cloud applications are not hosted behind a corporate firewall, but rather securely available on a public network, many best-in-class cloud application providers like Salesforce and NetSuite have security structures, license models, and out-of-the-box screen configurations to allow manufacturers to easily deploy robust self-service environments. Most traditional on-premise ERP applications provide nice applications that make pre-selected data elements available on the web in a self-service portal environment; however, cloud architecture provides the flexibility of ultimately being able to expose any business logic or data elements to your clients.
  3. Social Media. Last week I re-tweeted a blog post talking about why a salesperson has to think and work like a marketer. This post suggested that above and beyond traditional methods of selling and marketing, building a salesperson’s brand in the market was essential to competing effectively for prospects’ attention. Companies should be thinking about how they can arm their sales teams with the insights, ideas, and value-creating messages that they need to participate effectively in the world of social media. Cloud-based solutions, in conjunction with app partners whose software is built into enterprise applications, provide a whole world of creative ways to gain insights into your marketplace and providing the functionality necessary to participate back out to the world of social media.

I believe that manufacturers who invest today in enterprise cloud technologies, will be the most effective at deploying mobile, self-service, and social media technologies effectively and will ultimately be best positioned to win the business of tomorrow.

To learn more about Salesforce and NetSuite for manufacturers, visit the Manufacturing Solutions section of our website.

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Alternative Technology Solutions Joins NetSuite Solution Provider Program http://alttechsolutions.com/press-releases/alternative-technology-solutions-joins-netsuite-solution-provider-program/ http://alttechsolutions.com/press-releases/alternative-technology-solutions-joins-netsuite-solution-provider-program/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 16:25:44 +0000 http://alttechsolutions.com/?p=1940 Partnership with NetSuite Allows Alternative Technology Solutions to Meet Growing Demand for Cloud Solutions Among Manufacturers, Distributors Aliso Viejo, CA – December 10, 2014 – Alternative Technology Solutions, a leading ERP and CRM service and solution provider and two-time Inc. fastest-growing company, announced that it has joined the NetSuite Solution Provider Program to address the...

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Partnership with NetSuite Allows Alternative Technology Solutions to Meet Growing Demand for Cloud Solutions Among Manufacturers, Distributors

Aliso Viejo, CA – December 10, 2014 – Alternative Technology Solutions, a leading ERP and CRM service and solution provider and two-time Inc. fastest-growing company, announced that it has joined the NetSuite Solution Provider Program to address the growing demand for cloud-based business management solutions among mid-market manufacturing and distribution companies.  The leading IT services and solutions firm can leverage its extensive technology experience and vertical market expertise to implement, customize, integrate, and extend NetSuite’s ERP, ecommerce and CRM cloud solutions for manufacturers and distributors looking to leverage cloud-based business management suites to more efficiently run their core business processes, such as financial management, warehouse and inventory management, customer service, marketing automation, CRM, and analytics.

Alternative Technology Solutions provides full implementation and technology consulting services for Salesforce.com, Magento, and other software solutions in a variety of markets, including the manufacturing and distribution industry. After realizing that companies are moving to cloud-based solutions for rapid ROI, a lower total cost of ownership, and greater accessibility, Alternative Technology Solutions began growing its cloud practice to become a leader in implementing and integrating the best cloud solutions available.

“Cloud just makes sense, especially for companies finding that their manufacturing roots are expanding into sectors like service, repair, and retail,” said Vivian Keena, CEO at Alternative Technology Solutions. “We are going to keep building partnerships and developing solutions that take the best of what the cloud has to offer and create seamless, integrated solutions for our customers.”

“The addition of NetSuite as a strategic partner is key to our company’s vision of bringing the best of the cloud to manufacturers and distributors and we’re excited to provide our customers with cloud ERP solutions and services that complement their businesses and other technology platforms,” said Keena.

The partnership with NetSuite fulfills a major 2014 goal for Alternative Technology Solutions. “Alternative is transitioning from its consulting background to being a provider of a diverse product suite, strengthened by partnerships with leading technology providers like NetSuite,” said Aaron Korsen, Alternative Technology Solutions EVP of Sales and Marketing. “It’s an exciting next step in our aggressive growth plan to bring NetSuite into the fold and offer its innovative cloud ERP platform to our customers.”

“We are excited to have Alternative on board our growing Solution Provider Program,” said Craig West, NetSuite Vice President of Americas Channel Sales. “As the demand for cloud solutions continues to grow, Alternative is making the right move by channeling its extensive ERP and CRM implementation background to growing the cloud practices of manufacturers and distributors across North America.”

“At Alternative, we’re committed to helping our customers gain and maintain a competitive edge through effective, integrated technology,” said Keena. “NetSuite is a great partner to help us—and our customers—reach the next level.

Join Alternative and NetSuite for a live webinar on Wednesday, January 14, 2015, which will discuss why now is the time for manufacturers to move their ERP to the cloud.

NOTE: NetSuite and the NetSuite logo are service marks of NetSuite Inc.


 

About Alternative Technology Solutions
Alternative Technology Solutions, Inc. brings the best of the cloud to manufacturers and distributors through solutions and services that help companies work smarter and faster. Headquartered in Aliso Viejo, CA, the company also has offices in Boston, Chicago, Indianapolis, and Monterrey, Mexico. Alternative is a two-time Inc. fastest-growing company, was highlighted on CIO Review’s annual list of Most Promising Manufacturing Tech Solution Providers, and was a Silver Stevie Award Honoree.

For more information, visit http://alttechsolutions.com.

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Press Contact

Laura Monn Ginsburg

lginsburg@alttechsolutions.com

952.239.9150

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Epicor Users: Smooth Year-End and Successful launch for 2015 http://alttechsolutions.com/webinars/epicor-users-smooth-year-end-successful-launch-2015-2/ http://alttechsolutions.com/webinars/epicor-users-smooth-year-end-successful-launch-2015-2/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 07:59:15 +0000 http://alttechsolutions.com/?p=1740 The post Epicor Users: Smooth Year-End and Successful launch for 2015 appeared first on Alternative Technology Solutions.

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Epicor Users: Smooth Year-End and Successful launch for 2015 http://alttechsolutions.com/webinars/epicor-users-smooth-year-end-successful-launch-2015/ http://alttechsolutions.com/webinars/epicor-users-smooth-year-end-successful-launch-2015/#comments Fri, 05 Dec 2014 07:59:22 +0000 http://alttechsolutions.com/?p=1738 The post Epicor Users: Smooth Year-End and Successful launch for 2015 appeared first on Alternative Technology Solutions.

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Epicor Year-End Close Tips and Tricks http://alttechsolutions.com/tips-tricks/epicor-year-end-close-tips-tricks/ http://alttechsolutions.com/tips-tricks/epicor-year-end-close-tips-tricks/#comments Tue, 02 Dec 2014 21:45:20 +0000 http://alttechsolutions.com/?p=1894 Planning a successful year-end is made possible by successful month-end closes, meaning that the chances of having a successful year-end close go up dramatically when a month-end close is planned and executed well. However, even if a month-end close isn’t done well, you can still true it up to start out with a better 2015...

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Planning a successful year-end is made possible by successful month-end closes, meaning that the chances of having a successful year-end close go up dramatically when a month-end close is planned and executed well. However, even if a month-end close isn’t done well, you can still true it up to start out with a better 2015 (as you’ll see later in this post).

Here are the top three closing challenges we see with clients:

  1. Journal entries to system accounts
  2. Poor cutoff procedures and/or no periodic reconciliation of key accounts and reports
  3. Poor planning for period/year-end cutoff

We’re going to discuss these closing challenges in more detail during our Epicor Year-End Webinar (conveniently scheduled for two different times–December 4 and December 9–to accommodate your schedule), but we do have a few additional tips that can help your year-end close be successful:

Epicor Consulting

Create a Checklist to Help Epicor Year-End Close Run Smoothly

  • Create a checklist (or use ours) that you can go through each month to make sure each task is completed monthly; this can either be a mental checklist or something more formal requiring a signoff.
  • Scheduling a reconciliation to run during the middle of the night on the last day of the month will help the year-end process run more smoothly.
  • Inventory/WIP Reconciliation reports should become your best friend within Epicor; we recommend printing this at least once a week, though unusual transactions may be printed more often.
  • When the final period of the fiscal year is closed, revenue and expense accounts will zero out to Retained Earnings automatically
  • The Closed checkbox can be disabled for any previously closed periods and additional transactions posted. Additional transactions to revenue and expense accounts in the final period zero out to Retained Earnings with no further action required.
  • Opening balances will roll to the next year automatically if this option is selected in Book Maintenance
  • If “Auto update future balances” is not selected in Book Maintenance, then “Transfer Opening Balances to Next Year” must be executed. Once executed, balances are updated automatically.

For more tips, tricks, and to ask any questions of our experts, join our Epicor Year-End webinar on December 4 or December 9.

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Product Updater: How to Avoid Product and Pricing Update Headaches in the New Year http://alttechsolutions.com/salesforce/avoid-product-pricing-update-headaches-new-year/ http://alttechsolutions.com/salesforce/avoid-product-pricing-update-headaches-new-year/#comments Tue, 02 Dec 2014 20:50:30 +0000 http://alttechsolutions.com/?p=1890 Over the last few years of helping customers with their Salesforce implementations, a pretty common theme developed as we head into the New Year.  This is, of course, the dreaded updating of products and prices in Salesforce.  I was talking to a customer last year that hired temps for a couple of months to go...

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Over the last few years of helping customers with their Salesforce implementations, a pretty common theme developed as we head into the New Year.  This is, of course, the dreaded updating of products and prices in Salesforce.  I was talking to a customer last year that hired temps for a couple of months to go through and manually update everything… Yikes!

If you’re handy in Excel, a wizard with vLookups and love the Salesforce Data Loader you can always go that route.  However, most people don’t have the time or inclination to learn the complex relationship between PriceBooks, Products, and PriceBook Entries and how to get everything added and updated.

So last year, we released a Salesforce Product Updater utility to help out with that task.

Product Updater

The product updater lets you upload a CSV file containing the update products and pricing, choose which PriceBook and currency to update, and finally make the updates.   To see it in action check out this video:

For more information please contact Chad Smith at csmith@alttechsolutions.com

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Cloud Quoting: Win the Right Deals with iQ http://alttechsolutions.com/webinars/configure-price-quote-fast-iq/ http://alttechsolutions.com/webinars/configure-price-quote-fast-iq/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 07:59:39 +0000 http://alttechsolutions.com/?p=1705 Join Alternative on Tuesday, November 18 at 10am PT/1pm ET as we demonstrate how manufacturing companies have been quoting faster and simpler in the cloud–anytime, anywhere. iQ, our CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote) solution was designed with manufacturers in mind and speed and simplicity at its core. iQ’s robust functionality simplifies the process of quoting complex product...

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Join Alternative on Tuesday, November 18 at 10am PT/1pm ET as we demonstrate how manufacturing companies have been quoting faster and simpler in the cloud–anytime, anywhere. iQ, our CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote) solution was designed with manufacturers in mind and speed and simplicity at its core. iQ’s robust functionality simplifies the process of quoting complex product catalogs, pricing, discounting and workflows. iQ’s intuitive user experience and flexibility allows it to meet the quoting needs of manufacturers large and small.

Please join us and learn more about a complex quoting solution that is:

  • Fast
  • Simple
  • Social
  • Smart

Don’t miss our webinar on Tuesday, November 18 at 10am PT/1pm ET. Register today to discover how Alternative Technology Solutions can allow you to spend more time on your customers and less time creating quotes.

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