Acumatica partners with Smartsheet and Adobe

Acumatica targets legacy project accounting software in update to cloud-based ERP technology

Acumatica, the privately held enterprise cloud technology company, is rolling out integrations with Smartsheet’s project and work management tools and Adobe’s Sign eSignature technology as part of the latest version of its flagship cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) software.

Acumatica 2017 R2, announced today, also includes a new user interface, performance improvements, and a new Manufacturing Edition, among other features and capabilities. Updates to Acumatica’s project accounting features, in particular, should help company better compete with software vendors such as Microsoft Dynamics SL (formerly Solomon), Sage and Epicor, said Jon Roskill, Acumatica CEO.

“Acumatica and its partners now believe we’re going to be able to go after what we believe is a base of tens of thousands of legacy on-premise project accounting customers with this new offering,” said Roskill, who was previously vice president of Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Group.

The upgrade comes at a time of heightened interest in Acumatica’s area of the enterprise technology world. Oracle acquired NetSuite last fall for $9.3 billion, and Sage Group bought enterprise accounting technology company Intacct for $850 million in July. Acumatica, which employs more than 200 people, announced its last round of venture funding in 2014, when it raised $13.3 million, bringing its total funding to about $30 million.

The company considered raising another round of funding but ended up generating significant revenue instead through international distribution deals with major technology vendors abroad, including an agreement with German software vendor Lexware and an updated agreement with Visma in Northern Europe.

As part of today’s release, the new integrations with Smartsheet and Adobe take advantage of the Open API 2.0 specification, which is newly supported in Acumatica as of this latest release.

In the case of Smartsheet, the functionality is bi-directional, allowing users to create a Smartsheet project from within Acumatica or create a project in Smartsheet that integrates with Acumatica’s functionality. Both Acumatica and Smartsheet are based in Bellevue, Wash.

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IoT gateways given a benchmark

The rise in smart devices and the internet of things has sparked a security concern across the globe. With experts taking up column inches in newspapers across the globe by claiming smart speakers, fridges or thermostats are a gateway into a user’s home and workplace, something had to be done to restore public confidence.

And the Transaction Processing Performance Council (TPC) has decided to do just that. Installing a ‘benchmark’ for all IoT gateways to give some control over the data being consumed by smart devices, all networks will be required to install a rig to provide real-time intelligence.

The rise of IoT has driven many security vendors to warn about the threat of cyber attacks at home and work. Ian Marsden, CTO at Eseye believes that the ‘cyber threat has never been greater’ than right now. “The simple fact is that more ‘things’ are now connected to the internet than ever before. The continuing spate of attacks have therefore shone a bright spotlight on IoT security – highlighting it to be both weak and ineffective. It’s an issue which the industry has taken seriously for some time, but a sharp rise in both incidents and media headlines will naturally propel the problem up the chain.”

He added: “The crux of the problem stems from the physical time and associated cost involved in IoT deployments around the secure provisioning of devices, and how we get a device onto the network. This has historically been a daunting task, often to the point of impossible.

“In an industry which is at the forefront of innovation, the inability to defend against security threats simply cannot be allowed to hold back the potential benefits which could be yielded from the development of creative IoT prodcuts and services.”

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How to Enhance Your Business with Digital Marketing

Your company, no matter how big or small, should have a marketing plan that will help you to maintain and grow the business into the future. However, are you doing all you can to get the best out of your marketing opportunities? You need to have a broad spectrum of approaches to get the best results, and this includes digital media and online marketing. If you aren’t using any digital marketing techniques, then here are a few ideas.

Set Up a Plan

To start building an online marketing strategy, you need to first think about how you will approach the world of digital media marketing. If you’re already using a company such as eventige.com, then they can advise you on the best way to get your company moving forwards. You could also think about what types of digital marketing you’re going to use. Are you going to use social media? Are you using email marketing? All of these questions are an important step to getting your plan right.

Enhance Your Website

If you have a website, then you are already poised to embark on a digital marketing journey. You will need to make a few changes to make it more attractive to new customers and easier to navigate. Your customers don’t want to be spending a long time trying to find their way around your site. To do this, make it simple yet efficient, and it will make it easier for customers. You also want to think about how your site interacts with customers and if that can be improved. Posting good content, having great visuals and making it easy for your customers to reach you on the website are all important steps.

Social Media

The world of social media is huge, and there is a lot of potential for you and your business to reach greater numbers of people. There are many social media sites out there so you might want to sign up to a few of them rather than just one. The reason is that some people favor one platform, such as Facebook, over another. If you have more than one social media account, then the chances are you will reach more people. Try to engage your followers by posting not just about your products, but also asking questions and polls to get them interacting with you. It will also be a good way to get them clicking through to your website.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is a great way to connect with your existing customers. It’s also good for those who might have signed up but never made a purchase. You need to create a compelling and eye-catching email design that will hold people’s attention long enough to get them reading the content. Then you can include links to your site for them to follow for your special offers.

Digital marketing can open up a whole new world to your company and help it to grow, not just locally, but globally.

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Salesforce Analytics Launches New Connectors for CRM Data

Salesforce is making it a lot easier to connect a company’s data stores with its cloud-based analytics function by including wizard-like connectors in the platform.

If your business is growing, and you know you need to update your IT system to match that growth, chances are you’re considering adding an analytics function to help you make better business decisions.

For enterprises with legacy systems that have performed well for a long time but may be leaking oil as they get more mileage on them, new IT systems available are already infused with cloud connections, automation, built-in analytics and other features that weren’t commonplace just a few years ago.

In the case of customer relationship management, for example, Salesforce has made its mark in the sales and marketing world with its worldwide cloud-based subscription service. With the advent of its new Einstein analytics engine, even more capability is now available through the platform.

“For most business people, AI has been too complex and out of reach,” John Ball, general manager of Einstein, told eWEEKa year ago when Einstein was launched. “You have to collect and integrate a lot of data, convert it to a specific machine format and hire scarce data scientists to work on it and have an infrastructure that’s secure and scalable.

“Even if you have all that, the last mile where a lot of AI projects get tripped up is you have to be able to surface the insights in the context of your business applications—that’s just too hard for the vast majority of companies out there,” Ball said.

Making It Easier to Connect Data Stores

However, starting Sept. 14, Salesforce is making it a lot easier to connect a company’s data stores with its cloud-based analytics function. Getting started is often the most dreaded part of upgrading an IT system, and Salesforce has taken a lot of the drama out of this by offering new, wizard-like connectors into the CRM platform.

“Every CRM user is on the hunt for a more complete picture of their customers, as well as their business,” Ketan Karkhanis, General Manager of Salesforce Analytics, wrote in a blogpost. “This requires analyzing customer data to fill in blank spots on the canvas and surface the insights that will drive business growth.”

Gathering data that goes beyond a CRM often means collecting numerous documents and spreadsheets from different transaction systems, data warehouses and geographies. It can mean attempting to traverse data silos and always feeling like the reports on hand are out of date, Karkhanis said.

So Salesforce Analytics has launched new updates for connecting data inside and outside of Salesforce. New functions in the platform include:

  • Augmenting CRM data with external data sources: Salesforce users can now connect to even more web-based data services with new connectors: Google BigQuery and, as part of our strategic partnership with Amazon, Amazon Redshift. Connectors give you an easy way to connect to external data with Salesforce CRM data in order to explore it within Salesforce Analytics. With these connectors, business leaders can ensure that all business data, including compensation, orders, accounting, shipping or inventory data, are connected to your CRM data for a more complete picture of your business.

“For example, wouldn’t it be helpful to understand exactly how customers are using your products?” Karkhanis said. “Many products collect usage and customer feedback data. Using customer engagement data can help build great products and better serve customers. If the customer is storing this data in Google BigQuery, the company can now bring this data into Salesforce Analytics and analyze it in lenses and dashboards alongside CRM data for additional insights.”

  • Intelligently prepare and clean data: With smarter data prep, users can now get Salesforce Einstein AI-powered suggestions on how to prepare, clean and combine data from diverse sources. Users see a preview of what their data should look like, and with one click, can act on automatically generated suggestions. This could mean changing different date formats across geographies to be more consistent, converting dollars to euros for a consistent currency or rounding up so that every input has the same amount of decimal points.

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How Your Company Can Prepare for an Exhibition

Designing, setting up and running a stand at an exhibition can be hard work and is usually exhausting, however, attending relevant exhibitions and trade shows can be important for your company’s brand. It’s a chance for potential customers to see, hear and understand your business’s product or services, and it is a chance for them to see and speak to you in person. The latter can be hugely important for building a trustworthy and reputable brand, and can be more effective than a colorful ad in a magazine.

Preparing for an exhibition, though, can be tiring and difficult. What do you need to bring, how should you dress, and would it be best to train certain employees?

Plan in Advance

You cannot plan a week before the event. Instead, you need to think about everything a few months in advance. Flyers and high-quality roller banners will need to be designed and printed; freebies will have to be decided and ordered, and the location of your stand will need to be booked. Apply for parking permits and book hotels (if it’s more than one day).

Choose the Best Location

Location is key when it comes to an exhibition. You want to have the most foot traffic, and you should ideally be center stage. Usually, central location is the best place, and people will generally gravitate towards the middle of the room. However, being positioned at the entrance and exit can also be profitable, as people have to pass your stall.

To ensure you get the best location, book way in advance. Your location can be crucial to the success of your company, and so it is important to book the position of you stall before anything else.

Brief Your Employees

Firstly, you will want to select those who can make a large impact and produce good results. The employees going need to be knowledgeable, but they also need to be understanding and friendly for the customers. Once you have selected who you wish to bring, tell them in advance so they can make plans accordingly.

Provide training, so everyone is up to scratch on your products/services. Have them answer popular questions customers are likely to ask, and have them practice their customer service skills – for example, don’t pounce on any potential customers and practice how to approach them naturally. Brief them on how to dress, and if you need to order in any company t-shirts, do so way ahead of the event. Ask for everyone’s input, so they feel as if they are contributing and part of a team.

Prepare for Follow Ups

Once the exhibition is over, the hard-work doesn’t stop there; therefore, you need to plan for the next course of action. Follow up on any leads you acquired, and make sure you respond to any other leads that may come through once the exhibition is finished. Respond to phone calls, emails, and begin the countless potential business relationships. This is the time for you to convert your leads into sales!

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