NetStandard | Kansas City's Managed Technology Leader | Sales: 913-428-4202 | Support: 913-428-4200
Posted by: In: IT Managed Services 20 Nov 2018 0 comments

Digital transformation is not a new concept. It’s been unfolding around us and taking many forms, sending ripples of change through all industries. It’s happening fast and most people are unsure how to keep up. We’re at a point where the Internet and digital tools are mature enough that the improvements they bring to the table improve business processes and security.

The Roadmap for a Successful Digital Transformationlaptop-woman-working

In the context of business, the need for digital transformation is urgent. It’s become a whole new ball game, where technological advancements are happening across the board, from management and automation, down to core operational processes and company culture.

Views on digital transformation have dramatically evolved among industry leaders worldwide. Many see it as a long-term investment. This explains the steady increase in spending pouring into tech upgrades and digital innovations, which will approach the $2 trillion mark by 2022.

The only question is if these efforts will deliver results.

When business shifts from tradtional manual models to newer, tech-oriented models, countless opportunities are presented. But threats and challenges are also expected to emerge. Executives and senior teams must look beyond the usual drivers of innovation, like enhancing customer experience and lowering operational cost, and look into the realm of agility, efficiency, and security to stay ahead.

Whether it’s a gradual shift or full-blown transformation your company is gearing up for, these three levers will bring a true digital change that yields long-term returns.

The Three “Secret Sauces” to Agile Innovation

Agile innovation has effected a wide range of industries, functions, processes, and people. A Harvard Business Review report suggests that this radical approach is not only driving profitable growth but also creating a new generation of skilled general managers.

But what does it mean to be truly agile? What does it take to achieve long-term business agility?

Put simply, the agile approach is the opposite of the command-and-control style of management or bureaucratic model where decision making takes longer because there are multiple channels of command to go through. It requires implementing a new set of values, practices, and principles that will enable an organization to adapt quickly to changing conditions. This has three essential qualities: adaptability, flexibility, and balance. These three qualities allow for innovation in functional processes, increase in cross-departmental collaboration, and continual elimination of waste, low-value products, redundancies, and other impediments to growth.

Agility, however, is not for everyone.

The world’s top disruptors don’t have a similar blueprint for becoming agile, but one thing they do have in common is that they operate in highly dynamic environments. They come from different sectors of the economy, from analytics and machine learning to ride sharing and healthcare, and their common goal is to turn new technologies into profitable business models and grab their piece of the market share. These are companies putting the agile model to good use.

An extensive study by Bain and Company outlines the right conditions to adopt an agile model that’s likely to succeed, these conditions include:

  • A market environment where customer preferences and behaviors change frequently
  • Customer involvement is high and rapid feedback is feasible
  • Problems are complex and demand cross-functional collaboration
  • Creative breakthroughs and time to market are vital
  • Incremental developments are expected because customers will know better as the process progresses (i.e. software)
  • Individuals and teams are motivated to initiate, support, and commit to projects
  • A majority of the company chooses to adopt agile methodologies

Reinventing the Operational Model for Greater Efficiencies

Organizations know where they want to go. New or old, most companies strive to be more efficient, profitable, agile, and quick to adapt to change. Unfortunately, being in the right place at the right time to start a digital transformation is not enough.

More often than not, companies have big ideas, but they fall short on people, know-how, and resources. As a result, new programs don’t provide sustainable gains.

When a company is ripe for a digital transformation, high on the list of questions should be, “Should we adopt an in-house strategy or outsource these efforts?” There are right conditions to leverage the outsourced operating model as there right conditions to choose an agile approach.

The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City is a great case in point.

When the Kauffman Center’s small team of 30 full-time employees turned to NetStandard’s managed IT and hosted software solutions, its operating ecosystem transformed from reactive to proactive. As home to the area’s top performing arts groups, the center’s staff should be able to communicate reliably and quickly to ensure a great experience for their over 1,600 patrons. With a fully-outsourced IT team implementing enterprise-level technology, the center now benefits from a unique voice and data communication strategy that brought all their core operations together. As a result, the center’s small team is able to run shows smoothly and has saved over $600,000 in operational costs over the last three years.

Outsourcing specialized skills and functions, like IT, human resources, or financial services, not only helps businesses minimize risk and costs, it also allows employees and senior teams to focus on their core responsibilities. Responsibilities like maintaining strategic advantage and enhancing customer experience. It also leaves plenty of room for innovation to manifest within core teams.

Adopting a Culture of Security from Top to Bottom

digital-security

Security should be a core focus in an age of rapid digital transformation. While it’s always been in the company rulebook, it’s rare for some businesses to embed a “security culture,” or even set of best practices, into everything their organization does.

And now that the threat landscape is getting bigger and bolder (see: NonPetya), organizations must adopt a more deliberate and disruptive approach to security. This entails having a set of actions that fosters change and generates long-term returns by utilizing a sustainable culture; not just a response to a single event.

The ideal result is that when employees are left to their own devices, it’s natural for them to be aware of the vulnerabilities of the system and the consequences of each action. They won’t click on an unsafe link from the company’s network or talk about highly sensitive information among their peers. This isn’t easy to pull off, even in top tech companies, like Google, Microsoft, or Apple. But to expedite the process, employees at all levels must be aware that security is a mandatory policy with a possibility of retribution and reward.

In other words, companies must invest in and give equal importance to security as they do with client retention, efficiency, and resources management, so much so that it becomes part of their mission and vision.

Security experts and executives know that in any system, humans are the weakest link. It’s easy to instruct a computer to anticipate, prevent, detect, and react to a breach. Humans, however, need a framework to learn the ropes of security. But it’s the duty of leaders to instill the concept that security is part of the company’s culture.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Digital transformation is about the people as much as it is about technology and innovation. Leaders should effectively communicate their initiatives and get individual employees at all levels involved.
  2. A company’s culture and values percolate from the top down, so top senior executives and managers must place more value on their digital transformation efforts. CEOs should also give their CFOs an active role in pushing the financial buttons that aid the shift. CFOs are the ones capable of allocating capital and resources for IT investments, and protecting core assets while creating pathways for growth opportunities.
  3. A complex, fast-changing business ecosystem demands a more adaptive, creative, and resilient business model. To gain a competitive edge, businesses need to adopt a new set of thinking, values, norms, and behaviors and operate in a more inclusive culture and mindset.

Ready to Fully Realize the Digital Revolution?

NetStandard is here to help ease the pains of your digital transformation with our managed IT and hosted software solutions in Kansas City. Get in touch with us today.

Posted by: In: Uncategorized 24 Oct 2018 0 comments

NetStandard is extending an opportunity for our clients and friends to meet business leaders, decision-makers, and their guests through Accelerent, a business development platform where business leaders are building new relationships to grow their respective companies. It’s a great way for you to grow your local network — there are typically 250+ in attendance (50%+ decision makers). It’s a good environment to come and throw your elevator pitch, business cards, and make connections!

This month’s guest speaker is Dave Carey who has an amazing story as a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Dave became a carrier-based pilot during the Vietnam War. Drawing from his experiences as a POW for five and a half years his plane was shot down he reminds his audiences of the power of the human spirit to triumph over adversity — and that we always have choices. https://cache.amp.vg/netstandard-content.amp.vg/oimg/bx77diwps9xhf/optimized-accelerentlinkedin-davecarey.png

Wednesday, November 7, 2018, at 7 AM at the The Grand Hall at the Power & Light Building.
Must be registered to attend, please RSVP by November 1.

RSVP https://netstandard.amp.vg/xl/b1n3isvbd94bp

Posted by: In: Business Technology 18 Oct 2018 0 comments

Gone are the days when Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software was exclusive to large corporate-scale businesses. Today, ERP for small-sized businesses is becoming more popular among organizations that want better and more productive operations. Instead of having different people do several tasks, more small- to mid-sized businesses are depending on ERP to integrate all their processes and data into a single system.

Some organizations didn’t have the technical support or funds to endorse or implement traditional large-scale ERP solutions. As a result, growing SMBs created fragmented business structures composed of different programs that handle inventory, finance, payroll, and sales.

Microsoft Dynamics GP: The Dynamic ERP Software that Does It All for SMBs

Recent advances in technology, however, now offer more practical solutions for small businesses (SMBs). One of them is the Microsoft Dynamics GP.

A Dynamic Solution for SMBs

Microsoft Dynamics GP (formerly Great Plains) is a hybrid mid-market business ERP software that helps small- to medium-sized businesses gain better control over their inventory, finances, and operations. The dynamic software also allows users to integrate their resources and data across different departments and locations. Business owners have the choice of deploying the software on their premises or hosting it in the cloud.

Key features of the software include inventory management and operations, financial management and accounting, and business intelligence. It also comes with a reporting engine, which allows users to generate spot trends, custom reports, and make better business-related decisions. Additionally, Microsoft’s ERP software provides user capabilities for field service management, configuration and development, and supply chain management.

The Next Big Step for Small Business Owners

Microsoft Dynamics GP is a comprehensive and well-supported ERP solution that entices SMB owners with the following benefits:

  • Greater Control Over Inventory, Operations, and Financials
  • Dynamic GP delivers in-depth operations, financial, human resources, and manufacturing functionality to streamline business processes. These functions enable users to make informed decisions and act.
  • Users can expect more from their ERP investments with the following GP features:
  • Operations and Inventory Management. Allows users to track and manage vendors, orders, inventory, returns, and production information.
  • Financial Management and Accounting. Manage banking, assets, and cash.
  • Sales and Service. The software connects sales data, contacts, and service contracts for more informed and empowered customer interactions.
  • Business Intelligence and Reporting. Users can make better operations-related decisions with their access to analytics across the organization.
  • Better Productivity

Microsoft’s ERP software improves productivity by empowering the core of the business: your employees. The communication and collaboration tools in Dynamic GP ensure team members always stay connected. These tools also keep decision makers informed of what the current situation is on the operations floor.

Since the software is intuitive and easy to use for anyone who has experience with Microsoft products, training is minimal.

Easy Deployment and Maintenance

Another major benefit of this ERP software is its ease of deployment and maintenance. Not all small business owners have the budget for on-site technicians. With the Dynamics GP, they gain the services of technicians plus the benefit of working out-of-the-box without needing any proprietary modifications or adjustments.

Support for Business Growth

Small business owners look for solutions that grow with their business. Microsoft addressed this need by designing the Dynamics GP to scale with the business. This means SMBs will not need expensive software transitions in the features.

More Than Just an ERP Solution

Microsoft Dynamics GP provides more than enterprise resource planning. The ERP software integrates into Microsoft’s full suite of products covering different areas of business operations. Integration allows the software to provide small businesses with the necessary tools for solving operational issues and industry-specific challenges.

By using familiar Microsoft tools, such as Office, users can quickly learn new technologies and take advantage of Dynamics GP’s features to improve business productivity.

User-Friendly Software

As mentioned, Dynamics GP is easy to use and easy to deploy. Since the ERP software works and looks like Microsoft Office, any employee can use it right away.

Microsoft Dynamics GP is also role-tailored. It gives users relevant insights for their daily tasks. By providing the right information immediately, specialists can solve current issues, as well as the head off potential ones.

A Perfect Fit for Employees

Apart from helping small business owners streamline their business operations, Microsoft Dynamics GP also offers self-service solutions to employees. Microsoft designed the software to give employees more flexibility and control of their paycheck and timecard.

The 2015 version of Microsoft Dynamics GP used paperless timecard solutions, which allowed workers to log their own hours. The software’s calculation charts and tools enabled them to manage their schedules according to the business’ needs. They were also free to update the system from any device that has been integrated into the company’s system. Devices included were personal mobile phones, laptops, and tablets.

Microsoft’s ERP solution also assists employees with daily tasks. Workers in the warehouse, for example, can use the tools to track inventory and immediately report any surpluses or shortages. Those who work in sales, on the other hand, can determine leads for new business with the system’s complete data history.

The Bottom Line

Deploying the Microsoft Dynamics GP provides small business owners with better mobility, increased flexibility, and enterprise-grade support. Thanks to this Cloud-based ERP, SMBs can easily reduce hardware, infrastructure, and IT management costs. Its quick implementation enables the staff to get the business up and running in a few hours instead of weeks. Moreover, SMB owners who take advantage of this software can actively run their business anytime, anywhere on any device.

If you are a small- or mid-sized business owner, your search for the perfect ERP software ends here. Net Standard offers Microsoft Dynamics GP — the next generation accounting tool that provides complete and scalable financial and operational functionality. Gain better control over your inventory, finances, and operations with our solutions, which we design and adjust according to your business’ needs.

For more information, get in touch with us today.

Posted by: In: Uncategorized 02 Oct 2018 0 comments

 

 
Smaller firms often struggle just to keep up with maintaining a website. Worrying about a scaled­ down version for mobile users seems like just too much trouble. Today’s blog is all about why this matters to you and why should you bother with a mobile version.
 
A bit of background: Mobile sites are versions of your website that can be easily read and used on a small mobile screen. What is readable on a laptop of desktop monitor can be too tiny to use on a small screen. Also, the buttons and fields on your forms become impossible to use.
 
Why does this matter? Three reasons
  1. Showing up in search rankings. If you want to be found in a search and appear high in the ranking, you need to have a “mobile optimized” site. Google has now included the failure to have a mobile optimized site as a specific reason to lower a website in its search rankings. If you don’t have a mobile optimized site, you slip lower in the ranking. Slip lower in the rankings and fewer people ever find you in a search.

  2. More search and web activity now occurs on mobile devices than standard PC and laptops. If you want attention, you need to be “mobile ready.” You can’t just write off those mobile users- ­­there are too many of them.

  3. If your site is too difficult to use on a phone screen, the user is just going to jump to another vendor. There’s nothing else to say.
So the summary is, if you haven’t already done so, you need to bite the bullet and get a mobile optimized site. The internet offers too much business to just ignore the issue.