Integration

Cannot create ScribeInternal database

The Insight application installed without any issues. However, the ScribeInternal database could not be created after several attempts. We tried creating the database manually, assigning the sa user to the db_owner role, and then updating the existing db using the internaldb.exe.

Browsing the server, we noticed the SQL Server master database were owned by a 'not sa' user. Running the sp_changedbowner procedure only returned an error, and even Microsoft support was at a loss to explain how this had happened or how to change it.

We installed a new SQL instance on the same server and verified sa was the owner of all the master databases. On this instance, we were able to create the ScribeInternal database successfully.

A Unique and Powerful Quality Management Solution!

If you're like most companies, your current quality management system is a cumbersome manual processes that involves a vast array of spreadsheets. You're constantly wrestling with how to collect the many types of data you need - and after that, how to organize the data so that it can be reviewed and communicated effectively.

I recently saw a demonstration of a simple, yet powerful solution to the complexities of quality management - and I was really impressed! The software is called Quality Essentials Suite.

Things that really stood out to me about this solution:

• The interface is extremely user-friendly, and is designed with tablets in mind.
• It has the ability to handle multiple types of test data (numbers, Boolean, date and time, pre-defined lists, text, document paths)
• Standard documentation and forms are easily created, and just as easily recalled as historical records
• Test data can be linked to serial and lot numbers, as well as purchasing and sales transactions for reference
• This software is available for integrated and non-integrated deployment with an existing Enterprise solution
• The possible benefits are not limited to manufacturers and distributors - this could be a great solution for any company interested in tracking and improving business processes

If you're ready to realize the true benefits of quality management without all of the rigmarole, I would encourage you to check out the Quality Essentials Suite - and let us know what you think!

(Also check out their QA blog at http://www.qa4erp.com/.)

The Cloud Office of Today

Okay, confession time:  this blog is late.  I usually publish my blogs on Friday’s and an endless number of things have gotten in my way.  However, the biggest thing that has gotten in my way is simply this:  Writer’s Block!  Oh yeah, good old Writer’s Block!  But then, recent events have brought me to thinking about the Cloud Office of today. 

To quantify this, I am speaking of the physical office and how it can be fully deployed in the Cloud.  Is it reasonable to expect a Cloud solution to be fully deployable at your office?  My recent conclusions are:  yes. 

It is recent that I have had the need to investigate some of the critical elements of a Cloud office that until now have been undefined.  The critical element missing has been an online phone system such as Lync Online.  So we begin there:

In my quest for the Cloud Office, my first line of thinking is to look at the first line of communication many companies receive:  the telephone.  Most phone systems of the past were very costly.  They were also very specialized and very maintenance intensive.  Sound familiar?  This is like many of the servers your company has and shares the same fate as many servers.  For many years we have had VOIP phones with providers such as Packet8, Cisco and Altavox.  However, integrations to the Microsoft Office productivity system (Office 365) have been lacking. 

Recently, my partner and I have researched the possibility of using a Lync Communications Server to accomplish the same functionality as Cisco, Packet8 or Altavox.  However, Microsoft’s recommended configuration of Lync requires many servers, software and services itself.  Not being discouraged, we have done further research into this and have found several providers of Lync VOIP services as a service.  This provides you with an integrated environment between Lync LiveMeeting, VOIP calls from your desktop, screen sharing and real-time presence information. 

Office Communications is necessary in order for your team to collaborate.  To bring the whole Cloud Office together, Office 365 with Word, Excel, Outlook, Powerpoint and many other applications provides you with the functionality to create the office documents you need.  However, using Office Communicator will further enhance your communication with an instant message environment where office persons can ask quick questions securely and quickly.  Further, to enhance the experience, the integration with the phone system as available with Office 365 Levels E3 and E4 will give you a more integrated environment. 

How we track our external communications such as Leads, Customers, Opportunities and other CRM functions is fully available with NjevityToGo CRM.  When looking for a CRM system, it is important to ensure that you have the proper phone integration to “pop” the contact information when a call comes in.  This functionality means that you will know who is on the phone and have an idea as to the reason they are calling.

To bill your customers, the use of NjevityToGo Dynamics GP (Great Plains) or SL (Solomon) will accomplish this nicely.  The difference between the two applications will depend upon your business needs.  Dynamics GP will give you robust financial, distribution and manufacturing functions.  Dynamics SL is ideally suited for distribution and project or professional services companies.  Having an integration between your ERP and CRM System is a must and the NjevityToGo Integration will provide you with robust, deep and complex functionality not normally seen in a Cloud Office environment. 

To collaborate and share documents, SharePoint Online (part of Office 365) provides you with the ability to collaborate with your colleagues, customers, vendors and others.  Couple this with Business Intelligence available through Business Analytics and you will be able to provide your team with the latest information available on the health of your company and where your business stands.  Further, combine this with Mobility and you now have anywhere, anytime, any device access to the information necessary for your business.

On a final note, there are hybrid environments that exist that can help you get to a Cloud Office with many features listed above.  It’s important to meet with a trusted advisor to get a vision of your Office in the Cloud!  

Error 52 Bad file name or number performing Mail Merge in CRM with Microsoft Word

Have you ever googled or bing'ed an error and notice that everyone is missing the boat? Well, that happened recently while doing a mail merge of CRM Contacts with Microsoft Word.

Here's the setup:
Using Microsoft Dynamics CRM Internet Facing Deployment with a view that was setup to e-mail newsletters
Using Microsoft Internet Explorer v 8.0
Using Microsoft Word 2010

The process:
Selected the records/view to mail merge to
Clicked on the mail merge button
Microsoft Word opened and when I went to step through the Wizard, it gave me the error: Error 52 Bad file name or number

The Rabbit Hole:
Upon searching for a solution, I kept finding articles about how it worked before but now it doesn't. Further, I found solutions that led a person to believe it was an authentication issue.

The REAL Solution:
It was very simple. It struck me that on my Windows 7 64 bit OS and IE v8.0 64 bit, that this might very well be the issue.
I launched IE v8.0 32 bit, performed the same steps and the process worked.
My presumption is that since the Mail Merge puts a text file out there for the Word doc to use, there was some confusion between the 32 and 64 bit filepath.

Hope this helps!

The Financial Case for The Cloud

In this blog entry, I want to take on the financial case for moving your business to the Cloud. First, let's discuss what the Cloud is and what it isn't in the context of business applications. According to NIST (National Institute of Science and Technology) “Cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction. This cloud model promotes availability and is composed of five essential characteristics, three service models, and four deployment models.”

NIST further defines that there are 5 Characteristics
1) On-Demand Self Service
2) Broad Network Access
3) Resource Pooling
4) Rapid Elasticity
5) Measured Service

The Cloud, for purposes of ERP and CRM applications, will be discussed in the context of Software as a Service (SaaS) and in a Hybrid Cloud model. This means that we won't discuss Platform as a Service or Infrastructure as a Service nor will we discuss community or public clouds.

Now, let's tackle the financial case for the Cloud. Having been in this industry since 1994, here are my observations about business applications. First, every business needs business applications. Typewriters are replaced with Microsoft Word and related applications. 13-column ledgers (yes, remember those big green sheets in the Accounting Department?) are replaced with Excel and accounting applications such as Dynamics GP (Great Plains) and SL (Solomon) or at the very least, off the shelf software like QuickBooks. Rolodexes are replaced by CRM systems of varying sophistication such as Act or Dynamics CRM. So the conclusion is that business applications are here to stay. Are you willing to give up your e-mail or your smart phone?

How did we get where we are at? In the 1980's, the microcomputer began replacing the mainframe and became prevalent in business. This grew into a multi-billion dollar industry over the course of the next few decades. Solutions grew up around the networked PC and then quickly transformed into individualized computing power. Every user now has the ability to create their own Word documents, enter accounting transactions and track sales. This functionality is available for every business that can pull out a laptop or desktop and setup a business. This disruptive change has lowered the barrier to entry for every individual and company. We need only to look at the music industry changing from powerful record labels to individual musicians publishing their music to iTunes.

Today, disruptive forces abound. I am not an economist but I see the effects of the economy on business. It affects almost every industry and every company. Businesses today are forced to watch every dollar they spend and tie it directly to revenue and profit. Therefore, businesses are very smart about their investments and therefore are spending on assets that directly improve their bottom line. Since 1994, I have said many times that accounting and CRM systems are necessary for every business whether in good times or bad. In good times, businesses need to capture more customers than their competitors. In bad times, businesses need to serve their existing customers so they don't leave and they need to control costs.

However, business applications that were bought just five years ago do not provide the critical functions needed in this economy. Further, what if this economy doesn't turn around for a few years? What is a business to do in order to either maintain their market share or ideally capture market share from the competition?

Investing in a new ERP (Accounting) or CRM (Sales) system has historically required a significant amount of capital to be used up front to buy software and an equal or greater amount of capital to implement the software. This is capital that most business advisers would recommend being used for new machines, labor or other revenue and profit initiatives.

The solution is to research and deploy cloud-based solutions such as Microsoft's Exchange Online, NjevityToGo ERP (Dynamics GP & SL) or NjevityToGo CRM (Dynamics CRM). These solutions have the same low barrier to entry that every business expects today. Most businesses pay $100 to $150 per user per month for a smart phone and service. For the same cost per month with a much smaller number of users in the business, you can deploy Microsoft Dynamics GP Accounting software to provide full financial, distribution, reporting and business intelligence functionality.

This is a great leveling in the playing field between you and much larger competitors. In fact, you as a small business, have the upper hand! You have an unprecedented opportunity to implement a new system whereas your larger competitors will still be spending money on their old system with old capabilities.

Our approach to implementation, the other major expenditure you have in a system change, is the key to a successful low cost solution. With our QuickStart and SmartStart implementations, we provide you with project plans, templates, online training and a host of additional resources to reduce the costs of implementation. This approach puts the majority of the data conversion, training and report writing work on your team. The result is that you do not need to pay consulting fees and your team learns the system much quicker. There is also an ownership of the new system that results from this approach.

In conclusion, the time to make a business application change is now. It is time to capture market share from your competition. It is time to streamline your business processes. It is time to finally be able to make informed business decisions. If you have further questions, contact me: Robert Houdeshell rhoudeshell@njevity.com for a custom presentation. I am willing to work with you to lay out a plan to improve your business and capture more of the revenue and profit your company deserves.

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