Top 5 Technology Trends SMBs Cannot Ignore

Technology is a critical factor in driving SMB growth. The rise of these 6 trends has changed the way SMBs operate globally.

Small to Midsize Businesses (SMBs) are always on an accelerated journey towards gaining new customers while maintaining existing customer relationships. In addition, there is always a race to grow, expand and outweigh the competition. In this race of growth and sustainability technology plays a vital part. Modern day technology can help SMBs be more productive and efficient while aiding them to make effective business decisions based on real-time data and analytics.

Here are the top 5 trends shaping the way SMBs do business:

Trend #1

Embracing Cloud and amplifying its usage by leveraging AI

Cloud is the way to go and is not a matter of debate anymore. They have started to incorporate Artificial Intelligence aided with cloud based analytics that enables companies and the relevant stakeholders with real-time data that can be accessed across the globe.

This will provide the business with the flexibility in accessing real-time information about customer, production, industry and product, thereby assisting them in making effective decisions, fast. This solves one of the biggest challenges for SMBs – anticipating their customers’ needs, behaviors and developing product or serving them in a way that drives profit.

Trend #2

Increased adoption for IoT

IoT is primarily used by the SMBs in verticals such as utilities, manufacturing, asset tracking, smart homes, and wearables. Real-time data tracking and management, faster transactions, enhanced remote access are some uses of IoT that is heavily being used by businesses.

Trend #3

Digital Twin will take a hold in the way SMBs use technology

SMBs are heavily using digital twin as a means of creating an identical digital copy of a physical object/product or process. It is a great way of testing various versions of machinery, product releases and workflows, predicting the outcomes faster prior to any critical business decision that businesses make. Coupled with AI and Augmented or Virtual reality, the reach of digital twins gets amplified manifold.

Shorter time to market and lower R&D expenses are some of the benefits that is tagged along with this trend. The margin of error in using digital twin is extremely minimal. With this technology, hundreds or even thousands of variables can be taken into account, and the process can predict its conclusion before any investment has been made toward actual physical changes. 

Trend #4

Connected data will take the center stage

Data in today’s world is critical and valued the most. Connecting the data via modern day ERP that is coupled with CRM, business intelligence and machine learning will help automate the small and medium businesses. This will increase accuracy and efficiency in processes, predictions, and reporting, thereby enhancing informed and accurate decision making, each time. Additionally, it greatly helps in personalization where companies can leverage segmentation and provide right data to right sets of eyes at the right time. Microsoft Dynamics 365 is one such powerful ERP leveraging the power of cloud, BI, and analytics helping companies in a huge way while being cost efficient at the same time.

Trend #5

SMBs will outsource Cybersecurity

As businesses continue to grow, the associated data and security threat also grows. SMBs have a varied set of security needs, from data loss prevention to data protection and threat minimization. The trend is growing towards outsourcing cybersecurity to vendors providing “best of breed” solutions and tools. The idea of having one vendor to cater to this in place of several, is appealing to companies as they can have a consolidated view.

Download our whitepaper and know 5 Ways ERP prepares SMBs for long-term growth.

A Guide to Transformation in the Cloud for your Life Science Company

Unleashing growth, compliance and productivity

In a life sciences business, there is no lack of data related to product development, clinical trials, production (in-house and contract manufacturing), quality assurance, costing, the supply chain and other areas of the operation.  How do you make sense of it without investing in compliance, data processing and analytical technologies?

Moving to the cloud can help you cut costs and achieve compliance, but you run the risk of needlessly limiting the potential cloud benefits you can achieve by focusing on financials alone. We recommend considering all the 4 following aspects of cloud computing in your planning.

Download our guide to learn the 4 reasons why life sciences and the cloud belong together!

At Tridea, we help our life sciences customers digitally transform their businesses and improve the value realization of their business application investments. We mitigate the inherent risks associated with implementing, upgrading and replacing legacy ERP systems. We lead our life science customers with best-practice consulting services we have refined over thousands of engagements. We take care of our customers and aspire to keep them for life.

To learn more about how Tridea can help you get the most out of your Microsoft solution in the cloud, visit our website.

What Life Sciences can Accomplish in the Cloud

How does moving to the cloud help achieve your goals for growth, innovation, and competitiveness, and what are some of the main outcomes of transitioning to the cloud that you might want to anticipate and plan for?

Predictive maintenance ensures the uptime, productivity, and performance of your infrastructure

For many life sciences companies, evolving legacy systems from condition based to predictive, enabled with data insights from IoT, is an important use case for cloud technologies.  Your analysis of data coming from connected devices, and the IoT, allows for improved communications with your contract manufacturers, 3rd Party Logistics providers or in-house manufacturing team.  This connectivity allows for you to anticipate and avoid poor decisions on R&D and product movements throughout the enterprise.   That intelligence enables you to keep product innovation to occur quickly and/or fulfilment of orders to be as efficient as possible.

People, trading partners and market visibility enables complete, contextual intelligence to help you meet company objectives

In life sciences, the ability to compete as a viable, relevant business depends largely on your ability to understand and control product research and supply chain. This learning offers an avenue to intelligence that overcomes the practical and conceptual boundaries of individuals, who are easily misled by their selective awareness of events and trends. Instead of acquiring the tools and building your own intelligence systems, you can take advantage of the resources available in the cloud today. When you connect your industrial assets or the complex products to the IoT, storing and processing the data in the cloud, they become available to cloud intelligence that can combine with data from your entire operation.

At that point, your insight is not limited to your individual employees. You can surround it with contextual information about R&D, material planning, training and the supply chain. If you want to cast an even wider net, you can also assess customer behaviors, market trends, and competitive threats, and correlate those findings with your R&D and product management.

Collaborative innovation opens additional revenue streams and increases team efficiency

Predictive maintenance is a great achievement that your internal and external customers will appreciate. No need to stop there. Cloud-enabled, intelligence-driven collaboration with your customers can help you understand them much better, strengthen the relationships with them, and maintain your share of their attention and spending. It can also result in product enhancements that you might eventually launch to your entire market.

Within your organization, you can rely on the performance and scalability of cloud resources to enable scientists, partners and rest of the workforce collaborate from anywhere. They can use cloud-based virtual reality modeling to work together on new formulas and products. You save the expense and disruption of business travel by your skilled innovators, and you enable them to collaborate always, not just on special occasions.

Service provider expertise lets you make more strategic use of your own IT department

If your IT department is fully occupied with the day-to-day activities of keeping applications, networks, and infrastructures running and secure, you can move most of these routines to the cloud and let your service provider handle them. Instead, you can use your in-house IT resources to perform custom development and other high-value tasks that help you move forward. Working with a strong cloud service provider, your IT team can efficiently learn the skills of development, provisioning, resource management, and security in the cloud, especially if you maintain a hybrid environment that requires integrations between on-premise and cloud computing. You can draw on your service provider’s specializations, for instance, to enable advanced intelligence, collect and process large volumes of data, or take the complexity out of working in the IoT.

Worldwide resources and networks let you grow at your own pace while being compliant

Leading cloud providers maintain advanced cloud infrastructures in global networks of data centers. They will have a data center close to your headquarters, and, when your company reaches across the globe, they can support you wherever you go. That means you can grow in the cloud at your preferred pace. If you want to take a measured, low-risk approach, you could move just one workload into the cloud – product engineering, for example – to start with, and test the new infrastructure’s performance, reliability, and analytical capabilities. You continue your cloud migration at the right time.

When you’re ready to increase the momentum, you can take advantage of cloud-based ERP and CRM resources with multi-language and multicurrency features to reach customers and markets anywhere. If you’re operating production and distribution facilities in several countries and regions, the cloud offers an efficient way to make corporate systems and information available to them and connect their processes to the entire organization.

Transform your life sciences business in the cloud

Starting now, you can act on the cloud opportunities that offer the highest benefits. Together, Tridea Partners technology and expertise, Microsoft Dynamics 365, and the analytics resources available on the Microsoft Azure cloud can make life sciences business growth in the cloud practical, fast, and affordable. Before, during, and following your move to the cloud, we help you optimize processes, increase efficiencies, and reduce costs. We offer proven, practical solutions and approaches within an affordable subscription model that eliminates distractions and lets you focus on results.

At Tridea, we help our life science customers digitally transform their businesses and improve the value realization of their business application investments. We mitigate the inherent risks associated with implementing, upgrading and replacing legacy ERP systems. We lead our life science customers with best-practice consulting services we have refined over thousands of engagements. We take care of our customers and aspire to keep them for life.

To learn more about how Tridea can help you get the most out of your Microsoft solutions, visit https://www.columbusglobal.com/en-us/resources/landing-pages/us/tridea-lifesciences-erp/life-sciences-ebook  or contact us at info@trideapartners.com

Five Ways to Turn Business Data into Business Insight Part 5

This is the fifth and final post in our five-part series, Five Ways to Turn Business Data into Business Insight. We’ve previously looked at how dashboards can provide easy information access to your team members based on specific roles, how self-service business intelligence (BI) and reporting can lighten the load on IT resources, how to make BI more mobile, and how Big Data is doing big things for small and mid-sized businesses. Today, we’ll wrap up the series with a look up to the Cloud.

Make Information More Accessible with the Cloud

It’s been a race to the cloud with apps and tools for consumers and businesses. And while on-premise business intelligence (BI) systems that are all snuggled onto business-owned servers are still the norm, implementations of web-based and web-accessible BI tools are growing and soon will out-pace the traditional approach.

The cloud’s promises of accessibility for users and reduced IT workload are more than just marketing speak. They’re real benefits, even for small and mid-sized business. But you have to find the model that makes sense for the data security, storage and ROI needs of your business.

Microsoft’s cloud strategy is about choice. If you want to move your business intelligence, financial management and productivity tools to the cloud, great; if you prefer to use a hybrid approach and host only a portion of your solution, super; or if you’re all ready to go all-in, Microsoft and our world-wide network of partners offer on-premises, hosted or cloud-based options that meet your needs.

The reality here is that your approach to the cloud needs to match your business. Tridea can help determine what makes the most sense today and what will set you up best for tomorrow.

Keeping tabs on the data that drives your business is an ongoing challenge for any growing company. This five-part blog series has covered how Microsoft Dynamics ERP gives you the tools to transform reams of data into useful insight and how easily accessible that insight can be to the people on your team.

Take a deeper look into each of these tips with our infographic: download it here.

With the right business solution, you can boost the financial health of your company. Tridea makes it simple with out of the box options to fit your budget, timeline and requirements. Start with what you need today and easily add as your needs change. Contact us today to get started.

Should you upgrade to the cloud and why?

Many of our customers have been hearing the buzz around going to the cloud with their ERP and other systems.  At first, many CFO’s and CIO’s were leary about moving any of their systems off their premises and felt it was more secure to have their data stored onsite where they can keep an eye on it and protect it.

We have seen a shift happening with our customers.  Many are moving their enterprise applications like Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Office to a cloud-based application and the IT team is asking to move off of old aging servers to the cloud to reduce their cost of maintenance and capital outlays every few years.

With Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013, many customers had to evaluate their systems and upgrade to newer versions of SQL and Operating Systems.  This requires new hardware or servers to be in place before upgrading their software.  This is a considerable decision to make along with cost of upgrading.   Talk about being kicked when you are already down!

We are seeing clients consider the option of moving GP to a hosted provider or Azure.  Makes sense, right?  Why not move your ERP system to a cloud based solution along with your other applications.  The cloud is then where your software resides, but you can still own the software licenses and data, it’s just hosted and you get to relax about all the server maintenance and let the hosting provider do all the dirty work to support the servers and keep them up and running.

TOP REASONS TO UPGRADE GP TO THE CLOUD:

1) Capital outlay versus Operating Expense – When considering a purchase of hardware there are some fixed costs and this potentially can be capitalized.  However, moving to Azure or hosting provider is a monthly hosting fee which is operating expense.   This might be beneficial depending on financial arrangements  like bank debt requirements or tax benefits of being able to expense the hosting fees.

2) Aging Servers and server migrations – With aging servers and support ending on some operating systems, customers need to make a decision whether to buy new servers or to go to the cloud.  Azure and other hosting options are available and there are monthly hosting fees. When you are migrating to a new server or Azure, it’s a great time to do the upgrade as you will have less costs overall to do both at the same time.

3) System Requirements for GP 2013 and higher versions –  The system requirements to upgrade must be considered when planning your upgrade.   With Microsoft ending main stream support for GP 2013 in April 2018.  That means that there will be no more  year end updates available after April 2018, and there is limited support from Microsoft for this version.  If this applies to you, this is a good time plan to upgrade your GP software and servers.

4) Ransomware or system attacks – Some customers believe that their systems are more secure keeping them on their premise.  However, we are still seeing customers with system downtime due to ransomware or other cyber attacks.  Recently, one customer had a ransomware infect their environment and were unable to get their GP data. They did not have a good backup, so they re-implemented GP and had to start from scratch which can cost a lot of money and inconvenience.  It’s difficult for most smaller IT teams to keep on top of security and prevent these attacks.

5) Disaster recovery planning – Imagine a natural disaster and your business systems are down due to flooding, fires or other disaster situations.  Another client in Houston, Texas recently had us help them move their GP system to Azure when the Hurricane Harvey storm was bearing down on the city.   We were able to move their entire GP System and on Monday morning they were able to work remotely, even though their plant and offices were under threat of flooding.  Their Azure install kept them running their business even when their on premise servers were unable to stay up with power and internet outages.  What are your disaster recovery plans if your system was down and unable to keep running?

6) Backup data to the cloud – You would think most modern companies have a good backup system to an offsite location.  However, we are seeing more and more that companies think they have a backup somewhere in house, only to find out that they do not have a recent backup.   Having services to backup your data to Azure or offsite is critical when you need that backup.

7) Web Client available in GP – Some customers want to take advantage of the web client in GP for full users and for employee self-service users.  The web client can be another way to keep your users able to access the system with just a web browser.  Occasional users or employees that need to access their payroll information can use the self-service features.   There is also Purchase Requisitions and workflow to enable users to interact without having to install GP on their computer or laptop.

8) Outsourcing your IT –  Many clients are challenged with keeping up with these system changes and don’t have a large IT team or dedicated resources to manage systems.  While moving to a cloud environment, you can add additional services to manage the systems and provide additional value so that your IT team can be focused on other strategic initiatives.

What is the current version and when is next major release?

GP 2016 R2 is the current release and will enjoy main stream support until 2021.  GP 2018 will be available in December 2017 and does require SQL 2014 or SQL 2016, so check the system requirements when planning your upgrade.

There are many reasons to upgrade your system to the cloud and our experienced team is waiting to help you plan your upgrade to the cloud. Contact us today to find out about your upgrade path!