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Enterprise System Overview

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The launch program for Enterprise System is shown above. This launch program allows administrators to remotely configure users menu selections, even users at remote locations. Click here for details.

What is an enterprise system?

Accounting systems are designed to automate the processes your accounting staff performs to keep the company books, produce cash flow and profit and loss statements, balance sheets, and tax reporting. While these are all essential functions any business must perform, these functions alone are not sufficient to run a business (unless you are running an accounting firm).

Most accounting systems provide only minimal support for the operations side of your business. What part of your business is operations? We have a straightforward working definition of operations:

"That collection of products and services for which your customers pay you."
Every business has a large number of activities which must be performed in order to continue in business.
Many of these activites do not directly contribute to operations as defined above.
We call these activities, and the costs associated with them, overhead.

Focus on operations

While an enterprise system provides a platform for managing both overhead and operations, the primary focus should be operations.

Accounting systems primarily focus on reducing the time and costs associated with a component of business overhead. While this is an important goal (enterprise systems perform in this area as well), automating operations offers a far greater opportunity.

Most overhead costs are relatively fixed in the short run. That is, they don't dramatically increase as the level of business activity increases. Neither do they dramatically decrease when the level of business activity declines. So, in the short run, overhead is a very finite opportunity. In other words, we can reduce the cost of overhead only so much.

Automating operations, on the other hand, offers the opportunity to increase revenue by doing more of that for which your customers pay you. Even if your company now has more capacity than it is currently utilizing, automating operations will help you to bring in more business using the same people you have now. How? By using the time they now spend performing tedious repetative tasks to do more of those things that bring in new business.

Sales and Customer Service

If your business sells to customers, you probably have sales and customer service people who are key players in your organization.

Think about how important the role these people play is to the success of your organization. Someone once said "Nothing happens until somebody sells something". Your sales people undoubtedly must do a certain amount of paperwork. They enter orders from customers, check on orders previously entered, and answer product questions, just to name a few. Field sales people must "manage a territory". Your Sales Manager is probably the person in your organization charged with overseeing this activity.

Helping this group of key people do their jobs more efficiently is so important that a whole software market segment has emerged to serve this important function. This segment is called Customer Relationship Management (CRM). A good enterprise system will encompass this key area as well, but with an important difference: integration.

Integration means that information about customers and sales contained in the CRM component of the system is automatically available to the accounting component of the system as well as every other area. Without integration, the information in the CRM system must be manually entered into the accounting system and information from the accounting system must be manually entered into the CRM system. Not only is this a lot of extra work, what's worse is that inevitably some information in one part of the system will be out of synch with the other part and you won't even know it until someone brings it to your attention.

Customizable CRM systems may be integrated with accounting systems and other systems, but this process typically involves significant cost and time to complete. In fact, the cost to provide a custom integration of a CRM system may exceed the cost of the CRM system. Furthermore, every time the accounting system changes, the integration code may need to be changed or redone and many accounting packages change every year.

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)

Enterprise System provides a toolset for managing both incoming and outgoing EDI with your customers vendors and other trading partners.

Automated Faxing (AutoFax)

Enterprise System provides a toolset for managing both incoming and outgoing Faxes. How many times does your Credit Manager need to respond to customers' requests for invoice copies? Enterprise System allows your Credit Manager to respond to these requests without getting out his chair. This means getting through the overdue list that much faster and speeding up collections.

Another example is sales people. How often are they required to Fax quotes to customers? What if they could avoid printing the quote and standing in line at the Fax machine and Fax quotes right from their desk? How many more quotes could they get out in a week? Every Sales Manager will tell you that you can't sell what you don't quote, and, generally, the more you quote the more you sell.

Order acknowledgments, for example, can be sent automatically as soon as an order has been entered. This doesn't even require the order entry operator to do anything at all. You can code the Order Acknowledgment field in the Customer table so that order acknowledgments are sent as soon as the order is entered.

Automated E-Mail

Enterprise System provides a toolset for managing both incoming and outgoing E-Mail. Sending E-Mail can be automated to be just as easy as sending Fax. Many of the customers and vendors you now send Faxes are capable of receiving the same information via E-Mail, and since E-Mail is generally free of cost, it presents an opportunity.

Automated Web Site Management

Enterprise System provides a toolset for managing the automatic update your web site from your information system. Whether you have your own web server or not, you can automatically update your web site with any information contained in your information system.

If you have part-time employees with varying schedules how much more convenient would it be if they had a password protected web page showing next weeks work schedule?

How many telephone conversations could you avoid if you could post customer order status information on a password protected web page? This would not only be a great convenience to both you and your customers, it may very well bring in new customers who desire this feature.

Automated Data Entry

Enterprise System provides a toolset for managing both incoming and outgoing spreadsheet files as well as tab-delimited text and comma-separated-variable (CSV) text files.

How often do you get information from customers and vendors in the form of a spreadsheet file or text file? How much more productive would this information be if you could mechanically pull it into your information system? Enterprise has a place to put vendor pricing information, even for those things you have never purchased from that vendor. If you receive spreadsheet files with price update information from vendors, you can include all the pricing information in Enterprise and then search mechanically for the vendor with the lowest price.

Paperless Document Handling

Enterprise System provides a toolset for linking any documents with records contained in Enterprise.

For example, vendor invoices and packing lists can be scanned and linked to your Accounts Payable or Purchase Order records.

Efficiency through integration

How can we gain the greatest efficiencies in handling and processing information? The answer is integration; the answer is Enterprise System by Incode Systems, Inc.

For more information contact: info1 [at] incodesystems.com

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Copyright 2004 Glenn B. Lawler, President, Incode Systems, Inc.
Last modified: Wednesday, Monday, February 9, 2004 3:52pm