Clients First USA
Clients First knows their software, but they are also astute business people, and they really understand manufacturing and distribution in particular.
Jimmy Witcher, COO, Merrick
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The History of Microsoft Dynamics ERP Systems – SL, GP, AX & NAV

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

Microsoft has multiple ERP solutions that were acquired at different points in the past.  They had somewhat different target markets and capabilities and there still exists some market confusion, especially with the  similar names.

Microsoft Dynamics SL

Dynamics SL was originally known as Solomon Software and was acquired by Great Plains who was later acquired by Microsoft.  SL is focused on small and midsized companies with a heavy emphasis on Project Accounting.  However, SL’s technology platform has gotten dated and Microsoft outsourced all development on the product years ago.

Microsoft Dynamics GP

Dynamics GP was originally known as Great Plains Dynamics.  At one point, Dynamics was one of the top selling small and mid-market accounting systems and typically was ‘neck and neck’ with State of the Art’s MAS90 (Later to become Sage 100).  It was a very competent general accounting system with basic distribution and manufacturing functionality.  It was based on a language that was built for the solution known as Dexterity.  It’s still sold today, but given that it’s not localized to run outside of the US, it’s not a strategic solution for Microsoft as it moves to the cloud.

Microsoft Dynamics AX

Dynamics AX, originally called Axapta, was a solution that was created by a group of executives who left Navision.  It was later acquired by Navision before Navision was acquired by Microsoft.  Axapta historically focused on complex customization, global implementations and later a strong focus on manufacturing.  Over the years Microsoft has pushed AX upmarket to compete head to head with the likes of Oracle and SAP at large multi-national corporations.  Although it can fit a variety of industries and business sizes, its deep functionality and thus longer implementation times leaves it best in complex multi-plant manufacturing environments and those that need to run one system instance across multiple geographies with multiple localization requirements.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV

Dynamics NAV, formally Navision Financials, was developed by Navision.  It was a solution that introduced many capabilities that have been copied by others since including a multi-dimensional chart of accounts, built in real time summation and analytics for fast summaries and instant drill down anywhere and a rapid development environment designed to be mold-able to a client’s needs rather than a solution that assumes you will change to it’s ‘best practices.’  Over the years, the distribution functionality of NAV was heavily enhanced along with a mid-level range of manufacturing functionality and is ideal for financials only, distribution and light manufacturing companies.

The Future:

Microsoft has known for sometime it needs to streamline its offerings while still not leaving existing clients abandoned.  It’s opportunity to do so became clear while it simultaneously is retooling its solutions to be offered in the cloud.  The fact that Microsoft get’s the majority of its revenues from international sales spells trouble for Dynamics GP & SL because neither solution can be used outside of the US in most cases and are among the only solutions of the hundreds of products Microsoft offers to be in this position.

With Microsoft’s introduction of Dynamics 365 for Financials and Dynamics 365 for Operations, Microsoft has retooled NAV for the small and mid-market cloud ERP market and retooled AX for the upper mid-market and upper market cloud world.

Microsoft has rebuilt the core architectures of NAV & AX to run smoothly in the cloud and to be run completely in a browser.  If you are a mid-size distribution or light manufacturing company, NAV & Dynamics 365 for Financials are the Microsoft solutions to look at today and Dynamics AX and Dynamics 365 for Operations for those with complex manufacturing requirements.

Did you know if you are on Dynamics GP or SL (Great Plains or Solomon), you can get 100% of your license investment applied toward upgrading to NAV or AX?  Read more about it HERE.

Authorized Partner and Certified Consultants for Epicor ERP

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

Clients First Business Solutions is an Epicor Gold Authorized Implementation Partner and is staffed by 100% Epicor Certified team members for Epicor ERP.

Why being an Epicor ERP Authorized Partner and Certified Consultant is important to you?

There are people and firms claiming to be Epicor consultants throughout the interwebs.  In many cases, they may be someone who had experience implementing Epicor (who knows what version) at an employer or client.  But it doesn’t make them Certified and Authorized.

Certified by Epicor means a consultant has spent literally hundreds, if not thousands of hours over years of time becoming intimately familiar with the inner workings of Epicor ERP and how to properly implement it to ensure satisfied clients.  It’s a massive investment in money and time an Authorized Partner, like Clients First must make on an annual basis to ensure that it is equipped to deliver the highest quality of services at the lowest possible cost.

By making that investment, Epicor rewards an Authorized Partner, like Clients First, with substantial and exclusive resources.  Among these include:

  • Exclusive access to new versions of the software to become trained, experience and certified on it before it is released to the public
  • Extensive interactive meetings, both in person and virtual with Epicor executives to ensure both parties understand what is needed to maximize customer satisfaction
  • Direct access to Epicor ERP documentation, source code and training in order to ensure we can support our clients.  A partner who isn’t authorized cannot access this information.  Unauthorized partners who have done so, have faced serious legal challenges and have put their clients at risk.
  • A significant voice and influence in determining what new features and functionality make it into the product in the future.  When our clients ask us for a capability, we can help ensure your voice is heard loud and clear for future releases.
  • Priority access to Epicor Technical Support.  When we need assistance we can escalate calls rapidly and have the relationships with the ‘experts’ that can get things done.
  • We are a founding member of the Epicor Partner Council and run the collaboration website.  This gives us instant access to hundreds of specialists to help recommend solutions to unique requirements and problems.  Often the results of this collaboration are received much faster and are much more useful on a practical basis than Epicor’s own technical support.
  • We are first in line to be chosen to work with Epicor Direct Sales and Service teams to help with demonstrating and implementing the solution for Epicor’s own direct clients.
  • We provide industry leading video training and demonstration resources for our clients and others at EpicorDemo.com

The Best Part of being an Authorized Partner is being able to Help you, our Client.

While we are partners with Epicor, our strongest partnership is with our Clients.  Hence where the origin of the name Clients First comes from.  Of course we know the details of the Epicor ERP software, but just as important we become a trusted business adviser to your company and get to know the daily works of how you do business.

Whether you select us to initially implement Epicor ERP or to complete an upgrade to the latest release, we give you extensive time with our team.  We use dedicated project managers to ensure our budgets are delivered on-time, on-budget, and with the expected functionality promised.  We ensure that everyone from your executives to your production floor are comfortable with the new solution and sees our team members as an extension of your organization.

When your system is securely hosted by us in the Microsoft Cloud or is protected by our EverSafe Disaster Recovery & Failover solution, you’ll know that we can keep your Epicor ERP system up and running 24×7 with no down time.

The comfort you get from using an Authorized Epicor ERP partner like Clients First Business solutions staffed by Epicor 100% certified experts can allow you to sleep knowing your business is in good hands.  Our existing clients feel this way and ask us to speak with them if you would like.

Click the chat box below to speak with us now!

Epicor Insights… Time is running out, make your plans now!

Friday, April 21st, 2017

Insights 2017—Epicor Customer Conference

May 22-25, 2017      Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, Nashville, TN

http://www.epicor.com/customers/insights/default.aspx

Make your plans now, you are running out of time:

This year the Epicor Insights 2017 is being held in Nashville, TN.     Epicor Insights is a yearly gathering of over 4000 Epicor Customers, Epicor Partners, and Epicor Employees.   The Epicor conference is hosted by the Epicor Users Group and Epicor Corporation.

Why should your company send people to Insights?

  • Insights is an excellent education opportunity with all of the following brought together in one location:
    • Classes – Dozens of 60-90 minute classes are held. These classes are interactive and allow questions.   These classes are given by other Epicor Customers, Epicor Partners, and Epicor Employees.
    • Hands-On Labs – The labs are more detailed and hands-on with lab exercises to enter into Epicor and view the results. Two people share a computer to perform the exercises.
    • Extended Educations Session-These sessions are offered the Saturday and Sunday prior to the conference. These sessions are much more in-depth than the conference labs.    Each of these training sessions cost an additional $260 over the cost of the conference.  Smaller class size, product-specific training with access to technical experts.
    • Solutions Pavilion – A room where Epicor and the Epicor Alliance partners demo solutions that extend the Epicor application. This is an opportunity to meet face-to-face with personnel to answer your business and technical questions.    During pavilion hours it can be quite busy.  If it is too busy, request a meeting with the person during non-pavilion hours.
    • If your company is running an older version of Vista/Vantage or Epicor 9 this is an excellent opportunity to see the latest Epicor 10 version.
    • Calculate the cost of independent research vs. getting real-time solutions at the conference that can be implemented immediately.
    • Discount if you register four or more employees from your company
    • Opportunity to schedule One-on-One meetings with Epicor executives and subject matter experts.
  • Insights is an excellent networking opportunity.
    • The Insight conference is set up as a conference inside a conference.
      • Attendees are given color coded lanyards to identify the specific Epicor product used. This allows attendees to quickly identify people running the same software.
      • Breakfast and Lunch tables are separated so attendees can sit with people using the same Epicor product.
    • Social networking.
      • In a short amount of time you will meet other attendees using the same Epicor product that you are.
      • From questions asked in classes you will identify attendees having some of the same issues that your company is having. You will also be able to identify the attendees that have found solutions for some of these issues.   After the class, many impromptu meetings are held in the hallways based on these questions.
      • Chance to meet Epicor employees that you may have only talked to on the phone.

The Agenda Builder portal is now available to start creating you conference agenda.    The Agenda Builder App is available to download.  With this App you can use your smartphone/iPad while at the conference to:

  • Go to your preselected classes and receive any last minute Conference changes/announcements
  • Connect with fellow attendees and exhibitors
  • Download presentations and documents

 

For more details go to        http://www.epicor.com/customers/insights/default.aspx

Microsoft Azure… Epicor, Microsoft Dynamics NAV & AX and SAP Business One now has a Cloud Answer

Monday, March 13th, 2017

azure

Microsoft Azure is the perfect solution for hosting your ERP System. In the past there were stand alone data centers that would let you install your solution. However, they were essentially remote fixed servers. The same as hosting in your office, just at a more secure or robust location.

After spending over $20 Billion Dollars!, Microsoft has built a worldwide infrastructure that allows for a level of reliability, scalability and cost effectiveness that was only a dream just a few years ago.

With Azure we get 24x7x365 worldwide monitoring and support to run your mission critical applications. Using Clients First Business Solutions, a Microsoft Gold Azure Partner, we can manage and host your Epicor ERP, Microsoft Dynamics NAV and AX or SAP Business One solution in the worlds most powerful public cloud.

Advantages include

  • No need for a physical environment, power, cooling and heating
  • A global infrastructure for security, backup, and management
  • The ability for ‘compute on demand’ and scaling capabilities.  We can automatically bring up additional application servers during your busiest periods and yet you don’t pay for them when things are quiet.
  • We can scale up the performance of your servers as you grow.  We can literally ‘add memory and processors’, while your users continue to use the system with no downtime.
  • The ability to use a specialized partner, like Clients First, to manage your infrastructure with the same level of connectivity and support as your internal IT resources.  Let them focus on your strategic growth visions and let us be the ERP specialists so they don’t have to.  Asking your IT department to manage your ERP system is like asking your personal doctor, a general practitioner, to also be a heart surgeon when needed.

The Cloud isn’t the right solution for everyone and don’t let your software vendor box you into a solution built for their profitability, not yours.  With Clients First, you can take advantage of the lower cost of ownership of perpetual ERP licensing while having the same or better full cloud offloading of local IT responsibility and with no limitations in what you can do to customize your system for your company’s needs.

If On-Premise is right for you, Clients First’s IT specialists and our EverSafe Business Continuity solution can still provide for you the same level of managed ‘no headache’ services as a cloud solution.

Clients First has spent years perfecting the managing and hosting of ERP systems on public clouds.  It’s not as simple as simply subscribing to Azure and installing your software there.  We’ve developed a significant amount of IP (Intellectual Property) around the ability to have your ERP system run in a public cloud but still feel as if it’s installed in the room next door.  Standalone public clouds like Azure or Amazon S3 will not touch your ERP solution whatsoever.  They are only responsible for keeping the operating system up and running.  When you host through Clients First’s Azure Hosting, its a ‘one throat to choke’ managed service solution.

We even have solutions for on-premise cellular fail-over should your Internet go down and make the cloud inaccessible at your office.

Whether you are hosting Epicor ERP, Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Microsoft Dynamics AX or SAP Business One, let Clients First Business solutions be your go to partner for ‘lights out’ headache free uptime.

SAP Business One.. To Go Version 9.2

Monday, March 6th, 2017

This detailed document (Over 250 pages) for SAP Business One, Version 9.2 is the latest iteration of this overview which goes through module by module, screen by screen for most setup and configuration and use cases for SAP Business One.

Here you should be able to find whatever you need for your SAP Business One implementation, service or support needs.

If you want hand holding through your implementation and training, feel free to click on the chat button below.