After 20 years in the business systems arena its great to finally see companies achieving the holy grail of having truly integrated online system for information and data flow across their business.
Never before have we been able to deliver such integrated systems at such an affordable price tag for mid sized businesses. We can provide real time information flow from the shop floor and the warehouse, the the sales people on the road and increasingly even other companies in the supply chain without compromise or delay.
It has taken an industry leader like Microsoft to make this happen and viable. By having a presence in most of the different technology areas and by making sure that they are on a single technology stack it means we can configure the systems to talk without major R&D and still applying the logic that you used to use when doing the job manually (even if you did use Excel!).
The client I was working at today had sales people where taking orders are the NEC’s spring fair on hand held Windows Mobile Terminals using Go Integration software. These were immediately transmitted back to their Microsoft Dynamics NAV system at head office in Nottingham over the 3G mobile network. In the sales office a single click approved these orders and released them to the operations team. Those that arrived before their cut-off where planned onto optimised deliveries by the transport co-coordinators using Roadnet transport planning software before being sent to the warehouse in Wakefield. Customers who meet the company for the first time and placed their orders at the show today might well get delivery tomorrow. How impressive is that?
This is in addition to the orders that are received and automatically imported from EDI (from Tesco, Sainsbury, Morrison, Co-op etc.) and increasingly email attachments from smaller multiples (Palmer & Harvey, Poundstretcher, Costco,). I was on site integrating their new web portal so that’s another source where orders will just flow into the system. The only orders that need to be input are the ones received by phone and fax.
With terminals in the warehouse for all operations we will have eliminated paper from the start of the process to the end and given real time visibility of what is happening to everyone. There are additional spin off benefits in accuracy as well.
And that’s just one example of the new normal. Using Microsoft’s Dynamics business apps for CRM and ERP combined with SQL, SharePoint and Biztalk servers and with excellent third party software from Kentico, Go, Nintex and Scribe to name a few, we can create end to end solutions across the whole business.
Finally we can deliver the systems businesses are asking for with no compromise and no major software development required at justifiable cost.
Which makes our job as technology consultants much more fun, much less saying ‘sorry but no…….’.