The Attivo Blog

May 26 2015

How to Cultivate Your CRM Culture

Many companies fail to get the benefits of CRM software, not because of the technology, but because they have not adopted the right corporate culture to nurture and progress the customer relations that CRM is designed to support. Is your organization preparing to roll out CRM? If so, you will benefit from this guide to cultivating a culture that drives the technology for CRM success.This guide can apply to nearly any major software implementation.

Adopting CRM Down the Ranks

Often, CRM initiatives come from the top down. Executives decide to implement a new software package, IT purchases and installs it, yet workers continue to keep important customer data and communications in their email folders, personal notes, or in a spreadsheet.

What went wrong here? Was it a poorly designed software package? Did upper management make a bad move? No, the CRM is not to blame. Management simply failed to show the workforce:
  • How CRM can benefit their day-to-day workflow
  • What CRM can bring to their customer relations, sales numbers, production department, sales department, marketing initiatives, customer service, and other stakeholders
  • How to use the CRM software to glean all of those benefits
With the right explanation, training, and demonstration of how CRM benefits workers, they have a clear understanding of how and why the software is important.

Why CRM Training is Essential

Any program is only going to be as successful as the training that helps workers understand it and use it practically. CRM is no different. It's crucial to get workers the training they need to understand:
  • How the software works
  • Why using the software is important
  • What kinds of information to enter into the CRM
  • How to enter the information for the most usefulness across the organization
  • What features are available to help them get a better handle on customer relations
  • What features are available to help them understand how the data applies to their jobs
Training shouldn't be a one-and-done deal. Continued success depends on keeping everyone up to speed with changes in the software, changes in processes, and other things that they need to know to get the most out of a CRM.

Analysis is the Key to Continued Use & Success

Finally, analysis of how a CRM system is working helps all departments at all levels of the organization get the most out of it. How quickly did it take to get the sales and customer service teams to start entering critical data into the system? What hurried or delayed their adoption? Do all departments feel equally vested in the software and its success? Are workers taking advantage of all the features the system offers? Why is it working so well, or not so well?

With proper training, analysis, and additional training, the culture of the organization will change and adapt in order to make your initiative a success. For more information you can download this free whitepaper or contact us here.


May 14 2015

Usability, Mobility are Keys to ERP Success

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is supposed to make life easier for those who plan products, purchase materials, control inventories, or perform any number of business functions. With a great ERP solution, a company should be able to improve the flow of data throughout the organization, permitting smart, informed decisions and actions.

Unfortunately, user-friendliness hasn't traditionally been one of the strong points of ERP systems in the past. But ERP providers are coming around to the importance of usability, because if people can't figure out how to use an ERP system, they can't derive maximum benefit from it. Here are 3 reasons why usability must be a priority with ERP software.

Consumerization Has Raised User Expectations of Technology

The so-called consumerization of technology has raised expectations. People are used to having their devices with them and having apps that simply work without a steep learning curve. When people are used to downloading apps and immediately using them, they have far less patience for complex user interfaces that aren't intuitive, and can quickly grow frustrated when faced with an app they can't derive value from right away. Even people who cut their teeth on legacy apps that were complex and hard to learn expect today's apps to deliver functionality and deliver it quickly.

Users Want Anytime, Anywhere Access to Vital Information

Along with increased expectations about ease of interaction with apps, end-users expect their apps to go with them wherever they go. The pace of business has accelerated, and many businesses that were once local now have multiple locations. ERP software has to allow for flexibility of deployment, which is often accomplished through the cloud. Decision makers want to have access to relevant information anywhere, any time, and on any device so they can operate with maximum efficiency and maintain a competitive advantage. Cloud hosted ERP systems that deliver great usability are the ones that provide this.

Great Functionality Prevents Reversion to Manual Processes and Workarounds

When an ERP system interface is too complex or poorly designed, users are not only resistant to learning it, they're more likely to reject it outright and revert to manual processes or workarounds. Before committing to an ERP solution, companies should ask vendors several important questions to avoid this problem.

• How easy is the system to navigate via user interface?
• Is it easy to execute business processes using the system?
• Can end-users perform their job functions empowered, rather than hindered by the software?
• Will this software allow us to run operations more efficiently and effectively?

The user experience is critically important to the success of your ERP system rollout. People are used to apps that "just work," and they're less likely to be patient with systems that have complicated or confusing usability. Not only should an ERP solution be easy to master and navigate, it should offer mobility for anytime, anywhere access to critical information. When an ERP solution focuses on usability, it enables a greater, faster return on investment, and helps a business become more effective, efficient, and productive.

If you would like to know more about how outstanding ERP software can help your business run more effectively and efficiently, call The Attivo Group at 877-428-8486 or contact us here.


May 01 2015

PCCharge Being Sunsetted: What This Means for Exact Users

In early April, Verifone announced that it will be phasing out support of their credit card processing solution, PCCharge. This will have widespread ramifications for Exact software users for a number of reasons.  For customers looking to process credit cards in Macola, while staying PCI compliant, Ebiz Charge is now one of their only options.

To say that the phase out of PCCharge is going to be abrupt is an understatement. Verifone made the announcement on April 6th, and stopped taking new orders on May 1st. After May 7th, no new orders will be shipped.  Current customers will still be able to add licenses or add services to their accounts, but that is on a countdown clock as well. Current customers will only be able to add services to their accounts up until September 25th, and Verifone will stop all support of the PCCharge software on October 1st.

PCI Compliance

So what does this mean exactly for current PCCharge users?  First and foremost, they will NOT be PCI compliant. The PCCharge software will have to be hosted on their own in-house servers, meaning all customer financial data will be stored on internal hardware. This leaves users extremely vulnerable to cyber-attacks, and liable for any financial damages done due to data theft. Short of upgrading internal physical and virtual security systems to data center levels, it will be impossible for anyone using PCCharge to stay PCI compliant. In addition to being liable for any theft of financial data, users can (and most likely will) be subject to fines from the major credit card companies if they remain out of compliance.

Compounding this issue is the fact that the next generation payment solution being developed by Verifone won't be compatible with Macola Progression, which comprises a large percentage of the Exact community. 

Functionality and Support

Just because the software is sunsetting doesn’t mean that it will suddenly stop working on October 1st.  To put this in perspective, Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP quite some time ago, but a staggering number of people still use machines running that operating system. What sun-setting means is that all technical support, updates and patches will go away. Any user still tied to PCCharge this fall will essentially need to cross their fingers and hope that the software never has any bugs or issues. If the software does go down, so will the ability to process credit cards, which could ultimately cost users business while they transition to another option.

Ebiz Charge

This announcement leaves Ebiz Charge as the only credit card processing solution on the market that will integrate directly with Macola Progression, Macola ES and Exact Macola 10 that is also 100% PCI compliant.

For more information on Ebiz Charge and how it integrates with your Macola software you can contact The Attivo Group at 877-428-8486 orcontact us here.