We are excited to be attending the Meet Magento 2019 NYC Conference. Here are some of the things we are seeing during the conference that you should be paying attention to for your Magento E-commerce environment. A look at the event Magento Mobile Optimization Discussion How to compete on shipping in an age of Amazon How to stay secure with your Magento environment
Salesforce is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform that can provide many benefits for your business, allowing you to track important data and effectively implement your growth strategies. It is used by both large and small businesses working in a vast number of industries. The Salesforce platform provides a wide array of services as a part of their enterprise cloud services, from analytics to collaboration tools, but to truly get the most out of it, you can integrate it with other cloud-based accounting systems like Sage Intacct, Microsoft Dynamics, NetSuite, Xero or Quickbooks. Integrating your accounting software with Salesforce will help to make sure your customer service, sales, and financial teams are in sync. This will minimize issues between these different aspects of your business. Many businesses make the mistake of separating their accounting, marketing, and customer service from each other with segmented software tools. Important information gets held up in one department when it could benefit another significantly and make a positive impact on the business as a whole. That information will probably eventually get where it should go, but it could be too late for it to make any difference. Not to mention, manual entry of data between systems often leads to errors and data discrepancies. Minimizing this “information bottleneck” will improve your business with speed and information accuracy. Salesforce integration with your accounting application will streamline this information flow. You’ll get a more cohesive view of what is actually going on in your business and make decisions based upon that clearer and more accurate view. You can use Salesforce to maximize efficiency, doing things such as automating invoice creation, syncing customer records and managing sales commissions. Common Pitfalls of Accounting and Salesforce CRM Integrations This is not to say that accounting software integration with Salesforce is always an easy thing to do. There are a number of common pitfalls that you need to avoid. Know why you are doing Salesforce integration and what you want to achieve. There are many different accounting tools you can integrate with Salesforce with their own capabilities and specialties. Integration is not a simple process and finding out that the tool you have selected does not do what you need it to is a waste of time and money. Know what you are looking to do with Salesforce and accounting application integration before you begin investing in it. Make sure you clean up your data before it is imported into Salesforce. Bad data will generate more bad data. This can be caused by as simple a problem as the labels and ID’s that you use to identify account names being different between Salesforce and your accounting application. Match them up before you sync up the two different platforms to prevent more confusion and generation of a large number of duplicates. Decide early on between custom objects and static schemas. You can only use custom objects and fields when your provider can pick up data dynamically. If there is support for these custom objects, you will be able to interact with them using their labels from Salesforce. Static schema, however, is predefined objects and fields. In order to modify them, you will need to go back into Salesforce. Using static schema will make it more difficult to create more complex workflows, but it may be a more financially fitting option for your business. Be careful about contact information. Accounting software tracks customer contact info by storing it in one record. Salesforce, however, may track several contacts under one customer profile. If you want to have the two platforms sharing information with each other, this can cause confusion. It’s important to pay attention to which contacts from Salesforce you are using for a customer profile. As with many other aspects of business, having a clear plan about your Salesforce integration is important. It will allow you to know what result you want out of the process, what resource you are allocating towards it, and how you can mitigate the issues described above or other potential pitfalls lurking. One of the most important ways to smooth your Salesforce and accounting software integration process is by choosing the right accounting software for your business goals. There are a number of options out there, each of them with their own features and structures. Here’s an overview of some of the best accounting software applications for Salesforce integration: Microsoft Dynamics NAV Microsoft Dynamics NAV provides a number of different financial services. It allows you to manage your accounting books and reports, automate your supply chain, and more. Microsoft Dynamics NAV allows you to connect financial data from accounting, sales, purchases, and inventory, as well as help to manage budgets and create sales forecasting. Multiple Microsoft Dynamics NAV databases can be integrated with one Salesforce instance. Syncing the two not only helps with keeping customer data synchronized but can also help both platforms maintain the most updated product and inventory information. Sage Intacct Sage Intacct automates a number of vital processes and offers business owners a more effective and comprehensive view of performance. This accounting application’s stated goal is to reduce users’ reliance on spreadsheets. It covers all your core financial needs and is very highly rated among accounting applications. By integrating Sage Intacct with Salesforce, you’ll gain a very thorough and transparent view of your customers and customer interactions. Sage Intacct has been designed with Salesforce and business application integration in mind, making it one of the smarter accounting applications to integrate. You can check and modify data housed in Sage Intacct while using Salesforce. It is an extremely effective method of streamlining your workflows. Sage Business Cloud Financials Sage Business Cloud Financials is accounting software developed by the same company as Sage Inacct. It is focused on providing business and industry live updates on any device. It is a great solution for a business team that is frequently on the move and needs to be able to make decisions no matter where they are. Sage Live is built on the Salesforce App Cloud, meaning it is already integrated with Salesforce. You will get the most out of Sage when using Salesforce in conjunction. NetSuite NetSuite is a cloud-based business ERP application that offers flexible accounting and financial management, enterprise-level business information management and real-time analytics of financial performance. Transactions can be tracked on every level. You can use NetSuite’s accounting application to manage your billing, revenue recognition, financial planning, financial reports, and much more. It’s a very flexible and comprehensive accounting and ERP suite. Integrating your NetSuite ERP application with Salesforce will provide the CRM platform with up-to-date info on transactions, accounts, and financial reports as well as providing NetSuite with up to date information on sales pipeline metrics. The end result will be an enhanced management and business technology experience with concrete insight into business-critical information. NetSuite is an ideal platform for integration with Salesforce and it can be done with pre-built connectors. QuickBooks Online (QBO) QuickBooks Online is one of the most commonly used and highest reviewed accounting software suites for SMB’s. This can be seen in numerous software review sites across the web. You can easily use it to manage bills, track travel miles, create financial reports, pay your employees, even among contractors, and more. Some users consider the software’s frequent updates to be more of a bug than a feature since sometimes it forces users to re-learn how to do basic tasks, but it is a sign of just how much effort the company puts into keeping the software secure and up-to-date. Intuit, the company behind Quickbooks, has seen the value of integrating QBO with Salesforce and has done what they can to make integrating the two easier for their customers. QBO is very good at what it does with accounting, but does not provide the same support as Salesforce does for customer tracking. Integrating the data maintained by QBO with Salesforce’s CRM capability enables you to make more accurate decisions about sales opportunities and the direction you want to grow your business. Xero Xero, similar to QBO, provides online accounting services for small and medium businesses, including managing customer payments, inventory, payroll, paying bills, and tracking bank reconciliation. Xero is designed to make accounting faster and easier, which it does very well. It can be used on any device through its mobile app and reports can be customized to suit your needs quite easily. The support is excellent. Integrating Xero with Salesforce will make your business move much faster by taking advantage of Salesforce’s top-tier CRM platform and Xero’s excellent accounting capabilities. You and your team can receive accounting information on Salesforce from Xero, while transactions completed using Salesforce will be transferred to Xero and will be reflected right away on your accounting reports. Conclusion Integrating accounting applications with Salesforce improves the quality of the information accessible to your organization. It allows you to minimize “information bottlenecks” and ensure that the decision makers in your organization have a complete picture of events when they need it. There are accounting applications designed to manage a number of specialized functions, many of which can be integrated with Salesforce with the right knowledge and experience. The end result is a more efficient flow of information across business silo’s and ultimately an improved bottom line. How Curotec can Help With Salesforce and Accounting Integration At Curotec, we have extensive experience integrating business applications to improve the overall effectiveness of the software. We help our clients extend Salesforce into mobile and web applications for both customers and employees. Contact us today to see how we can help you integrate your accounting software with Salesforce or another CRM. Our experts are ready to help customize a solution with a positive impact on your company. Call us: 610-450-6599 Email us!
Business Intelligence (or BI) is a hot topic in the business world these days. Although it doesn’t gain quite the number of headlines that blockchain and the Internet of Things do, it isn’t because of a lack of importance. In fact, depending on your organization, Bi might be far more relevant, and certainly more immediately important to you. Many businesses still aren’t clear on what business intelligence is, or how it can help them. Yet it’s more important to businesses of all sizes in 2018 than it has ever been before. What is Business Intelligence? The first step in understanding why business intelligence is so important to businesses today starts by understanding what it is (and what it isn’t) and its origins. BI is a term that’s used pretty loosely across both business and IT departments. What it’s largely understood to be, however, is the tools and technologies that help businesses make data-driven decisions. The technology that stores the data, the code that acts on the data to make it understandable, and the tools that allow the data to be viewed by technical and business audiences alike with clear graphical visualizations are all part of business intelligence. The analysis of this data frequently falls under the term business intelligence as well. Business analytics is the processing of the data into a form that helps businesses make smart decisions. Processes like predictive, descriptive, and streaming analytics all provide views of the information that the BI tools store and make available. Technology isn’t required for business intelligence, however, despite the term being primarily applied today to tech tools. In fact, the phrase was initially coined in 1865 by Richard Millar Devens in discussing a contemporary’s use of data to guide his banking business, profiting on customer trends before competitors could do so. At its very core, that is what BI is. It’s using information that an organization has, or has access to, to make informed planning decisions to give them an edge on their competition. Since computers got involved, BI has taken leaps forward, but in the early days of technology-based business intelligence, things were complicated. Systems were siloed and it took specialized skills and knowledge sets, and a lot of time, to pull meaningful insights from the information. Technology evolved, allowing companies to store an increasing amount of data, process it faster, and make it available across more systems. Business intelligence and connecting data sources across the business was the driving force behind the creation of relational databases. Technology has continued to change to accommodate massive amounts of data useful to companies. As the amount of data has increased, so has the ease of use of the tools. How is BI different today? Business intelligence has changed drastically over the past decade. Thanks to new database tools, companies can now store more data than ever before and use that data in meaningful ways. Development tools have made it easier to create data views for analysts to correlate information across business units quickly so that decisions can be made at the speed of today’s business world. While these tools still require technical resources, the time can be spent in automating data processing instead of manually pulling data from multiple sources and developing the reports from scratch. In addition to that, another key change in BI as we know it today is the concept of real-time data vs snapshot data. When you build a report manually, that report becomes outdated the minute you print it out and because of this fact, in order to keep relatively up to date business reports, there are a large number of continuous man hours required just to pull data and generate reports. With BI, a technical implementation team can set up the system integration, data plumbing and reporting interfaces up front and the business users can view and pull in real-time reports 24/7/365 to gain real-time insights into their organization with data that is never stale. This ability gives a company the clear advantage over the legacy competition that does not have access to real-time insights. Data is also no longer limited to what you have been able to gather from your own company. Data streams can be purchased and integrated into company data to give a complete picture of any given area, from customer profiles and habits to manufacturing and supply chain predictions. It’s not just about measuring and then beating your own benchmarks as an organization. It’s more important to see how you measure up in your industry and how you can improve upon the status quo to rise up as an industry leader. The tools to manage all this data are what makes business intelligence easier and more accessible to a wider range of businesses. What Tools are Important to Business Intelligence in 2018? The tech tools that are available today for business intelligence and analysis is what makes 2018 so different from the BI of the past. Data warehouses house huge amounts of information together in a single place and SaaS integration tools make it possible to pipe data across multiple systems in real time. Unlike in the past, where data was siloed into individual systems, a data warehouse pulls disparate data together for review and analysis. Another fairly recent tool (at least relative to business intelligence as a whole) is Big Data. These data sets are large and complex, creating the need for specialized storage and new ways of retrieving the information. For instance, a company in 2018 can take their customer data – a large amount of information, but not massive – and put it together with data mined from social media. These two components together can help inform a company what customer sentiments are while indicating potential purchasing trends, helping digital marketing efforts, product decisions, and refining release schedules. Cloud computing is an enabler of large data storage and analysis. Platforms like AWS and Azure have made storage flexible and affordable for companies, opening up BI to more than enterprise-sized organizations. Probably one of the most important advancements for businesses is the development of rapidly created dashboards. Dashboards provide graphic representations of data so that decision-makers and executives can rapidly grasp the insights that the data is trying to convey. Dashboards allow non-IT business resources to drill down into the information presented in graphs and charts to gain a deeper understanding of the driving forces of the business as well a the industry. Plus, dashboards are easier than ever to create, with cloud-based tools like Klipfolio available with existing integrations to multiple potential data sources. Why BI is Critical to Your Business, Regardless of Size Thanks to all of the advancements in BI and the tools sets that allow data analysis to occur, business intelligence is available to nearly every business no matter how big or small. In fact, studies have shown that even small businesses benefit significantly from business intelligence. In particular, cloud-based SaaS applications make bringing together data and analyzing it easier and more cost effective than at any time before. Small businesses without IT departments can quickly set up dashboards using the data from their existing applications to better understand their customers, their finances, and their path to growth. In 2018, the real truth of business intelligence is that you must consider using it because of its availability and increasing simplicity. Even if you don’t make the investment in it, it’s likely that your competitors will. Do you still have questions about BI? We’re happy to share our expertise! If you have questions about how your organization can leverage your data or industry data to improve finances, operations, profitability or a number of other KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators), we certainly have answers to those questions! Call us: 610-450-6599 Email us!
145.5 million. That’s the number of Americans whose data was exposed as a result of the Equifax breach announced in September of 2017. The number is staggering, and the company is facing intense scrutiny from the federal government and has opened itself up to state and local lawsuits. While the Equifax breach caught all of our attention due to its size – and the likelihood that we were one of those with exposed information – it isn’t the scariest statistic regarding breaches. These large breaches receive extensive exposure in the media, but the truth is that many more breaches occur with fewer records compromised. Those incidents don’t make it to the nightly news or the headlines. But they occur far more frequently than the catastrophic breaches like Equifax, and no company is immune, regardless of size. In a recent report by the Ponemon Institute, it was found that the global average for a breach was $141 per record. While there are a number of factors that go into that number, and the amount varies by region, one thing is clear – security breaches are an expensive issue that all companies must be ready for. What’s Considered a Breach For the 2017 Cost of Data Breach Study, Ponemon Institute interviewed 419 companies that had experienced breaches in the previous year. These incidents ranged from as few as 2,600 records to as many as 10,000 compromised records. The study focused on incidents where one of the following was exposed – either an individual’s name, debit card, financial record, or medical record. This kind of information, known as Personally Identifiable Information (PII), gives hackers enough information to create system accounts, credit records, or worse in the case of medical records. The study also identifies three main reasons these incidents occur. Human error and system glitches are two of the reason, with the third – criminal or malicious attack – being the most prevalent and costly. What is the Cost for an Enterprise As noted, the study found that the cost, per record, of an enterprise data breach, is $141. That number reflects the average cost across global companies. But for American companies, the cost is greater. The average cost for the U.S. was $225 per record, $84 more than the global average. In addition to the cost of detection, remediation, and escalation costs, the United States companies must follow strict notification policies based on regulations. Because of this, notification of a breach to those potentially affected made America’s costs the highest in this category. The cost of a breach also depends on the industry of the organization. Public sector and research companies saw the lowest costs associated with an incident, with the associated costs being $71 and $101 per record, respectively. Healthcare and financial services, however, experienced costs almost double to triple that amount. The per-record amount for financial services averaged $245, while healthcare saw an average of $380. All of this resulted in the estimated average of $3.6 million per incident. Small Companies are Not Immune To say that small businesses are not immune is an understatement. In fact, the damage done to a small business by a security breach can be devastating, even though the overall cost may seem smaller. According to Security Magazine, the average cost of a data breach for a small business is $36,000 to $50,000. Compared to several million, this may seem trivial, but it has a far greater impact on a business that is less likely to be able to absorb these costs. Recent years have seen an increase in attacks on smaller companies. These attacks increased to 31% last year, up significantly from 18% only two years before. That’s because more than 70% of attacks specifically target small businesses. While it may seem like enterprises are a better mark for attacks, small businesses present an attractive, almost irresistible target, for two reasons. First, these businesses are generally unaware of security threats. Second, these businesses have a greater exposure to threats, exactly because they are less aware. It creates a vicious cycle that is difficult to escape without help and training. Only 15% of small business owners say that they are “very knowledgeable” regarding persistent threats. Costs are More Than Financial The financial impacts of a breach are only part of the equation, for both enterprises and smaller companies. Losing customers is the biggest concern for companies that have experienced a breach, and this loss of customers leads to an increase in the financial impact. The Ponemon 2017 study found that global companies that lost 4% of their customers from a breach could see the overall average cost of the incident increase to $5.1 million. American companies experienced the greatest blow from lost customers, as well. For small companies, the effect of a breach can be disastrous. Recovery from an incident may be impossible. In fact, it’s estimated that 60% of small to medium businesses that are hacked go out of businesses within 6 months of the breach. The costs of a security breach are enormous, regardless of organization size, and its effects can be devastating. Yet many companies, particularly small and medium businesses, don’t make security a priority, even with the devastating effect it can have. Understanding potential holes, addressing concerns, and proactively managing risks can mean the difference between a prosperous organization and one that is out of business. How to Protect Your Company from a Data Breach There is no single line of defense that will protect you from a breach. Rather, you need a number of layers of defense in place to keep your security practices up to par. However, here are a few of the things you should be doing to stay safe: Keep only the data that you need, especially data that is highly sensitive Destroy your data before disposal Use a number of technical security defenses Run all system patches and security updates Dual factor authentication Encryption at rest Encryption in transit Use a web application firewall Run regular scans Use a remote logging server Do regular penetration testing and remediation Have a competent and security-minded IT team Have written security protocols Train your employees about security and risk evaluation Have an attorney that understands your areas of risk Have a cyber liability insurance policy These points listed above are the high-level essential items that you should be keeping in mind for your organization so that you do not suffer a major data security event. It’s important to know however that not every organization is the same and each case should be handled differently based on the type of data you’re storing, what you’re doing with it and where the potential exposure points are. If you’d like a professional evaluation of your security posture, don’t hesitate to give us a call for a free initial consultation