For companies looking to launch an ecommerce website, the one question business leaders want an answer to is what they can expect to achieve in terms of return of investment. This can be a hard question to answer as generating revenue online requires that you have an effective ecommerce strategy in place and an excellent ecommerce platform in situ. Both go hand in hand but the good news is selecting a good ecommerce provider is going to help you achieve this. So how can NetSuite help?
The great thing about NetSuite’s ecommerce offering to the marketplace is that it can be simultaneously aligned with other business processes. This is because they can offer companies the luxury of having complete integration by unifying their ecommerce software with core operational business systems.
How does this work?
Unlike previous ecommerce systems, NetSuite’s ecommerce solution is natively integrated with the systems you use to operate your business — i.e. marketing, financials, merchandising, order management, customer support, inventory and warehousing. As a result of native integration it helps you to adapt more quickly to any changes that may arise in your business. It also helps you to serve your customers better and to use your actual enterprise data to drive merchandising and promotions. This then gives you the opportunity to improve profitability which in turn offers a substantial return on investment. It also helps to reduce your operational costs, increase your customer satisfaction levels and reign in opportunities for growth without spending a fortune integrating your ecommerce software with your backend business systems.
Key Benefits of NetSuite’s Ecommerce Solution
Eliminate costly and error-prone integrations between separate systems with natively unified ecommerce, marketing, merchandising, inventory and order management, customer support and financials.
Leverage a single data source for reporting on multiple channels and touch-points to improve business agility, visibility and decision-making.
Track and monitor sales, margins, inventory and operational performance.
Drive the right product assortment based upon a range of merchandising options driven by key business data.
Delivers device-optimized online shopping experiences with Suite Commerce's responsive design principles.
Extend your footprint by selling through multiple brands atop a single ecommerce platform tied directly to your operational business systems.
Expand your online business by selling in multiple languages and/or currencies.
Service any type of customer—small or large, individual (B2C) or business (B2B).
If you are thinking of integrating ecommerce into your business setup, talk to us here at Covali. We will happy to provide you with some key strategic advice. Call us on +353 1 2939302 or +44 207 5588 029.
According to Wikipedia ERP refers to Enterprise Resource Planning, business management software that a company uses to “manage business processes, including: Product planning and development, Manufacturing, Sales and Marketing, Inventory management, and shipping”. So broadly speaking, it refers to the automation and integration of a company's core business to help them focus on managing their operations effectively.
As well as managing all business operations, an ERP system is essential for keeping on top of a company’s daily and monthly financial transactions. So it is critical for any business looking to implement an ERP solution that the investment made is with a robust and progressive transactions system.
Companies today are often-times in a period of flux so they need to choose an ERP software solution that supports business agility and minimizes business disruption. Selecting the right solution with a flexible architecture is key. It also has to support your business as it grows. The ERP system your company chooses must enable a competitive and agile business strategy. Consider the following points when selecting an ERP system.
Top Tips for Choosing an ERP Software Solution
1. Apart from the initial cost of an ERP system; think about the additional costs of updating the system over its lifetime.
2. Think about the functionality you need, not just now, but also what you may require in the future. Does the ERP system provide it?
3. Find out how the system (and the supplier) keeps up with new regulatory requirements.
4. Make sure you understand how easily the system can adapt to changes in your company i.e. re-organization / restructuring.
6. What level of support and training is available from the supplier?
Effectively managing your business requires astute decision making skills. But more often than not, you need a comprehensive overview of your business in order to make clear business decisions. If you want a single end-to-end system from the same supplier, with consistency, visibility and reliability across your business processes – think NetSuite. NetSuite is a cloud based ERP solution which offers a 360 degree overview of your business. It is an integrated system that includes accounting, CRM, inventory, and ecommerce.
- It is scalable (faster growth), offers streamlined operations and delivers greater productivity.
- Provides real-time access to critical business data, anywhere, anytime.
- Savings on IT cost, and maintenance.
- Facilitates industry-specific solutions for distribution, manufacturing, retail, software and services.
To learn more about NetSuite, talk to the ERP experts in Covali on +353 1 2939302.
Many companies have issues with their reporting systems, and for a lot of business executives, getting facts and figures from a variery of data sources (ERP/CRM/Excel etc) on different areas of the business can be a very time-consuming and labour intensive task. In fact it can be nothing short of a nightmare!
When attending company meetings, it is important that all company executives report accurately on critical business information. But more often than not - this is not the case as most companies do not have a centralized reporting system or structure in place to facilitate this.
Wouldn't it be easier if you could log into one system, and go to a company meeting safe in the knowledge that you could create a visual report in a matter of seconds, utilizing real-time business information, thereby reporting accurately and reflecting the true status of your business at any given time? Of course, the answer is yes.
Now the definition of madness is to continue to do the same things over and over,expecting different results. Save yourself the hassle and your precious time by investigating a business intelligence, or more specifically a cloud data analytics solution. Rest assured if you do, you will kick yourself that you didn't do this sooner. At Covali, we are big believers in the future of the Cloud, and more specifically Cloud data analytics (cloud business intelligence). See some of the direct benefits of a cloud data analytics solution below:
1. Report Accurately: Get access to critical business information in seconds as opposed to hours via a browser on any mobile device (iPhone, iPad, Laptop).
2. Save Money: The great thing about Business Intelligence (BI) in the cloud is that its way more affordable in comparison to traditional On-Premise BI solutions.
3. Rapid Speed of Implementation & Deployment: You can be up and running in weeks, as opposed to months.
4. Elasticity: Leverage the massive computing power available on the Web, scale up and scale down based on your changing requirements.
5. On-demand Availability: Support mobile and remote users with browser-based access so you are in control of everything from the cloud platform to database management.
6. Automatic Updates: Updates for the software are automatic so IT need not worry about additional expenditure.
Let me also add that a business intelligence solution also promotes the use of analysing and reporting data on a visual basis. As a result, it facilitates a far greater understanding of how your business is performing for everyone in the organization. Stop pulling your hair out, give your head and the headaches a rest by giving us a call here at Covali on +353 1 2939302 | +44 207 5588 029. We can tell you how we have helped some major companies in Ireland and the UK come to grips with their data.
We are delighted to be asked to present at the Midlands Think Tank 2013, thanks to our partners at Midas Technologies. Here is our 'Using Data Analytics' slidedeck.
You may suspect you're not using information to your advantage. You may know current, relevant and accurate data will help you get on top of your business and drive metrics in the right direction. Then you look into it some more, and the techno jargon kick in. Big Data, Business Intelligence, OLAP, ETL, NoSQL, Data Warehouses, Visualisation and so on.
You may soon be asking yourself what the original question was?
Remember, it is about putting the right information into the hands of people who make decisions every day. Real people, who just want to access and use information to answer questions, not have to hack it together themselves first.
Sometime though it is not easy to convince yourself and others to go for it. That's why we put together our 10 Undeniable Reasons why you need Self-Service Analytics.
Ultimately, it is all about you, it's a people thing, not a technology thing.
There are 3 basic truths to running and growing businesses today:
- Everyone needs to making better decisions and solving problems faster.
- Gut instinct is a poor choice in today's complex, faster moving world
- Smart businesses get the right information to the right people at the right time.
Take some time during these dark evenings to win your colleagues over. If your company doesn't start implementing self service analytics, it could be scary in the dark.
Good luck from Covali!
The momentum is building for the Midlands Think Tank, an exciting initiative put into place by Mid@s Technologies, the Mullingar Technology Company. Covali will be attending this innovative two day conference which is being held at the Mullingar Park hotel on the 13th and 14th of November in order to communicate the effectiveness of using Data Analytics in order to gain new customer insights. Marc Coleman, the well-known economist and writer of Newstalk will be chairing the event.
Mid@s Technologies who are based at Clonmore Business and Technology Park in Mullingar have put this event together as they felt there was a pressing need for the SME sector to focus on using the best modern technology and to implement best practice management techniques in order to compete effectively in the marketplace.
“The emphasis of the event is the promotion of the midlands as a destination for business and we are using the occasion to formally launch Mid@s Technologies as an IT services provider,” says Niall Hearn, director of Mid@s Technologies.
“We’ve lined up an exciting array of speakers and we will have some lively debates chaired by Marc on topics relevant to doing business in modern Ireland. There will be specific emphasis on optimising the use of cloud services, mobility solutions, big data and social media strategies,” explains Mr Hearn.
There will be a mix of national and international experts dealing with topics critical to the success of any business, so without question it is – the unmissable conference of the year!
- Banking, Credit, National Payments Plan & SEPA.
- How will the "Middle Economy" (SMEs) and "Midlands" benefit from Recovery?
- "Getting the Midlands off the runway" - Could the Midlands host a new model airport?
Themed Speakers Contributions Discussions
The SME Survival kit:- Your essential guide to financial, employment and other assistance that's out there for you.
Technology, Cloud computing and social Media:- What every SME needs to know to survive & thrive.
Culture, Collaboration and Creative thinking: - Focusing on the important stuff - Education, Creative Thinking & Brainstorming your way to success.
What the Midlands has to offer: - and what it needs to develop the right environment for business success.
What Government is doing for the Midlands: - and what more does it need to do.
In addition to the array of guest speakers, The Midlands Chamber will be hosting a special dinner event on the Thursday night with guest speakers Conor Brady and Brent Pope. To find out more about the Midlands Think Tank, click on the register for Think Tank now.
The Irish government has ambitions for the development of ecommerce in Ireland. In fact, one of their goals for the business sector is to develop Ireland as an international hub for ecommerce and the internet. This is all part of the governments National Digital Strategy Initiative. This scheme is not surprising given that the digital economy contributes 4.4% to Ireland’s GDP (€7.1bn), in addition to strong growth rates of 16% per year; representing more than ten times the rate of growth of the economy as a whole!
What's eCommerce and eBusiness?
So what is ecommerce and ebusiness exactly? According to Wikipedia eCommerce is "generally considered to be the sales aspect of e-business. It also consists of the exchange of data to facilitate the financing and payment aspects of business transactions. This is an effective and efficient way of communicating within an organization and one of the most effective and useful ways of conducting business".
On the other hand eBusiness "enables businesses and organizations to realize the potential of E-Commerce through the creation of business processes and strategies geared to this objective". E-Commerce activities are generally classified as business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C).
The eCommerce Factor in Ireland
In Ireland, Irish consumers are increasingly spending their money online. An incredible 43% of Irish consumers purchased online last year with an impressive 2.6 million regularly doing some shopping online. A whopping €4.1bn was spent purchasing online in Ireland in 2011, up from €2.96bn the previous year - a considerable hike you will agree? Unfortunately, 75% of these purchases went through companies outside of Ireland.
Travel and holiday accommodation remain the most popular eCommerce category, with 34% of Irish consumers turning to the internet to book holidays or business travel. Clothing and sporting goods showed significant growth, with 17% of the Irish population making an online purchase compared with 13% the previous year. However, it appears as consumers we prefer to physically do the weekly shopping, as only 4% of the population say they bought food and groceries online.
Interestingly, Irish eCommerce adoption levels are not on a level playing field with our UK counterparts where 71% of the population made online purchases last year. IMRG, the industry association values the UK online marketplace at £68 billion. This makes the UK the second largest eCommerce market in the world. Given that the UK is our largest export market - ecommerce represents a viable business opportunity for Irish companies looking to expand into the UK. The biggest gaps between the Irish and our British cousins are in sectors like groceries and food. One in five UK consumers now buy them online. For household goods, 33% of UK consumers buy online, in comparison to only 8% in Ireland. Irish companies need to investigate why this is happening, to captialize on growth plans for these sectors.
The consultancy firm McKinsey have measured that SMEs who adopt internet trade grow twice as fast and export twice as much when compared to non-adopting businesses. Minister Pat Rabbitte earlier this year declared that "small companies who engage in online trading grow twice as fast and employment increases if they exploit the technology optimally. It’s a pity but understandable because a lot of companies’ reaction when asked why they haven’t gone digital is to say ‘leave us alone, we’ve enough problems complying with bureaucracy and sure, haven’t we got a website in a way."
Why Your Company Should Implement an Ecommerce Strategy
So it's easy to see from a business perspective why ecommerce is excellent in terms of providing new revenue streams for companies aswell as creating additional value for customers. Given that the key success factor for many companies today involves maximising customer value, an ecommerce strategy is a must for companies who are not availing of this channel. Irish companies really need to embrace ecommerce and the opportunities that it can afford them. Consider the following reasons why your company should commence an ecommerce strategy.
- Expand marketing efforts into new markets/focus on niche markets.
- Increase your revenue streams.
- Barriers to entry are low.
- Increase sales and reduce selling costs.
- Improve customer service and strenghten customer relationships.
- No dominance in the market.
To get your ebusiness strategy in place, you need to talk to us here at at Covali where we can help you create and implement an eCommerce strategy. We work with the best eCommerce platform in the world, NetSuite. This eCommerce platform unifies POS and ecommerce with your core operational business systems—inventory and order management, CRM, merchandising, marketing and financials. Get in touch with us now to start the planning process.
Adoption rates of cloud technologies are on the rise. So much so that in a recent CIO survey carried out by Deloitte in 2012, 54% of respondents said they now use cloud computing in some form or other within their organisation. This represents a significant increase in Ireland – as in 2011 it was only registered at 38%.
The survey also found that CIOs are realising the benefits of driving a cloud strategy in their business. Interestingly, 77% of respondents said that the decision to adopt cloud based services was driven by the IT department. This is an interesting learning as other research conducted on an international level implies CFOs are the top technology decision maker. This may indicate that the benefits of adopting a cloud solution may not yet be widely understood at board level in Ireland.
So some confusion and trepidation still exists surrounding the Cloud. Up and down the breath of this country, be it in private or public organisations, there is still some confusion (albeit a little bit of fear) in relation to adopting a cloud solution. In truth, a lot of this has been perpetuated by on-premise software companies – a classic marketing tactic, and also some unwillingness to come to grips with IT innovation. People fear being put outside of their comfort zone - learning about a new technology solution represents a departure from the ordinary. Fear can be a dangerous emotion, and I want to dispel it and tell company directors around the country that the ‘Cloud’ represents a viable and trustworthy business solution for your business.
So why would someone be afraid to embark on a Cloud strategy? Well it could simply be – they fear losing control as a cloud solution means your data does not reside on your server, so they worry about the security implications. But if we look at Amazon whom we use to store GoodData Cloud Business Intelligence solutions, you will see their cloud security is nothing short of world class.
Amazon's Security Structures
1. Highly Secure Data Centres
Utilize state-of-the art electronic surveillance and multi-factor access control systems.
Are staffed 24x7 by trained security guards.
Access is authorized strictly on a least privileged basis.
2. Environmental Systems
Designed to minimize the impact of disruptions to operations.
3. Multiple Geographic Regions & Availability Zones
Allow you to remain resilient in the face of most failure modes, including natural disasters or system failures.
Now do you think your company’s IT department can compete with this level of security? No …I didn’t think so! So this level of security should really give you some serious piece of mind. If you want a robust business model/solution that can provide significant cost savings, agility, and viability for your business, then the Cloud wins hands down. Have a look at some of the most prominent advantages that a cloud solution can offer your business.
Advantages of the Cloud
Achieve Economies of Scale: Increase productivity with fewer people.
Save Money: (i)Reduce spending on technology infrastructure/capital costs. No requirement to spend money on hardware, software or licencing fees. (ii) Avail of a Subscription model (Pay as you go), weekly, quarterly or yearly, based on demand. (iii) Stretch and grow without the need to buy expensive software licenses or programs.
Globalize Your Workforce: Enployees worldwide can access the cloud, provided they have an Internet connection.
Streamline Processes: Get a lot more work done in less time with less people.
Improve Accessibility & Flexibility: You can access your data anytime, anywhere, making life so much easier for you and your employees.
Monitor Projects More Effectively: Stay within budget and ahead of completion cycle times.
So as you can see, there are significant advantages to adopting a cloud software solution. Get in touch with Covali to open up a discussion on how the Cloud can benefit your business, as really there is simply nothing to fear!
Loyalty programmes are big business these days and everybody from retailers, book shops, restaurants and even wine bars are using them extensively in order to “reward” their customers. It is not without fault to state that the primary objective of any loyalty programme is to gather as much information as possible on consumer’s shopping habits. So any business using these schemes is doing so in order to gain deep insights out of the various target customer profiles. In fact a loyalty business model operates in most Irish retailers today. Interestingly Superquinn were one of the very first supermarkets in Europe to launch a loyalty scheme - no doubt the brain child of the customer centric savvy Fergal Quinn.
In a recent study, over 95% of UK customers said they appreciated customer loyalty programmes. In fact not having one can be detrimental for business as 40% of the people in the study expressed they would not do business with a retailer without a loyalty programme on offer. Tesco’s first foray into a loyalty programme was through the Green Shield Stamps programme, which rewarded customers for visiting and spending in the store. However this initiative provided no customer information so it was scrapped. As a result, they went back to the drawing board and decided upon the Tesco Club card programme – issuing magnetic stripe cards and fobs for any customer who registered. It was a brilliant success so much so that Sainsbury’s who initially declined to implement a loyalty scheme were forced to do so given the success Tesco was having with theirs. Tesco’s loyalty scheme is the most successful programme of it's kind in the world. The participation rate is very high with over 80% of it's customers actively using their Clubcards. Every quarter Tesco mails out 13.5 million pieces of Clubcard promotions to British households! This is nothing short of staggering, and is in no doubt an instrumental component of their business operations.
No matter where you shop, you will come across some sort of a loyalty programme. As a regular coffee drinker, I visit an Insomnia coffee shop – its right next door to where I work. Insomnia offers a Zapa tag that customers stick onto the back of their phones. So every time I buy my morning coffee, I swipe my phone against the machine, and on every twelfth coffee I buy, the next one is free. In order to avail of this scheme, I had to sign up online and fill in some details about myself. So Insomnia now know my age, gender and my address.But do they know how often I visit, and what products I buy? They will only know that information if they are using data analytics to drive insights out of the data.
Data Analytics: The Backbone of a Loyalty Programme
Covali recently worked with a loyalty provider to the retail and service sectors. They had requirements to provide their customers with in-depth reporting of the data their loyalty programmes were generating. But in order to extract key insights out of the data, they needed a data analytics solution in place in order to slice into the data to see the key trends and gain deep insights into their target customer groups. Covali had the solution - GoodData, a cloud business intelligence platform which can be accessed via any browser on any device, be it a mobile, iPad, laptop or pc.
The flexibility and ease of use of the GoodData platform was a major factor in the success of this project. Our expert team took the project live in under 60 days, delivering rich out-of-the box dashboards combined with poweful end-user reporting over more than 180 metrics. As a result of the solution, the loyalty provider are now able to provide one of their key customers with best-in-class loyalty analytics. Thats the power of GoodData in action.
In today’s marketplace, companies are always looking at ways of cutting costs and improving the bottom line. ‘Cloud Computing’ is a term that is coming up more and more in conversation as a way of seriously looking at cutting costs and improving overall business efficiencies. Gartner defines cloud computing as ‘a style of computing in which scalable and elastic IT-enabled capabilities are delivered as a service using Internet technologies’.
In fact, given the strengths of cloud computing they have devised a new business model which they call ‘The Business Model Platform’, a “set of industry-standardized business services that is built using cloud computing. It delivers economies of scale far beyond that of any single enterprise to enable standard capabilities at a very low price”.
This new concept has come about as Gartner envisage that there will be increasing numbers of companies looking to increase their competitive worth through cloud based back office technologies i.e. the Business Model Platform. This BMP will provide business services using cloud computing but at a much lowered cost. However, in order to get to this new Business Model Platform, companies must organise their companies to work under the shared-service delivery model. This will however require a significant cultural shift, but the payoffs will be significant. There will be a little pain, but a lot to gain!
When people think of ERP or CRM systems, they think of traditional on-premise systems, but these solutions are limited in that they do not offer an integrated solution. Most companies have a couple of systems, one for their financials and another for their CRM requirements. But now a system like NetSuite’s which is born in the Cloud, is providing an integrated system with significant cost advantages over on-premise ERP systems. For those companies planning a move to the cloud in order to improve productivity and a return on investment, they will be eliminating precious business time spent upgrading on-premise systems in addition to enhancing visibility across their organisations.
The unique selling point of NetSuite’s Cloud ERP and CRM in the Cloud is that it offers complete integration, with ERP, CRM and ecommerce all streamlined into one system. So in effect it takes your business beyond traditional accounting software and streamlines back-office processes. NetSuite are doing so well with their integrated cloud ERP solution that in 2012 they achieved $308 million in revenues which resulted in a staggering 31% growth for the company. These revenue figures demonstrate how ready the market is for an integrated cloud ERP solution.
Today most companies are increasingly distributed. So an integrated ERP/CRM system like NetSuite is perfect for distributed activities like financial planning, selling and order taking, distributed finance team, facilitates off-shoring/shared services, and also easily supports temporary and home workers.
The Key Benefits of NetSuite
- Accelerates the order-to cash process by 50%+.
- Slashes the financial close with real-time reporting.
- Strengthens procurement with approvals and vendor management.
- Improves employee management through self-service.
- Drives decision making with personalized dashboards.
- Improves accountability and compliance with strong traceability.
- Reduces IT costs and delivers automated ERP upgrades.
- Elevates productivity with anytime, anywhere access.
Move your business to the Cloud to see how you can increase productivity, reduce costs, and achieve greater agility. Get Gartner's White Paper Now!