Megaventory Blog - Online Inventory Management Software, Order fulfillment and Control System
This is the company blog for megaventory, an online software that helps small businesses that buy, sell and manufacture physical products to manage sales, purchasing, manufacturing and inventory. We blog about new features and updates but also about enterprise software, small businesses, cloud computing and the industry in general.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Partnership announced between 4C Predictive Technologies and Megaventory

We’re excited to announce a new partnership between Megaventory and 4C Predictive Technologies!

4C is a Saudi Arabian company offering a wide range of services related to business intelligence for the retail sector. Their services fall in three broad categories: Visual Merchandising, i.e. product handling (inventory management, picking and packing, etc), Visual Intelligence, i.e. providing visual information about products’ layout but also Visual Technologies, i.e. other digital information services such as content communication and messaging, signage, etc. Obviously we’re talking about broad offerings which can cover many needs for the retail professional all from a single vendor.

Their client base is quite broad as well, ranging from companies in the food and beverage industry to car dealerships and from distribution businesses to the banking sector. Clients include most of the Saudi Arabian banks as well as other entities from that geography.

4C has been using Megaventory for some time now by integrating our solution with their infrastructure. By making use of our platform 4C has been managing their inventory and stock and replenishing banking-related products such as marketing brochures (eg for bank products, such as loans) and other similar material.

The following video gives more information about what is it that 4C excels in - can you find out where Megaventory's contribution comes in?

We’re excited to be able to cover the inventory needs of 4C and to be actually part of the efficient and helpful ecosystem of services they have created.

Friday, July 26, 2013

3 enterprise software wins for cloud computing


We’re 100% convinced that cloud computing in one of its many forms and variants is the next logical step for enterprise software. It’s advantageous to legacy/on-premises approaches in all but a few factors (such as regulation and compliance issues or where extreme customization is necessary – but even these are addressable) and the concept keeps spreading every day.

Here’s three notable instances of cloud computing becoming even more popular – based on three articles we picked up in the news in the past week or so.

Google gets serious about enterprise

Last week, Google announced their collaboration with Egnyte, a company which provides a file sharing product upgraded with security, administration, permissions, auditing and other features usually needed by companies. Such features are currently missing from Google Docs which was initially designed with the end-user in mind instead of a company and Google fills the gap using this integration with Egnyte.

Although this may mean a lack of foresight in the part of Google (designing something without their paying customers in mind) it also mean they are serious about offering the cloud to businesses and want to have a role in the industry.

Google gets (more) serious about enterprise

In the recent Q2 earnings call Google also mentioned enterprise software and the fact that they plan to focus more in this division of theirs. That’s something which will only add further credibility into doing business the cloud way which incidentally is what the Google way is. According to the report, Google partners welcomed the news – they expect the move to boost reselling of already hot products such as cloud-based Google Apps.

Although according to estimates enterprise software makes up no more than just 5% of Google’s business, if that giant is shifting its weight towards companies using the cloud as leverage then that must mean something about where things are headed.

Even the CIA does it

It has all been but confirmed that CIA will be teaming up with Amazon to create the private infrastructure the former needs with the support and know-how from the latter. So CIA too is going the way of the cloud - presumably even for truly mission-critical projects. Given that they are primarily all about sensitive information management it is a good indicator that after all security issues can be handled fine in the cloud even if parts of it are not under your immediate control (i.e. not in a server at your business’ basement).

So there it is - more and more confirmation of the cloud computing model piles up by the day from a number of sources. What more do you need to give it a try?

Friday, July 12, 2013

Realistic cloud ERP expectations

Reading the news I picked up this interesting post on cloud ERP expectations held by businesses and professionals interested in an ERP implementation, written by ERP consultant Brett Beaubouef.

Most professionals in the ERP industry – and that includes us! – have been evangelizing cloud ERP as the next big thing which has come to address any and all issues of the previous generation ERP, rescue business processes, cut costs, drive efficiency upwards – the list grows longer and longer by every post on the subject. It would seem cloud ERP is the genie in the lamp!

While cloud ERP is a definite technological advancement which is here to stay and can solve many inefficiencies of the past, it is also a useful exercise to take one step back and be open about where cloud ERP cannot actually deliver miracles. As Brett says it is much better to have an informed customer who knows what to expect rather than a customer with unrealistic expectations.

So for all the benefits of cloud ERP, what are the points you shouldn’t be expecting wonders in?

Some training is necessary

One of the basic advantages touted by most modern online ERP solutions (well, at least Megaventory) is that it is actually easy to pick up and its users are able to understand how it works fast and with little time spent in training. Although that’s true, it is also important to stress that the word ‘little’ in the previous sentence is not ‘no’ for a reason. While the time needed to familiarize oneself with a cloud ERP is much less than with traditional platforms (which could in some cases require weeks of seminars) a business has to actually allocate some time for its employees to learn the ropes.

Depending on the company size and the features to be covered by the ERP it can range from a single day to a few days (but rarely more than a week) before employees are completely comfortable with it. But still a maximum of a week is a short training period especially in today’s fast moving market.

Prepare for some change

One of the benefits of adopting an ERP solution for your business – especially if you’re switching from a spreadsheet or (worse a pen and paper) method – is that your business will also ‘inherit’ a number of new best practices. The reason why this happens is simple: the creators of such applications know the subject in depth – either by having studied it or due to real-life working experience or both – and they have ‘encoded’ this knowledge in the way the application was developed.

As a result, chances are that things your business has been doing in a specific way will now be done in a slightly different way. It may look strange and counter-intuitive at first but it is necessary to adopt the new way in order to benefit from the ERP. After all, improving the efficiency of your business is why you installed a cloud ERP in the first place – you should allow it to work its magic on your processes and let it modernise them.

Only so much customization

Taking the above point one step further it may seem odd that you will not be able to do some things you could do with your previous model. The reason for that is that although there is significant room for customization in a cloud ERP solution, actually its business model does not allow for every single customization possible. That’s what would happen in a hosted model and it would not usually end well.

The point of a cloud ERP – and the mentality behind it – is to adopt a lean methodology for your business processes and run your company in a flexible and efficient way without all the bells and whistles which maybe after all were slowing your operations down.

(Of course, if some custom features are absolutely necessary most vendors would be accommodating in developing them for you – we know we would be! – but they should not be the priority).

Other types of costs

No, we’re not talking about hidden costs. Although online ERP (and online software in general) purchased on a subscription basis is much cheaper than buying hosted licenses, the business must still account for some other costs.

To begin with, setting up your cloud ERP in exactly the manner you prefer even though not as time-consuming and costly as previous generation solutions, will require some experimentation (or hired consulting) until you get it just right. Once there, the data you already have from your previous method have to be imported; whether that means manually entering them into a spreadsheet or adapting an existing spreadsheet, it can still take some time depending on the complexity of your business. Also, as mentioned some training, even if for a short period of time, will be necessary during which the business will operate suboptimally.

Accepting the above is bound to result in a more conscientious change of business process based on solid understanding. And although this may all mean that cloud ERP is not a silver bullet it also puts things in the right perspective and makes what to expect clearer. Needless to say though, even considering the above, the cloud ERP approach will still mean a huge improvement in business operations.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Localisation in Megaventory

As mentioned in the previous post about the recent German localisation of Megaventory, it is possible for any admin user to change any text in the application.

Such changes can be in either the native language or the exact terminology preferred. This helps to address the peculiarities of language but also allows the different ways different industries and businesses express themselves when they refer to things which are similar in principle.

Once this has been done the environment the employees will be working in becomes much more customised and familiar which results in a much more efficient work flow. And this is just one example of how Megaventory caring about usability translates in a better experience for the employees and an overall improvement in company efficiency.

In other words, it's one of the simple methods we've come up with in order to increase ERP usage and adoption among employees. This is generally a major concern when deciding to buy or upgrade an ERP solution: will my business actually make the most of it? Well, such easy localisation is another measure to ensure this.

And when we say easy, we mean it. It's as simple as visiting "Localise Megaventory" in Admin, Account:

Once there, all texts in the Megaventory application are available to be edited:

This is a one-off effort which should take less than a day to complete - and of course can be revisited at any point. The end result is a Megaventory account practically exactly the way the business it supports prefers it.