IT Brief New Zealand logo
Technology news for New Zealand's largest enterprises
Story image

The IT spring clean checklist

By Contributor
Thu 24 Nov 2011
FYI, this story is more than a year old

If you have a growing business, one of the most important characteristics of your IT business systems is their scalability and ability to grow along with your company.

Finding a system that can adapt to the specific needs of your company is essential. What if you need to automate new areas of the business in the future?

First off, look for a solution that offers open architecture, which allows you to easily add on additional features and adapt to new IT paradigms. Open architecture is especially important if you expect your company to experience growth or change in the future. Beware of ‘one size fits all’ solutions – if all functionality is included, then you are paying for everything, even the features that you do not need.

Here’s a few more tips to help you plan for a new business system:

Think forward to the next step

Most software companies have various families of products geared toward specific business sizes of customers. A key question to ask is whether or not the products are built on unified system architecture and if they have a built-in upgrade path from one product to the next. If the family of products has been developed on the same architecture, future upgrades from product to product and the subsequent data exchange can be managed much more smoothly. Ensure that as your company grows and you move up in the family of products that you will not need to retrain your users on a completely different workflow and user interface. The smart choice is a product that will fit your business requirements for at least the next seven to ten years.

Make integration a high priority

Connecting all functions and linking to customers, suppliers, and other business partners externally can dramatically reduce lead times and waste throughout your organisation. You’ll streamline operations and gain a competitive edge by integrating your accounting, business intelligence, customer relationship management, supply chain, and human resource management applications. When evaluating software, check to see how seamlessly they integrate or can be integrated with other systems. Tight integration will save you time, promote greater efficiencies, and add value to your business.

Integration is especially important for manufacturing and distribution companies. Inventory that sits in your warehouse is cash your business could otherwise be using. When considering solutions, study what options are available for warehouse management. The proper use of integration will pay your organisation huge dividends in the form of reduced inventory cycles, more efficient warehouse operations, less paperwork (including the reduction duplicate data entry), and better order accuracy.

Embrace industry standard technology

The evolution of technology is as certain as death and taxes! Hardware, databases, operating systems (OS), servers, and all IT infrastructures are ever-evolving. You can’t afford to be running your business on unsupported software. Ask the software vendor which databases it supports, along with which operating systems and server systems. Look for vendors that stay up to date with technology and frequently advance their technology.

On-demand or Cloud-based Deployment

With advances in Web technologies and growth in broadband access to the Internet, alternative deployment methods have emerged. Most evaluations of software will include the question of whether to implement the solution "on-premise” or in the cloud.  The relative advantage or disadvantage of one deployment type over others is dependent on your objectives and circumstances. The more important question is that of versatility and options. If you select a cloud-based solution do you have the option to move your data to on-premise in the future? And what is the cost? You don’t want to invest in a solution and not have the agility to adapt to the future.

Verify customisation capabilities

No one software package is right for everyone. And no solution on the market will have every single feature you require. Look for a solution providing modification features that allow you change or add new reports and tailor the interface to individual user preferences. For even more control over your system, review software that enables you to make more specific customisations. This will ensure that your software will meet your needs as requirements change in your business.

Understand the difference between standard functions and extras

Some organisations provide basic functions but then make you purchase the various extras that come standard in other software. An extreme example would be to buy a car, and then discover that you must pay additional for the engine, steering wheel, and tires. Confirm what is included in the core pricing and what must be purchased separately.

Evaluate the software by what it can’t do

Software product limitations are often much more revealing than feature list comparisons. Find out the maximum number of account types, customers, vendors, and inventory items allowed. Determine the maximum size of the document numbers, general ledger account numbers, and other key fields. Ask how many line items a single invoice or sales order can handle, and find out the maximum number of users that can work with a particular application at the same time. Is there a limitation on database size, or at what point is system performance impacted? These types of questions will uncover key points and help you make a more informed decision.

Test for common mistakes

People make mistakes. If the software handles errors intelligently, that’s a sign of good design and usability. Some of the most widely promoted solutions do not allow you to correct an error in a purchase order without canceling the entire order and reentering it from scratch. You should test for errors or ask for the vendor to demonstrate error management. Look at mistakes such as duplicate customers and vendors, incorrect item numbers, and unreasonable amounts and dates. The system should also flag unusually high quantities or unit prices, and offer valid alternatives. The system should prevent errors that cause data corruption, such as deleting a customer or general ledger account number. Understanding how the system handles mistakes will help you determine if your data integrity is at risk.

Evaluate the learning curve

Intelligently designed software is easy to learn and use. Common tasks should be intuitive and quickly executed. An insightful interface will shorten training times and facilitate adoption of the new system. Look for information in consistent and expected locations and screen design similarities among all modules. Be sure that the software comes with effective training!

Ask what learning tools, classes, online, anytime, and demonstrations are available to speed the learning process and to get you on your way for a prosperous 2012 and beyond.

Mike Lorge is managing director for Sage Business Solutions. 

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Data analytics
Data analytics a struggle for A/NZ healthcare organisations
A study by InterSystems has found that most Australian and New Zealand healthcare organisations struggle to use data analytics to support their business objectives.
Story image
Automation to take over 63 million jobs in APAC by 2040 - report
Forrester forecasts that working populations in the five largest economies in APAC are more at risk of physical robot automation than in Europe and North America.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Adobe and FC Bayern collaborate on a multi-year partnership
Adobe is embarking on a multi-year partnership with FC Bayern, using its enterprise solutions to carry out the club’s digital transformation.
Story image
Keysight Technologies and Nokia’s public test of 800GE success
Keysight and Nokia have successfully demonstrated the first public 800GE test, validating the readiness of next-generation optics for service providers and network operators.
Story image
AvePoint rebrands SaaS learning product to MaivenPoint
"Our mission with MaivenPoint is to make your learning experience limitless and inspire everyone to achieve their aspirations."
Story image
DCI Data Centers breaks ground on AKL02 center
DCI Data Centers has commenced construction on Auckland's largest data center.
Story image
Exclusive: Inde provides innovative solutions across the tech sector
Inde likes to call its approach the 'power of the collective', which essentially means that if a client approaches the company with a problem, they'll get the team's collective insight to help drive the best outcome.
Story image
Fortinet reports second quarter 2022 financial results
“We delivered strong revenue and billings growth in the second quarter driven by an increase in the number of transactions larger than one million dollars."
Story image
Hybrid Cloud
The essential guide to digital transformation by SolarWinds
Digital transformation is a buzzword thrown around all the time by companies, but what does it actually mean and why is it important? SolarWinds breaks it down.
Story image
Chorus announces Hyperfibre sponsorship deal with NZ Esports
Chorus has put its support behind New Zealand's Esports community with a newly announced three-year Hyperfibre sponsorship deal with NZ Esports.
Story image
Exclusive: UKG brings a people focused approach to workforce management
Managing an effective and efficient workforce is the crux of any business operation, and in today's climate, it's more than just work employers need to be aware of.
Story image
OfficeMax NZ sees significant growth through Seismic partnership
OfficeMax New Zealand has announced it has seen a significant increase in customer and sales confidence as a result of Seismic’s digital enablement software.
Story image
2degrees unveils eSIM functionality for selected devices
2degrees has enabled eSIM functionality to work with a variety of Apple, Samsung and Oppo devices, including a range of iPads.
Story image
Google NZ numbers show strong comprehensive profit increase
The latest financial report from Google New Zealand Limited has revealed an increase in total comprehensive profit of over $NZD 7 million.
Story image
Tablets & laptops
Chromebook and tablet shipments see another rapid decline for the year
According to research from Canalys PC Analysis, Chromebook and tablet shipments have fallen for the fourth quarter in a row for Q2 of 2022.
Story image
Why enhancing bot protection for web and API endpoints matters
The trouble with bots is that they aren’t all bad. Unfortunately, this can make it challenging to detect malicious bots that find their way into your system and threaten your business.
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Cohesity, Equinix, IDC, Proofpoint & Xero
We round up all job appointments from July 29 - August 5, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Visa launches Eco Benefits solutions in Australia and NZ
Eco Benefits is a suite of sustainability-focused solutions that will help Visa cardholders better understand the environmental impact of their payments.
Story image
Why the Metaverse could be the key to enhancing the healthcare sector
The experts at Accenture understand that the programmable world is about building the next version of the physical world in healthcare, understanding complex layers in order to fully utilise technology to its maximum effect.
Story image
Financial results
Facebook NZ financial report reveals notable revenue increase
Revenue from contracts with customers increased by $NZD 1,089,292 compared to 2020's figures.
Story image
Workplace design a crucial factor for better employee experience - report
The key to a successful workplace could be its design, according to research from Ecosystm and Neat.
Story image
Open source
Flashpoint acquires Echosec Systems, elevates OSINT capabilities
Flashpoint has acquired Echosec Systems, a provider of open-source intelligence and publicly available information.
Story image
Mergers and Acquisitions
Netskope acquires Infiot, delivers integrated SASE platform
Converged SASE platform provides AI-driven zero trust security and simplified, optimised connectivity to any network location or device, including IoT.
Story image
10 Minute IT Jams
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from Talend
Stu Garrow joins us today to discuss the company’s key solutions, and how they can help organisations thrive in the data management space.
Story image
Data Protection
CyberRes partners with Google Cloud in lead up to BigQuery release
CyberRes, a Micro Focus line of business, has announced a partnership with Google Cloud to support the upcoming release of BigQuery remote functions.
Story image
Fortinet unveils compact firewall for hyperscale data centres, 5G networks
"Fortinet’s dedication to pushing the boundaries of what is possible in security performance has yielded the most powerful compact firewall yet."
Register now for the Sydney Cloud & Datacenter Convention 2022 and learn about topics ranging from digital transformation to data center sustainability.
Link image
Story image
Pure Storage
Pure Storage named leader in GigaOm report for Kubernetes storage
Pure Storage named the leader for the third consecutive year by GigaOm Radar Report for enterprise Kubernetes storage.
Story image
Enterprise Resource Planning / ERP
Why the right ERP (and partner) is crucial to an innovative and successful business
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is a foundational step to ensuring a robust business model; here's why choosing the right one could be vital to ensuring long-term success and innovative results.
Story image
Why security needs to shape your journey to the cloud
It's estimated that 80% of workloads could be in the cloud in the next few years. How can you make all that data secure?
Story image
10 Minute IT Jams
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from Heidrick & Struggles
Graham Kittle joins us today to discuss how the company is helping organisations bring about change within their business.
Story image
LG Electronics
LG Electronics’ revenue in NZ grows by 57% in FY 2021
The New Zealand branch of LG Electronics Australia's total revenue shot up by nearly NZD $45 million reaching a total of $123.7 million for FY 2021.
Story image
Document Management
TrustRadius gives M-Files two document management awards
TrustRadius has recognised M-Files with both a 2022 Best Feature Set and a 2022 Best Relationship award in document management.
Story image
Gartner names Rubrik Leader in 2022 Magic Quadrant
Rubrik has been positioned by Gartner as a Leader in the 2022 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Backup and Recovery Software Solutions.
Story image
Claroty launches new cloud-based industrial cybersecurity platform
The company says Claroty xDome is the industry's first solution to deliver the ease and scalability of SaaS without compromising on visibility, protection, and monitoring controls.
AWS Marketplace
See how managed security services (MSS) have evolved to Managed Detection and Response (MDR) and Extended Detection and Response (XDR). Learn how these new holistic solutions can simplify security management and improve your threat detection and response.
Link image
Story image
Talend announces support for Amazon Redshift Serverless
Talend has announced its support for Amazon Redshift Serverless, with the company saying the integration reinforces its commitment and leadership in supporting businesses.
Story image
Norton research finds NZ threat landscape diversifying on social media
Norton's quarterly report has highlighted the seriousness of the threat landscape in New Zealand.
Story image
Data Protection
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from SearchInform
Alexey Pinchuk joins us today to discuss the role the company plays in helping organisations manage risk and provide better security outcomes.
Story image
Veeam named Leader in enterprise backup and recovery
"We believe our innovation and ability to execute validates our solid standing as the #1 trusted provider of modern data protection."
AWS Marketplace
Learn how security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) enhances your security strategy.
Link image
Story image
Ivanti and SentinelOne partner on patch management solution
Ivanti and SentinelOne will integrate their technologies Ivanti Neurons for Patch Management and SentinelOne's Singularity XDR platform.