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On this blog we will cover stories from all around the Exact ecosystem.

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Exact Event Manager 1.9.1 Now Available

Written by Toine Hurkmans on . Posted in Exact Event Manager

Exact Event Manager 1.9.1 is released 25 January 2014 offering some great new features to further expand the capabilities of business process automation. A lot of focus is given to managing and controlling processes related to incoming and outgoing documents/files.

For this reason this release supports FTP & file folder watcher and capabilities to write documents to FTP sites or file folders. Printing documents to network printers or sending document via Fax is also supported. On top of this it will be possible to use Exact Synergy Enterprise document attachments in e-mail, printing and faxing, similar to SSRS and Crystal reports.

Another new feature, requested for years, is  the abiltity to execute a program using a command line. This increases the options to automate processes.EEM pic for blog

In addition this release includes fixes on issues/bugs reported.

For more information see the Release notes product update 1.9.1 or contact your Exact support desk.

 

Exact Event Manager release 1.9 Now available

Written by Toine Hurkmans on . Posted in Exact Event Manager

Exact Event Manager release 1.9 is now available and can be downloaded by customers and partners. As mentioned in the previous blog release 1.9 supports the latest Microsoft operating systems.  Meaning this release will support Microsoft Windows Server 2012 and Microsoft SQL Server 2012. Further this release will support Microsoft Windows 8.

This release contains no functional enhancements, like support of new types of actions.

.. However we are working on release 1.9.1 and at least one new feature will be added to Exact Event Manager: running a program as an action. Keep following this blog, because next post will show a sneak preview of this feature. I cannot tell at this moment what the release date will be of the next release, but I’ll try to keep you informed the best I can.

 

 

Exact Synergy Enterprise Configurator – Sneak Preview

Written by Toine Hurkmans on . Posted in Exact Synergy

The Exact Synergy Enterprise Configurator is a standard toolset of Exact Synergy Enterprise for consultants to help them implementing solutions for specific business processes of our customers. The Exact Synergy Enterprise Configurator will be a part of the standard Exact Synergy Enterprise software and will require no specific license to activate.

For customers it means that Exact Synergy Enterprise will better meet their business needs and fit within their core activities and business processes, without requiring a customization/custom solution. Exact Synergy Enterprise will therefore bring more value to your business.

The key feature of the Exact Synergy Enterprise Configurator is the ability to add more maintenance cards and/or extend standard maintenance cards like items/projects/accounts/persons, etc. so information that customers need to run their business can be registered, accessed, used in processes and reports.

Some other features are:

  • Creating a menu, so a configuration becomes an additional module for Exact Synergy Enterprise
  • Configurable maintenance cards using drag-and-drop
  • Add buttons to maintenance cards so direct actions are possible, and to the new maintenance cards to extend standard maintenance cards
  • Distinction in types, similar to account types, resource types etc. Including different maintenance cards per type
  • Status-flow, allowing control of the status of information as part of a business process
  • Define access rights so privacy and security can be guaranteed

Please watch our sneak preview video, to see the highlights of the Exact Synergy Enterprise Configurator.

We plan to have the Exact Synergy Enterprise Configurator general available in December 2011. Interested?  More information will follow soon and meanwhile, feel free to send me an email or please comment on this post.

Freelancers and self employed entrepreneurs can benefit from SaaS

Written by Toine Hurkmans on . Posted in Exact Online

Freelancers and self-employed entrepreneurs often miss the benefits and opportunities that SaaS business services can offer them. It seems that many feel current SaaS offerings are just not designed for their needs. With the time and money ‘Software as a Service’ solutions can potentially save this group of professionals though, it seems likely that this situation will soon be changing.

75% of all companies registered in the Netherlands fall into the group of freelancers and self-employed entrepreneurs. It’s reasonable to assume this applies to other countries as well. Notably, most of these people do not use business software for running their businesses. The reason for this is simple: it seems not to be meant for them. The available solutions seem too complex and/or too expensive – the cheaper ones too simple to meet their requirements.

Freelancers and self-employed entrepreneurs, or ZZP-ers as they are called in the Netherlands, differ from other types of companies. Their company is ‘just’ them, their private and business affairs often intertwined. Their finances, time and social lives are influenced personally and professionally. They know what they are capable of, they understand their clients and they like doing their job. They generally do not know accounting, don’t understand fiscal law and do not like doing administration.

These professionals generally spend 8 to 10 hours a week on admin and acquiring new business – as much as 20% of their time spent on activities they do not like and do not bring in any money. Any other type of company would begin automating or outsourcing this to save time and expense. Unfortunately though, when you don’t have the money, you’re forced to make the time.

The challenge therefore lies in offering a solution for ZZP-ers which will save them time and money. The answer lies in SaaS-based services. They require no investment and the monthly recurring subscription fees are reasonable given the added value and spread over the year. Services that help to process expense receipts, split private and business expenses and directly result in correct VAT returns and income statements can save a lot of time. The same applies to services that help you to get invoices out and paid in time. But what about saving time and money?

For freelancers and self-employed entrepreneurs time really is money. Doing things yourself (like your administration or accounts) allows the money you would otherwise spend on someone else (an accountant) to be saved. A paper administration and some spreadsheets can be very time consuming though, especially for the non-expert. The right tools and support are essential for ‘doing it yourself’ to be a practical solution.

The good news is that SaaS-based solutions for this group are already available. However, the very near future will also see service solutions developed specifically for them. They form a large and important group in our economy and therefore deserve to be supported. The main question is what services should be developed first to benefit ZZP-ers as soon as possible?

So what happens once freelancers and self-employed entrepreneurs can save both time and money? More time to work and earn more money or more money used to work less and enjoy more private time? It’s an exciting question for them – after all, that freedom of choice is why they became self-employed or a freelancer in the first place!

The author of this blog post is principal research engineer at Exact, focusing on researching business services offered through Software as a Service.

Performance – Why upgrade my web browser?

Written by Toine Hurkmans on . Posted in Exact Synergy

As a user I want web applications to be responsive, perform.  I don’t want to wait for a page to load or refresh for more than 5 seconds. Sometimes 3 seconds is already too much to me. For this reason I make sure to use the latest version of my browser. Why?

I notice that people often complain that web sites are slow whereas I don’t have that problem myself. When I ask what web browser and version they use they often do not know, especially when they use Microsoft Internet explorer. (Most people by the way use IE9 or even IE8.) When people use Chrome they always state “Chrome is faster than Internet Explorer'”. (So they are aware that performance differs per web browser.) When I ask when they upgraded their web browser the last time, they reply “I just downloaded it some time ago. Do I need to upgrade?”.

The issue with performance is it not always concerns the web site (application or server), but the browser being used. As software supplier we want to provide more and richer features and functions in our web applications. Suppliers like Google (Chrome), Microsoft (Internet Explorer) and Mozilla (Firefox) keep improving their browser to support new web technologies to provide better user experience. As software developers we therefore constantly update our software to support the latest technologies.

When we release a new version of Exact Synergy Enterprise new technology is likely to be used. The upcoming release 252 for instance uses new technology to improve the performance of some pages, for instance the service management dispatch board. The issue is users only benefit when they use the latest version of Internet Explorer.

Users shouldn’t need to constant be aware of new technologies and what browser version they need to get great user experience. This does not apply to Exact Synergy Enterprise, but to any web application.  Users only need to keep their web browser up to date with the latest version.

… and Chrome might no longer be faster in all cases compared to Internet Explorer. (Just check out some tech-sites yourself).

 

Exact Event Manager 1.9 Coming Soon

Written by Toine Hurkmans on . Posted in Exact Event Manager

It’s been a while since the last product blog on Exact Event Manager which announced the release of 1.8R2 in June 2012. Well release 1.9 is coming to you soon.

The new 1.9 release of Exact Event Manager  is created to support the latest Microsoft operating systems.  Meaning this release will support Microsoft Windows Server 2012 and Microsoft SQL Server 2012. Further this release will support Microsoft Windows 8. So the main reason for this release is to ensure our customers can use the latest operations system to succesful run and automate their business processes.

Important for existing customers to know is version 1.9 is compatible with release 1.8R2 and supports the same system requirements as for 1.8R2.

Of course we use this product update also to resolve some issues raised after the release of 1.8R2. We were very pleased that not many issues did occur after the launch of this release. We realize that consultants and customers have requested more features to be supported by Exact Event Manager. It was not feasible to address these requests for release 1.9. But Exact Event Manager release 1.9 will not be the only release we hope to deliver to you this year. So keep following us!

Co-creating solutions with users – our first freelancer workshop

Written by Toine Hurkmans on . Posted in Exact Online

Collaboration with users during the research and design of new solutions at Exact has just taken a new step. Our first workshops with Dutch freelancers has highlighted again how important listening to customers is – an essential step in translating user requirements into solutions that genuinely meet their needs.

The last month Exact invited two groups of freelancers for a workshop. Most were quite surprised when they found out what we wanted them to do. The aim? For them to talk to each other about freelancing, and for us to listen – not for us to bombard them with questions and do all the talking. Furthermore, the workshop wasn’t about software. In fact, it wasn’t even about bookkeeping. It was just about being a freelancer.

So why are we suddenly so interested in freelancers? Why has ‘the user’ in general become so important? Well, to create effective solutions for certain groups or types of users, one needs to understand them. And understanding a user is something different than understanding the job they do or the tasks they need to carry out every day. Of course we’ve talked to users in the past, but mostly concerning their business activities or the applications they use. However, really understanding the user can only be achieved by listening to and observing them carefully.

In line with this we invited some freelancers to tell each other about what they like and/or dislike in their professional environments, how they manage their working and private life balance, and perhaps most importantly, what brings a smile to their face. We just sat, listened and tried hard to absorb the information they were offering us.

The freelancers in these first two workshops have already given us a great deal that we can use in designing and developing solutions for them. It’s not just about the struggle to get their administration done and send in their VAT return, but also about how they manage their customer relationships and find new jobs using their personal networks. I really appreciate their openness and willingness to share this information.

It was also pleasantly surprising to learn how willing the participants are to contribute further along in the design and developing process. It tells us that users are willing not only to tell us about their needs, but really want to be involved in collaboration throughout the whole process. In the world of industrial design this is often referred to as co-creation or co-design. Industrial designers refer to product development in such close proximity to the customer user centric designs – essential for them in developing successful innovation. It is only fair to say that as software designers, we can and will also learn a lot from their approach.

We have already planned another workshop for September, which I have to say I’m really looking forward to it. For those of you who are interested, I’m sorry to tell you that all the seats are already booked. But please do keep your eye out for more initiatives to come concerning user collaboration – we’d love for you to be part of our research and help us in designing solutions that make a difference. In the meanwhile I will certainly keep you posted on our progress and share the results with you as they unfold. 

The author of this blog post is principal research engineer at Exact, focusing on researching business services offered through Software as a Service.