Welcome to the Exact Product Blog

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

Email your expense claim to Synergy Enterprise

Written by Martin Ortgiess on . Posted in Exact Synergy

I am at the airport and just finished my steak when I receive the bill. After I pay the bill, I make a photo of it with my mobile and send it to expenseclaim@mycompany.com. Within a minute, I receive an email message that informs me that an expense claim is created in Synergy Enterprise with the bill linked to it.

This is just an example of a business case we want to support. Of course the bill can also be a visit report that you send to visitreport@mycompany.com or a quotation you send to a customer and CC to quotation@mycompany.com. Another scenario is that information entered on a website is send to a mailbox info@mycompany.com. All email messages here result in request for the sales inside department.

Hopefully these examples give you an idea of the solution we want to offer. With this solution you can define action per email address: created request X and/or document type Y for every incoming email. The request and/or document is email address specific, so an email received at info@mycompany.com can result in an ‘Information request’ where an email received at expenseclaim@mycompany.com can result in an ‘Expense claim request’ with the bill linked to it.

Before we offer this functionality to all our customers, we want to start with a small group of customers to work with it. Together with this group we can evaluate the solution.

Are you interested in joining this small group of customers, please let me know and send me an email: martin.ortgiess@exactsoftware.com.

If you have any questions are feedback on this article, please leave a comment and share your thoughts with us!

Photo credit: ydhsu

 

Improving performance of Exact Globe: customer feedback

Written by Michiel Dorjee on . Posted in Exact Globe

In an earlier post I wrote about the changes Exact has made in Exact Globe product update 395, in order to improve performance. Currently, this product update is under Controlled release and running in a live environment at selected customers.

One of Exact’s largest Globe customers in terms of number of users (>200), transactions and database size has been running live with product update 395 for a few weeks and we asked them for their feedback on the performance. Here’s the result they gave us:

Functions & Features versus User Experience

Written by Michiel Dorjee on . Posted in Exact Synergy

Thank you for investing some of your precious time to read this article. I’m Aad ‘t Hart and have a long history in various R & D roles with Exact. Years ago I was one of the initiators of Exact Synergy and more recently my primary responsibilities are research into the future business applications. This the first article in hopefully a long series of articles were I will share our vision on trends, innovations in business software and how we apply these into our products.

The title of this article ‘Functions & Features versus User Experience’ immediately addresses one of the key challenges of our industry. Based on market and competitive analysis, technology trends, and customer feedback many features are added to the products. This is a natural process in the product life cycle creating products that are wider and deeper in functionality. People who require this added functionality are enthusiastic and it helps them achieving their goals, however for people who don’t need the new functionality it has a negative influence on their user experience.

Every company looks for differentiators in their product and for long the number of Functions & Features was an easy way to measure against the competition. The continues addition of Functions & Features has created an arms race on features and they have lost their capabilities to differentiate, because it’s assumed that the product is rich in Functions & Features. Today the overall User Experience, is the product easy to learn and use, is the user happy and more hard to measure attributes become more important.

This all creates an enormous challenge, because adding Functions & Features for one person makes the product better, while for another person it makes the product harder and more difficult to use. Customer feedback, and we thank you for that, already shows us these conflicting perceptions of new functionality. We constantly do our best to qualify not only the added value of new functionality, but also for which percentage of the people it adds value. We try to optimize adding functionality in such a way that they are beneficial for most people using the product. We combine this with efforts to optimize and improve the experience of existing functionality. This however creates an even bigger challenge, because it requires changes in something that the users have become accustomed to.

We believe we can help you best by creating products that are rich in functionality and offer an excellent user experience. However this will not come without change and disappointments. We appreciate and look forward to your feedback to jointly work on creating these excellent experiences.

Image credit: d’n’c

Easily enclose attachments to a workflow request

Written by Edgar Wieringa on . Posted in Exact Synergy

Via this post I just like to share with you guys one of the upcoming things for Exact Synergy Enterprise. We have made it possible to direclty attach file(s) to a request. For instance directly attach a scanned receipt to an expense claim.

This addition comes on top of the existing option to directly create a document with attachments, to a request. This option can be very useful when the files you are attaching need specific Synergy links. The new option is there to make it simple to just attach a (set of) image(s) for instance.

Photo credit: TooFarNorth

Turn Excel sheets into XML files for import into Exact Globe

Written by Michiel Dorjee on . Posted in Exact Globe

Exact Globe has the capability to import XML files. There are professional tools to turn an Excel sheet into XML and subsequently (using another tool) to map that XML file to the Exact Globe “style sheet”. That process is not for the faint-hearted as it requires technical knowledge and tools.

Turn Excel sheets into XML files for import into Exact Globe

In this document, you can find links to Excel sheets containing makro’s that allow the creation of an XML file, that can be imported into Exact Globe, directly from an Excel sheet. The makros can be edited to your liking.

Photo credit: Barnoid

Exact Synergy Enterprise Certified for Windows Server 2008R2

Written by Michiel Dorjee on . Posted in Exact Synergy

As per product update 240, Exact Synergy Enterprise is certified for the newest Microsoft platform Windows Server 2008 R2. This is good news for our customers they’ll be able to benefit from the latest developments Microsoft has put into this brand new release.

They’ll not only benefit from the latest features right now, but also from the upcoming release of Microsoft Office 2010, which will see the light of day in the second quarter of 2010. A specific benefit for many customers will be the further integration between Windows Server 2008 R2 and Microsoft Excel 2010 for quickly analyzing information.

More information can be obtained from the Microsoft’s website.

Integration of Exact Synergy Enterprise with MS Outlook and other MS Office applications

Written by Martin Ortgiess on . Posted in Exact Synergy

Do you also spend a lot of time of your day in Microsoft Office and especially in Microsoft Outlook? Well, you’re not the only one.

Outlook is one of the main gateways to share information. The usage of email is easy and fast, although it also has some important downsides, which you are probably aware of. One of the downsides is that distribution of one email results in multiple email messages in a lot of local databases (Outlook folders). It is unclear who has and does not have the information available and when there is an update, not everybody might be aware. This is why an application like Synergy Enterprise is so important. Information is only stored once, and you can easily see who can see it. When a change is made, this is directly visible to everybody it concerns.

With Synergy Office Integration we have succeeded to have best of both worlds. Because you are so used to the MS Outlook interface, we made Synergy Enterprise available there. This means that all functionalities you know from Synergy, can now be accessed via MS Outlook.

Screenshot SOI

We have introduced the Synergy toolbar in MS Outlook, which provides you exactly what you need: the options available here follow the user preferences. This means that the Synergy Enterprise options in MS Outlook are the same as the options you have using Internet Explorer.

Because you will not stop using your email, we also looked at how we could achieve a tighter integration between your emails and Synergy Enterprise. And looking to the positive feedback we received so far, I think we succeeded. We have introduced the ‘save’ button, which will give you the option to save your incoming and outgoing email to Synergy Enterprise with only 1 mouse click. If the email address is recognized, it will automatically be linked to the right contact person in Synergy Enterprise.

The email message in Outlook will be tagged, so you can easily see which emails are saved to Synergy Enterprise.

When you want to add more information to the email message, when saving it to Synergy Enterprise, you can select the ‘save as’ button to save the email message. Now you can add additional information and also create a request instantly.

Conclusion: no need to leave Outlook when you work with Synergy Enterprise. With Synergy Office Integration all your Synergy functionalities are available in MS Outlook. Next to MS Outlook we also offer a tight integration with MS Word, MS Excel, MS PowerPoint and MS FrontPage.

 

Photo credit: Shareski

Your feedback on the new request screen

Written by Edgar Wieringa on . Posted in Exact Synergy

I would like to thank each and everyone of you for your feedback to this post on a new screen design.

For the upcoming new release of Exact Synergy Enterprise we will amongst others deliver a redesigned screen for creating a new request. Since this is one of the most often used parts of our application we wanted to improve the user experience of it and needed to be sure on how to do this best. Not just the looks-and-feel but we want to support every user better in reaching her goals: starting a new workflow in a simple and easy way.

I hope that from my initial posting it was clear that we did think a lot about existing customers. Especially here we got a lot of requests to make this simple.

We have done user observations and user interviews at various sites where we literally looked over the shoulder of users. This was part of a project to get a better understanding of our users and their daily usage of our products. The current user experience. So it hurts me and my team when there is doubt on this (even in capitals :-)), you can however disagree whether we did this right. That conclusion I clearly make and we take the lessons learned humbly.

What did we learn?

  • For companies who show or have a limited set of requests the top x section might be redundant or too long
  • It was not a good decision to not make a distinction between the daily create request page and the maintenance page. Here we violated our own goal-directed designed approach. The users of these different pages have different goals when using them
  • Although also many people see an improvement we might have better not just replaced the old page but introduced the new one next to it
  • Since we value all your input, we will work on a way to re-introduce the IDs. One way or the other. Where our focus will be to still have an over viewable list. Where I have spoken about it hurts, it also hurts me when you guys are now putting the IDs in the description. Our aim was not to make your lifes more complicated. So point taken and we will work on a solution.

Last but not least we feel also strengthened by the many reactions, on the vision behind this to make the usage of Exact Synergy Enterprise more simple. That is one of the reasons why we on purpose didn’t choose for a setting, which was more a choice of design than a development decision. Here Andre Speek was spot on for our rational.

Thanks again for being a customer, business partner or colleague! We truly appreciate your replies and the engagement to our product and company this shows. I will update you later on how (and when) we take the lessons learned forward.

Photo credit: LiveFromAmsterdam

Exact Globe add-on: Clustered requests

Written by Michiel Dorjee on . Posted in Exact Globe

This is the third article in a series on add-ons for Exact Globe. Add-ons are additional solutions that run on top of Exact Globe, in a fully integrated way. These add-ons are globally available for Exact customers, so not limited to 1 country or region.

The first one was Quality management, this second article about Incoming Invoice Register and this article is about Clustered Requests.

Clustered requests make it possible to create one single workflow for multiple identical requests. This solution enables you to group these separate requests for approval, realization and processing. In order to facilitate procurement the solution enables a purchase limit check on multiple stages within the workflow. Next to grouping request also requests can be copied automatically during the workflow process.

For more information, feel free to contact Marcia Vermeer at Exact Software. Click on the video for a brief explanation of the solution:

Photo credit: Guillermo

Exact Globe add-on: Incoming Invoice Register

Written by Michiel Dorjee on . Posted in Exact Globe

This is the second article in a series on add-ons for Exact Globe. Add-ons are additional solutions that run on top of Exact Globe, in a fully integrated way. These add-ons are globally available for Exact customers, so not limited to 1 country or region.

The first one was Quality management, this article is about Incoming Invoice Register:

Ever paid an invoice incorrectly and then struggled to get your money back? With Exact you can proactively prevent incorrect invoices from being paid. No paper workflow is required. Instead, you have a digital, time-saving process that is structured, transparent and traceable. Now it is you who will decide whether and when to pay incoming invoices.

For more information, feel free to contact Marcia Vermeer at Exact Software. Click on the video for a brief explanation of the solution:

Photo credit: mknobil