Welcome to the Exact Product Blog

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

Preview of OCS presence in Exact Synergy Enterprise

Written by Martin Ortgiess on . Posted in Exact Synergy

As described in my previous post Feedback on enabling OCS Presence within Synergy Enterprise, we are currently working on enabling presence with OCS within Exact Synergy Enterprise.

OCS (Office Communications Server) is a Unified Communications (UC) platform and helps you to make intelligent decision about how and whom to contact. Exact Synergy Enterprise is the central work environment within an organization, and enabling presence strengthens this position.

Enabling OCS presence within Exact Synergy Enterprise, can limit delays in your day to day work. Because you can easily see who is available and how you can reach him. Communication becomes much faster and will enhance collaboration.

To give you an impression on what it will look like, we offer you this preview. This preview briefly shows you what we want to offer our customers. This functionality is expected to be available Q4 2009.

Photo credit: Mugley

Product update 394 of Exact Globe and Exact Synergy now in Controlled Release

Written by Michiel Dorjee on . Posted in Exact Globe, Exact Synergy

As of today, product update 394 of Exact Globe and Exact Synergy is in controlled release. That means this release is now available for resellers as well as all controlled release customers that participate in the controlled release of product update 394.

This product update is the 3rd already in 2009, see also our recent post on the release planning, and  offers lots of new functionality. First of all, there is the introduction of a new module: E-Charges & discounts.This new Exact Globe module offers functionality to automatically add discounts or charges; a certain fee on top of the normal sales price to cover order costs, legal obligations like environmental taxes or fees for certain transportation packaging (like pallets, wrap paper, plastic etc).

Product update 394 also offers enhancements to Exact Globe in the field of blanket sales orders, as well as an interface with  Dun & Bradstreet to retrieve D&B’s address data or risk profiles. Moreover, a new connectivity layer between Exact Globe and Pervasive Data Integrator (PDI), marks the first step for Exact Globe towards increased connectivity via PDI as well as a first step in creating a successor for the current integrated scenario of Exact Globe and Exact Synergy.

To further strengthen the offering of Exact Globe’s for the American market, several new functionalities have been introduced like a new module E-Shipping Manifest/Starship, Support for Credit card processing and enhanced EDI integration.

For an overview of all other big and small enhancements of product update 394, please have a look at the release notes.

For both Exact Globe and Exact Synergy, all timely reported high and urgent bug reports as well as a number of medium bug reports is fixed.

For more information, please leave a comment or contact Ronald Voets

The release planning 2009 for Exact Globe, Exact Synergy and Exact Synergy Enterprise

Written by Michiel Dorjee on . Posted in Exact Globe, Exact Synergy

The overview below shows the release planning for Exact Globe, Exact Synergy and Exact Synergy Enterprise.

Exact Globe planning 2009

The release notes for product update 393 can be found here. For the upcoming product update 394 they’re available here on Exact’s customer portal (once product update 394 is Generally Available, all Release Notes are made publicly available).

Exact Synergy Enterprise planning 2009

The release notes for product update 241 are available here.

Photo credit: zone41

Gartner rates Exact positive in its MarketScope report!

Written by Michiel Dorjee on . Posted in Exact Globe

In its MarketScope for Core Financial Management Applications 2009 report Gartner ranks among 10 Financial Application providers Exact, COA Solutions, Epicor, Infor, Lawson, Microsoft, Sage Group, and Unit4Agresso positive. Oracle and SAP have been rated as strong positive.

112 Reference Customers of the application vendors COA Solutions, Epicor, Exact, Infor, Lawson, Microsoft, Oracle, Sage Group, SAP and Unit4Agresso gave answers to 27 specific questions in four sections which covered

  • Experience with Implementing and using the core financial management applications
  • Experience in wording with the vendor, and their service and support capabilities
  • How well the applications had supported change in their business
  • Value for money and cost of ownership

The rating results

Overall, the interviewed Reference Customers have been very satisfied with the application in use. Just over 80% of the respondents were either positive or strong positive and none was strong negative.

(For the interpretation of the rating please see the explanation at the very end of this article)

Only vendors that fulfil the following 6 inclusion & exclusion criteria have been rated:

  1. Provide a suite of financial management applications that includes (at least) GL, AP, AR and FA.
  2. Provide financial management applications that are suitable for any organization regardless of industry.
  3. Target their financial applications at midsize and/or large organizations.
  4. Have at least 100 live users that have bought & implemented the application
  5. Generated at least $25 million in revenue
  6. Live customers in more than one of the regions North America, South America, EMEA, APAC

What Gartner says about Exact

“Exact has several SMB accounting offerings that are sold on a local, country-specific basis, along with ERP solutions for midsize companies, such as Exact Macola ES and Exact Globe. However, the primary midmarket financial management applications are part of the Exact Globe ERP suite. These are suitable for midsize organizations, but they also have strong international capabilities.”

SaaS Insights:
Gartner also surveyed several new Software-as-a-service (SaaS) vendors (CGI, Deltek, Intacct, NetSuite, Twinfield and Workday). There is no information or evaluation on Exact Online in this report by Gartner.

Although none of these vendors met the inclusion criteria for this MarketScope, Gartner anticipates that they will start gaining more market shares as their solutions mature and gain a wider customer base during the next two to five years.

Gartner confirms that midsize companies are starting to deploy SaaS based core financial applications, but still sees companies having concerns about security and integration with on-premises applications.

Nevertheless, the SaaS vendors will not disrupt this market in the next five years because the existing solutions are so well-established and functionally mature.

MarketScope Rating Framework

MarketScope Rating Framework

 

Feedback on new request screen

Written by Edgar Wieringa on . Posted in Exact Synergy

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.

new-request-full-screen-small

Click image for full-size

So we did quite some research with a set of customers on how they use the current screen, how many request types they have, which ones they actively used et cetera. Now that the new screen is in controlled release we get mixed feedback on one specific part, via this post I would like to open up for more feedback to make sure we deliver the right experience to you.

Our user research learned us a couple of things which resulted in these design principles for the new screen:

  • an average company will have over 50 different request types
  • most users use about five to ten of them frequently
  • the request type categories are not very well known within the user group
  • searching for a specific less frequently used request is quite cumbersome and only a limited number of users is using the search option of Internet Explorer [CTRL+F] for this
  • the request ID box is only used by a limited number of user to create a new request
  • the majority of the users is unaware of how to use it or what to enter in it

Based on the findings we have redesigned the looks and working of the screen with the following three key parts.

  • A list of the requests most used by you as a person
  • An easy way to create a request by ID and request name
  • A list with all available request types

snapshots-small

Click image for full-size

The mixed feedback is especially on this last part. Since during our research we learned that a limited number of users where aware of the request type IDs (e.g. a Vacation request is number 103) we did not include them in the list. The ordering used to be on number but for people it is easier to scan alphabetically since the name of a request gives a better understanding than the number. For the unaware user it was hard to scan the list we learned. So our aim was to increase the readability and hence an easier recognition by just using the request names. The users which now the IDs are still served by the request creator, in this field you can either enter the code or the request name.

Via this post I hope to get more feedback on especially this part. Should the request IDs be re-introduced in the list and even more important what is for you the reason to use it? Maybe as a last remark, removing the request ID was not a goal by itself. During our user research of the last year we often got the feedback that the screens of Exact Synergy are quite loud, they offer a lot of options. Redesigning the complete request page has been done with keeping this in mind, make the screens easier to understand by offering less options and the options offered are a perfect fit for your goals. Please reply with your thoughts!

Sneak preview of Electronic Invoicing

Written by Richard Smits on . Posted in Exact Globe, Exact Online

In my previous blog post The advantages of Electronic Invoicing, I wrote:

“Since a few weeks we are sending all invoices to our Exact Online customers digitally. The monthly invoices are sent from our own Exact Globe environment to the digital mailboxes in Exact Online. With some simple mouse clicks our customers can first check the invoice and then create the entry into Exact Online with the invoice linked as an attachment. ”
 
As a lot of people are curious, and because “a picture says more than a 1000 words”, I created a small video, which will give you a sneak preview!
 
I am a member of the project group Electronic Invoicing within Exact and will update you frequently on this subject. If you want to share your thoughts, questions, remarks or advice about Electronic Invoicing with me, please leave a comment below. 

 

Photo credit: brendan.wood

 

Feedback on enabling OCS Presence within Synergy Enterprise

Written by Martin Ortgiess on . Posted in Exact Synergy

 For the upcoming new product update 242 of Exact Synergy Enterprise we will, amongst others, deliver the integration of Office Communication Server (OCS) within Synergy Enterprise. The goal is to enable OCS presence within Synergy Enterprise in order to enhance collaboration and improve Synergy Enterprise as the central information point.

You might recognize OCS presence as the icon in Windows Messenger showing whether a person is available or not, like:  aa-iconMartin Ortgiess.

From here, you can start up a communication via instant message, call, LiveMeeting or other methods based on the presence of that person. Starting a conversation is only one click away:

aa_screen1

Communication methods OCS presence

Note that the communication methods available are dependent of the OCS implementation.

Presence within Synergy Enterprise is not new. This functionality is available since the beginning of the product. Every Synergy Enterprise user will recognize this iconmonitor. It shows how long ago the user has logged into Synergy Enterprise.

Where OCS presence is based on information from Microsoft  Exchange Server, usage of keyboard and other devices, the current Exact Synergy presence is based only on the last action of a user in Exact Synergy Enterprise. Where OCS presence has multiple statuses of presence, current presence is logged in not longer than hour ago, or logged in longer than hour ago.

aa_screen2

OCS statuses of presence

Enabling OCS presence within Synergy Enterprise is a setting. Activating this setting will directly show OCS presence of users within Synergy Enterprise. OCS presence will not only be available on those places where the monitor was shown, but also in other screens like the resource card and in the requests. By enabling OCS presence, the old ‘monitor’ will not be available anymore.

aa_screen3 Example of OCS presence of resource card in Synergy Enterprise

Via this post I hope to get more feedback on especially this part. Should the current presence indicator (presented by monitor) remain available when OCS presence is activated? With OCS presence much more functionality is offered. The field on the resource card, showing the last action of the user remains available.

New product update for Exact Synergy Enterprise

Written by Michiel Dorjee on . Posted in Exact Synergy

Today is an exciting day for us: product update 241 for Exact Synergy Enterprise is generally available as of now! The Synergy product management team has been working hard on understanding the way you work, how your processes are designed and how we can fulfil your needs. They have translated that insight in powerful new solutions. Our colleagues at product development for their part, did an excellent job to create the new functionality that lets you do your work in a more efficient and easier way. We are sure that every user of Exact Synergy Enterprise can benefit from this new product update.

First of all we introduce to you a totally renewed Synergy Office Integration. It provides you with new opportunities to access your workflow, planning, and nearly all other Exact Synergy Enterprise operations directly from Microsoft Outlook. We know that many, many users of Exact Synergy Enterprise also use Microsoft Outlook and these two products are now joined in one single interface.

Also, a new screen for creating requests has been implemented, already introduced to you earlier in this blog post. We asked your feedback and we got it! Thanks for all your suggestions and comments.

New search functionality in this product update enables you to search for terms with diacritics, as explained earlier in this blog post.Product update 241 also introduces support for both Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 and Microsoft SQL Server 2008.

Over the coming period of time we will highlight some of the new functionality in this product update on this blog. Please subscribe to our RSS-feeds or e-mail newsletters so we can keep you informed.

Exact Globe: How to use multiple addresses in a sales order process

Written by Michiel Dorjee on . Posted in Exact Globe

In the sales order process within Exact Globe, users can define different customers for  ‘Ordered by’, ‘Delivery to’ and ‘Invoice to’.

Now think about the following scenario: you’re a supplier and regularly selling to a customer, where this customer has a lot of branches. The customer orders the goods centrally and requires:

  • the delivery to be done to one of their branches
  • the order confirmation be sent to the email address of the contactperson at the branche.
  • Receive the invoice electronically via an email to purchasing department at the headoffice, not to the branche
  • As a supplier, you do want to keep your own  CRM system tidy, define as little customers and contacts as possible, but still be able to define exactly what addresses are relevant for this customer

The video shows how Exact Globe can support this scenario. It’s a step-by-step demo, without sound. For better readibility, please click the icon at the right-bottom corner of the video, to maximize the screen. Note that this is current functionality, I used product update 393 for the demo.

Photo credit: Trevor Gibbs (John)

Does Exact support Windows Small Business Server?

Written by Michiel Dorjee on . Posted in Exact Globe

At Exact we are proud to have a lot of small and medium sized businesses as our customers, so we often receive the question whether or not our products are supported when they run on Windows Small Business Server. Most of the times, this question is about the use of Exact Globe in particular. In most cases the answer is ‘yes’: we support Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008, so why would a bundle of these two products under the name of Small Business Server 2008 not be supported? However, there are some things you need to take into account when you want to choose this all-in-one server solution to run Exact Globe.

First of all, let me explain what Small Business Server is. Microsoft has developed Small Business Server specifically for small businesses and it is an integrated server suite designed for running network infrastructure for no more than 75 workstations or users.  So that is obviously a very important limitation: if you foresee you will have more than 75 workstation or users connecting to your server(s), now or in the future, Small Business Server does not suit your business needs.

Looking at Small Business Server 2008, there are two editions available. The Standard Edition offers (amongst others) Windows Server 2008, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 and Windows Sharepoint Services 3.0. The Premium Edition adds Microsoft SQL Server 2008 For Small Business to that package. Both versions are only available as x64 (64 bits) software.

It is important to know that we always advise our customers to use a dedicated database server when using Exact Globe. If SQL Server runs on the same machine as Microsoft Exchange Server, Windows Sharepoint Services or other applications, those other applications can potentially have a negative influence on the speed and power of SQL Server and thus Exact Globe. What is new in Small Business Server 2008, is that the Premium Edition can run on two hardware servers, with the second server running Windows Server and SQL Server for line-of-business applications. In this case that line-of-business application is Exact Globe. So, for the first time with Small Business Server you can install a dedicated database server as advised by Exact.

A technical limitation of Small Business Server is however that it only supports one Microsoft Active Directory. If your IT environment exists of multiple Microsoft Active Directories and data for Exact Globe need to be send across multiple domains, Small Business Server cannot be used. This is not a limitation of Exact Globe, but a limitation of Small Business Server.

An important limitation in terms of service and support is that Microsoft’s guidelines say that products like SQL Server have to be supported by the vendor that sells the license to a customer. An additional option is to purchase support or services directly at Microsoft. Of course there is a lot of self-service support information available on the internet, but when you need expert advice or troubleshooting specifically on your SQL Server software,  Exact only provides service and support on SQL Server software that is acquired through Exact. If you decide to purchase the  integrated Small Business Server suite, which can’t be obtained through Exact, you will also have to get service and support on your Small Business Server solution at the vendor of your software or directly at Microsoft.

One of the most important reasons for small and medium businesses to consider purchasing Small Business Server is the low price of the suite compared to the total price of purchasing all applications separately. This low price is justified by the limitations that Microsoft has build into Small Business Server. If and how these limitations conflict with your business needs can only be judged by yourself and your IT advisers.

Being an Independent Software Vendor (ISV) of Microsoft, Exact can offer so-called runtime licenses for SQL Server as part of the total Exact solution at a lower price than the standard full-use licensing options offered by the Microsoft dealer channel. Advantage of such a runtime license is its appealing purchase price, a possible disadvantage can be that SQL Server under a runtime license can only be used in conjunction with Exact software. If you want to use SQL Server not only for Exact solutions, but also for other applications, a runtime license cannot be used.

We are happy to send you an offer for SQL Server licenses, so you can make an objective and well-informed choice between the Small Business Server all-in-one suite and the purchase of separate licenses. To check whether or not the limitations of Small Business Server conflict with your business needs, we advise you to contact Microsoft or a certified Microsoft partner.