Welcome to the Exact Product Blog

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

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

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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

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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!

Gartner’s Midmarket ERP Magic Quadrant is out

Written by Michiel Dorjee on . Posted in Exact Globe

The Gartner Midmarket ERP Magic Quadrant has been released. For the first time, Exact Globe has been included. Gartner is one of the best known information technology research and advisory firms. The full report can be found here.

For those of you that don’t know Magic Quadrants, this is what Gartner says: “Magic Quadrants depict markets in the middle phases of their life cycle by using a two-dimensional matrix that evaluates vendors based on their completeness of vision and ability to execute. The Magic Quadrant has 15 weighted criteria that plot vendors based on their relative strengths in the market.” For more information you can have a look at the explanation of how Gartner evaluates vendors within a market.

The advantages of Electronic Invoicing

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

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. Why is this so exciting? Well, at Exact we are investigating the possibilities of Electronic Invoicing not only for ourselves, but also for our customers. This is the first step in the process and it will be the start for more functionality in both Exact Online and Exact Globe for supporting electronic invoices.

Electronic Invoicing received a lot of attention in the media lately. Governments worldwide are heavily promoting electronic invoices and the Dutch government even ‘killed’ all the strict rules that made sending invoices via email not viable for a lot of companies. Since February 2009 sending an invoice via email has the same legal status as a paper invoice.  Sending and receiving invoices digitally can save a company a lot of costs (labor hours, post stamps, envelopes, paper, etc) and furthermore it is environmental friendly. According to the European Commission, businesses across Europe can save up to 18 billion Euro by using a solution for Electronic Invoicing.

The disadvantage of only receiving an invoice via email (e.g. a PDF-file as attachment) is the fact that a user needs to download (and sometimes print) the invoice and enter the data in the bookkeeping system manually. A better solution is sending invoices completely electronically with the ability to import it directly in a financial administration, just like we are currently doing with Exact Online. Sending invoices electronically means that you send all the related invoice data together with the message, and that the sales invoice can be booked into the bookkeeping system as a purchase invoice by some simple mouse clicks (or even fully automated). This is the goal we are aiming for.

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: miquelb

 

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.

New VAT rules in the EU per 1 January 2010.

Written by Philippe Robert on . Posted in Exact Globe, Exact Online

In February 2008, the EU Ministers of Finance adopted a package of changes regarding the VAT system in Europe. One of the objectives of this package is to modernize and simplify existing rules regarding the cross-border delivery of services within the EU. Another objective is to reduce fraud. This new VAT package will be introduced in all EU countries on the 1st of January 2010.

This means that before the end of 2009, all 27 EU countries will have to include these changes in their local VAT legislation. I will not go in full detail of the new package in this post, but I will give you 3 major changes that might also impact your business (if it’s located in the EU, of course). It is a complicated manner, so I tried to write it down as clearly as possible.

  • If you are a VAT-registered business and you sell or move goods to other VAT-registered businesses within the European Union (EU), you must record and report data on your activities. There are two systems: Intrastat and the European Community (EC) Sales List. This EC Sales List, the listing of delivery of goods, will be replaced by the listing of delivery of goods and services. This listing will thus not only be for the delivery of goods, but now also for the services that you provide to customers that are liable to VAT (B2B) located in another EU country. The periodicity of the ESL (EC Sales List) will be quarterly or monthly depending of the size of the company.
  • In case of (cross-border) delivery of services, you will have to list these services on the EC Sales List if the location of your customer is in another European country than your own. In other words, the location where the service is actually executed is not relevant anymore. Only the country of your customer is relevant.
  • The VAT return can also be changed, but this will differ per country. For example in the Netherlands, goods and services have to be reported in the existing ‘box 3’ while in Belgium two new VAT boxes will be added to the VAT return. Whatever solution a country will choose, the objective is always to have a full coherence between the EC Sales List and the VAT return.  

For some countries the modifications that have to be implemented in the EC Sales List and the VAT return are already known, while in other countries these modifications will not be totally clear before November or December of this year. 

Even though not all the changes are known yet, Exact Software will not and cannot wait until the last minute to implement these changes in Exact Globe and Exact Online. With customers in almost every EU country we have to take timely measures. Therefore we are currently, for each individual EU country, in contact with the local VAT administration and accountancy firms to investigate the impact for the local VAT return and EC Sales List.

Around Europe, you have probably received invitations to follow a seminar regarding this subject, often organized by the VAT authority, accountants offices or business organizations. We advise you to follow one of these seminars. This because the new VAT package will not only have impact on the VAT return or the EC Sales List, but it will also have an impact on the way that you will register your financial data.

As soon as we have new information about the VAT package of 2010 and/or the impact on our software, we will keep you informed via this blog.

Photo credit: Phillip

Dashboard Insight interview about Exact Business Analytics

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

Exact Business Analytics (EBA) and the Exact Graphical Performance Series (GPS) are two business analytics solutions offered by Exact Software. EBA is the business analytics solution that we integrated with, amongst others, Exact Globe and Exact Synergy. With EBA you can combine and compare data and have it shown in a wide range of different graphs, reports and information views. Dashboard Insight, an online community designed to promote the business intelligence (BI) industry and its active players, interviewed our colleague Paul Challinor, as Senior Product Manager responsible for EBA.

In the interview Paul explains how Exact helps businesses during these challenging and uncertain times of economic downturn.

Dashboard Insight: You recently announced the development of a program geared toward helping businesses proactively address the economic downturn. Can you tell us more about the program?

Paul Challinor: Exact provides real-life solutions to pressing business problems for companies working their way through the challenging economic environment. From business-process assessments – which help optimize the efficient use of Exact applications – to point solutions that help businesses focus on deliverables that increase the satisfaction of their customers, Exact is committed to helping customers prepare for the eventual upturn of the economy.

Paul also shares two interesting real-life examples of businesses that have inproved their efficiency with Exact’s business analytics solutions: both Liberty Hardware Manufacturing and Parker Hannifin use business analytics solutions from Exact to combine information from different sources and to turn those data into valuable information.

Dashboard Insight: Can you tell us about some of your key clients?

Paul Challinor: EBA has been particularly successful in the manufacturing and CPG industries. Two key clients come to mind quickly: Liberty Hardware Manufacturing and Parker Hannifin.

Liberty realized that to maximize the value of their ERP application and provide a solid foundation for business decisions, they needed to improve the frequency, accuracy and accessibility of their business reporting. Specifically, business users needed the ability to perform their own analysis, without routing information requests through the IT department. Their existing reporting tool did not allow users to select data fields using business terminology, which leads to frequent questions of reporting accuracy. Also, Liberty needed a solution that could integrate vitally important point-of-sale (POS) data from their major clients, which was stored in a Microsoft Access database.

With our help, sales, inventory, purchasing, and POS data is now accessed and applied on a daily basis, greatly increasing the overall value of Liberty’s ERP solution. Integrating the POS data with other business information has also proven to be highly valuable. Sales teams conduct in-depth analysis of products and programs to measure the success of specific items or sales strategies. The integrated information also enables much tighter control of inventory levels and production planning.

As for Parker, they had a 12-year investment in their JD Edwards World ERP system and recognized an opportunity to leverage that asset to support specific business objectives, including sales analysis and strategic pricing initiatives. The company also sought to provide a standardized reporting structure for all departments and locations that would eliminate duplicate and repetitive report generation. Their goal was to ease the reporting burden on the IT department, while providing a single information resource with accurate data for all locations across their very large organization.

Exact’s ability to dynamically combine data from multiple sources was uniquely suited to Parker’s complex data environment, which includes 46 distinct JDE databases in multiple locations. GPS enables business users to access the specific information they need to see without being concerned where the data is stored.

Please read the complete interview of Dashboard Insight with Paul Challinor.

 

Photo credit: Unhindered by Talent