Customer story: RLH Corporation

Business applications are key to successful operations. But disconnected solutions can compromise productivity, overwhelm employees, and frustrate customers.

With siloed systems and “Frankensteined solutions,” RLH Corporation faced the internal and customer-management challenges that many modern businesses face. But using Dynamics 365 and Office 365, they have consolidated systems into one platform, empowered employees, and improved guest satisfaction in the process.

Simplified operations and digital transformation are also within your reach. Let VetaTek show you how. Contact us to learn more.

Small and Midsize Businesses are using Technology to Stay Competitive

How long do you expect to be in business? If you could predict what factors would lead to competitive advantage, would you use that insight to change course now?

A look at the history of Fortune 500 companies makes it clear that this kind of foresight isn’t readily available—50 years ago, the average Fortune 500 firm was expected to stay in business around 75 years; today that life expectancy is less than 15 years, and continuing to decline. (Source: Stephen Denning, Forbes, 2011.) In fact, 88 percent of the companies that made the list in 1955 are currently either bankrupt, absorbed by other firms, or no longer hitting revenue targets.

Rather than being a dismal outlook, this level of churn points to a consumer-focused market dynamic where businesses that connect with their customers and innovate in meaningful ways will stay the course.

Adapt or perish. Jack Welch is often quoted as saying “If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, then the end is near.” It’s clear that customers and their buying behaviors and expectations of service are changing rapidly.

How are you changing the experience you deliver to your customers? How do you really tune in to what your customers want and how they want it? It’s time to start using technology to your advantage.

Better solutions for today’s small businesses. A business solution from Microsoft can help you stay relevant to your customers by seamlessly combining the intelligence gathered in every customer engagement with your business management and operational systems—accelerated by powerful collaboration tools, intuitive BI capabilities, and cloud-based mobility.

Can technology make a difference? A recent survey of 4,000 small and midsize businesses worldwide found that many are already looking to technology to provide this kind of competitive advantage. Forty-seven percent said technology is critical to their company’s future and 40 percent said technology will increase their revenues and profits. In addition, tech-savvy businesses grew revenue 15 percent faster and created jobs two times faster than those using little technology. (The Boston Consulting Group.)

One example of a company transforming their business is GEARYS. With a business solution from Microsoft, they’ve been able to evolve how they interact with customers to provide a modern experience in a way that stays true to their core values of personalized service. And with real-time inventory and supply chain data at their fingertips, GEARYS sales staff is able to provide relevant recommendations to customers that help build loyal, trusted relationships.

Give your team the tools they need. Create a competitive edge by giving your people the insights they need to make better decisions, work smarter, build meaningful customer interactions, and drive transformation. Explore our solutions to manage your accounting, finances, and operations, take a guided tour of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and download the Make Technology Your Business Advantage e-book to learn more.

Enjoy your summer vacation AND keep an eye on your business

You’ve built your company from the ground up, turning an idea into a full-fledged business. Even if you have staff in place to manage various aspects of the day-to-day operations, it’s imperative that you stay connected to the decisions and actions your company takes.

For many owners of small and midsize businesses, that’s long meant staying in the office—often at the expense of personal and family time. What if it could be different?

Get away without leaving your business behind. How would your work style (and vacation plans) change if you could easily manage your supply chain and inventory, approve invoices, or expedite customer orders while on the go? Your time is valuable; with productivity tools and business data at your fingertips, you and your team can work more efficiently in and out of the office.

The reality is that sometimes you can’t fully unplug, but that doesn’t mean that you need to stay chained to your desk to stay productive. Imagine being seamlessly connected to your team and your business data from any device, virtually anywhere you need to be.

Business has changed. During the past decade, mobility has become an essential tool for small and midsize businesses in empowering workers and connecting with customers. With more than a third of the total global workforce expected to be mobile by 2015 (IDC Infographic, Rise of Mobility, 2014), mobility is no longer a future concern; it’s an essential part of staying competitive today and keeping your employees happy.

With data from your accounting software and your customer relationship management solution seamlessly and securely accessible on any device, you now have a fully mobilized sales force that can answer customer questions in real time; your team can collaborate and share customer insights while traveling; and you can manage your finances and operations without having to spend your vacation at the office.

A trusted platform for mobility. Microsoft business solutions and the Microsoft Cloud can help you not just do more, but achieve more. Many small and midsize business are using Microsoft business solutions to transform not only their IT operations, but their day-to-day customer interactions.

North South Wines, a rapidly growing wine importer, deployed a cloud-based business system to manage cash flow and inventory; this gives their largely remote and traveling sales team access to the company data they need to deliver excellent customer service. Not only are they able to make real-time decisions based on sales and inventory data, they can recognize trends and deliver on them in a timely way to the delight of their customers.

Another company reinventing mobile productivity is Bounce Foods, with a Microsoft business solution that enables team members to access real-time resource projections from a device that they can share while on location with customers for an interactive, collaborative experience. Not only are their business processes streamlined, the team is more efficient and focused no matter where they are.

Something to do before you take your vacation. A business solution from Microsoft can help you stay connected and productive by bringing your office with you everywhere you go. Explore Microsoft Dynamics for small and midsize businesses and download the Cloud Productivity and Mobility e-book to learn how to extend productivity and mobility to employees on the go.

Top 10 reasons to replace your accounting software

As your business grows in size and complexity, the tools that once supported you may now be holding you back. You’re faced with an important decision: replace your basic accounting software or continue down a path that leads to dissatisfied customers, lost sales, and the risk of falling behind your competition. If you recognize any of these warning signs, the time has come to make a change.

  1. Your accounting software’s older than the college grads applying for jobs with your business. If you have fond memories of Y2K-proofing your current accounting system, it’s clearly past its prime. Today’s digital native workforce expects technology to support how they want to work, not limit functionality.
  2. You are losing sales to competitors with inferior products. It doesn’t matter if you’re the best of the best—if you can’t provide visibility into available stock, account information, or self-service options, customer service and sales will falter.
  3. You spend more time hunting for information than you do planning for ways to grow your business. You got into business to innovate for your customers, not spend endless cycles digging for details buried in disconnected applications. If strategic thinking and growth planning are taking a back seat to an ever-growing to-do list, it’s time for your technology to step up.
  4. Your ordering process still requires a telephone or fax machine, and no matter how many employees you hire, you just can’t keep up with demand. Outdated technology can’t scale to meet the growth rate of today’s businesses, and customers that don’t get served quickly and conveniently (or can’t serve themselves easily) usually don’t come back.
  5. You would rather take your chances with a pit full of rattlesnakes than your impending audit.

If you do not have an audit trail, or workflows in place to protect your assets and keep you compliant with industry regulations, your company could be at risk.

  1. The high and lows of your cash flow cycles make you wonder if a Magic 8 Ball might be a better way to manage your financials. How many details about expenses or past-due accounts end up only jotted down on sticky notes or captured in one-off spreadsheets? Without an accurate, comprehensive view of where you’re spending and earning, knowing when and where to cut costs is going to take more than luck. Before implementing a cloud-based Microsoft business solution, Georgia Swarm Lacrosse was unable to utilize data like player stats, game stats, and player costs like payroll and travel expenses. Now, with the ability to analyze the cost per player, per game, they are able to operate much more cost-effectively.
  2. You’re “pretty sure” that you might have that product “somewhere” in your warehouse.
    If your system can’t tell you what is in stock, what is on order, and what is allocated to a customer, you’re not alone. Surprisingly, many highly visible and sophisticated companies operate without a firm handle on their inventory—often to unfavorable results. If your software doesn’t easily provide you with this information, it’s time to upgrade.
  3. Every news report on a data breach has you thinking it’s just a matter of time until you face the same scrutiny. You lose sleep worrying about malware, back-ups, security breaches, and fraud. The idea of your sales team’s laptops and devices getting stolen fills you with dread that critical business data may be compromised or forever lost.
  4. You are doing more accounting outside of your accounting software than in it. Outdated or ill-fitting accounting systems tend to spawn one-off lists and manually updated spreadsheets that are disconnected and hard to reconcile. Without a centralized, holistic view of your data, future growth is stifled, and making educated decisions about new product lines or locations is nearly impossible, not to mention risky.
  5. You are green with envy when watching others run their businesses from a smartphone. When answering a customer’s question means having to first go into the office or call someone else to help, you’re losing credibility. You need true mobility to be able to respond to new opportunities and customer expectations.

You may have outgrown your accounting system, but finding the right fit is easy. Explore how a business solution from Microsoft can improve your business today and help you achieve your ambitions for tomorrow. For further inspiration, be sure to check out The SMB’s Guide to Replacing Accounting Software, and get ready to reap the benefits of a complete, trusted, and familiar business solution from Microsoft.

How the cloud levels the playing field for small and midsize businesses

How the cloud levels the playing field for small and midsize businesses

Mobility is no longer a future trend. It’s an undeniable fact of business today. Not only have mobile devices infiltrated our lives, they’ve brought a whole range of activities—previously limited to desktops and laptops—to our fingertips. More essential than ever, mobility is a powerful tool for startups and growing businesses to empower workers and connect with customers.

To succeed in this new cloud-first, mobile-first reality means more than just allowing your employees to bring their devices to work. Your mobility strategy needs to connect your people, data, and business systems in a way that enables sales growth, reduces costs, delights customers, and puts you ahead of the competition.

Components of a winning solution. Connected mobile solutions are more accessible to small and midsize businesses than ever before. To compete and win, here’s what you need as part of your mobile strategy:

  • Remote access to business applications. Business happens everywhere. No matter where you are, you need secure access to your financial and customer relationship management data.
  • Data analysis tools. The data you’re collecting from sales, finance, customers, and operations management systems is only as good as the insights you can glean from it.
  • Business-class communication and collaboration. Effective collaboration relies on secure email, calendar, real-time communication (voice, instant messaging, and online meetings), shared workspaces, and internal sites.
  • Content creation applications. Look for familiar, standard tools for creating documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and other business communication components.
  • Storage and synchronization. Enterprise-grade cloud storage keeps your information protected, accessible, and synchronized across devices.

A solid mobile strategy starts in the cloud. Cloud-based business applications and productivity tools offer better economics, convenience, capabilities, and security while enabling your mobile and remote workers to achieve more. Customers, partners, and employees increasingly demand anywhere, anytime access to data and content—think mobile-first, cloud-first to deliver what they need.

All the right pieces come together. What should you be looking for in your cloud solution? Piecemeal solutions or consumer-oriented tools may offer compelling features, but the added complexity and greater risks can lead to hidden costs. To succeed, you need business-class performance, comprehensive capabilities, familiar and consistent user experience, and enterprise-grade security, all from a single, trustworthy cloud provider.

Take a guided tour to see how a cloud-based business solution from Microsoft can help you more effectively manage customer relationships, financials, and operations from anywhere. For more tips on developing your mobile strategy, be sure to read The Cloud as a Platform e-book.

7 Game-changing trends for small and midsize businesses

Today’s business landscape is a far cry from that of only a decade ago. With the rise of mobile devices and cloud-based tools and applications, the way we interact with customers and manage operations has changed dramatically. New trends have emerged that can greatly impact the success of your business. Are you prepared to respond to these trends and turn them into a competitive advantage?

  1. Keeping pace with a mobile workforce. Anywhere access to relevant business data (inventory, account status, purchase history) is the new normal—your customers expect it!
  2. IT moves to the background. Gone are the days of making decisions based on what your technology can handle; business systems take a back seat to business outcomes.
  3. The “Internet of Things.” Information is everywhere and is being used to spot patterns, trends, and buying behaviors. Are you tapping into data from all your appliances and devices?
  4. Security across devices and the cloud. Loss or theft of devices can be crippling in today’s increasingly mobile workplace. Cloud-based protection keeps your data secure.
  5. Ever-changing compliance regulations. While there’s no crystal ball to anticipate regulatory changes, a cloud-based solution is flexible enough to adapt quickly and keep you in check.
  6. Digital natives move up the corporate ladder. Today’s workforce expects technology to support and grow with them, not to limit what they can offer to customers.
  7. The age of data analysis. Collecting data is one part; understanding it is another. Harnessing your business data brings you valuable insights that help you get and stay ahead.

From challenge to advantage. Capitalizing on these industry trends is easier than ever before with powerful, affordable, enterprise-grade business solutions from Microsoft designed for small and midsize companies. The cloud is leveling the playing field, allowing businesses of all sizes to compete effectively and grow efficiently.

Gaining an edge in the cloud. Construction firm Antana reduced costs and boosted workers’ confidence by moving to a Microsoft cloud-based solution that automated formerly manual processes and increased the mobility and productivity of its salesforce. And WASH Multifamily Laundry Systems is using the Microsoft Cloud to power its rapid growth while strengthening company culture, boosting worker capabilities, and saving money.

Read the 7 Game Changing Trends for SMBs white paper to learn more about how Microsoft is helping small and midsize businesses turn these industry game-changers into a competitive advantage. And see how a business solution from Microsoft can help you grow sales, manage your financials, streamline your operations, and delight your customers.

Don’t rely on luck to manage your small or midsize business

Success often has to do with being in the right place at the right time (and being prepared when you get there), but there’s no reason to leave your business to chance. Rather than relying on disconnected productivity tools, limited accounting software, and isolated operations systems, trust the foundation of your business to a world-class technology partner with a globally adopted solution, and trust in the insights it shows you about your data.

Proven partner, proven tools. Microsoft business solutions connect people, processes, and systems across server and cloud, desktop and mobile device, in one complete, familiar, trusted solution to grow your business. With Microsoft and our global network of expert industry partners on your side, you get peace of mind knowing that your business solutions are proven, reliable, and easily grow with you.

All systems go. Bounce Foods needs to deliver on time every time, and know exactly what stock is on hand and where current costs are at any moment. The company has transformed how it works with a Microsoft business solution that helps them manage stock and supply, provides real-time financial reporting, and allows them to create a P&L for each customer. Whether they’re handling purchases, stock, sales, deliveries, or customer relationships, being able to make better decisions on the spot is a no-brainer—and technology is a key part of getting that done.

Insights for success. Understanding what customers want even before they want it isn’t luck, it’s insight that can come from data you already have. During their decades in business, GEARYS watched their customers’ expectations evolve in how they learned about and shopped for products, and they were determined to stay relevant and provide unrivalled service. GEARYS adopted a digital solution that helps them stay tuned into their customers and how they want to shop. And with the insights gleaned from their connected data systems, they’re now able to forecast purchasing trends so they don’t miss any opportunities.

Success isn’t an accident, it’s a combination of careful observation and precise action. Learn how to make technology a business advantage so you can intentionally be in the right place at the right time and take a guided tour of our solutions for small and midsize businesses

The dollars and sense of business applications in the cloud

Your goal is to wow your customer—innovating is why you’re in business. But the more manual steps between idea and customer—from balancing the budget to managing the supply chain—the harder it can be to stay relevant and keep costs in check. Are time-consuming processes and disconnected systems holding you back?


New Year’s resolution: Don’t just do more, achieve more

The New Year is a perfect time for a fresh start and renewed focus, not just for yourself, but for your business. Whether your goals are to increase sales, build deeper relationships with customers, or maximize financial resources, you need a business solution you can rely on to get you there.
Basic accounting software and legacy systems can’t keep up with the evolving needs of today’s businesses, and they could well be hurting you more than helping. It’s time to make the smart move, to replace harmful old habits with healthy new ones—increased flexibility and mobility, customer-focused analytics, streamlined accounting and inventory management. With the right tools, your team can not only DO more, they can ACHIEVE more.


Give yourself and your business the best gift for the holidays—more time

If you’re relying on basic accounting software or legacy systems that are hanging on by a thread, the holiday season and year-end can be a stressful time for you and your business. Disconnected applications and manually updated one-off spreadsheets can turn into a holiday break spent trying to decipher incomplete reports to get an accurate view of the year’s performance.

What if your accounting system could not only give you time back at year-end, but could also help your business run smarter and more efficiently all year long? How would your operations change with real-time visibility into your business performance? This holiday season, give your business the tools it needs to be more successful now and tomorrow.

Fewer limitations, more insights. Outdated or entry-level solutions aren’t equipped to keep pace with growing customer demand, business complexity, or the increasing need for flexibility and mobility. A business solution from Microsoft connects your accounting, inventory, sales, customer management, and productivity tools for a holistic view of your performance—one that enables real-time insights and tracks trends to help you make better decisions.

Set the stage for growth. With a comprehensive view of your business performance, you can easily generate reports to analyze inventory, sales forecasts and opportunities, and customer demand in greater detail. These deeper insights can arm your sales team to close more business, and can help you decide when the time is right to expand product offerings or enter new markets. Microsoft Dynamics for accounting and financial management and Microsoft Dynamics CRM help you transform business processes, creating experiences that lock in customer loyalty.

Time crunch averted. Deploying modern technology doesn’t have to be a lengthy and painful process. Microsoft business solutions are designed to get you up and running quickly, with a global network of partners and streamlined deployment services. Pullman Sugar used RapidStart Services for Microsoft Dynamics to beat their year-end deployment deadline and immediately began to see increased efficiencies in accounting and inventory management.

Download Cloud for Mobility and Productivity ebook to see how a business solution from Microsoft can give your business and your people the tools needed to do and achieve more. Take the next steps to get more time back during the holidays and be ready for growth in the New Year!