Managed Services, The 5 main benefits of a partnered solution

Systems have become an integral part of businesses evolving from operational necessities to strategic enablers. This greater reliance on technologically enabled business processes has pushed solution providers to propose variety in their offerings in order to address the multitude of requirements and demands being asked of businesses. From this demand, the concept of Managed Services was born; bringing with it the following top 5 benefits;

  1. Reduced overheads. Managed IT services are a cost effective method for managing your business’ IT requirements and manage the inevitable resource bloat that occurs during business expansion. By investing in knowledge workers and offloading non-business critical skillsets, an organization positions itself to leverage cost efficiencies by paying for what you need when you need it and as you need it.
  2. Increased efficiency. Leveraging external support allows you to increase business productivity and efficiency as you are able to focus on what you do best, rather than having to solve complex system problems.
  3. Scalability. By leveraging your external partner, you have a team of experts – not just one – on hand, at your demand to help solve problems as they arise, no matter how big or small.
  4. Customised Plans. With most services offered you can customise your managed services plan to suit your business needs and budgets.  Pay per device, pay as you go, pay by the number of support hours required each month or the level of monitoring and maintenance required – you decide.
  5. Accountability. Your services provider should be considered your partner in achieving your strategic goals, and like any partner, you hold them accountable for the functionality and performance of their services.

 

As businesses leverage external partners for their expertise and scalability, the greater their ability to achieve their strategic objectives, through cost management, scalability, quality assurance and customer satisfaction.

‘Something’-as-a-Service, the progression of service offerings all organizations should get to know intimately

The growth of technology over the last 5 years has spawned the advent of many rewards for businesses. This progression has been capitalized from the small organization managing every penny that crosses the counter into the till; to the large enterprise, handling the challenges of capacity and growth. Each of these types of organizations has seen tremendous returns from the plethora of offerings; although, the greatest positive impact has been to the medium size business. That ‘business’, running like a small organization, having done so for many years and now faced with that hurdle to manage a growing entity that can no longer be achieved in the same format. The needs of this type of business are simple, small budget reality but big budget requirements. Now, don’t mistake that comment as assuming that enterprise organizations have deep pockets, as no type of business can afford that luxury.

In all the advances over the last few years, two main themes have surfaced helping companies achieve their growth potential. The first is a new approach to consolidating independent services all working for the same end-goal; therefore simplifying the landscape. Today’s backdrop includes such service offerings as a complete ‘soup to nuts’ Mobile strategy; allowing organizations to extend back-end processes, therefore leveraging such rewards as process efficiencies, data accuracy and timeliness. Advancements in this area and other similar technology deliver a comprehensive, well-thought out strategic package. Having moved from the previous silo approach to this new design concept, businesses spend less time pushing through every facet of a possible solution; instead they focus on the value proposition. Questions asked by companies when building the business case include; can I build mobile applications to enhance my business processes knowing full well that devices and formats change frequently. How can I reduce the development lifecycle, and how does that fit with device management. These are typical enquiries that speak to a larger need by businesses to think strategically, whereby solution providers are answering the call.

The second theme which augments the above strategic approach to services, is the concept of ‘Something’ as-a-service. The ‘Something’ is replaced with whatever service you are looking to not own. This concept of externally hosted services has the greatest reward for businesses. The impact of the reward varies depending on type of service, although as mentioned previously, the greatest overall impact from the plethora of services offered seems to be best capitalized by the medium sized organization. As I had stated; their small budget reality but big enterprise requirements puts them in the forefront of necessity. The concept of hosted services has been around for many years, although the number and types of services in front of businesses today has grown exponentially. Such services include Mobile platforms providing development environments to device management. Further, Business to Business (B2B) offerings have gone from the traditional EDI, Trading Partner transactions, to externally hosting Application Integration. The greatest reward from this cornucopia of services, allows organizations the ability to leverage lower Total Cost of Ownership. How? Because you don’t own it. What does that mean for businesses? It allows them to grow the organization without the normal headaches associated with expansion, such as; training costs, infrastructure costs and maintenance, resource bloating while all the while being tied to your software investment, usually longer than required. Hosted solutions liberate businesses from these barriers and ultimately open up options freeing companies from traditional investment requirements.

This transition over the last few years has provided advantages and rewards to businesses of all sizes, while all achieving the same result; helping businesses grow and positioning them for success.

SAP Partnership

eBase Solutions is proud to announce that it has become an official partner of SAP. Over the last 10 years, eBase’ focus has always included expertise in SAP’s product portfolio, delivering solutions to our clients in many areas. This announcement further strengthens our value proposition as being a leader in providing comprehensive integration professional services.

Mobility, the latest catch phrase, how to go from 1.0 to 2.0 and ensure your business stays relevant

It seems the term mobility or mobile is primarily a personal consumer topic these days from conversations ranging from the latest iPad to what is the coolest app to download. The innovation we see is not limited to just your personal device, it has spilled into the business world, and for the better.

With the advent of new technology and a focus on ROI, many organizations are seeing the benefits of mobility. As seen with Bally Total Fitness (ref #1), they identified a large opportunity to re-think their sales and customer interaction strategy by introducing iPad’s and mobilizing their work force. The result was a positive incline of sales achieving a Return on Investment within the first year.

To mobilize your organization, companies must think beyond the typical approaches, which I term Mobile 1.0, to thinking of extending business processes and capitalizing on efficiencies and real-time data, Mobile 2.0.

The term Mobile 1.0 is established in most organizations, it is seen when mobility is used in typical business processes, such as procurement approval requests on your blackberry, or email/instant message communication. The return on investment in most cases takes many years, and the overall efficiencies gained are negligible and very hard to quantify. It’s a great way to have a direct line to the individual, but does not provide any real advantage to them or the business.

In a Mobile 2.0 world, the mobile device is extended beyond the simple approaches. Imagine if you would, having your clients come to you while you are sitting in your warehouse, knowing exactly what stock was available, where it was located and how quickly you could get it from rack to pallet to the customers location. In the real world unfortunately, this never happens, sales staff are on the road, in customer locations, spread across a large geography. With Mobility 2.0, you can emulate the first scenario while sitting in your customer’s office. Arm your team with visibility into warehousing systems, logistics dash boarding, all the while enabling them to make solid commitments to their clients. The positive domino effect of this type of service is astronomical and quantifiable. For example, accuracy of service reduces frequency of calls to your service desk inquiring on status or even worse, complaining about shipment delays, disappointment is mitigated by setting expectations upfront. This keeps your sales team in relationship building mode and selling versus fighting fires.

In the Mobile 2.0 world, organizations are also rethinking their tie or reliance on the iconic PC. Businesses have embarked on transitioning employees from the traditional PC shackles to mobile devices such as tablets. In this post-PC era, employees are mobilized, enabling them to perform their functions freely and more natural. For example, in the property management industry, building staff are expected to perform a suite of duties whereby most are not naturally “desk” oriented. Duties such as suite inspections or work-orders are performed within the building and cannot be done at a desk. With the advent of user friendly devices and technology to support it, mobile devices are implanted in the process for data input and extraction, enabling real-time interaction, improving on data accuracy and while capitalizing on efficiencies. It doesn’t stop there, once the site staff return to the office, as a portion of their job requires physical presence, they transform the tablet into the traditional PC style form-factor by dock the device to a keyboard and monitor. This form of thinking, found in the Mobile 2.0 world, provides tangible ROI. Savings in data integrity, reduction in hardware requirements, multi-purpose devices, and the list goes on, while benefits to the organization continue to add up.

The need to stay ahead of your competition is a topic of daily discussion in most organizations. Mobile 2.0 is a business’s new frontier ensuring you keep that gap.

RESOURCES:
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L.V. Lomas chooses eBase managed services for B2B

eBase Solutions, a B2B provider, seamlessly integrates with Lomas’ back office systems to maximize efficiencies and to minimize data inconsistency. eBase Solutions demonstrated to Lomas their ability to achieve these objectives. Lomas is optimistic about adding value to their partner relations while gaining cost savings through eBase managed services.

About L.V. Lomas

L.V. Lomas, Canada’s Finest Chemical Distributor, is powered by the expertise of more than 200 qualified professionals in four locations across Canada and in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. A charter member of the Canadian Association of Chemical Distributors, L.V. Lomas is one of the largest chemical distributors in North America, and is the leading specialty chemical distributor in Canada.

About eBase Solutions

eBase Solutions provides a comprehensive suite of services, custom engineered to underpin your company’s ERP, B2B Integration, and Mobile goals. With our ability to provide an end to end solution from complete analysis, project management, implementation/customization, to training and managed services for core business systems, clients are assured a positive experience with impactful outcomes. Our strong focus on service and in depth knowledge of varying industries enables us to meet and exceed customer needs.

eBase Launches New Website

We are happy to introduce the new and improved eBase Solutions website!

eBase Solutions was established over 10 years ago specializing solely in B2B and Integration services. Over the years we have introduced new services and expertise in the areas of Enterprise Resource Planning, Managed Services and Mobility. The new website was designed with a fresh, innovative appearance, expanding functionality and a user-friendly architecture to further illustrate all many offerings.  We are proud of our new website and hope that our customers find it helpful. The goal of the site will be to provide our customers with access to new ideas and advice to help them choose the best solutions for their businesses and ensure a smooth, cost-effective engagement. Please check out the site and let us know what you think. www.ebasesolutions.ca

Maintaining positive ROI on your B2B investments

One of the most important parts of the B2B program is the process of adding trading partners to the solution framework.  It is the single biggest contributor to the overall ROI of an organization’s B2B investment.  A poorly formed partner onboarding strategy or the lack thereof will create a negative return on investment that after a few unfocused years can prove insurmountable given the accumulating costs of associated software, hardware, and personnel.  While it is such a critical process, it can unfortunately also be a complicated one relying on many variables.  The key to success is the establishment of a B2B program that identifies, manages, and monitors those variables.

Program Framework – Your organization must leverage an established B2B program.  That program describes both the technical aspects and business application of your B2B solution.  A typical program will categorize partnerships by those that are controllable (i.e. Supplier) versus not (ie. Customers, Banks, Government).  Implementation of controllable partnerships should leverage fully documented processes that outline the expectations of that partnership including message formats (and usage), preferred transmission protocol, and any other semantic characteristics your organization requires (i.e. Message SLA, maintenance windows, etc).   Those partnerships where your organization cannot typically control all aspects of the implementation should be prepared with baseline materials (like project plan, testing methodology, etc.) should the need or opportunity arise to positively influence the approach.

Partner Discovery – An analysis process needs to be established that can identify trading partner candidates for the organization.  That analysis should be one that can be repeated on a quarterly basis and maintain a queue of trading partners waiting to be on boarded.  With overall ROI as the ultimate goal, candidate selection should favor business criteria first and technical capability second.  Organizations might even consider tasking business units with the overall responsibility of identifying those candidates and maintaining the queue.

Post-Production – A well-functioning B2B program will separate partner implementation from on-going support and enhancement activities.  This will allow for the ability to maintain a focus on new partner onboarding and in turn continued contribution to ROI.  As such, it is important that every production migration includes the development of documented articles of support.  An additional key aspect of the post-production phase includes a strategy for accepting and tracking change requests.  These changes can be the result of trading partner requests, business process, or technical changes.

All of the tasks involved in maintaining, growing or creating a B2B program must be understood and measured to give a comprehensive view of the program cost.   The rate of technology and standards changes, in addition to ongoing customer requests for new document types or formats, often result in necessary B2B program changes that must be made in a relatively short time frame.  Companies with a clear understanding of their B2B program TCO are a step ahead when it is time to make changes for growth scenarios, which typically require filling a gap in a company’s current capabilities or expanding the scope or reach of an existing B2B program.

New Executive Partner Joins the eBase team

We are excited to introduce a new Executive Partner to the eBase organization. Robert Sestito joins us bringing extensive experience at the C-Level from mid to enterprise organizations. Robert’s exposure to varying industries ranges from hospitality, retail to property management and distribution.  Robert’s success in his career is attributed to his commitment to customer service and IT innovation. This was noticeable early in his career as Robert was the driving force in launching WiFi as a staple in retailers. Second Cup, Canada’s largest franchisor of specialty coffee cafes, was the first to market nationally with this program. As eBase has grown over the last few years introducing new services such as Enterprise Mobility, Managed Services, ERP and Integration, our commitment to service and quality has continued to be our top priority. Robert’s experience and knowledge will continue to strengthen this approach. We welcome Robert to the eBase family.