Friday, October 31, 2008

Money-Saving Tip: How to Cut Users (Without Layoffs)

When economic problems hit, many companies immediately start cutting back on expenses and spending. But what happens when you can’t cut back anymore and you still need to save money?

I remember a couple years back when one of our customers told us how they managed to save a ton of money. They had hundreds of users licensed for their MRP software. As with any ERP/MRP, some employees needed to use it extensively, while others would only use 1 or 2 screens. In their case, they had 200+ employees who only needed a couple screens.

They used m-Power to create web applications which pulled data directly from their database while still tying into their MRP. These web applications had all the information those users would normally access through the MRP, but were now accessible via the web. As a result, they were able to cut 200+ users from their MRP software, and saved hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Does your company pay for licenses for users who only use your ERP/MRP/CRM minimally? Fill out this short form if you would like more information about how you can save money with web applications.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Is the Smartphone the Next PC?

I just read an interesting article on entitled, “Is the Smartphone the next PC Device?” My answer is "yes", I believe that the smartphone will eventually replace the PC for the average computer user. I know we still have a ways to go, but it is happening.

However, before we can embrace the smart-phone as the next PC, a big security problem has to be fixed. Namely, confidential information should not be stored on smartphones. It’s bad enough that computers can be hacked, but losing a phone with confidential information on it could be a disaster. Sure, there are remote wipes and kill switches, but damage can still be done in that short time between losing it and wiping its information.

Rather, companies should use their smartphones to access important information via web apps. That way you won’t put any data at risk if a phone is lost since no data is actually stored on it, and you can add as much security as you like in the web app. It's a better solution all around and one that needs to be adopted if a company is at all serious about security.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Importance of Executive Dashboards

Just as an automobile dashboard shows your speed, distance traveled, and fuel used, it also alerts you to vehicle problems in just a glance. An executive dashboard works much the same way.

An executive dashboard is usually a portal or intranet page that brings a variety of metrics together on one screen for a live overview of business operations for key decision-makers. They allow executives to make quick, but well-informed decisions. (Here is one example we built for the imaginary COO of our demonstrative and fictitious online bike distributor site.)

Executive dashboards vary within companies. A CFO's dashboard might monitor current, historical, and forecasted revenue. Or, a CEO might have a "greatest hits" dashboard, tracking applications culled from his top executives' dashboards. The focus is fully customizable to individual executive needs.

If you'd like more information on how to easily create an executive dashboard custom to your business needs, just fill out this form and we'll show you how we do it. And remember, we don't just supply the software to help you get it done, we supply the training to make you successful, and the manpower to supplement your staff when you need something done quickly.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Are you attending IOD 2008?

We are attending IBM's Information on Demand (IOD) conference this year! It is one of IBM's biggest events and is billed as the "premier information management global conference." It is being held at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas from Oct. 26th to the 31st. (That's next week!)

This is our first year at IOD, and we very excited to be exhibiting. Are you attending the conference as well? We'll be at booth #17, so please stop by and say hi. You'll get to meet Sal and Brian, and sample one of our delectable m-Power mints! Both Sal and Brian are witty and entertaining and we guarantee our mints will give you fresh breath for upwards of 5 minutes.

What more can you ask for?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The eternal IT debate: Build or buy?

Should you build it or buy it? When it comes to software, this can be a difficult question. Should you buy a pre-made solution, or build a custom solution? That is the question being debated in this article.

I believe a company is better off with custom-built applications for two big reasons:

  1. It’s designed for your company
    A pre-made solution will never exactly fit any company. However, if you build a solution yourself, you can design it to do exactly what you need it to do. You have complete and total control.

  2. It will grow with you
    A pre-made solution will not grow with your company. Often, the vendor might grow it in ways you don't want to go. Sooner or later, it will need to be replaced. On the other hand, a custom built solution is easy to modify. You can continue to enhance it as your company grows.
Now, I don’t think anyone will argue against the benefits of a custom-built solution. In fact, if not for the time and money constraints, I believe every company would go this route. If you could have a custom built solution in less time and for the price (or less) of a pre-built solution, I think it’s a no-brainer.

That’s exactly what you can do with m-Power. Here's a list of various applications that can be custom built with m-Power. Want to see how it works? Try our free online lab and build a couple web applications in under an hour.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Top 10 strategic technologies for 2009

It’s hard to believe 2008 is almost over, and it’s time to plan for 2009 already. As technology plays a larger role in just about every aspect of our lives, it’s important to have an idea as to what the most important trends will be next year.

Gartner has just released the list of what they believe will be the top 10 strategic technologies for 2009. I agree with much of the list, especially web-oriented architecture and business intelligence. From my experience with our customers, I believe those will become increasingly important throughout the coming year.

I also think there were a couple of glaring omissions. For example, I can’t believe they didn’t mention mobile computing. With the release of a variety of new smart-phones, mobile computing will become a necessity in the business world. I believe that businesses which are slow to adopt it will suffer as a result.

How about you? What technologies do you think will be most important in the coming year?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Business Intelligence: 10 Common Mistakes

The biggest problem affecting business intelligence today isn’t software. It’s people who think BI software is magic. It’s people who think that software is the most important aspect of business intelligence.

In reality, good processes and planning are the most important aspects of business intelligence. Just because you write out a 6 figure check for a BI tool, doesn’t mean it will help your company. Sure, buying the right software is important, but without a proper plan it’s just a waste of time and money.

My advice to managers and leaders: Get involved. Don’t just write it off as an IT job, work with IT to make sure it’s done right. Setting up a business intelligence solution should be a collaborative effort between the technology experts and the business experts.

Poor planning isn’t the only mistake that can be made when implementing a BI solution. For a list of common mistakes to avoid, read this article on entitled, “Business Intelligence: 10 Common Mistakes.”

Looking for powerful, yet affordable business intelligence? Check out our m-Power demonstration site, for examples of BI applications m-Power can create.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

10 tech skills in high demand

The funny thing about technology is how fast it changes. However, one overlooked benefit of changing technology is that the “in-demand” skills are constantly changing as well.

For instance, those who know a lot about BI or CRM tools are in high demand today, whereas they wouldn’t have been in demand 10 years ago. Keeping your skills up to date is more important in the tech industry than anywhere else.

The difficulty lies in determining which new skills to learn. There is an endless supply of “emerging technologies”, not all of which actually stick around. It’s important to learn new skills that will last and be in high demand.

Curious to learn which skills are needed these days? Take a look at this list on, to see the top 10 tech skills in high demand today.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Benefits of Java

I have never been secretive about my views on the Java programming language. Simply put, I believe it is the ideal language for enterprise applications.

Now, I know there are people who will debate me on this. Some believe that .Net, Microsoft’s proprietary answer to Java, is better suited for enterprise applications. Still others will argue that PHP is better, usually because they have someone available who already knows PHP. I have found that most PHP supporters have not actually tried Java, because they cannot afford the time to learn it.

Yes, it’s true that Java is a difficult language to learn, but it comes with many advantages. We have put together a short presentation that explains Java, lists a few benefits, and offers a side-by-side comparison with .Net. That presentation can be found here.>> (Warning: There is sound)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Big IT Decisions for the Small-Minded

Technology is changing ever so rapidly, and changing in ways that will drastically affect the way we do business. It’s more important than ever to keep up, as we rely on technology far more than we ever have before.

Let’s face it, if your company expects to survive in the future, you must stay ahead of the technology curve. That is one issue the author points out in this article entitled, “Big IT Decisions for the Small-Minded” He complains that people spend their time arguing about trivial technology issues, when there are huge ones to discuss.

It’s true. Some of the biggest topics of discussion center around browser preferences, mac vs. pc debates, Microsoft’s big ad campaign, why Vista is horrible, etc… Meanwhile, there are plenty of things to worry about from a technology standpoint. What goes into good Business Intelligence? Should we move to SAAS? Will the internet eventually make the operating system obsolete?

Knowing about the technology isn’t good enough anymore. We have young people entering the workforce that grew up with the technology. They don’t know life without email, the internet, or cell phones. People that focus on the business, and how to use emerging technology to help the business will be the ones that make a difference.

What do you think? Which emerging technology will make the biggest difference in the way we do business? Join the discussion in our forum.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

23 Things I wish would go just away

Sure, technology brings conveniences that we never thought possible. But, it also brings annoyances that we never dreamt of.

For example, these days you can do practically everything on your cell phone. Yet, with this added convenience, comes added annoyances. For example, I’ve received telemarketing calls on my cell phone. I’ve received text message advertisements. They make me mad, but would I stop using my cell phone just to make the unsolicited phone calls and text messages stop? Definitely not.

That's not the only annoyance that comes with the convenience of technology. Far from it. On the same note, here’s an interesting piece on entitled “23 Things I wish would just go away.”

What aspect of technology do you wish would just go away?

Monday, October 06, 2008

Build-A-Web-App Workshop

Creating powerful enterprise-level Web applications doesn't have to be complicated.

Here, you can create a custom, live, lightning-fast, portable and flexible database-driven Web application in just a few minutes with your current skill set.

Enter our Build-A-Web-App Workshop»

Friday, October 03, 2008

ERP Lessons from Rich People Who Stink at Golf

You’ve probably seen it before. A bad golfer buys the best equipment hoping it will make him better at golf, when in reality, a bad golfer with nice clubs is still a bad golfer. That’s the analogy used in this article entitled, “ERP Lessons from Rich People Who Stink at Golf.” Many people think the best golf clubs will make them a good golfer, just like many companies think that an expensive ERP will always make them more efficient.

However, for an ERP to help a company, they must be running smoothly to begin with. An ERP is not designed to fix bad processes, but rather to make the current process more efficient.

I agree with the author’s point, but I believe there’s another point to be made. Many companies think that an expensive ERP is all they’ll ever need. After all, a product that costs 6-7 figures should do it all…right?

What a company needs to understand is this: ERPs are still pre-made solutions, and therefore won’t fit everyone perfectly. No matter how expensive it is, there are always a few things an ERP won’t be able to do. Many are surprised and/or upset to realize they need something else besides their ERP.

Many companies need ERP add-ons, or additional software that supplements their ERP. This is not uncommon. Here’s a good example of a company that bought an expensive ERP, only to realize they needed functionality beyond its capabilities. Find out what they did to fix the problem>>

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

25 Best Business Software Tools and Web Services

If there’s one thing I like, it is inexpensive software that makes life a little easier. Lucky for us, there is no shortage of software that fits that description. It seems like there’s software to automate or help with just about everything these days.

With all of the different things a business or business person needs, and all of the different options designed to meet those needs, it’s sometimes difficult to choose the right one. That’s where lists like “25 Best Business Software Tools and Web Services”, can come in handy. It covers many different types of tools, so there’s bound to be one that can help you.

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