It’s not only inventory planners who seek out ways to optimize inventory management – everyone from CEOs and CFOs, procurement and supply chain management specialists, shop-floor employees and client-facing staff often find themselves wishing they were equipped with reliable, accurate inventory information to ensure both internal efficiency, fiscal optimization, and customer satisfaction.
In manufacturing and distribution, knowledge and control over your inventory is a key driver of efficiency and cost savings. Inventory control (a.k.a. stock control) can be defined as “the fact or process of ensuring that appropriate amounts of stock are maintained by a business, so as to be able to meet customer demand without delay while keeping the costs associated with holding stock to a minimum.”
But when the number of items and physical locations organizations must keep track of grows, manual, error-prone methods of inventory handling become quickly unworkable.
4 Common Inventory Control Issues That Can Be Solved by an ERP Solution
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, in theory, should provide businesses with a suite of integrated applications that can provide a continuously updated view of core business activities. And while the concept of ERP arose from a common manufacturing core, today’s offerings incorporate finance and accounting, maintenance, and human resource components.
However, businesses grow, needs change and technology moves on. And this often means that what once seemed like a good solution can no longer deliver necessary functionality – or worse, it’s actually started to create problems for your employees.
But how can you recognize when an ERP solution has failed in delivering its promised benefits?
Here are some of the key warning signs:
- It was never configured for your company
- Your ERP has stopped receiving regular updates
- You can no longer find IT or vendor support
- Users are adjusting business processes to suit the ERP system
- People are creating work-arounds outside the ERP system
- It's simply no longer cost effective
Read on to learn the implications of these warning signs.
Cybersecurity is a hot topic and it seems everyone has an opinion on best practices – whether they apply to personal or professional use. From password tips (random characters vs. passphrases, the frequency of updates) to VPN use, when to use two-factor authentication and more, it can seem impossible to practically work or live with the sheer number of cumulative security recommendations.
But when it comes down to it, good security should enable business, not prevent it. But with the constant deluge of well-meaning advice, we’ve noticed that sometimes people push back with some counterintuitive advice. And we get it, sometimes overzealous, poorly implemented security measures can be frustrating. But still, we wonder how bad things were for people to think it was a good idea to spout the following:
The idea of an audit – any audit – often makes businesses uncomfortable. And IT security audits are no exception. Having outsiders come in looking for discrepancies and oversights can make those responsible for IT security feel defensive and judged, and no one likes getting caught out.
But an IT security audit shouldn’t be viewed as a punitive measure – after all, if your organization is hacked, or loses sensitive data to a preventable vulnerability, you’ll be the one having to answer to clients, and in many cases, the authorities.
The first step is to adopt a more positive attitude towards IT security audits – after all, they provide you with a second set of eyes to identify and rectify issues (hopefully) before they create problems. And IT security auditors genuinely want to share – and use – their knowledge to help your business become a more secure organization.
Then, you need to find an auditor and get to work.
Running a law firm takes a lot of effort. Lawyers have enough to deal with without the additional pressure of keeping their systems up to date and their data secure. Some of the key challenges we’ve seen with our legal clients include:
- Safeguarding client information and avoiding charges of negligence or breach of contract
- Ensuring critical files are available 24/7
- Managing scheduling and meeting deadlines
Bringing on the right Managed Service Provider (MSP) to manage your law firm’s IT needs can provide benefits beyond just the technical. But it’s not always obvious when it’s time to start exploring the idea. And if you do, is it really money well-spent?
How to Know it’s Time to Outsource Your IT Support
Here are some of the most obvious indicators that it’s time to seriously consider outsourcing your IT.
The computing world is moving to ‘as-a-Service’ model – where products, tools and technologies are delivered to users as a service over a network -- typically the internet -- rather than provide locally or on-site within an enterprise. It can be accessed at any time, generally on a subscription basis.
Microsoft, Adobe, Oracle, Salesforce, Intuit and Shopify are just some of the big-name examples of companies who have moved to an SaaS model.
But the move to providing services (and storage) over a network – that is, cloud computing – has reinforced the need for robust cybersecurity practices. Ideally, cloud security should be a shared responsibility between your IT department or provider, the business itself, and the cloud provider. But where there are gaps ,there are vulnerabilities.
Here are some tips to ensure your cloud computing experience remains a safe one!
In larger organizations, CFOs and procurement offices are becoming increasingly involved in corporate IT outsourcing decisions. However, with a focus on cost containment and a preconception that IT is at best a necessary expense, this frequently places them at odds with initiatives aimed at innovation or acquiring access to talent and expertise.
This is compounded by the fact that IT leadership is frequently unable to determine the current costs of the IT Services they want to outsource, making it even more difficult for the CFO to perform a meaningful analysis.
But most often, cost isn’t the actual issue – it’s an inability for different teams to speak the same language and articulate the business value that is created through outsourcing.
If your organization is wanting to bring in the help of a managed service provider, here are some tips to help you build the case that take into account your key financial decision-maker:
It’s often said that good managers know how to delegate. And this concept extends beyond employee interactions – in fact, most businesses are already delegating (or outsourcing) a number of vital services. Utilities are a prime example – it makes much more sense to pay a power, water or gas bill rather than trying to dedicate time and resources providing these essential services in-house.
And given how integrated and essential IT has become to even the most basic of workday functions, many businesses are reaching the point where becomes increasingly more economical – and effective – to outsource their IT needs to a reputable Managed IT Service Provider.
Here are 5 key problems that can be solved by outsourcing your IT:
As you might have guessed, Identity and Access Management (IAM, or Identity Management for short) basically refers to the IT security discipline of managing digital identities. This includes the provisioning (and de-provisioning) of identities, securing and authenticating identities, and granting authorizations related to access and abilities – think delegating email account access, editing & reporting abilities in an online database, or access to network drives.
The overarching goal for IAM is to ensure that any given identity has access to the right resources (applications, databases, networks, etc.) and within the correct context.
Because IAM is so important to IT security, it’s important to have some policies and plans in place that will help your users handle their access responsibly and safely – the consequences of being careless can be quite damaging to your business.
With that in mind, here are six tips to help you strengthen how your business deals with Identity and Access Management: