SMB Nation Blog

SMB Nation has been serving the Bainbridge Island area since 2001, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

MS Hope for a Cure

MS Cure

 

I have been on the board of MS Hope for a Cure since 2007 and this year I wanted to share some additional info on where your money has gone and how you have helped to make a difference so far.

MS Hope for a Cure, an organization with only two full-time employees, has had a huge impact in providing funds for research and support for individuals suffering from MS.

Since Inception in 2007, MS Hope has raised over $9.6 million and in turn, funded 110 grants to support a variety of programs and services.

Examples of critical research funded towards finding new treatments and eventually a cure for MS:

  • Provided a $300,000 grant to help launch the National MS Society’s Fast Forward. The biggest hurdle in moving potential treatments forward is securing the necessary early investments and resources for commercial development.  Fast Forward investments propel new therapies forward by providing the necessary funding to ensure that promising treatments don’t languish on a dusty shelf.
  • Provided a $220,000 grant for the National MS Society’s Pilot Research Program. The Society initiated the pilot research program in 1987 to provide a mechanism to encourage new, innovative research on multiple sclerosis.  The fiscal environment forced this program to be put on hold in June 2008. This grant allowed the vital program to resume in 2010.

 

  • Provided over $600,000 in Stem Cell grants for research focused on the development of non-embryonic stem cell therapies to help stop and repair MS.  This is an extremely promising area for people living with progressive MS and we are excited to be helping to propel it forward.
  • Provided a $500,000 grant to fund research specific to the progressive forms of the disease as the first foundation member of the International Progressive MS Alliance.

Examples of programs and services we are proud to have funded:

  • Provided access to free psychiatric support to anyone living with MS by fully funding an MS Psychiatric Position at Mount Sinai Hospital.
  • Provided $185,000 in college scholarships to students living with Multiple Sclerosis to enable them to focus on their studies without having to take on the stress of a part-time job.
  • Provided over $100,000 over 4 years via the National MS Society Crisis Services program to ensure that everyone living with Multiple Sclerosis in the New York area had a working air conditioner.
  • Provided the following programs, services and grants to help people living with MS, which due to budget constraints were cut by the National MS Society in the Tristate area.
    • Personnel support for social workers and nurses at over 10 local MS Centers
    • Funding for free exercise programs during the winter months. In many cases, these classes were the only opportunities for people with more advanced mobility issues to leave the house and socialize with others.
    • Creating an Annual Research and Wellness Symposium as part of MS Hope Day by bringing in MS experts in a variety of areas to provide the latest information on current research directly to the people to whom it matters most.

Please support me and this vital work by taking a moment to donate and sponsor me today.  Simply click here right now to make a secure donation online and give what you can; everything helps.

Thank you for joining me in the fight against MS! Together we can make a difference.
David

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Green Geeks: POS Technology Solutions (Part I)

The emerging cannabis industry is surprisingly technologically sophisticated. Take what I call the last mile: point of sale (POS).

I recently interviewed John Yang at California-based Treez, a POS solution focused on the cannabis industry. In fact, the free ranging conversation went so long, over two interviews, that I’ve decided to do a two-part blog series. In this first blog, I paint the picture (including taxation) and introduce Treez. In the second installment we’ll get down to the keystroke level.

“We are an enterprise-grade product with reliability and stability.” Said NAME. “In fact, you can run Treez as it’s meant to be in the cloud…we are a cloud-based solution first. But you can run it on-prem toowhich is important if you can’t be down for even a few minutes or a day. We serve dispensaries that have 100+ customers in the lobby at a time so any downtime is unacceptable.”

Let’s Talk Taxes!

Some readers know that SMB Nation’s hometown of Bainbridge Island is where Avalara started (about to IPO and known for creating online sales tax and compliance solutions). Thinking about taxes and compliance is second nature to me. When NAME took a left turn with our cannabis conversation to discuss Treez tax and compliance solutions, I told myself this conversation just got much better.

“In our business development efforts, we lead with the tax calculations for the State of California. Many of our competitors don't have this functionality. We do taxes correctly and help dispensaries from being overtaxed. This includes that we take care of the excise tax calculations.” Shared NAME. “California is taxing 35% to 40%...different tax layers (city, county, excise, sales) that compound on top of each other. Think of it as a tax on top of a tax on top of a tax.” Seems like tough math to track.

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Figure 1: Treez tracks cannabis taxes. Harder than it looks folks.

We next discussed the Excise Tax Report. “it’s about….how much to pay….a lot of complexity…very important with compliance…we do the break out of the taxation - our competitors don't have the granular level of detail.” Stated NAME.

I asked about how it works in Washington state, sensing that this young industry behaves differently in each state (#TrueThat). NAME shared that the State of Washington is a post-tax model like $40 for a ten pack of gluten free Indica peanut butter cups. The taxation is baked into a round number price that a customer would pay. If there is a mathematical mistake, the dispensary would have to “eat it” with respect to making the taxes paid whole.

In Part II of this blog series on Treez, I’ll speak toward the hands-on, keystroke-based POS solution and its use cases. Hint: Customer experience is the development paradigm.

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How to Maintain Data Integrity in a Business Setup?

Everybody, every day and everywhere is flooded with large volumes of data. This is most apparent and significant in the business sector. Who is worried and why should anybody actually pay attention to the business data? The fact is that data formulate the framework for all business operations. In order to run a thriving business irrespective of its niche, data management plays a significant role in the overall success equation.

In all probability, if you are reading this blog you are an integral part of such a business; consequently, you must be careful about your business data.

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What Exactly Do You Understand by Data?

If you ever ask distinct people this very question, you are likely to obtain varied responses from all of them. Some of the standard definitions are provided below: Figures and facts that are accumulated for reviewing and analysis. Things referred to as facts, which form the base of reasoning, computation and making decisions.

Still finding it hard to understand? A good illustration of business data is “the amount of merchandise sold by a company in the northeast region in the previous business quarter.”

Why is Data and its Credibility Crucial for Businesses?

Who is concerned in case the data available is inaccurate or if perhaps the all-round quality is lousy? Data quality is also known as data integrity. It is managing and retaining the accuracy and uniformity of the data over its complete lifecycle. Data integrity implies that the data available is correct and dependable. At numerous stages in work life, all the employees of the company have to make essential business decisions as a part of their job and commitments and such decisions play an important role in the deciding a company’s fate thereafter. In a lot of business firms across the globe, there exist areas where crucial business decisions are regularly made depending on the available data.

Business Performance Measurement: Constantly evaluating the performance of the business against its overall objectives and the competitors is essential for being successful.

Managing and Delegating Resources: Having the right resources in the right places at the right time focusing on the right project is essential. Not doing so is unfavorable and can provide the competitors a heads up.

Customer and Client Satisfaction Management: Happy customers and clients are crucial for a business success. Be it in the form of feedbacks, visitors on the site, and so on data must be consistently gathered and assessed to ascertain that the customer demands are satisfied or surpassed. Possible inadequacies or constraints in company's services and products must be brought to the front and addressed before the competitors learn about the same.

As stated above, dynamical real-time data with substantive credibility makes it possible for the business decision makers to get a clear picture of the company’s overall performance in the industry as well as against the competitors at any time. Getting correct and dependable data for conversion into information in order to make vital, fast or effective decisions is an important business function.

Strategies for Maintaining Your Company’s Data Integrity:

It is one thing to determine what actually is meant by data and the reason why its integrity is essential. It is an all-together different thing to systematically collect and manage it. At higher-levels, businesses commonly gather data by means of a variety of techniques like the following:

The Website of the Company: A usual practice is gathering data from a business website by means of page views and mouse clicks, a get in touch with us segment, a request for quote segment, a blog segment, a service or product purchase (shopping cart) segment, and so on.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Platform: An ERP platform is a business management program that incorporates a number of aspects of a business, such as project and service planning, production process, material acquiring, inventory management, supply, accounting solutions, financial management, human resources, sales and marketing, and so on. Data is accumulated from manual or automated data entry.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Platform: A CRM program is a business management software that deals with communication and connections with existing customers, potential buyers, and affiliates etc. It supports departments like sales, marketing, customer support and service. Data is collated from automated or manual data entry processes. Integration between an ERP and CRM program is furthermore very beneficial and can put a stop to data silos, superfluous data and general reliability on poor data.

Back-end Database: In the background, usually exists the database. Front-end programs like websites and CRM/ERP platforms are connected with databases. Data entered into the front-end programs move into and is saved in database on the backend. It is in this place where data extraction takes place and, thereafter that data is analyzed with the help of several techniques.

Author Bio:  Alika Cooper works a Business Development Manager at Cogneesol, a well-renowned company offering Data Management, technology, accounting and legal services. She has been working with Cogneesol for the past 10 years and is responsible for generating sales for the Data Management division.

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SAP Business One Surpasses 60,000th Customer Milestone

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SAP Business One, the comprehensive enterprise resource planning (ERP) business suite designed for small to midsize businesses (SMBs), has just accomplished a landmark achievement: The application has surpassed the 60,000th customer milestone mark.

This makes SAP Business One the best-selling ERP offering within SAP by number of customers. Just consider this tremendous accomplishment in its proper context:

  • Over 1 million end users from more than 60,000 SMBs across 170 countries use the solution every day to transform the way they work — let that sink in for a moment!
  • SAP Business One contributes at least half of all new customer acquisitions for SAP in the SMB space with over 1,000 new customers added each quarter.
  • Even at this very moment, SAP Business One continues its accelerated growth streak – providing deep expertise in multiple industries and over 500 industry-specific add-on solutions delivered through 300 software partners.
  • Technologies such as natural language processing, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things built on top of SAP HANA make SAP Business One the intelligent ERP of choice for SMBs.

SMBs are increasingly turning to SAP Business One to support and extend their business growth, and we are thrilled to be able to participate in our customers’ digital transformation journey.

Bernd Leukert, member of the Executive Board of SAP SE, Products & Innovation, sums it up best: “We have a hands-down winner with SAP Business One. The positive feedback from the market validates SAP Business One as exactly the type of solution that small and midsize businesses want: It is easy to implement and offers end-to-end functionality that is tightly integrated between different business functions while enabling access to a comprehensive portfolio of industry-specific solutions. As a strategic differentiator for small and midsize businesses across the world, SAP Business One is an important vehicle that brings to them the power of the intelligent ERP.”

Helping SMBs Be Successful

Without a doubt, every one of us on the SAP Business One team has worked hard to ensure our customers – and our customers’ customers – are successful.

QALO, leaders in the functional wedding ring industry, is a recent SAP Business One customer to have seen tangible business outcomes. In order to support their business with 500 retail partners and over 1,500 daily orders, the company deployed SAP Business One to centralize its enterprise information into one system, and automate its sales and ordering processes. Through the use of analytics from SAP Business One, it quickly discovered, and rectified, a 10% discrepancy in inventory value.

“As people, we all want to be the best versions of ourselves. SAP Business One is helping us to be the best business we can be,” said Ted Baker, CEO and co-founder of QALO. Learn more about how SAP Business One helped QALO here.

The Power of Strategic Partnerships 

It is thanks to the power and the passion of our partners that has helped put SAP Business One at the top of the leaderboard. We are proud of the rich history we have of developing new routes to markets and industries through strategic partnerships. The solution currently serves multiple industries with over 500 industry-specific add-on solutions, delivered through 300 software solution partners.

A prime example of the symbiotic relationship we share with partners is MWA Intelligence, Inc. (MWA). The company expanded its partnership with SAP Business One just a few months ago in March of 2018 to revolutionize the copier dealer and print imaging industry. MWA Forza, using the SAP Business One platform, created a single integrated ERP business solution to dramatically reduce the overall costs of IT management and service provision – while providing real-time data-driven insights to improve business processes for imaging dealer networks.

This partnership enables unprecedented alignment, standardization and integration of operations and data between imaging vendors, their channel partners, and customers. It also allows SAP Business One to serve at least 10,000 new companies within the imaging industry.

But don’t just take my word on this. Michael T. Stramaglio, president and CEO of MWA Intelligence, Inc., has stated in no uncertain terms, “The unrivaled power of the SAP Business One platform opens up possibilities for organizations that otherwise could not have been achieved on any other system. We have leveraged SAP Business One powered by SAP HANA into the design and development of FORZA, an all-inclusive solution tailor-made to ensure the successful growth for the future of the imaging channel – on a level never seen before in the imaging industry.”

Attend the SAP Business One Partner and Customer Presentations at SAPPHIRE NOW

MWA will be presenting at this year’s SAPPHIRE NOW, SAP’s flagship customer and business technology event. So if you are attending the conference, check out MWA’s session, “Innovate the Way You Work with Business Partners Using Integrated ERP” on Tuesday, June 5, at 12:00 p.m. ET. You can also join us at the Business Applications area to catch top customer speakers, including David Leadbetter Golf and Square and Baumer. Hope to see you at SAPPHIRE NOW!

Luis Murguia is senior vice president of Global Customer and Partner Operations for SAP Business One and SAP Business ByDesign.

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Kaseya’s Ten Dollar Word Strategy: Horizontal Integration

It’s right out of the old school business playbook. It’s about portfolio diversification, risk reduction and greater customer choice. And it’s ultimately about a stronger Kaseya. Just prior to its annual KaseyaConnect conference in Las Vegas last week, Kaseya announced its acquisition of Unitrends, a mid-market enterprise and MSP backup provider. In a 1:1 interview with Fred Voccola, CEO of Kaseya, I got the inside scoop. Warning. A couple more ten dollar words ahead.

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Figure 1: KaseyaConnect 2018

I liken the Unitrends acquisition to a company eating its own dog food. According to Voccola, Kaseya had been using Unitrends internally and on customer-side activities and it got to know the product very well along with the Unitrends team. Kaseya engineers impressed upon Voccola that Unirends might be a good technical addition to the Kaseya family. On the financial side, Voccola and team viewed the acquisition as accretive, defined by Investopedia as “An acquisition is considered accretive if it adds to the item's value or corporation's earnings per share.” Loosely translated, we’re talking synergy here.

Full disclosure: we have worked with both Kaseya and Unitrends over the years at SMB Nation. Both have had their eyes firmly affixed on the “M” of SMB and I don’t see that necessarily changing in the future. But the story is better. There is more horizontal integration going on here. Think of it as eating tapas at a true Spanish restaurant where you can order fish and beef to create a complimentary meal.

The trend to all-in-one-shopping is being observed across the MSP space. For example, SkyKick, known for its Office 365 migration tools, introduced a backup solution over a year ago. Kaseya, best known for its remote management and monitoring (RMM) roots (it now holds itself out to be “complete IT infrastructure management solutions for managed service providers (MSPs) and mid-market enterprises (MME).” The Unitrends acquisition mirrors this horizontal integration trend.

I attended KaseyaConnect for a day last week after completing my duties at Lenovo Accelerate just up the strip. I’ve attended this show in the past but not in recent years. It’s certainly grown and still reflects a slighty larger MSP (read sports jacket). For me – it was a chance to check-in on Kaseya and meet up with old friends such as this gent below from the Orlando-area.

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Figure 2: Brian Laufer, Vice President at QuoteWerks in ‘da booth!

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