Business leaders and employees are all keenly aware of the effect COVID-19 has had on businesses around the globe. The pandemic has imposed significant strain on budgetary and operational resources for businesses large and small. Those disruptions are being felt far and wide.

Fortunately, this is also an opportunity. Business leaders willing to rise to the challenge can better address their organizational needs through leaner operations.

Fostering a culture focused on strategic action and resiliency will lead to success in the current climate.

Here are 5 steps that can be taken now to focus on the essential and ensure the future of your business:

  1. Realign with your company’s strategic vision
  2. Problem solving: be accountable, be part of the process
  3. Own the message and communicate actively
  4. Continually engage with your workforce
  5. Connect creatively with your customers and capture their insight

1. Realign with your company’s strategic vision

Whether you share an optimistic viewpoint that the economy will reignite in the coming months or feel otherwise, hoping for the best and preparing for the worst is both practical and beneficial.

Take this time to realign your focus with the core values and strategic vision of your business. This will ensure you remain on track, no matter what the future holds.

The only constant is change and the current market demands it. Times like these put businesses to the test. We can already see examples of those that are rising to the challenge.

Manufacturers, retailers, and service industries are all adapting to meet market demand in new and innovative ways.

For example, manufacturers are altering production lines to support hospitals and medical care providers with needed equipment. Textile facilities are making masks, distilleries and breweries are making sanitizers, and additive manufacturers are making faceshields. Even some of the largest auto manufacturers in the country have shifted gears to deliver other mission-critical medical equipment.

For many, using innovative software solutions to take their services online is part of the equation. Retailers and restaurants are are making the effort to offer online or curbside ordering and pickup in line with CDC recommendations and customer demand.

Fewer resources at your disposal naturally leads to doing more with less. Rethink any activity that isn’t lockstep in tandem with your strategic vision.

Reevaluate every process and take the time to get input from your employees, those who are carrying out those processes daily, weekly, or monthly.

Meeting with your first line managers is a good place to start. Use their insights between both your company and customers to inform your actions moving forward. you will also be able to identify key areas and resources ripe for redistribution.

2. Problem solving: be accountable, be part of the process

Time is perhaps the most finite resource for many business leaders. When disruption hits, it can be even more critical to solve problems quickly and efficiently. Unfortunately, most will agree that time is wasted in abundance when it comes to streamlining business processes. This waste can be the result of unpreparedness, distraction, or inability to focus. Simply put, it’s not harder work that will save you time, but smarter work.

When your teams are tackling their respective components of a problem, they are looking for leadership to keep an eye on the prize. That is the bigger picture.

Be that foundational resource they are looking for and lead by example with smarter budgeting of time in tackling problems.

For example, make a shift in meeting culture. Keep meetings down to a condensed time frame and commit to ensuring all discussion topics and resources are shared and reviewed prior to the meeting. This leaves little room for wasted time in explaining and rehashing ideas.

When it comes to email communications, do away with novellas and stick to bullet points. Clean, clear, crisp communications get ideas across faster. No one should have to spend more than 60 seconds reading an update.

Committing to incremental and cultural changes pays off big in saved time. By showing, rather than telling, how to solve problems and work more intelligently.

This is how business leaders improve organizations and inspire team members to focus and prioritize.

3. Own the message and communicate actively

While there are times when delegating communications, tough times are not those. When times are tough and uncertainty is in no small supply, your workforce wants reassurance from the top of the organization.

Direct and open communications between upper management and teams fosters a cooperative atmosphere and lightens the burden of anxiety. If changes need to be made, be explicit about them and hold true to those directives.

For example, if cash flow issues make salary reductions a necessity, do the math upfront. Lay out how you reached your calculated requirements for salary reductions across the board. Give a time frame. Stick to it. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver and follow through once you’ve set your parameters.

Trust and reputation take time to built and a moment to ruin. Be the leader your teams look up to by instilling confidence, trust, and respect by giving clear instruction, finding compromise, and living up to your word.

4. Continually engage with your workforce

Maintaining employee engagement is a constant challenge for most businesses. COVID-19 and the nature of remote work has compounded that difficulty through distance. So, the question is, with all these factors, how do you keep your people connected?

Now is the time to recognize your employees at an individual level. Everyone has different ways of processing change and reactions to the current environment. There is no one size fits all solution in the New Now.

It’s up to you as a leader to recognize and be mindful of your staff’s unique reactions and feelings, if they may differ from your own. When you see negativity in the ranks, don’t dwell on it. Find ways to be supportive and create the environment for positive outcomes using your positive perspective of the big picture.

The isolation some may feel in a remote position can put people in a fog. Structure can easily go overlooked when it surrounds us every day. Now that that environment has fallen from view for so many, new and creative ways to remain connected are necessary.

Social media and networking tools are some of the available options for keeping your workforce engaged. Virtual happy hours, hobby threads, internal contests, games, and general intranet activity can help keep employees connected even though they are apart.

5.Connect creatively with customers to capture insight 

With traditional face-to-face meetings out of the question for the foreseeable future, it’s time to get more creative in how you interact with customers.

With a new landscape laid out before us, the same way of operating just doesn’t make sense.

Fortunately, modern virtual meeting platforms and social media tools make it easy to at least see each other face-to-face. Leveraging these resources gives us the virtual eye contact we need in healthy human interaction. It also reassures your customers that you are proactive and engaged with them in conversation. Conveying the tone, body language, and other social cues that email and phone calls fall short with make these tools invaluable.

Rise To The Challenge As Business Leaders

In summary, now is the time to actively adapt and strategically realign with your strategic vision. Respond to disruption using the modern resources available to you. Stay the course in regard to your company’s long-term vision and continue to strive in meeting your customers’ needs. Get rid of the wants and focus on the needs of your organization in the New Now. This is the time to run lean.

Lastly, your employees are the lifeblood of your business. Be clear and transparent in your communications with them. Lead by example and hold true to your word. This will ensure confidence, focus, and engagement as your continue to strive for success.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


The Gartner Magic Quadrant for Cloud ERP is an annually published report that outlines the research organization’s perspective on the best software available. This year, Epicor Software again received designation as a visionary in the category of Cloud ERP for Product-Centric Enterprises.

The published report is free to download for anyone interested in learning more about Epicor Software and other Cloud ERP vendors.

an image advertising the 2020 gartner magic quadrant for cloud erp report

You can download the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Cloud ERP for Product-Centric Enterprises report HERE.

Epicor ERP Cloud is a secure, economical, efficient, and reliable enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.

The solution provides businesses with flexibility and comprehensive support. It helps manufacturers simplify processes, optimize operations and ease IT responsibilities.

For example, Epicor Cloud ERP delivers a 99.5% or greater uptime.

Aerospace and defense manufacturer Wipaire leverages the benefits of Epicor Cloud ERP to free up resources and reduce costs.

The company enjoys real-time access to information, which delivers higher cost efficiency and better time management.

Wipaire Controller Mike Elrod commented about their choice to use Epicor ERP, “We chose to deploy in the cloud because it offered flexibility and cost savings and we no longer need to maintain in-house servers or equipment.”

Epicor ERP is built to scale alongside manufacturers as they grow and depend on better tools to deliver the results and experience their stakeholders and customers expect.

With Epicor Cloud ERP, businesses are better equipped to compete, thrive, and grow by harnessing data and implementing automation to improve productivity and profitability.

“We believe Epicor’s spot in the Visionaries quadrant proves that we are a cloud vendor of choice in the markets we serve, and that our cloud ERP software is providing customers with the tools they need to succeed in today’s mid and enterprise markets,” said President Himanshu Palsule. “Our customer base is large, incredibly loyal, and actively engaged, and we will continue to foster those relationships to address and prioritize their feedback in future product updates so that our customers can push ahead of their competitors and can focus on business resiliency rather than IT administration.”

Placement in the Visionary quadrant validates Epicor’s ability to provide businesses with the best ERP solution. Read the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Cloud ERP for Product-Centric Enterprises report HERE to learn more.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


As part of the Epicor Cloud ERP 10.2.700 Update, Epicor Cloud ERP pilot instances will upgrade to the newest release in September 2020. Read on to learn what new business value awaits and how to prepare.

What’s New In The Epicor Cloud ERP 10.2.700 Update

More details will be released as we near September 2020, but a few highlights include:

  • Cloud Read-only Data Access—Safely and securely view your data in a read-only environment. Epicor ERP Cloud Data Access is a new offering that allows for read-only access to your Epicor ERP instance. This new offering gives freedom of access while also safeguarding data security and system integrity. Access to the database will be on a read-only basis, but also near real-time (within seconds) to provide high value, whether leveraged by you directly or by ISV partners via APIs.
  • Epicor Advanced Unit of Measure—Seamlessly conduct business in a different unit of measure. A new capability, primarily aimed at the metals industry and adjacent industries, provides the ability to buy and value material in one unit of measure and transact in a different unit of measure.
  • Epicor Data Analytics (EDA) Financial Reporting—Budgeting, forecasting, and planning simplified. EDA Budgeting and Planning will provide an easy-to-use solution for budgeting, forecasting, and planning. With EDA Budgeting and Planning, you will be able to create financial budgets from scratch or prior year actuals and generate a budgeting workflow process, eliminating the need for Excel spreadsheets.
  • Epicor Kinetic—Continuing the journey to provide a modern and intuitive user experience with Epicor Kinetic. With this release, Epicor Kinetic is focused on the transformation of maintenance screens and quote to cash process forms targeting high-impact maintenance and entry screens. New enhancements will be made to Epicor Application Studio, which allows you to tailor Kinetic forms with low/no code that won’t break during an upgrade.

How To Prepare For The The Epicor Cloud ERP 10.2.700 Update

Epicor will upgrade pilot systems one month before production systems. This will provide Epicor Cloud ERP customers a chance to explore the updates in 10.2.700 without affecting production systems.

As a best practice, please use this time to review and make any necessary changes to your Unique Business Components (UBCs). This includes any custom reports, BAQs, BPMs, User Interface customizations, etc. Effective testing will ensure everything continues to operate as expected.

If you submit an EpicCare ticket for help with moving your UBCs from Pilot to Production, Epicor will do so for you during the upgrade weekend.

Important Dates

  • Friday, September 11, 2020
    Deadline for Flex customers to submit an EpicCare ticket indicating their preference to defer their upgrade to one of the alternate upgrade dates
  • Wednesday, September 16 and Thursday, September 17, 2020
    Upgrade webinars are held, recorded, and posted as documentation. Please plan to join or watch the replay so you are aware of the upgrade process. Registration information will be sent shortly.
  • Friday, September 18, 2020 – Saturday, September 19, 2020
    Pilot system upgrade to 10.2.700. During this time, your pilot system will be unavailable while Epicor performs your upgrade, but don’t worry—your production system will not be affected by the new release. Once it is complete, log in to your pilot system and start exploring what’s new.
  • Tuesday, October 13, 2020 
    Pilot system update to 10.2.700.2 and UBC Opt-In Deadline. The final version that will be loaded into your Production system will be 10.2.700.2, so we’ll update your Pilot environment on this date. Also, if you want Epicor to move your UBCs from your Pilot environment to your Production environment, you must submit an EpicCare ticket to opt-in to the process. If you do not submit an EpicCare ticket to opt-in to the process, the UBCs from your Pilot environment will not be moved by Epicor to the Production environment.
  • Saturday, October 17, 2020 – Sunday, October 18, 2020
    Production system upgrade to 10.2.700.2. Your upgrade weekend arrives! While Epicor upgrades your production system to Epicor Cloud ERP 10.2.700.2, your system will be unavailable for several hours during this time.

 Note that dates are subject to change.

Flexing Your Upgrade

Subscribers to the Epicor Public Cloud Flex Option can follow the same schedule.

Alternatively, you have the option to defer your upgrade to Epicor Cloud ERP 10.2.700.

Below are the two date options for your flex upgrade.

                      Pilot                                                                              Production

Option 1:    Week of Dec 14, 2020                                               Jan 23-24, 2021

Option 2:    Week of Jan 18, 2021                                                Feb 20-21, 2021

If you choose to defer, you must submit an EpicCare ticket with your selected upgrade date (Option 1 or Option 2) and we will send you a personalized confirmation with your instructions. We must receive your deferral no later than Friday, September 11, 2020. If you do not choose to defer, we’ll keep you on cadence and automatically upgrade your system in September 2020.

Note: If you choose to defer your upgrade, you will not receive any 600.x updates after the 10.2.600.11 update. We only host the upgrade webinars on September 16 and September 17, but replays are accessible at any time afterwards as documentation on EpicWeb. If you defer, you are strongly encouraged to either attend or watch the replay so you are aware of the upgrade process.

About The The Epicor Cloud ERP 10.2.700 Update

The Epicor Cloud ERP 10.2.700 update is the second of two major upgrades in 2020, as part of the regular cadence and commitment to helping your business grow through innovation.

Unlike the more frequent monthly updates that are minor yet enhance your daily experience, major releases like this bring you greater usability, performance, and strategic value in a single upgrade. That’s why we give you advance notice and the opportunity to test and explore the updates in pilot before upgrading your production system.

Next Steps

Watch for additional information about the upcoming upgrade. You will be invited to join educational webinars on September 16 and September 17 to learn more about the Epicor Cloud ERP 10.2.700 update, how to prepare, and ways to leverage the new functionality for driving business growth. Documentation will also be made available on the Epicor customer portal EpicWeb. And as a reminder, reach out to EpicCare anytime you have a question or need application support.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


As of June 2020, Epicor is no longer delivering enhancements for Epicor Advanced Financial Reporting (AFR), but bug fixes are still available for existing customers on maintenance, and the product is still in the Active Support stage. However, AFR is expected to move to Sustaining Support by 2021.

If your organization is looking for an alternative product by Epicor that gives more value and benefit to your business, Epicor can offer you three great financial reporting products that are fully integrated with Epicor ERP and provide the same capabilities as Epicor Advanced Financial Reporting and much more.

Epicor Advanced Financial Reporting (AFR) Resources

To support the migration to these products, a new, very beneficial, non-time limited migration offer is available to every Epicor ERP customer on active AFR maintenance when migrating to Epicor XL Connect or EFP.

EDA Financial Statements is also a great option at your discretion, however for this product, the new non-time limited migration offer does not apply.

Further information:

Contact us using the link below for further details on the offer!

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.