The fourth annual Epicor Global Growth Index looks at the constantly changing state of growth in the manufacturing, distribution, and retail industries along with what trends impact the bottom line. We asked more than 2,000 businesses about key strategies, growth initiatives, and how they define success. Overall, findings suggest that enterprises are embracing better technology to offset the effects of Covid-19, supply chain disruptions, and global competitors.

 

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About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers. 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.


Senior level executives are at the core of any big departmental change. Success and failure rests on their shoulders. They need to be involved. Despite the pressure of this role, you can help them understand they don’t need to do everything.

Their job is to ensure new strategies align with overall business goals and changes are clearly laid out for employees. Your job is to convince them that Field Service Management (FSM) software does, in fact, align with business goals and explain how you’ll handle the transition. Take some pressure off executives by showing them you’ve done the research to get the program off the ground and you understand what it takes to succeed.

 

Epicor-Sell-Your-Vision-Service-Automation-WP-ENS

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers. 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 a manufacturing leader, you’ve likely heard a lot about the efficiencies and productivity gains realized from having a single digital thread that connects your factories to your back office financial functions, streamlining and linking work processes and production data from engineering and product design, through manufacturing and to delivery and field service. An emerging trend is to extend that thread to include your selling processes. Whether you sell B2B or B2C, it’s becoming increasingly urgent to better coordinate data from every sales channel, from in-person brick and mortar stores, customer sales representatives and direct sales to all aspects of ecommerce, such as websites, online marketplaces, mobile apps and social.

 

Epicor - Why Start Your Digital Transformation Now

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.


This discussion brief, together with its companion (The Economic Case for Deploying Epicor ERP in the Cloud) are designed to elevate discourse and provide guidance to organizations evaluating the best ERP deployment model (on premises, single-tenant SaaS or multi-tenant SaaS), unique to their business and technical environment.

It’s especially important to recognize that there is no universal answer to the question “Which deployment model is best?” as each customer presents unique business and technical requirements and abilities. The purpose of this document isn’t to provide absolute answers, but rather to arm readers with additional (and perhaps better) questions to assist in their own internal evaluation of deployment options. This is an especially important conversation for potential (and existing) Epicor customers because of our unique position in offering Epicor ERP across multiple licensing and deployment options.

Except as incidental to framing conversations around cloud deployment, this paper makes no effort to explore core ERP features/functions, or traditional line-of-business topics. While analysis is of the fit of the Epicor solution specific to your business needs is warranted as part of your product assessment, the reader is directed to content available at www.epicor.com on all matters of application functionality.

Key Take-Aways

1. The question “cloud or on premises?” presupposes an unnecessary tradeoff. The best answer is ‘both—and I reserve the right to change my answer over time as my business needs change.’ Epicor encourages customers to demand absolute freedom of choice from their ERP vendor and to not find themselves artificially constrained to only one deployment option due to limitations imposed by their solution vendor.

2. The best ERP systems are ‘everywhere for everyone.’ Deploying in the cloud is (for most customers) the fastest want to tie together remote facilities and mobile employees, thereby streamlining enterprise-wide collaboration and access.

3. Your IT department is ready, willing, and able of doing so much more than ‘racking and patching’ your servers. Moving Epicor ERP to the cloud likely frees your IT resources to focus on more strategic, and mission aligned tasks.

4. The topic of data security and residency is more nuanced than it may seem. In cloud deployments the actual physical location of your data may not be obvious, and that may not (or may) matter to you. However the security and disaster preparedness of your Epicor ERP needs to be well thought out, and for many companies, passing that responsibility to Epicor may provide for an elevated level of security, reliability, and availability.

 

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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.


Epicor ERP allows you to drive growth with improved scalability and better business insights.

 

Epicor-ERP-Drive-Growth-Business-Insight-Infographic-ENS

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.


Epicor eBook - Meeting Customers Where They Want to Connect

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.


Epicor-ECC-Mfg-Accelerate-Growth-eBook-ENS

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.


Epicor-ERP-Business-Architecture-BR-ENS

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.


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.

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 article “It’s 2020 — Should Business Owners Fear The Cloud?” was written by Epicor Software Corp. CEO Steve Murphy and published by Forbes on March 2, 2020. You can read the original article here.

The cloud. It’s a small word that packs a big punch. Defining what cloud is can cause confusion for some, while implementing it raises concerns for others.

We should consider three key factors as we continue into a new decade and business owners ask if they should fear the cloud: privacy, interoperability and cost.

But first, what is the cloud, and why are businesses migrating to this solution?

Essentially, the cloud is a delivery method for your software. It’s a network of servers that are linked together and operate as a single system. The cloud can perform a variety of functions (e.g., storing data, running applications, delivering content, etc.), and you can access it online. There are both public and private cloud options. The biggest difference with the cloud is what it doesn’t require. You don’t need any hardware or networking gear on-site – all you need is a tablet or a phone to run the software.

One of the major reasons I believe cloud adoption continues to grow is the flexibility and productivity enhancements it offers. As the CEO of a company that offers cloud platforms, I’ve found that these features are particularly attractive as business owners look to build resiliency in the face of unpredictable trade wars and other geopolitical changes. Business owners often look to business management software to provide stability. According to Goldman Sach’s 2020 review (via CNBC), 23% of IT workloads are now in public clouds.

So, should business owners fear the cloud when it comes to privacy, interoperability and cost?

Should I fear privacy in the cloud?

There is no denying privacy is a major concern when it comes to data. Data breaches continue to increase, as does the projected production of data. To keep pace, both software solutions and IT departments will have to up their game.

First, I’ll share the bad news. According to Hiscox’s 2019 Cyber Readiness Report, most businesses are unprepared for cyberthreats. In fact, in the U.S., 73% of businesses are “novices” at cyber readiness.

The good news, however, is that the public cloud has proven safer than on-premise data center environments. Specifically, Gartner found that “to date, there have been very few security breaches in the public cloud” and that “through 2020, public cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) workloads will suffer at least 60% fewer security incidents than those in traditional data centers.”

If you decide to move to the cloud due to these safety findings, you should still be mindful of cloud vulnerabilities. Take stock of what kinds of sensitive information you are putting in the cloud, and ensure you understand how the cloud provider will protect that data. The time needed to safely migrate systems and data can be lengthy, but it shouldn’t be rushed at the expense of security infrastructure. Select a provider who prioritizes security during the migration process and who has a solid reputation for getting the configuration right, and communicate with your team so that they understand the migration timeline and can manage their expectations.

Regardless of your software solution, privacy issues will continue to be a concern. One of the most important things business leaders can do is ensure they have a crisis management protocol in place if and when a breach should occur.

Should I fear cloud interoperability challenges?

I have great news on this front. There have been major strides toward interoperability. In fact, multiple systems can exchange and use information easier than ever before. This is due to a variety of reasons: Many application programming interfaces (APIs) continue to get better, and standards continue to improve, and, notably, I see tech giants such as Google, Amazon, and Microsoft Azure frequently expand the universe of applications that can easily be put in their clouds. I believe their efforts have significantly moved the needle.

While interoperability isn’t perfect, there’s a lot of upward momentum. I expect that to progress.

Should I fear the cost of the cloud?

If you’re a business owner and you aren’t sure cloud makes sense for you from a cost perspective, ask yourself if you have a good grip on how much it costs to have your own data center in your business. Do you already have the IT skills in-house to run your own system? If so, the cloud may not make sense.

However, many business owners are surprised to find that their IT operations cost them a lot more than they think and that implementing cloud solutions can save them both time and money when it comes to issues such as automatic upgrades (which keep your company current and competitive), labor and maintenance costs, or increases in workforce productivity, to name a few.

Just remember that the decision between on-premise and cloud will be unique for each business. When you’re evaluating your IT operations cost, ask yourself how scalable you need your solution to be in the future. How adept is your IT department at staying up to date with evolving technology? Will you need additional data storage, and do you have the physical space to accommodate an expansion of your on-premise data center? Do you need access to data on the go? If a natural disaster hits your business, how will you back up your data?

What it comes down to is the total current cost of your on-premise data center versus a cloud solution. For business leaders who are still on the fence about expense, make sure you evaluate your options regularly. Cloud providers will have to continue to be cost-competitive, which could work in your favor.

Bottom line: Don’t fear the cloud. It could be a safer option than on-premise data. Its interoperability continues to improve. It can be highly effective at increasing productivity. It can save you money long-term. And the cloud will likely continue to improve over time. The year 2020 may be the one for you to move forward with implementation.

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.