Rebecca

will
6
Apr

Automatically publish your documents straight to SharePoint

Pegasus Opera 3 Integration

Monpellier are experienced Pegasus partners and have worked with our customer base of Opera 3 users to create additions that improve their solution and make their working days simpler and easier. Through working closely with our customers we noticed a need for SharePoint integration and that this link could play a fundamental role in the daily lives of users. 

 

What is SharePoint Online?

SharePoint is part of Microsoft 365 and allows you to share and manage content, knowledge and applications within your organisation. It’s easy to use and allows quick, seamless collaboration across departments. Find out more about SharePoint by clicking HERE 

 

Our Solution 

Monpellier customers who use Opera 3 have the option to add our custom-built Utility Pack to their Opera solution. The latest version of our unique Utility Pack includes SharePoint integration. The integration gives the user the choice to automatically archive all documents published from Opera 3 to SharePoint. These documents can be archived into the folders of your choosing and are saved automatically as PDFs. This process means that team members (with the right permissions) can access any of these documents on-demand through SharePoint Online using an internet-ready device. This could include orders, delivery notes, invoices, credits, statements, remittances, quotes, etc. With the new Utility Pack, you will also be able to add additional documents that will be accessible via new menu options within Sales, Purchase, SOP, POP and CRM. 

 

What is the Monpellier Utility Pack?

After extensive customer research Monpellier compiled a list of functions that clients wished to see within Pegasus Opera 3 and created our ‘Utility Pack’. If you currently use Opera 3 but are not a Monpellier customer you are still entitled to the pack free of charge upon moving your annual maintenance contract and licencing to Monpellier.

The Utility Pack adds functionality such as:

  • Stock Code Rename – This utility allows you to rename any stock code and change all the corresponding transactions (current or historical). This can be done for a single stock item or a group of stock items
  • Stock Code Delete – This utility allows you to delete stock codes that cannot be deleted using standard Opera 3 functionality
  • Historical Orders – This utility allows you to raise sales orders for customers based on what they have bought historically, making the order taking function more proactive
  • Copy Quote – This utility allows you to copy any quote, even to a different customer account
  • Copy Order – This utility allows you to copy any sales order, even to a different customer account
  • Copy Purchase Order – This utility allows you to copy any purchase order, even to a different supplier account

 

If you’re a Pegasus Opera 3 user but are not currently a Monpellier customer please do get in CONTACT to discuss our services and support further and for a free no-obligation quote to switch. 

 

10
Mar

Eliminate time-consuming repetitive tasks

How adding automation can improve your workday

We all have them, small, repetitive tasks that we do each day or each week without thinking. But in an age of automation why do we continue to allow these tasks space in our working week? Monpellier has discovered that one of the biggest reasons is down to understanding what is possible. The topic of automation is so vast that trying to find that small section of possibilities that relates to your business and your budget can be difficult. 

In this blog, we are going to focus on Microsoft Power Automate and some of the common questions we get asked.

 

Q. What is Microsoft Power Automate?

A. Power Automate (formally known as Microsoft Flow) is an intelligent workflow application that enables you to connect apps and services to automate repetitive tasks. A workflow refers to a part of or a whole business process where documents, information or tasks are worked on. 

 

Q. What types of ‘flows’ are there? 

A. Flows can be automated or manual and triggered by different things. Automated Flows can be triggered by an event such as a contact form being submitted through the company website. You can also use ‘time’ as your trigger, for example, I want this report to be pulled every morning at 9 am. Manual flows can be set up ready for you to simply click a button every time you want that sequence completed. 

 

Q. How much does it cost to automate tasks?

A. A Business Basic Microsoft 365 licence gives you access to elements of Power Automate that can be sufficient to resolve many SME automation issues. The best way to implement lasting Flows into your business is to take advantage of our free consultation service. Use this time to discuss the tasks you would like to automate and other elements that unnecessarily take your valuable time. With help from one of our experts, you can get an accurate quote but more importantly a solution that works for you. 

 

Real-Life Examples

Ear to the ground It’s now possible to set up a Flow using Microsoft Power Automate to collect data for you. For example, if your company wants to find out what customers and prospects are saying online about your business, service or products you can trigger a Flow that will collect social mentions into a list on SharePoint for you. 

 

Timesheet organisation If your company uses online forms you can use Power Automate to do a multitude of actions. You could set up alerts for every time a new form is completed or you could have all responses collected in SharePoint ready for you to report on.

 

Urgent – If you have remote team members that need to be notified of an urgent project or prospect development you can use triggers to send an alert or notification straight to the person in question. Say you are waiting for an important delivery but are between sites, the text can let you know immediately and allow work to continue without delay. 

 

If you have further questions relating to Microsoft Power Automate and how automation can help your business please do not hesitate to get in contact. Monpellier offer free consultations and are here to advise on the best solutions for your needs and budget. Contact Us 

22
Feb

How to protect your SME from Ransomware

Top tips to keep your data safe

Ransomware has been around for decades, but if this is an age-old problem why has it suddenly become a hot topic? We believe there are two main factors at play here. First of all the economic changes over the past 12 months have led cybercriminals to become more aggressive with their techniques and in turn, their methods have become more advanced. Secondly, with an entire country forced into remote and new ways of working, criminals have taken the opportunity to exploit chaos to gain access to otherwise relatively secure networks. 

 

We feel it’s important to highlight at this point that any business can become a victim of cybercrime. Phishing emails can be incredibly hard to spot and websites you use each day can become corrupted without your knowledge, leaving your data vulnerable. You may have heard of one scam in particular, the CEO scam, this phishing email is designed to mimic an email from an existing employee from within your organsiation in the hope of fooling an unsuspecting accounts or HR employee. The FBI are currently still investigating countless records of said scam and it is believed to have taken over $26billion* from innocent businesses across the world. But these cybercriminals don’t just target larger companies. A recent report by Beazley Breach Response found that UK SMEs were 71% more likely to be targeted as statistically they are more likely to be unprepared.

 

What are the most common types of ransomware?

Locker Ransomware – This kind of attack will freeze you out of your applications and device and deny you access to your data until you pay a release fee. 

Crypto RansomwareThis type is probably more familiar to most businesses. The ransomware will encrypt your data rendering it unreadable. Your business will then be prompted to make a payment, usually in Bitcoin, for a private decryption key that will let you regain access to your valuable data. 

 

All ransomware attacks can be catastrophic for any SME, rendering your operations completely dormant until a resolution is met. There is no fail-safe guarantee when it comes to protecting yourself against attacks and even companies that spend millions such as the NHS and Universities fall victim to ransomware. But what you can do is put your business in the best possible position to protect and recover if the worst should happen. 

 

Here are Monpellier’s top tips – 

Emails

Emails are the most common way cybercriminals gain access to your data. Always check the email was sent from a verified source (URL) and never fill in email forms, click links, or open attachments from unknown sources. You can also add a spam filter to your inbox as an extra layer of protection.    

 

Back-up

Your business’s best defence against malware is to continually back-up your data. It goes without saying that backing-up your business data is important but is it time to review your policies and back-up frequency? We recommend having two or three methods of back-up for your data. One of which could be stored in the cloud and another offsite to protect you against different types of attack. 

 

Operating Systems

Have you been ignoring your reminders? Yes, they are annoying but making sure all of your applications and software are up-to-date is important. If you have software that is no longer supported we would suggest you look at finding a new supported solution as cybercriminals often exploit security risks in older versions that are no longer maintained by the provider. 

 

Security 

Security comes in many different forms, from updating your passwords regularly to using two-factor authentication. In addition, to these daily security features, there are many cybersecurity management solutions on the market that your business may wish to consider. In conjunction with our partners at Trustack, we are able to advise on additional security packages to suit your needs and budget. 

 

Awareness 

This might sound like an obvious suggestion but you would be surprised at how many companies fall short due to what they presumed would be common sense. Keep all your employees up-to-date with your back-up policies, encourage regular password changes and share useful information relating to data security to keep everyone’s minds focused on safe practice.  

 

If you are currently using an accounting package that is outdated or unsupported check out our Business Owner’s Guide for replacing accounting software. 

 

If you want to talk to a member of the team about your current data processes drop us an email [email protected] or call us 0191 500 8150. 

 

* Knowbe4.com. 2021. CEO Fraud | KnowBe4. [online] Available at: <https://www.knowbe4.com/ceo-fraud#:~:text=CEO%20Fraud%20is%20a%20scam,sending%20out%20confidential%20tax%20information.&text=According%20to%20FBI%20statistics%2C%20CEO,now%20a%20%2426%20billion%20scam.> [Accessed 16 February 2021].

 

12
Nov

Does your intranet solution feel outdated?

Enter a new age of integration with Microsoft Teams and SharePoint

2020 has been more than challenging for most businesses, and as a second national lockdown gets underway we certainly have more obstacles to overcome. According to Finder.com 60% of UK workers are now working from home, meaning that businesses have had to rapidly change their systems and processes to accommodate this new normal. 

A common theme that has arisen is the need for fluid integration. Companies are leaning towards intuitive solutions that can cope with flexibility and work seamlessly with existing solutions. For this reason, SharePoint and Teams (working in unison) have provided companies with an affordable, powerful intranet replacement. 

But can the pair really replace your historic intranet? We’ve collected some of our commonly asked questions to help you decide. 

 

Should I use Microsoft Teams or SharePoint?

The answer here is simple, if you are using Teams you are already using SharePoint you just may not realise it. Microsoft Teams is built into Office 365. Each Team you create is classed as a ‘Group’. Groups can have collaboration tools including shared calendars, documents and mailboxes. When a Group is created, a SharePoint team site is automatically created. This use of SharePoint is limiting, SharePoint is an incredibly powerful tool which can be developed into much more. 

A good way to understand the division between Teams and SharePoint is that Teams facilitates cooperation on a personal level and SharePoint facilitates cooperation on an organisational level.

 

Will SharePoint be able to match the functionality of my current intranet?

With over 100 million users worldwide SharePoint is certainly one of the most popular intranets and although popularity doesn’t always translate to the right option for your organisation it does highlight how universally loved the solution is. One of the benefits of SharePoint is that it gives your business a huge variety of options. Yes, you can use SharePoint out of the box, but it can be developed, and with Microsoft Power Automate (formally Microsoft Flow) automated workflows can effortlessly boost productivity within your organisation.

Furthermore, due to SharePoint’s adoption growth over the past 12 months, you can be assured that continuous work will be done by both Microsoft and third parties to develop and support the application.

 

Can SharePoint and Teams help improve communication?

Communication is certainly more seamless with SharePoint and Teams. The applications working together can engage users across the whole organisation, make it easier to collaborate on projects and documents, store information and run meetings. 

SharePoint contains a company-wide calendar to help organise events, key dates and holidays as well as team news channels that your employees can opt-in to follow. These few things are but the tip of the iceberg in relation to functionality. No solution can promise improved communication but it is clear that SharePoint and Teams make the process easier than it has been before. 

 

Free Consultation 

Monpellier are a trusted Microsoft partner specialising in providing an end-to-end solution and support. If you would like more information regarding Microsoft Teams or SharePoint give our team a call on 0191 500 8150 or email [email protected]

8
Oct

Dynamics NAV (Navision) versus Dynamics 365 Business Central

The evolution of the all-in-one ERP

Just like your business, software evolves over time. It adapts to our ever-changing needs and advances processes by delivering more ground-breaking functionality. In 2018 Microsoft released Dynamics 365 Business Central to the enterprise resource planning market to replace what was Dynamics NAV (formally known as Navision). But how does Dynamics 365 Business Central compare? 

Dynamics 365 Business Central carries all the same features as its older relative (Dynamics NAV) but has the added benefits of a true cloud solution. Benefits such as access to your information from anywhere in the world, real-time updates and easy integration. The transition from Dynamics NAV to Dynamics 365 Business Central is so much more than a face-lift, Microsoft has successfully created a cost-effective all-in-one-solution that can seamlessly grow with your business. 

Here are some of the main reasons our customers have made the switch to Dynamics 365 Business Central. 

1. Familiarity

If you have previously used Dynamics NAV or currently use any of Microsoft’s other products (Office, Teams, OneDrive, SharePoint, etc) there is a sense of fellowship you feel when using Dynamics 365 Business Central. Your actions become instinctive, which makes product training a smooth and timely process. 

 

2. Freedom

Thanks to cloud technology, Dynamics 365 Business Central can be accessed from anywhere and any device with an internet connection. This monumental change lets you and your team access data and reports on the go and ensures you always have the most up-to-date information at your fingertips. 

 

3. Cost

Take away hardware, infrastructure, onsite maintenance, manual upgrades and storage and you are now looking at a solution that is more cost-effective for your business. With Dynamics 365 Business Central, you pay a monthly subscription for storage, hosting, and continuous access to your data. 

 

4. Security 

Dynamics 365 Business Central can be hosted on Microsoft Azure which is one of the most trusted global cloud providers in the world. Azure boasts over 70 compliance offerings and has first-class embedded security and privacy. 

 

5. Future-proof

With Business Central you have one platform that allows you to access all the modules and tools you need. From your Outlook to PowerBI, all your company data is connected and readily available and comparable. Furthermore, with Microsoft’s new AL coding the limit to extensions and integration has been removed. This core change means that D365 Business Central users now have flexibility never experienced before in the world of ERPs. Your solution can be individually customised to suit your exacting needs and processes, saving you valuable time and expenditure. 

 

D365 Business Central and Monpellier

Monpellier are experts in providing custom, integrated solutions and delivering first-class support across a wide range of areas. For further information regarding the Dynamics 365 Business Central and the licences available please give us a call on 01228 550 167 or email [email protected] for a free consultation and demo.

23
Jul

Microsoft Teams Announce Upcoming Functionality

Our favourite new features from the July update

Since March, businesses across the world have adapted and moulded their way of working to meet new challenges. Many of us have become a custom to remote working and Microsoft Teams has become a permanent fixture in our working lives, and with over 75 million daily users it’s no wonder Microsoft has dedicated time and resources to constantly improving functionality. 

The latest change was announced this month (July) and brings with it a whole host of exciting changes that will be introduced over the coming months. Monpellier has pulled together our top 5 features to look out for. 

 

 1. Together Mode 

The sight of our colleagues segmented into multiple boxes on our screen may have become the new normal but Microsoft has created ‘Together Mode’ to bring a more human experience to video conferencing. Together Mode uses AI segmentation technology to digitally place video feeds into the same shared background. The new feature can even make participants look towards the active speaker dynamically by mapping features. Once released Together Mode will initially be able to host up to 49 people at one time and will include a couple of possible backgrounds including a lecture theatre and coffee shop. 

 

2. Dynamic Stage 

The Dynamic layout will optimise and adapt the sizing of different video feeds to maximise screen space and create the most engaging set up for those on a video call. Furthermore, to avoid those difficult moments when people find themselves talking over each other Microsoft Teams have introduced the ‘raise hand’ feature which will create a yellow box around the person wanting to speak next. You can also now choose the chat bubbles feature to make chat appear over the video so you don’t have to keep the chat panel open. 

 

3. Whiteboard

Whiteboard in Teams will soon be updated with exciting extras including faster load times, sticky notes, text, and drag and drop capabilities. This will make using Whiteboard in meetings much easier for those who don’t have access to a touchscreen or Surface Hub to participate. For more information regarding Whiteboard check out our Supercharge your Meetings blog – https://www.monpellier.co.uk/supercharge-your-meetings/

 

4. Transcript 

Although transcription is already available within Microsoft Teams the new live caption update will be able to identify who is talking and attribute the speaker’s name. This feature makes note-keeping incredibly easy and gives you a concrete record that you are able to review after each meeting to double-check that you are happy with what has been recorded. 

 

 5. Slash Commands

Slash commands aren’t a brand new feature but they certainly help you navigate Microsoft Teams as efficiently as possible. You can use a slash command to set your status to “online” or “away”. Alternatively, you can make sure you’re not missing out on anything important with /WhatsNew. 

Some of the best slash commands include:

/Files – Shows the most recent files shared with you on Teams.

/GoTo – Lets you jump straight to a channel

/Call – Initiates a call with someone else on Teams

/Help – Delivers assistance via T-bot

/Saved – Takes you to your saved messages

 

For more information regarding Microsoft Teams and other applications within Microsoft 365 give our team a call on 0191 500 8150 and make the most of your subscription.

 

16
Apr

Connect and Grow with D356 Business Central

What is Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central?

Specifically designed for small to medium-sized businesses, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is an all-in-one management solution with a very desirable price point (from £52.80 per user/ month). Similar to Microsoft’s previous offering, Nav, D365 Business Central is an easy to use cloud (or on-premise) solution that draws all your systems together.

 

Essentials Licence: What’s included?

Financial Management  – D365 Business Central includes all the basic features you have come to expect from an ERP system including; general ledger functionality, audit trails, bank management, budgets, deferrals, bank reconciliation, fixed assets and currencies.

Business Central can also help manage inventory costs and operational and departmental budgets. The look and feel is similar to that of Office 365 and you can dive deep into your data by integrating applications such as Power BI.

Customer Relational Management – Although it doesn’t contain the complete D365 CRM, Business Central does contain core CRM features that can help your business organise sales efforts. The functionality to record, manage and segment contacts based on a number of criteria is seamless and works with the full Office 365 suite.

NB – if you are looking for a complete CRM solution with all the bells and whistles, Business Central can be easily integrated with Dynamics 365 for Sales.

 

Supply Chain Management – D365 Business Central really shines when it comes to organising operations. Supply Chain Management gives you the capability to manage orders, oversee inventory, process orders, manage transaction and receivables. Furthermore, no matter where inventory is located, levels can be tracked even if it’s in transit!

Human Resources – From managing detailed employee records to tracking/ group codes and logging absences D365 Business Central’s HR functionality has changed dramatically since the days of NAV. The application now gives a more holistic approach to HR and even allows you to manage employee expenses, which can be reimbursed easily using the same method used to pay a vendor.

Project Management – Business Central has all of your core project management features covered, including; scheduling resources, managing budgets, task monitoring, resource planning and availability. All of the functionality including time sheets can be accessed remotely meaning that your workforce can keep up-to-date on the move.

 

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central has two licencing options, the first of which (Essentials) includes everything we have covered in this article while Premium includes all the above as well as Service Order Management and Manufacturing.

 

D365 Business Central and Monpellier

Monpellier are experts in providing custom, integrated solutions and delivering first-class support across a wide range of areas. For further information regarding the D365 Business Central and the licences available please give us a call on 01228 550 167 or email [email protected] for a free onsite consultation.

 First published: In Cumbria Magazine’s March Issue.  

6
Apr

Financial Business Support

What help is available for my business?

During these uncertain times increasing numbers of SMEs are under pressure to find support. Monpellier has gathered some of the top sources of help and advice at this time.

Information regarding financial SME support is changing rapidly. Here are the current schemes and options available as of 1st April 2020.

Deferring VAT Payments – The UK Government has offered to support businesses by deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months. If you are a UK VAT registered company and have a VAT payment due between 20th March 2020 and 30th June 2020 this offer applies to you. For more information click HERE

Self-assessment payments – If you are due to make a payment by 31st July 2020 but are financially affected by the corona-virus you have the option to hold off payment until January 2021. Please note if you can pay by the 31st July you should do so. Eligibility can be found HERE 

Self-employment Income Support Scheme – Also referred to as SEISS, has been designed to support self-employed individuals who have suffered income loss due to COVID-19. The scheme allows the self-employed to claim a taxable grant worth up to 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. For further information and to apply click HERE

Sick pay support – SME with fewer than 250 employees will soon be able to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay for sickness absence due to COVID-19. The reimbursement will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP and is currently being finalised. To keep up-to-date with the latest information regarding this rebate click HERE

Business rate holiday (retail, hospitality & leisure) – If you are eligible this scheme will automatically be applied to you. However, local authorities may have to reissue your bill to provide this support. For more details and to estimate your business rates click HERE
Cash grants (SMEs) – The small business Covid-19 grant has been increased from £3,000 to £10,000 as of April 2020. This is part of a £330bn package of support for businesses, equivalent to 15 percent of GDP.

Cash grants (retail, hospitality & leisure) – This grant is for businesses in the stated sectors and offers a grant of up to £25,0000 per property. For eligibility and how to apply click HERE

Interruption loan scheme – This temporary scheme supports SMEs by giving access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million and for up to 6 years. The government will also make a Business Interruption Payment to cover the first 12 months of interest payments as well as other beneficial support. Full terms can he found HERE

Commercial eviction ban – Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of COVID-19 will be protected from eviction. This is not a rental holiday. All commercial tenants will still be liable for the rent. Further information can be found HERE

Helpful resources

We suggest reaching out to all of the below before you apply to double-check they are still taking applications.

NBSL – Business grants for North East based businesses. Visit the NBSL website.

North East Growth Hub – A useful resource containing business support information, advice and organisations that are providing funding, loans and financial help. Visit the North East Growth Hub website. 

Made Smarter – Support for Manufacturing businesses (North West) who are interested in digital development. Visit the Made Smarter website. 

For help relating to remote working including Microsoft Teams, SharePoint and keeping your team working efficiently while at home, Monpellier are here to help. Call us on 0191 500 8150 or drop us an email, [email protected].

30
Mar

5 top tips to keep employee engagement high

 How to keep your team together while working remotely

Managing remote employees can be difficult, but with the addition of a global pandemic, this task has become a lot harder. Although many organisations have been geared up for remote working for a while, many businesses have been thrown into the transition leaving teams disjointed in these uncertain times.

 

Understandably having the right IT solution is essential to remote-working but having those tools is just the beginning. A large proportion of the population is now in lock-down within their homes with their family’s meaning that distractions are abnormally high. If you also consider that many have heightened emotions due to health and economic concerns, as an employer it’s now more important than ever to take a moment to be mindful and factor these aspects into expected productivity levels.

 

To help employers through this difficult time we have pulled together our top 5 tips for keeping engagement high amongst home-workers during the COVID-19 outbreak.

 

  1. Online meetings – Keep weekly meetings going and keep teams together by using video conferencing tools (such as Microsoft Teams). Studies have shown that seeing each other (even virtually) has a positive effect on our mental health, helping us to feel connected whilst we work apart. Even a 10 minute morning check-in is enough to add a touch of normality to proceedings and will encourage team members to get ready for the day and mentally switch to ‘work’ mode.
  2. Collaborate – Ensure your team has access to everything they need by using a shared cloud application such as Microsoft SharePoint. SharePoint gives you the ability to create team sites for each of your ongoing projects allowing remote team members to share files, data, news and resources.
  3. Kitchen moments – The kitchen is the social hub of any office where employees catch -up and grow closer and share their lives. As we all work remotely this vital part of the day is missing. Be sure to encourage ‘light’ chat using tools such as Microsoft Teams, you could even introduce lunchtime quizzes or other fun activities to keep spirits high and team members connected.
  4. Reflection – A positive aspect of this current situation is that we have time to reflect on existing processes, systems and business procedures. Encourage your team to take time to think big picture and envisage an ‘ideal’ solution to areas that need improvement.
  5. Office budget – To boost productivity your team needs the right tools and supplies. From sending out office stationery packs to investing in cloud applications or even splashing out on new monitors there are plenty of ways you can help improve home-working for your team.

 

While we navigate through these testing times technology can help with engagement, collaboration, productivity and most importantly keeping us connected.

 

If you would like more information on remote working or solutions that could help your business during this time please get in contact with our experts on 0191 500 8150 or drop us an email at [email protected].

 

18
Mar

Customer Announcement (COVID-19)

In light of the recent developments with the spread of COVID-19 in the UK; we wanted to reassure our customers and make them aware of the business continuity measures that are in place.

Planned work 

Unless advised otherwise, we plan to carry out all of our commitments for installation and project work, but will use remote working to complete any tasks if we feel it is appropriate. If, for any reason, on-site days need to be changed we will provide as much notice as possible.

Contacting us 

Should Monpellier face an outbreak where several or all our employees are required to self-isolate, we have put measures in place to ensure the business can still operate as normal and continue to provide our customers with the high level of service they have come to expect. In light of any disruption, customers will continue to be able to contact us via telephone and email. 

Remote working 

Every staff member has been set up to work remotely, so should we need to isolate the entire business will remain unaffected. 

Suppliers

We are in constant contact with all of our suppliers who have each implemented their own measures at this fluid time. 

 

During any developments over the next few weeks we will continue to update our website and will post further updates on our social media channels, which are detailed below:

www.monpellier.co.uk

Twitter: @MonpellierLtd

 

In the meantime, if we can be of any assistance to your own remote working plans then please get in touch.

5
Mar

Integrated Solution for Manufacturers

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central

One of the most talked about trends for the next decade is digital integration. As accessibility to digital manufacturing tools, such as cloud storage, artificial intelligence and IoT sensors grows the concept of a ‘smart factory’ is becoming a reality. Manufacturers of all types can  benefit from digitally integrating their operations. 

Integration has been on Microsoft’s radar for a long time and they now have a vast, robust selection of solutions that all work together in perfect harmony. One such solution, which is priced for the SME market, is Dynamics 365 Business Central. 

This all-in-one solution includes modules for; Financials, Purchasing, Inventory, Operations, Warehousing and Projects. 

Let’s take a look at some of our favourite tools and functionality within Dynamics 365 Business Central…

 

Material Requirements Planning (MRP) 

To avoid ending up in that all too familiar situation of having too much of one item and not enough of another the MRP functionality within Dynamics 365 Business Central focuses on making tracking bills of materials (BOMs) flawless. It automatically generates order suggestions based on demand and sales, giving you accurate order suggestions at a glance. 

 

Scheduling

Our manufacturing clients often find the scheduling process the most stressful part of their business. Incorrect data or the slightest supply error and your whole schedule could suffer. Dynamics 365 Business Central slims down and simplifies the scheduling process with automatic production orders and purchase orders, action messages linked to balancing of supply and the option to set-up some items with individual reordering policies.

 

Capacity Measurement

Many businesses have the goal to grow in 2020 but with growth comes increased capacity. Dynamics 365 Business Central tracking capacity alongside materials and projects to ensure you never overbook or oversell – or lets you know you need to add to your facility, materials and team.

 

Inventory Items

Keeping track of raw materials, component parts and sub-assemblies can be exhausting. Dynamics 365 Business Central can quickly track these items and ensure you have what you need at all times. Keeping on top of your inventory like this can dramatically increase productivity and reduce time wastage during the production cycle. 

 

Machine Centers

Machine centers are designed to help you manage the capacity of a single machine or resource. Within Dynamics 365 Business Central, Machine Centers lets you plan and manage capacity on multiple levels and had the capability to allow users to store more default information about manufacturing processes, such as setup time or default scrap percentage.

 

Dynamics 365 Business Central and Monpellier

Monpellier are experts in providing custom, integrated solutions and delivering first-class support across a wide range of areas. We lead with your business objective and take the time and care needed to plan, customise, implement, train and support the solution that will achieve your goals. Give us a call on 01228 550 167 or email [email protected] for a free onsite consultation.

 First published: In Cumbria Magazine’s February Issue.  

31
Jan

Microsoft Business Central – more than just Excel

Myth Busting D365 Business Central

Many accountants have relied solely or partially on Microsoft Excel to assist in their role for decades, leading many firms to ask when the next legacy solution will arrive. 

 

Enter Microsoft Dynamics. 

Over the past couple of years, Microsoft has shifted their focus to collaboration and have invested in new ways of working through Office 365. D365 Business Central is part of a wider product line of enterprise applications that all work together including applications focusing on sales, marketing, service, operations and CRM. D365 Business Central is the successor product for Microsoft NAV.

As D365 Business Central is still a relatively new offering in terms of ERP (enterprise resource planning) solutions Monpellier are here to clear up a few common misconceptions and equip you with the information you need to make an informed decision for your business. 

 

Microsoft Myth Busting

Myth 1: ‘ERP solutions from Microsoft are far too expensive!’ 

A D365 Business Central licence is £52.80/user/month. A company with a financial director, controller, and management accountant would pay a little over £150/month for its ERP software. 

Myth 2: ‘I will have to do a lot of work outside of D365 Business Central’

There’s a huge amount of connectivity with reporting tools like Power BI, which can be built directly into your ledgers. You can easily create bespoke reporting dashboards and have all of your valuable information at your fingertips. 

Myth 3: ‘Extensive training to learn the new software will be needed’ 

D365 Business Central is a cloud ERP solution, meaning that delivery and installation is seamless giving users the ability to get up and going quickly. Furthermore, all applications are designed to work together and integrate with Office 365 creating a familiar layout for users. 

Myth 4: ‘It won’t communicate with my emails’

If you get an email in Office 365 and use Business Central, there’s a direct interface that will recognise any email address affiliated with a customer or supplier. From there you can raise a sales quote or purchase order or invoice without having to leave your Outlook email inbox

Myth 5: ‘It’s just another accountancy package’ 

Like your Office 365 subscription, D365 Business Central runs on the Microsoft Common Data Service meaning that all your information is securely stored in the same place. This cloud-based storage option gives you the ability to supercharge your data by working seamlessly with Power Apps and Power Automate (previously known as Microsoft Flow). 

 

D365 Business Central and Monpellier

Monpellier are experts in providing custom, integrated solutions and delivering first-class support across a wide range of areas. Grounded in technical expertise, the team is made up of professional financial accounting advisors and technology experts, who work together to advise, install and support the best business software on the market Give us a call on 01228 550 167 or email [email protected] for a free onsite consultation. 

 First published: In Cumbria Magazine’s January Issue, 2020.  

12
Jan

Supercharge your supply chain

Business Intelligence Software

Food and drink companies are rapidly embracing new technology in order to optimise their processes and supply chain operations, and Microsoft is leading the pack in terms of supply chain reporting with applications such as Power BI. 

Power BI is fully compatible with Microsoft’s other applications such as Office 365, Dynamics 365 and Business Central as well as being able to integrate with other supply chain systems you may have in place. The application is designed to create intelligent visualisations based on your business data to better support your decision-making processes. These engaging reports can easily be shared with one or more employees to create a business intelligence environment that can empower whole workforces. After all, knowledge is power! 

 

Resolve your supply issues with Power BI: 

Delivery information 

Food and drink manufacturers often have multiple delivery vehicles but information such as delivery times, mileage, damage reports and down-time if often not recorded or lost entirely due to paper forms that are filled away. Power BI takes all this information crunches it and creates valuable reports that can improve delivery performance and overall operational efficiency. 

Warehouse management 

Manually tracking items available in the warehouse is not only time consuming but also open to all kinds of error. Microsoft Power BI provides a consolidated view of data collected from the warehouse, from multiple sources, and displays it in the form of interactive dashboards. 

Remote working 

Do you have multiple sites or employees that work in the field? The Power BI application can run remotely through a variety of internet-enabled platforms and devices. Desktop reports can be adjusted to fit into reduced screen sizes making them both user-friendly and succinct. 

Connectivity

Sometimes it can feel like there is a device for everything, one to record stock, one to monitor machinery health, one to manage customer data, one for financials, it really can be an endless list. Power BI taps into the Microsoft Azure Cloud and other third-party data sources to bring all your data into one place. This gives your business the freedom to create new compelling datasets with a 360-degree view of your supply chain. 

In conclusion, a business intelligence solution such as Power BI can unlock critical insights into your supply chain operations, therefore minimising the time associated with manual data analysis. Our Power BI customers see real change across their entire business as the added understanding the application brings leads to the more effective management of their operations and the ability to pinpoint and act on disruptions before they become issues. 

 

Power BI and Monpellier

Monpellier are experts in providing custom, integrated solutions and delivering first-class support across a wide range of areas. Give us a call on 01228 550 167 or email [email protected] for a free onsite consultation and to start your business intelligence project today. 

 First published: In Cumbria Magazine’s December Issue, 2019.  

5
Dec

How strong is your foundation?

IT infrastructure

A strong IT infrastructure is essential in supporting your business’s overall goals. You need to trust that no matter what is thrown your way that you have a strong foundation to keep your operations running smoothly. 

But what falls under the term IT infrastructure? IT infrastructure consists of all elements that support the management and usability of data and is usually split into four categories, software, hardware, network  and servers.

Since 2001 Monpellier have worked with SMEs in Cumbria and across the North East to help advise, implement and support elements of IT infrastructure. When it comes to building a strong foundation Microsoft Dynamics 365 has you more than covered. Dynamics 365 is a budget-friendly Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution that can adapt and grow with your business. Perfect for businesses that don’t want to fork out large amounts for their own hardware and onsite server, Dynamics 365 is neatly and securely hosted on the Microsoft Azure Cloud. 

Dynamics 365 is a unified suite, making it a valuable base to your IT infrastructure. Unlike other full-suite software solutions, Dynamics 365 is modular so you only pay for what you need. This gives businesses options to scale up (or down) as their organisation changes. 

 

Applications from Dynamics 365:

Finance – Monitor performance in real-time, predict future outcomes, and make data-driven decisions to drive growth.

Operations – Use predictive insights and intelligence across planning, production, stock, warehouse, and transportation. 

Marketing – Increase customer demand for your products and services and improve marketing results. 

Sales – Go beyond sales force automation to better understand customer needs, engage more effectively, and win more deals.

Field Service – Optimise your field operations with built-in intelligence, remote monitoring, and tools that enable your technicians to deliver quality work

Customer Service – Differentiate your brand, Built-in intelligence delivers faster, more personalised service and adds value to every interaction.

 

These six applications are just a snapshot of what Dynamics 365 has to offer with other applications such as HR, Talent and Retail also available. 

From a user’s point of view, Dynamics 365 keeps all your systems unified and can ultimately reduce training and on-boarding, meaning a much shorter ‘learning curve’ for you and your team. Integration between systems becomes seamless and the size and complexity of your infrastructure stays firmly in your control. 

 

Dynamics 365 by Monpellier

Monpellier are experts in providing custom, integrated solutions and delivering first-class support across a wide range of areas. Give us a call on 01228 550 167 or email [email protected] for a free onsite consultation. 

 First published: In Cumbria Magazine’s November Issue, 2019.  

24
Nov

Supercharge your meetings

Microsoft Whiteboard App

Originally designed for the Microsoft Surface Pro the Whiteboard app became widely available earlier this year for web and within Microsoft Teams. You can now easily collaborate with people using Microsoft Whiteboard regardless of what device they’re using or if they have an app installed. 

But what is the Microsoft Whiteboard App? Whiteboard is an interactive canvas jam-packed with intuitive features to help you visually communicate with others. It’s a fantastic tool for meetings and has the added ability to include remote team members, as it now works seamlessly with Microsoft Teams.  

 

Our favourite features:

Save automatically – Your whiteboards are stored safely in the cloud until you’re ready to use them again. Gone are the days of taking pictures of whiteboards and flip charts following meetings, with the Whiteboard it’s all there ready without you even having to click save.

 

Share seamlessly Microsoft has created several pre-designed templates for Whiteboard to help you mimic workplace scenarios such as brainstorms, project planning, sprint planning etc. More templates are being added each month so keep your eyes peeled for your new favourite. 

 

Limit-free creation – Restrictions can block creativity. Whiteboard can transform your work into editable images, charts, flows, sticky notes and shapes on an interface designed for mouse, pen, touch or keyboard. 

 

For more information on the Whiteboard and other applications within Office 365 give our team a call and make the most of your Office 365 subscription. 

1
Nov

Is your team communicating effectively?

What is Microsoft SharePoint and how can it help me?

When it comes to communication within the workplace, technology continues to reshape the way we collaborate. But with an app for almost everything these days some businesses are suffering from communication fatigue. Make no mistake, technology is an amazing addition to any workplace but only when it’s the right solution.

With a market flooded with communication and collaboration tools, many businesses are resorting to sticking with outdated methods and processes.  

Microsoft SharePoint has over 100 million users worldwide and is used by a whopping 78% of the Fortune 500. 

 

What is Microsoft SharePoint  

Developed by Microsoft, SharePoint launched in 2001 and is a web-based document management and collaboration tool. SharePoint works with Office 365 to create a server type environment designed for sharing. 

If you choose to implement SharePoint into your business it is typically deployed onto your company’s network as a selection of intranet sites. Each site is designed specifically for each department with its own security, functionality and data. 

 

Reasons to use SharePoint 

Improve efficiency The most common way businesses use SharePoint is as an intranet portal. SharePoint gives its users a powerful, fully-searchable centralised location from which to run operations. By dividing your SharePoint into separate team sites you can organise information and documents by department, ensuring data is but a click away. Unlike other intranet systems, SharePoint follows the same Office 365 style you are acclimatised to but adds additional intuitive features such as; highlighting upcoming deadlines and team scheduling data. 

 

Cultivate positive collaborationSharePoint is a content management system (CMS) and is used to store and share information. Its’ features include version management, business workflows and social aspects, which can all be accessed remotely. You can use SharePoint to accelerate productivity by transforming everything from a simple task to complex operational workflows.

 

Increase business intelligence Your business collects so much valuable information, wouldn’t it be amazing to view all this data at a single glance and in one location? Through SharePoint’s integration capabilities, users can connect the platform with just about any existing information output from different applications. SharePoint is your one-stop-shop for custom-made business intelligence reporting. 

 

Microsoft SharePoint by Monpellier

Monpellier (based in Cumbria and the North East) are experts in providing custom, integrated solutions, delivering first-class support and solutions across a wide range of areas from accounting & payroll to intranet and CRM solutions. Give us a call on 01228 550 167 or email [email protected] for a free onsite consultation.

 First published: In Cumbria Magazine’s October’s 2019 issue. 

25
Oct

Dynamics 365 Wave 2 Release

Our top 5 features

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is an application suite of ERP and CRM modules. This October saw the greatly anticipated Dynamics 365 Wave 2 release. The update gave users 400 new features and capabilities across Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform. This is one of Microsoft’s largest release waves to date and we wanted to highlight our favourite aspects that produce proactive insight and drive intelligent action. 

 

Top 5 Updates

  1. Security – Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection is now available and provides a powerful solution that reduces fraud costs. To learn more about how Microsoft has used this technology to reduce fraud-related costs by millions of pounds in just two years visit – LINK
  2. User Interface Business Central has seen the biggest change when it comes to user interface. New features including additional bookmarking capabilities, autofit columns, department overview functionality and the ability to work on multiple Business Central tabs at once are now fully available.    
  3. AI ApplicationsWave 2 sees the addition of two more AI applications, Product Insights and Connected Store. Product Insights transforms product development, marketing, sales and support by acting on real-time insight relating to customer usage while Connected Store uses data from cloud-connected sensors. 
  4. Scan a Note The new update allows you to take your meeting notes (as usual) with a pen and paper, you can then scan these notes straight into Dynamics 365. The sophisticated application then reads your handwriting turning it into an editable note that is stored against the potential customer. This allows you to keep all valuable information in one place insuring your sales team never misses an opportunity. 
  5. Virtual Agent Good customer service can take a lot of physical time but with the wave 2 release, your customer service team has a helping hand. Intelligent AI-powered robots have been designed with the ability to chat with customers, thereby improving speed and overall service. 

Microsoft recorded their entire virtual launch event which you can watch by clicking the LINK

Microsoft Dynamics 365 & Monpellier 

If you’re interested in what Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 can do for your business, Monpellier can help. We are offering free, personalised onsite consultations designed to showcase the areas that would work for your individual business. Call our experts today on 0191 500 8150 or drop us an email [email protected] 

2
Oct

Are you making the most of OneDrive?

Tips to boost your OneDrive experience

 

What is Microsoft OneDrive?

OneDrive is Microsoft’s storage service facility for hosting files in the cloud. Although you can sign up for OneDrive for free, you gain more as an Office 365 customer. OneDrive has been designed to provide a simple solution to store and share various types of documents and files.

 

How to make the most of OneDrive 

 

Expiry Links 

If you need to share a file with confidential data for a fixed period of time you can create a shareable link that is constrained by a set expiry date and time that you’ve pre-set. 

 

Password Protected 

Want to share very sensitive data? Microsoft has added password functionality so that the data you share has another layer of security. 

 

Scan & Go 

By using the OneDrive app you can scan, save and share documents that you can snap straight from your camera phone. It also lets you save these images as PDFs or directly into other applications such as OneNote. 

 

Offline Mode 

OneDrive gives you the option to make folders offline so that you can work on the go without an internet connection and back-up to the cloud once you’re back in the office. 

 

Version Control 

Whilst it’s important to make sure you are always working on the most up-to-date version of any document it’s also beneficial to refer back to older versions. OneDrive lets you look back at previous versions of each document to make sure no vital information is lost. 

 

Outlook 

We are all guilty of clogging up our inboxes with emails that on their own are useless but they have an attachment we want to keep. OneDrive lets you save these attachments straight to your chosen folder on OneDrive so that your Inbox stays clean and you don’t misplace important documents. 

 

Microsoft Office 365 Apps & Monpellier

Are you interested in what Microsoft’s Office 365 Apps can do for your business? OneDrive is but a drop in the ocean when it comes to the capabilities provided by the Office 365 suite. If you are interested in finding out more and how they can integrate into your business give us a call today to arrange your free onsite consultation. 

2
Oct

Welcome to the fourth industrial revolution

The age of automation

Industry 4.0 refers to the fourth industrial revolution, (the first industrial revolution involved mechanisation through water and steam, the second electricity and the third nuclear power). The fourth industrial revolution is all about the internet and emerging technologies such as the Cloud, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence. In summary, Industry 4.0 is the age of smart manufacturing and atomisation.

 

Industry 4.0 in practice

Manufacturing organisations are a wealth of data however, according to IDC, only 30% of manufacturers are currently investing in transforming the digital operations of their businesses. Monpellier believes this is due to the sheer scale of the data and processes held by most manufacturing businesses. The idea of digitalising all this information and implementing a future-forward solution is daunting, and in some cases not always necessary. Here are our top 5 tips for ensuring your business stays ahead of the curve during the Industry 4.0 revolution.

 

Assess

Firstly, you need to take the time to step back and assess. Spend time (don’t rush) taking stock of existing processes and software/ hardware. Map out how each process currently flows and how you would like it to flow (in an ideal world). After all this work is done, it’s time to reach out and speak to a specialist solutions provider. Your chosen provider can help you devise the best plan to fit your needs and budget, whether that’s a modern ERP solution, moving to the cloud or simply streamlining what you currently have.

Plan

Changing or updating your current solution in any way can cause teething problems. The best way to manage this is to start by assigning a small, invested team to manage the project from start to finish. Ensure your team is perfectly formed with key players from each department, communication is fundamental in the early stages to guarantee the new solution will satisfy the predetermined needs. During the planning stage, you may also want to take the opportunity to cleanse your existing data, this will put you in a much easier position going forward.

Connectivity

Industry 4.0 is all about smart manufacturing and making the most of new technological developments, which has led many organisations to move to a cloud-based system or hybrid architecture (a combination of cloud and on-premise). According to Aberdeen research, manufacturing early adopters are migrating faster than ever due to faster implementation speeds (61%), efficiency in total life-cycle costs (59%) and scalability (44%). Cloud connectivity truly resonates with Industry 4.0 as it supports the operational structure needed for optimal efficiency.

People

Roles once occupied by people are increasingly being handed over to robots and AI (Artificial intelligence), but where does this leave our current workforce? The reality is that humans will still play a vital role in manufacturing but there needs to be a shift in skills. To guarantee your business is ready for the coming change look to recruit people with skills such as knowledge of automation, data, analytics, programming and software.

Implementation

Why not start small? Some manufacturing businesses are kicking off their journey into Industry 4.0 by adding something small such as a sensor to their machinery. Even minor innovations like this can greatly influence a company’s success by gathering all sorts of intelligence. Starting small also gives you a longer period of time to convert your entire workforce to a new automated way of thinking readying them for future change.

 

Manufacturing solutions by Monpellier

Experts in providing custom solutions to manufacturing businesses Monpellier (based in Cumbria and the North East) deliver support and solutions across a wide range of areas from accounting & payroll to CRM and EPOS. Give us a call on 01228 550 167 or email [email protected] for a free onsite consultation.

 

 First published: In Cumbria Magazine’s September 2019 issue

19
Sep

Farming for the future

How to start tapping into AI and the IoT

Imagine climbing out of bed before dawn but instead of pulling on your boots and heading into the cold you simply check your PC for any urgent updates on your livestock or crops? This vision is a reality for many working in agriculture thanks to the power of AI the IoT.

 

What’s the difference between AI and IoT?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) revolves around the simulation of intelligent behaviours in machines of all kinds. For example, a drone using a robotic lens examining the yellow flower of a tomato seedling to estimate the time it will take to become ripe, picked, packed and distributed. In comparison, the Internet of Things (IoT) is all about helping farmers reduce waste and enhance productivity by using connecting machines to gather data.

 

How can it be used?

Technology is constantly evolving and changing the agricultural industry in many ways from driverless tractors, drones, automated irrigation systems and crop health monitoring. Companies such as Microsoft have invested millions into partnerships and sustainable AI and IoT projects to help farmers maximise their profits. And they are not the only ones focusing on smart technology; many companies have developed solutions that work in harmony with Microsoft to combat the coming demand for increased production. The UN predicts the world’s population will reach 10 billion by 2050 which is a massive 2.5billion increase from 1970.

 

Here and now?

As useful as it is to read about the coming technological advances businesses in the North West can often feel forgotten and wondering how and what is available right now. The Azure solution from Microsoft gives you the perfect future-proof foundation to get started with AI and IoT.  Azure is an ever-expanding set of cloud services with over 100 services and end-to-end tools that are designed to meet your exacting needs. Here are some examples of revolutionary solutions that work seamlessly with Microsoft.

SCR Dairy: Cow-monitoring system that gives farmers insight into milk production, the calving process and ensures healthier cows

GrassSat: Subscription service that gives online daily updates on grass cover and clear and actionable visualised maps and charts

 

Microsoft from Monpellier

Whether you’re ready to dive headfirst into AI or just need a knowledgeable partner to help you maximise your existing solution Monpellier can help. Based in Cumbria and the North East Monpellier provide support and solutions across a wide range of areas from accounting & payroll to CRM and EPOS. Give us a call on 01228 550 167 or email [email protected] to start farming for the future, today.

 

 First published: In Cumbria Magazine’s August’s 2019 issue.