General Advice


Five common IT challenges for fast-growing businesses

Is your business ready to scale up?  – Five Common IT Challenges 

Extended periods of rapid growth can be positive, however, whilst these periods are exciting, they can also create a whole host of new challenges. In this article we will delve into 5 common IT challenges that fast-growing businesses face, and how they can be solved with the help of a trusted provider. 


1 . Budgeting for Scaling Up 

As businesses grow, they will also need their systems to grow with them, including everything from software licenses to cloud servers. If businesses are not careful, their IT spend can get out of control, leaving them with a large invoice. Providers will typically be able to give a simple monthly cost per user, with everything included for the end-user and back-end set-up. IT providers can also proactively forecast the cost of larger projects, and the associated ongoing fees, making it easier for businesses to stick to their IT budget. 


2. Receiving Adequate IT Support 

As businesses grow, they have different requirements regarding IT infrastructure, as well as IT support. Having a third-party provider means that you can have access to on-hand support for users. This frees up your internal IT team and makes for a smoother adoption process and continued supported usage.  


3. Onboarding New Employees 

Hiring new employees on short notice is always a challenge. However, this is only made more difficult when there are new systems to learn. A trusted third-party provider can assist with the onboarding of new employees. This ensures that every employee receives the right training. 


4. Lacking Capital Expenditure 

In the early stages of rapid growth, businesses may not have sufficient cash to invest in upgrading IT systems and software to support the growth. Thankfully, with the rise of cloud solutions, businesses can move away from capital expenses and move to operational expenses. An IT provider can not only help with the implementation and deployment of cloud services and use cost management monitoring to ensure the business gets value from their cloud investment. 


5. Managing Customer Relationships 

Whilst small businesses can typically get away with using spreadsheets to store customer relationship information, this is not feasible once a business reaches a certain size. This can be solved through the implementation of a customer relationship management solution, such as Microsoft Dynamics 365.  


How we can help 

If your business is currently going through a period of growth, or are planning on doing so, Monpellier are here to help. Avoid encountering these five IT challenges by contacting us and arranging a free session with one of our expert consultants who can advise you on the best solution for your business and budget.  


Boost your customer experience with Microsoft Dynamics 365  

Three ways Microsoft Dynamics 365 can enhance customer experience   

Customer experience is how customers perceive their interaction with a company. A good customer experience means positive, memorable interactions. While all businesses aim for a good customer experience, tailoring specific adverts and interactions can mean the difference between customers choosing your company and choosing a competitor.  

Here are Monpellier’s tips on how Dynamics 365 can boost your customer journey at every point.  


Understanding Customers  

Understanding your customer is the first step to providing excellent service. Many customers will interact with your advertisements, social media posts and email newsletter. By tracking and storing their data such as demographics, interests, and parts of the website they have visited, you can deliver a personalised customer experience.  

For example, if the data reveals they are interested in a certain topic, then you can tailor your newsletter or content to cover it. Doing this makes the customer feel understood and cared for resulting in a higher chance of a conversion.  

Microsoft dynamics 365 gathers data from multiple sources allowing businesses to create individual profiles for all customers. Gain insights into their interest, and past interactions, and tailor your marketing methods to specific people.  


Market At the Right Time  

There are many reasons why an audience may leave after adding a product to a basket. Finding out the reasons is part of optimising the customer journey but retargeting the audience can push them to buy.  

For example, if a customer viewed a product but decided to buy, as a marketer, you may send them a follow-up advert. Another way to retarget is to send an automated email with a special discount (if they are signed up to receive marketing materials).  

You can create and automate email campaigns on Dynamics 365. It features a low code/no-code platform so anyone can design and automate emails such as welcome emails, retargeting emails, and newsletters. Add dynamic text such as the recipient’s name to personalise the email. Create different segments to market to the most relevant audience in your email list. 


Effective Communication  

Microsoft Dynamics 365 has the bonus of Virtual Agents. Virtual Agents uses chatbots to handle easy-to-answer questions to help speed up response times and free up your support staff for more complicated enquires. Dynamics 365 provides context with past contacts and current issues for the live agent. Live agents can make use of the transcript for instant reference and seamlessly connect with colleagues for further support without leaving the call. 

Customer experience is essential for business success and reputation. With the extensive features of Microsoft Dynamics 365, your business can better understand your customers throughout the customer cycle stages, guiding them at each point.  

If you want more information about Microsoft Dynamics 365, click HERE to find out more. 

Considering switching to Dynamics 365? Don’t hesitate to contact our experienced consultants HERE. 


Cloud-based solutions – How to protect your data

Security is one of the main reasons businesses are hesitant to move to a cloud-based solution. In 2021 IT Governance reviewed which sectors had the most data breaches and the two biggest culprits were Healthcare/ Health Sciences and the Public sector. But no sector was safe! So, as we continue to store more and more data in the cloud what steps can be taken to maximise security?  

Here are our top 3 features to look for when choosing your cloud solution. 



Encryption is one of the oldest yet most effective ways to increase security. Encryption scrambles the transmitted data in a way that only authorised devices can understand the information. The set of rules to scramble the message is called a key and given to those authorised devices to understand the encrypted message.  

Encryption is effective because even though a cybercriminal can “listen” to the messages transmitted between devices, they cannot understand the message itself. 


Access levels and permissions 

Security threats do not just come from outside your business, employees can also be a threat. Although there is a lower chance of employees accidentally accessing sensitive data such as customer details and other employees’ details, prevention is better than a cure.  

You can reduce the risk of employees accessing sensitive data by having dedicated security roles within your business.  


Multifactor authentication 

Multifactor Authentication is a more secure way of confirming your identity rather than simply using a username and password. There are three common kinds of factor: 

  • Something you know – Like a password, or a memorized PIN.  
  • Something you have – Like a smartphone, or a secure USB key.  
  • Something you are – Like a fingerprint, or facial recognition. 


Next Steps 

All the cloud solutions Monpellier offer come with an array of security measures as standard. To discuss the cloud-based solutions we offer or understand the security measures mentioned further please don’t hesitate to book a free consultation with one of our solution experts HERE 


How moving to the cloud can benefit not-for-profit organisations

Key cloud modules and advantages for NFPs

Over the past two years, many not-for-profit organisations have adopted new cloud technologies to enable remote and hybrid work. This may have been the implementation of Microsoft Teams to communicate during COVID, or other solutions that enable NFPs (not-for-profits) to deliver essential services. These technologies are the first step in the journey of moving to the cloud. Further adoption technologies can fundamentally change the way NFP organisations work, meaning those who rely on them can receive better services.  

In this article Monpellier will discuss what is meant by cloud computing, the benefits of moving to the cloud for not-for-profit organisations, and how these organisations can continue their journey to the cloud. 


What is the Cloud? 

The cloud refers to servers that are accessed via the internet and includes the software and databases that run on those servers. There are three key cloud models that are important: SaaS, PaaS and IaaS. 

Software-as-a-Service, or SaaS are applications that are hosted on cloud services that user’s access over the internet. Examples include the office applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) within a Microsoft 365 subscription. 

Platform-as-a-Service, or PaaS, is a model whereby businesses do not pay for hosted applications, but rather they pay for the elements necessary to build their own applications. This includes the infrastructure, development tools and operating system. These are delivered over the internet, through a public cloud provider, such as Microsoft Azure. 

Infrastructure-as-a-Service, or IaaS, is a service that offers storage and networking resources, similar to renting a server. This is the most complex model; however, it offers the most flexibility.  


Benefits of SaaS for Not-For-Profits 

  • Productivity – One of the many SaaS offerings is the Microsoft 365 suite of applications which is a perfect solution for those looking to increase productivity. With a Microsoft 365 subscription, users have access to office applications, including Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, cloud storage with OneDrive, and the ability to use Teams for communication and collaboration. As this is a cloud offering, all these applications are designed to work together, to increase productivity and make collaboration within an organisation, or externally, easier than ever. 
  • Security – All organisations are at risk of cyberattack. In recent years, cybercriminals have targeted many charities and NFPs, as they typically have less security. With a SaaS solution, such as Microsoft 365, there are many in-built security features that keep businesses safe from attacks. Furthermore, businesses can use multi-factor authentication within Microsoft 365 to stop 99.9% of account compromise attacks. 
  • Flexibility – Many not-for-profit organisations are looking to adopt a hybrid work model in the coming months. Such a model has many benefits for employees and businesses alike, however without the right technology, it is difficult for employees to work effectively. Cloud solutions are perfectly designed for hybrid work.  


Benefits of IaaS and PaaS for NFPs 

  • Scalability – With cloud services, businesses can increase or decrease the amount of resource as required. For traditional on-premises infrastructure, if a NFP needed to increase storage space on their server, or the load is going to increase due to a short period of temporary workers, the entire server would need to be upgraded. With a cloud server, NFPs can temporarily increase the amount of resource to accommodate these changes and decrease it when necessary. This is especially beneficial to organisations that are looking to grow quickly. 
  • Security – If a NFP has their own servers, they are responsible for ensuring that it is secure, both in initial configuration and updates to the operating system and applications. This is a complex process and requires costly security expertise. If the system has poor security, it can result in a data breach. Cloud solutions allow for advanced security configuration, and the Azure public cloud is monitored 24/7 by a large team of security professionals. Cloud services still need to be regularly updated to remain secure, but this can be outsourced to a trusted IT provider. 
  • Cost Savings – Traditional on-premises infrastructure requires a significant capital investment, and over time the infrastructure will need to be upgraded or replaced. Many NFPs cannot afford this initial investment, which can lead to sub-par performance and a poor user experience. With a cloud solution, businesses only pay for the resources they use, which significantly reduces the capital investment and provides better value over time. 


How to Move to the Cloud 

Regardless of whether your NFP organisation is looking to move to the cloud with a SaaS, PaaS or IaaS solution, there are many benefits for businesses and users alike. Implementing a new technology can be the catalyst for immense growth and can provide a better experience for those that rely on your essential services. Although moving to the cloud may seem like a daunting task, we are here to help make the process as efficient and effective as possible.  

To find out more about how your not-for-profit organisation could benefit from cloud technologies, contact us today for a free consultation here.  



How does Microsoft Power Platform utilise Identity and Access Management?

Features of Microsoft Power platform’s Identity and Access Management System 

Microsoft Power Platform integrates IAM (identity and access management) for employees to work productively. It is essential that they have access to the files and tools required to do their job, but it is also possible for an employee to have too much access, which can lead to major security issues. IAM is the process of managing and authenticating user identities and what they can access.  

In this article, we will discuss the basics of IAM, and how the Microsoft Power Platform utilises this.  


What is Identity and Access Management? 

Identity and Access Management contains processes, policies, tools to define and manage roles and access rights of both users and devices. 

The users may include customers, employees and contractors while the devices may include computers, mobile phones, servers, IoT devices, etc. The IT systems include SaaS applications, on-premises applications and file storage.  

The goal of IAM is to ensure that users’ identities are authenticated, and they can access the right tools necessary to work effectively. 


How does Identity and Access Management work within Power Platform? 

IAM solutions typically manage three tasks: identification, authentication, and authorisation. 


The user will be identified by entering their login credentials which are stored within Azure AD then Microsoft will check security groups and permissions to identify who is trying to login. 


Microsoft Power Platform uses multi factor authentication handled within Azure AD to ensure you are the correct user. 

Azure AD multi-factor works by requiring two or more authentication methods. This includes something the user knows such as a password, along with a trusted device such as personal phone, or biometrics such as fingerprint or face scan. The users can choose different methods on how they can authenticate themselves. 


Finally, Microsoft Power Platform will manage the authorisation of a user’s access. In the admin centre, administrators can create different groups so employees can have the right access for development work. Administrators can view and manage all resources created within the environment and manage different users.  

When solutions from Power Apps, Power BI. Power Automate and virtual agents are published, different security groups can be set for the end-user, which is similar to the development stage. The management of the company may have total control over the solution whereas employees can only view certain data. 


How Monpellier can help your business 

Microsoft Power Platform has a comprehensive Identity and Access Management solution for employees to work productively and abide by data laws. Monpellier can create a cloud-based solution for your business that has a complete and customisable IAM.

To find out more about the Microsoft Power Platform, click here 

Or contact one of our consultants here to see how we can help your business.  


Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central – construction

4 Construction phases Microsoft Business Central can manage 

The UK construction industry has been hit with new building legislations, increasing inflation and material transport issues in 2022. However, managing these changes smoothly can help minimise project disruptions.  Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central can be your all-in-one construction ERP solution to ensure prompt and informed decisions. 

In this blog, Monpellier will cover 4 areas MSD365BC can help your construction business. 

1. Planning

Set key performance indicators and budgets during the planning and designing phase of a project so you can keep track of progress and cash flows within Business Central. 

Vital documents such as building layouts, risk assessments, examinations reports, and much more can be stored in Business Central. Set permissions for increased privacy so clear and consistent information can be accessed by relevant people remotely. 

2. Scheduling 

Microsoft Business Central integrates with third-party apps to add visual elements to scheduling and provide additional time management tools. Set up different jobs needed throughout the project with descriptions, start dates and end dates, the project owner as well as equipment and materials needed.  

Team members can access Business Central and mark when a task is finished which will notify the rest of the team. They can also request time off which can be approved by the project manager remotely.  

3. Logistics 

Business Central handles purchasing and delivery of both building materials and equipment. Assign serial and lot numbers to materials, then log the time of arrival to the site and amount. Register details of fixed assets and log movements to and from storage allowing complete management of logistics. 

Combine this with the schedule set during the planning stage to make sure the correct materials and equipment arrive on time. Set alerts if late arrivals occur, or incorrect equipment and materials arrive on site. 

4. Reporting 

Automate document generation by setting template designs based on your company’s brand guidelines. Then use data from schedules, logistics reports, or finances to fill out and complete various documents. Choose your output format and share it automatically by email or a link to your cloud storage system to save time and effort. 

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central could be the solution you have been looking for to unify your processes and data.  

Find out more information about Business Central here 

Interested in finding the right solution but unsure of what software is right for you? View our contact information, here and speak to one of our specialist consultants today. 


Transform your manufacturing processes with Power BI

Top 5 ways to improve efficiency and management with Microsoft Power BI 

Manufacturers are facing increasing costs so many organisations are looking to Industry 4.0 and other ways to increase productivity and help mitigate rising costs. Data management tools such as Power BI can help accelerate productivity by giving your business access to insightful data, giving you the means to make impactful decisions.  

Monpellier has gathered together our top 5 reasons Power BI can transform your manufacturing process.  

1. Inventory Management 

Inventory management is at the heart of every manufacturing business. With the use of inventory codes and material locations, Power BI gives your manufacturing business insight into a multitude of data including quantities, stock arrival times, storage availability and information on stock that hasn’t moved in prolonged periods of time.  

2. AI  

Power BI ‘s AI predictive modelling helps with project timings and efficient production line management. Input past service records of all machines into the database and Power BI can use AI to predict the next scheduled maintenance, saving time and money. 

3. Project Management  

Monitor when tasks are completed to keep track of progression through various stages of production and get notified about unexpected delays. Use past project times, the materials used, machines used, staff involved alongside AI modelling to predict project times. 

4. Cash Flow Visualisation 

Connect sales and cost data to create various charts to understand where costs arise and potential areas that could be reviewed to reduce costs.  

5. Equipment Monitoring  

Machine maintenance and downtime can be costly. With IoT sensors and Microsoft Power BI manufacturers can analyse the live feeds and update the correct people with possible issues and ultimately give more accurate utilisation results.  

For more information about Power BI, click here or contact us for a free consultation with one of our experts.


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].


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].



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. 


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. 



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. 


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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


Join the Team – Most Loved Microsoft Teams Features

Number 3 in our Jargon Buster series: Microsoft Teams

Another tool within Office 365’s robust suite of services is the popular Microsoft Teams. Teams is a chat-based collaboration tool released by Microsoft in 2017. Although the tool is still somewhat ‘new’ to the market it has flattened the competitors and is now leading the space with the highest number of raw-user. 

Microsoft Teams gives you and your team the space to collaborate, creating a shared work-space where you can chat, meet, share files and work with business apps. 

The question is how does Teams help your business and which of its features would you find useful? We have pulled together our favourite features that our clients love for you to better understand if Teams is the right choice for your organisation. 



Microsoft Teams really shines when it comes to meeting functionality. Teams gives you the ability to host audio, video and web conferences with anyone inside your company or an external third party. 

Features like scheduling assistance, note-taking, desktop sharing, uploading files, and chat messaging really highlights that Microsoft are focusing on making Teams the best-in-class tool for collaboration. Microsoft have announced Skype’s end-of-life date for July 2021 so for those that predominantly use this for their business conferencing needs it may be worth looking at making the switch to Teams. 

In addition to its regular meeting features Microsoft Teams also has the capability to host live large meetings and events. For example, if you needed, with Teams’ help you could give a virtual presentation to up to 10,000 attendees! 



The phone system within Microsoft Teams has PBX (Private Branch Exchange) capabilities and can even replace your on-premise PBX. Specialist calling features allows you to create call groups so that a specific colleague can answer your calls and gives you the ability to create and configure shared numbers.  


First-line Benefits 

First-line employees are often mobile, Microsoft Teams gives you access to training materials, handbooks, policies and on-demand video content via a mobile device. Compatibility with apps such as ‘Shifts’ creates seamless integration with your workforce management system.  


Security & Compliance 

Microsoft Teams was designed with your organisation’s advanced security needs in mind. Admin functionality grants you the ability to make granular changes and includes capabilities such as; data loss prevention, information barriers, retention policies, eDiscovery, legal hold, and more.


Free Consultation 

If your business is ready to make the switch to Microsoft Teams, Monpellier are here to help. Monpellier are a trusted Microsoft partner specialising in providing an end-to-end solution and support. If you would like more information on Teams or any of Microsoft’s products,  give our team a call on 0191 500 8150.


With over 100 million users worldwide, what is SharePoint?

Number 2 in our Jargon Buster Series: SharePoint 

It’s hard to avoid a mention of SharePoint these days with many productivity experts hailing it as a must-have collaboration tool. But what exactly is SharePoint and how can it be used to help your business?


What is SharePoint?

In very simple terms SharePoint is a web-based document management and collaboration tool. It works with Office 365 and has a core set of functionalities including; document storage, intranet capabilities, and organisation sharing. 


Benefits of using SharePoint 

    1. Collaboration – Using SharePoint allows users to stay connected, even during live projects with the use of document version history. Losing information in a cluttered inbox becomes a thing of the past as all employees have access to critical and up-to-date documents at their fingertips. 
    2. Security – Integrated security within the platform protects your data from unauthorised access. You can set permissions per user giving you ultimate control over user visibility. 
    3. Customisation – SharePoint is jam-packed with unique tools that allow you to tweak your organisations build to look and function in a way that works for you. Add custom features, widgets, calendars and request forms to your organisation’s intranet in order to maximise productivity. 
    4. Less Training – By working seamlessly with Office 365 SharePoint feels familiar from the start. In addition to support from your solution provider, Microsoft have free training courses available via their support site to help with the integration of your new collaboration tool. 
    5. Informed Decisions Use SharePoint to create personalised dashboards that allow your employees to see information from different sources and make better-informed decisions. For example, you could create a dashboard that acts as a live report area that allows you direct access to things such as KPI’s, critical financial data or even current stock levels. 

Free Consultation 

Monpellier are a trusted Microsoft partner specialising in providing an end-to-end solution and support. If you would like more information on SharePoint or any other Microsoft products give our team a call on 0191 500 8150. 


What’s the difference between Microsoft 365 and Office 365?

As part of our Jargon Buster Series we’re looking into the world of 365

Microsoft is galloping ahead with their business software solutions and are constantly adding to their plethora of products and add-ons. But in this minefield of new offerings, it’s hard to make sense of what each product is, what functionality they include and how it can be applied to your business. 

Our Jargon Buster Series has been created to cut through the noise, explain each solution in real terms and give you the information you need to make the right decision for your business.  


Microsoft 365 VS Office 365

Microsoft 365 and Office 365 seemingly the same thing right? Unfortunately not… 

Office 365 is Outlook plus the usual Office suite sold as a Cloud-based service through a subscription model. There are lots of different Office 365 plans (Business Essentials and Business Premium) that cover your different needs as a business. Subscriptions are calculated per number of users and have the benefit of always providing you with the most recent version making compatibility and upgrades a thing of the past.  

In comparison, Microsoft 365 includes everything you get with Office 365 plus Windows 10, Enterprise Mobility + Security. This bundle gives you Microsoft’s latest operating system paired with a suite of mobility and security tools that gives your data extra protection. 


So which option is right for me?

Realistically, the best option is to speak with a Microsoft Partner to ensure your chosen solution is the right fit for your needs. We recommend this because of the amount of options that can be added to your subscription is so vast a consultation with an expert ins simply invaluable.  

However, in basic terms both solutions give you the full Office 365 package, but Microsoft 365 gives you even more (Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility + Security). Apart from the additional features the only differences appear when it comes to device management. Unlike Office 365, Microsoft 365 comes with a single console to manage users and devices. This added feature lets you manage Windows 10 PC’s with an easy-to-use setup wizard. 


Free consultation

Monpellier are a trusted Microsoft partner specialising in providing an end-to-end solution and support. If you would like more information on Microsoft 365, Office 365 or other Microsoft products give our team a call on 0191 500 8150. 


Does your ticketing system measure up?

How to better meet customers’ ticketing expectations

Customer experience (or CX) is crucial in contributing to various factors including customer satisfaction, loyalty and increased footfall. All business models can stand to improve by working on customer experience but for this article, we are focusing on tourism and attractions. Both these sectors have point-of-sale and ticketing at their core and as this interaction happens at the start of the customer journey it can have a lasting imprint on a customers’ expectations.

An ideal guide detailing how to guarantee outstanding customer service does not exist as each attraction and its visitors are unique. There are, however, key pillars that should be considered by businesses based within tourism and attractions that can help them meet and hopefully exceed expectations.


Stories regarding scam sites are unfortunately a common occurrence, therefore building trust with your potential visitors is key to giving them a pleasant ticketing experience. Two simple ways to do this is to ensure your ticket page looks like the rest of your site and to have integration with major banks. Software like Digitickets works seamlessly with your KCPOS solution allowing you to maintain brand integrity with a ticketing system that’s a visual match to your own website. This design element paired with bank and payment provider integration helps retain the customers’ trust and encourages the best possible conversion rate of website visitors into paying customers.


We all have busy lives and our plans are often made on lunch breaks or late at night. Giving customers the ability to buy tickets directly from your website (without being redirected) has become best practice. Potential visitors are smart and expect all the information they require to be easily accessible, clear to read and available to them without having to make human contact. You must also consider that many visitors may be from different time zones or work unsociable hours meaning calling to book may not be possible. Having all this information available along with the option to buy tickets online puts control in the hands of the visitor (or the appearance of control). If your visitor can go through this entire portion of the customer journey without any difficulty, you are already creating a professional standard that can be continued on arrival.


Mobile ticketing is no longer the future, in fact, in some cases, it’s now expected. Giving visitors the freedom to choose how they redeem their ticket adds a layer of ease that can help meet customers’ expectations. By implementing software that works with your EPOS system (such as Digitickets) visitors can take advantage of mobile technology by buying and presenting their tickets on iPhone, Android or iPad devices.


For more advice on how to meet customers’ expectations during the ticketing process or to learn more about our point-of-sale software and hardware solutions please give us a call today on 0191 500 8150 or email us at [email protected].




Advantages of EPOS

There are several advantages for using an EPOS system in your business. If you are just starting out as a business owners or vendor, it can be hard to understand why you should invest into more expensive hardware rather than opting for the cheaper version, such as a simple cash till.

An EPOS system is an integrated system that can organise, control and analyse various parts of your business, from cash transactions to backend reporting, staff monitoring and inventory control.

The additional features an EPOS system offers over a cash till are interesting enough, however it is predominantly the integration of all features in a single system that makes life so much easier for the merchant.

With a sophisticated EPOS system, it is possible to get reports about best-selling items, best-performing staff, peak sales times and the best-performing sales channels, allowing you to optimise your business flow easily.

The five business benefits of EPOS

Financial accuracy

One advantage of EPOS systems is the increased financial accuracy when charging customers. Traditionally, businesses rely on their staff’s competence to correctly calculate sales transactions, which can lead to mistakes and omissions.

This can result in customers being overcharged, reducing the likelihood of them returning, or undercharged, resulting in a loss of profit. EPOS systems greatly reduce the possibility of such staff errors, ensuring that a business’ pricing and charging structure remains consistent.


Electronic Point of Sale systems allow businesses to accurately monitor and record staff activity. Being able to pinpoint which staff members were responsible for specific transactions can prove extremely useful for employers.

For example, employers can identify employees with the strongest sales figures, or those displaying unusual sales activity, such as unusually high levels of voided transactions, can be easily identified.

Speed and efficiency

EPOS systems greatly improve the speed and efficiency of transactions, which will appeal to your customers and help your employees focus on serving more people. This can improve your customers’ overall experience and encourage repeat custom in the future.

Stock management

Modern EPOS systems can also be used to manage stock. Businesses have the ability to quickly review their current levels of stock, and easily identify areas in which a greater level of stock is required. The advantage of an EPOS system is that it can save a noticeable amount of time compared to traditional, manual stocktaking operations.


A final advantage of EPOS systems is their ability to produce a variety of business performance reports. Such reports can range from a basic analysis of daily or annual profit margins, to an identification of the top selling products or services in a company’s range.

Such information can provide a business with a useful picture of their overall performance, and can help influence marketing campaigns. For example, you can apply discounts to less popular sales items at certain times in the year.

Making the most of your EPOS system

An EPOS system can bring huge advantages to your business, and there are steps you can take to ensure you maximise these benefits. Doing some research beforehand to understand exactly what you are looking for will help you find what you need more easily and ensure that you are not paying for unnecessary features.

The right EPOS system

While almost any EPOS system is an advantage over no EPOS system, you can maximise the benefits of investing in an EPOS system by making sure you buy the right system for your business. What kind of system you need depends on many factors including the industry you serve and the size of your operation.

The cost of an EPOS system

Understanding the costs associated with an EPOS system will help you choose the right product and pricing structure for your needs.

Cheap EPOS systems

Buying the cheapest EPOS system you can find can often turn out to be a false economy, because the advantages of your EPOS system can bring you will be compromised if you are missing vital features.

Understanding how EPOS works

Understanding fully how EPOS systems work will help you make the most of the benefits an EPOS system can offer. You will be able to pick up the system that complements your business the most and make the best use of its features.

Next steps

If you are interested in hearing about EPOS prices for your business, then give us a call on 0191 500 8150 or email [email protected] so you can speak to one of our Business Software Consultants.



The primary concerns of businesses revolve around cutting down on costs, enhancing their employees’ productivity and boosting their sales. With these goals in mind, businessmen and retailers are determined to seek ways to implement the most convenient, practical and efficient system to run their stores day by day.

These concerns are basically the same issues that an EPOS system can resolve. They were created in an effort to utilise technology to solve the ever increasing problems faced by companies on a day-to-day basis. That is, an EPOS system offers a reliable, accurate and economical way to handle the demands of today’s businesses.

What is EPOS?

EPOS means Electronic Point of Sale. This is a computerised system commonly utilised by the service management industry. It is a self-contained equipment capable of performing the tasks typically assigned to a checkout counter. This system generally accepts payments made via debit or credit cards. In a nutshell, an EPOS machine can be used by businesses to let their customers pay for goods or services.

Apart from functioning as a checkout counter, an EPOS machine offers benefits beyond this. It can also verify transactions and create sales reports. The system can synchronise the inventory data. Overall, an EPOS system essentially provides similar services business owners gets from their employees.

Here are more ways an EPOS system can help your business

EPOS offers heightened accuracy and efficiency.

Businesses traditionally depend on their employees’ aptitude when handling sales transactions. Regardless of a staff member’s skills, errors can still be committed at any point. Customers face the possibility of being overcharged. Due to these mistakes, businesses are in danger of losing their clients who become disgruntled after experiencing such mistakes. Meanwhile, errors resulting to undercharging a customer would cause a loss in the company’s profits.

These concerns can easily be eliminated by using an EPOS system. The use of the equipment guarantees improved financial precision when dealing with customers’ transactions. By cutting down the costs brought about by an employee’s mistakes, an EPOS could encourage customers to return due to the improved experience in the store.

EPOS improves stock management.

Utilising an EPOS system allows businesses to quickly check the current status of their stock. Being able to easily determine the levels of need in the stock room provides a huge advantage for business owners. This saves a huge amount of time as employees would no longer need to go through hours of painstaking manual inventory.

Businesses constantly need to hit the right balance of holding just the minimum level of stock and meeting the demands of clients right away. Achieving this goal means that the company manage to reach their maximum productivity and decreased margins. Moreover, an EPOS system assists businesses to determine their most popular items or products in the warehouse and deliver these to the store in the shortest time possible.

The system tracks the information from the moment a sale is made and the transaction details are entered into the EPOS terminal. The data will automatically be sent to the manufacturing and supply facilities. Subsequently, the system’s prompts will signal the businesses to replenish their stock. This will result in an accurate and organised account of the company’s inventory.

EPOS increases workplace accountability.

An automated system like the EPOS provides business owners with an accurate record of their employee’s activities during work hours. This machine allows companies to determine which staff member should be held accountable for particular dealings on a day-to-day basis.

Apart from the accountability benefit, an EPOS system can also contribute to the growth of the employees. Business owners can utilise the machine to recognise who among the staff members earn the highest sales. This information could lead to better employer-employee relationships. Meanwhile, those who land at the bottom of the list could be identified as well. Employers could easily distinguish who are engaging in sales activities and who isn’t.

EPOS provides direction to your business.

Utilising the data gathered from an EPOS system, a business owner has the potential to turn his store into a bigger venture. EPOS systems are capable of providing business performance reports to users. These statements can not only provide rudimentary breakdowns of the profit margins of a company, but also determine the most sought after product or service of the company.

By using the information from the machine, businesses can conveniently determine the best ways to maximise their sales. At the same time, the data could help in formulating measures to better manage the company’s resources and cut down on expenses. On top of these, business owners can also use the information to manage their employees and implement better systems.


An EPOS system offers a lot of benefits that can push your business to reach the next level. By utilising this machine, you definitely lower the possibility of human errors affecting your profits and overall experience of your customers. You also manage to implement a system that provides quicker, accurate and more efficient transactions.

This system can provide you with better ways to manage your employees as well. By knowing who among your staff members perform the best and the worst, you can seek more effective ways to improve their performance at work.

All things considered, an EPOS system offers a myriad of possibilities to business owners. Its capacity to organise, coordinate and evaluate several aspects of your business makes it a valuable investment. The data it provides could cover various facets of your company from cash dealings to back end assessment, employee monitoring and inventory management.

So, what next?

If you’re starting to think that investing in an EPOS system could be for you, get in contact with one of our friendly Business Software Consultants and they will be happy to talk you through any questions you might have. Either give us a call on 0191 500 8150 or email [email protected]




There is a change looming, and it is probably going to affect you and your business. Earlier this year, HMRC announced an overhaul of VAT 100 submissions.

The Government recognises that businesses will all want to get their tax right, but the latest tax gap figures show that too many otherwise compliant businesses struggle and as a result, over £8 billion a year in tax is lost.

HMRC wants to do more to help businesses get their tax right and these changes are an important step in the right direction. It will help businesses steer clear of avoidable errors.

Businesses will be able to keep records of their income and expenditure digitally, and send summary updates quarterly to HMRC from their accounting software.

Businesses, self-employed people and landlords will be required to start using the new digital service from:

  • The start of April 2018 for income tax and National Insurance contribution (NIC) purposes if your turnover is over the VAT threshold
  • April 2019 for income tax and NICs purposes if your turnover is below the VAT threshold
  • Also, April 2019 for VAT purposes for everyone who is VAT registered
  • Finally, April 2020 for Corporation Tax purposes for everyone who pays it

What are the changes?

Making Tax Digital for Business is a Government project that will put all your tax information together in one place. It’s one of the most significant reforms to the tax system, affecting all businesses with a turnover of £10,000.

The biggest change will be the replacement of the annual tax return with quarterly reporting from April 2018 for small businesses with a turnover above the VAT threshold of £85,000.

Why is the Government making tax digital?

Accurate Tax Information

Replacing paper-based bookkeeping with digital tax accounts will let you check that the information HMRC holds about you is 100% correct.

Reduced Errors

Making Tax Digital’s new reporting function will allow HMRC to look at accurate tax information almost immediately, reducing human error from data input.

Easier to Understand

HMRC believes taxpayers will better understand how much tax is owed within the digital tax account – similar to online banking.

Easier Contact with HMRC

Making Tax Digital will make it easier for you to contact HMRC online via webchats and secure messages.

These changes will provide the legislative framework so that businesses will:

  • Keep track of their tax affairs digitally using accounting software or apps. Regulations will specify what records must be recorded using digital tools.
  • Provide summary tax data to HMRC quarterly, using digital tools. The summary tax data will be automatically generated for the business from the electronic records. For VAT, these quarterly updates will effectively replace the VAT return. For Income Tax and Corporation Tax, these updates will cumulatively build an in-year picture of the business’ tax position for them.
  • Gain a clearer view of their tax position in-year.
  • Provide a finalised end of year position to HMRC of their tax affairs, again, using accounting software and digital tools.

So, what next?

Don’t think of making tax digital as just another obligation. This is your opportunity to regularly check income, expenses and profit in your business which will help you make better decisions. Take these two steps to help make the transition smooth:

  1. Figure out when you have to make your tax digital. You can make your tax digital right now, and there’s no reason to wait till the last possible moment to do so. But you do need to know when it will become compulsory for your business.
  2. Consider accounting software. You don’t have to use accounting software to comply with making tax digital but it will make things easier. It will also give you access to other powerful tools.

Making tax digital could be really good for your business

Change can often seem daunting, especially when it requires you to adopt new technology. However, quarterly tax filing could actually lessen your workload and by updating your accounts more often, you’ll be able to react faster to opportunities and threats in the business!

We can help you when it comes to the best accounting software for your business, and as outlined above, you can see the benefits of using accounting software when moving towards the new VAT 100 submission changes!

To have a chat with one of our Business Software Consultants, give us a call on 0191 500 8150, or email [email protected]



There are all sorts of backups that help you get out of various situations. Think of the spare tyre in your boot, or the power bank in your bag for your phone.

There are various reasons for having backups. In some situations, it can save your life, but with data, a backup can save your business.

We’ve recently had a few calls from various clients indicating that they have forgotten to submit their Full Payment Submission (FPS) and have ran the payroll update. They have contacted HMRC & all they’ve had back from them is “you can only submit the FPS electronically”.

Their only option is for us to restore a copy of their data from our end, recreate the FPS file and send it back to them, so they can submit it via their Online Filing Manager.

So, here are a few things to consider:

  • We cannot stress enough how important it is for this backup to exist. Without it, you don’t really have any options.
  • When do you take your backup? We would suggest taking it before you run the FPS, or certainly before you run the update.
  • You cannot have too many backups when it comes to payroll. These are compressed files that are stored in a folder on your server.
  • Only take the backup for the company you’re running payroll for.

So, considering this, let’s take a look at the top five reasons why you need to backup your data:

Simple recovery

People are not infallible. They make mistakes, and they make them quite often. Emails containing viruses are accidentally opened each day and important files are often mistakenly deleted.

There’s no reason to fear these issues if you take frequent additional snapshots of your systems. You can simply restore to a snapshot taken before the virus happened. Or you can recover the file from a time before it was deleted. It’s easy to protect from the little things and there’s the added benefit of being ready for big things as well.

Audits, taxes and archives

Many, if not most businesses, are required to keep business records for an extended period. This is either for tax purposes or because of various regulations. You might just need to look at what was going on a few years ago.

It’s easy to assume that your computers have you covered just because they’ve got your last few years’ worth of information on them. But as you might know by now, having one copy is generally a huge mistake. Ensuring you’ve got an offsite backup of critical client information can really save you if something goes wrong locally.

Competitive advantage

In the untimely event of a disaster, the first business to get back up and running will take all the business of those that aren’t back on their feet. As we’ll discuss in a moment, not having a plan can mean your doors are closed for good.

Proper planning means that your doors stay open to those that worked with businesses that couldn’t survive during a disaster.

Deadly downtime

43% of businesses that suffer major data loss never reopen. Many of these companies end up closing their doors for good within two years of a major data loss. Even large data loss scenarios aren’t always the result of a disaster.

Human hands are very capable of destroying a business through silly mistakes or oversights. Don’t think Mother Nature is always responsible. Simply backing up data and having an effective backup recovery plan in place can help mitigate these types of threats. You can be on of the surviving businesses if you think ahead.

Doing work twice

The first rule of doing work is “do it right the first time”. If you suffer a minor failure and don’t have backups, you may be able to recover certain things, but you never know what those “certain things” will be. In almost any case, you’ll have a boat-load of work to redo whether it’s setting up your systems all over again, or recreating spreadsheets you or your employees have been working on for months.

If you’re unsure on any of the above, please do not hesitate to get in contact with one of our Business Software Consultants by either calling 0191 500 8150 or email [email protected]