Hop on the Bandwagon with Skype for Business

Here’s some great hype for you. Not since the invention of the wheel has there been an innovation like Skype to turn the wheels of business.  … Yes. I made that up. But let’s look at what Skype can do for your business and then you can tell me if my hypothetical hype could be true.

Let’s begin with a very abbreviated Skype history lesson.

  1. First released in 2003
  2. Purchased by eBay in 2005
  3. Purchased by Microsoft in 2011

And a bit of trivia for all of the etymology buffs out there. The name for the software is derived from "Sky peer-to-peer," which was then abbreviated to "Skyper." However, some of the domain names associated with "Skyper" were already taken. Dropping the final "r" left the current title "Skype," for which domain names were available.

Perhaps Skype’s most endearing feature is its versatility. Skype calls, video conferences and Instant Messaging (IM) can be accessed from:

  • computers
  • tablets
  • mobile devices
  • the Xbox One console and
  • smartwatches

via the Internet and to regular telephones. What’s more, there is Skype for:

  • Windows
  • iOS
  • Android
  • Mac and
  • Linux

Further, over the last 2 years, Microsoft transitioned Skype from peer-to-peer service to a centralized Azure service.

Skype supports both emoticons and Mojis. Plus, an option to call contacts on Skype through Siri voice commands.

Are you loving it? Are you thinking about what Skype, the ultimate platform for professional collaboration and meetings, can for your business? Have you concluded that the hype about Skype is true?

You can get more details by contacting me, Laura Peters, at lep@intlsoftwaresystems.com, at my office 714.379.0545, or on my cell at 714.264.4250. And visit us at www.intlsoftwaresystems.com.

BTW, Skype for Business comes with Office 365 Business Essentials and Office 365 Business Premium.

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Just Released! Microsoft Dynamics GP 2018 in All its Glory

We’re rolling out the red carpet for the December 1st release of Microsoft Dynamics GP 2018. It was indeed a glorious day for Dynamics GP customers. New releases always come with a host of new features that put a smile on everyone’s face.

Microsoft GP 2018 is new and improved! It adds to the comprehensive, core functionality you need and enhances the core application, user experience, and platform. Here are just a few of the enhancements you’ll enjoy in the new release:

Comprehensive Doc Attach
GP 2018 introduces the next evolution of Comprehensive Doc Attach on most master record windows, inquiry windows and transaction entry windows. Specifically, the Document Attach icon has been added to the Receivables Transaction Entry window and the Transaction Entry (General Ledger) window.

And there’s more! Because the Document Attach icon has also been added to the following windows: Employee Inquiry, I-9 Form, (Fixed) Asset Inquiry, Vendor Inquiry, Customer Inquiry, Project Inquiry, and PA Project Inquiry.

User Experience
GP 2018 improves the user experience by giving users easier and faster ways to get to and find the data they are looking for to make decisions based off the information stored in Microsoft Dynamics GP.

Optimize Financials & HRP
The Financials and HR/Payroll experience in Microsoft Dynamics GP 2018 has also been optimized.

Workflow
With the release of Microsoft Dynamics GP 2018, the capabilities of Workflow have been extended. In addition to new workflows such as GL Account and Purchase Invoice, workflow capabilities like copy step and reminder emails have been added.

Power "Suite" Evolution
The Power Suite now supports Paging and Filtering in OData Services, Support OData V4 and finally, what users have all been waiting for, the GP Power BI Content Pack!

Stay tuned for even more news about Microsoft Dynamics GP 2018 because this is the just the tip of the iceberg.

Got questions? Contact us for the answers. You can also contact me, Laura Peters, at lep@intlsoftwaresystems.com, at my office 714.379.0545, or on my cell at 714.264.4250.

We’re on the Web at www.intlsoftwaresystems.com.

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Great Plains Is Still Alive and Well: A Rose by any Other Name…


Experience Is the Best ERP Teacher: A Proverb We Live By

Nothing can replace experience. And nowhere is this more true than in the sphere of accounting and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software implementations. Book learning, classroom learning, seminars, YouTube videos – they’re all fine and dandy. But until you have actual experience implementing software, it’s all still theoretical.

At International Software Systems we stake our reputation on experience, implementing Microsoft Dynamics GP (formerly Great Plains) accounting and ERP software for 25 years. For sure, over the years we’ve added newer product lines, such as Microsoft Office 365, Skype for Business, Microsoft Power BI, and most recently Microsoft Dynamics 365.

We’ve made it our business to quickly gain experience is these newer products. Because we know from our 40 years of owning and running successful businesses, that indeed experience is the best teacher. The only way to learn is by rolling up our sleeves and digging into the nitty-gritty of implementing those software products.

That’s how we find out where the pitfalls lie, whether it’s an anomaly in the software program itself or an integration issue. These are not problems that can be taught. These are issues that we learn about through experience.

Our job, and again we should note that we stake our reputation on this, is to complete every implementation on time and on budget. Oops is not an option!

We’ve worked with hundreds of clients over the years. Here’s what they’ve said about their experience working with International Software Systems.

“… Great Plains, coupled with the ingenuity of International Software Systems, delivered a product that exceeded our expectations in both conversion and day-to-day functionality.”
Kevin Moradian, CFO, Fire Sprinkler Systems, Inc.

“Our company was in the middle of the transition to Great Plains when the outside service company we were using walked away from the job. We called International Software Systems; Laura made the transition seamless.”
Lee Ann M. Engel, Controller, Design Tec, Inc.

“… Best of all, Laura Peters made the installation process a breeze. She is readily available and checks in our progress frequently …”
Cheryl Jordan, Omega Cinema Props, Inc.

Looking for a Microsoft Dynamics partner who will exceed your expectations? Contact me, Laura Peters, at lep@intlsoftwaresystems.com, at my office 714.379.0545, or on my cell at 714.264.4250.

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Top 12 Reasons to Invest in Microsoft Office 365 for Your Business

The best reason of all is that you can take Microsoft Office 365 with you anywhere, even in the pocket of your favorite jeans. That’s because it’s in the cloud.

There are numerous plans available for the purchase of Office 365. For purposes of this article, we’re going to take at the look at the highest level plan that’s designed for businesses: Office 365 Business Premium. Why? Because that plan showcases all of the functionality available and it only costs $12.50 per user per month with an annual commitment.

In a nutshell, here are the Top 12 reasons to invest in Microsoft Office 365 for your business (click to tweet):

  • You can take it with you anywhere, and all of the following Office applications are included:
  • Office
  • Word
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint
  • OneNote
  • Publisher; and it also includes all of the following services:
  • Exchange
  • OneDrive
  • SharePoint
  • Skype for Business
  • Teams

OK, so that the nutshell. Now let’s dig a little deeper. I think we all know what Office, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are, so let’s skip those (as well as a few others) and move on to some of the features you may be less familiar with.

OneNote: It’s hugely popular and if you don’t already use it, OneNote is sure to become a favorite. OneNote is a program for free-form information gathering and multi-user collaboration. It gathers users' notes (handwritten or typed), drawings, screen clippings and audio commentaries. Notes can be shared with other OneNote users over the Internet or a network.

In OneNote, users can enter typed text via a keyboard, create tables, and insert pictures. Or, users can write anywhere on a virtually unbounded document window by just clicking. Another great feature is that OneNote saves data automatically as the user works.

OneDrive: Store photos and docs online. Access them from any PC, Mac or phone. Create and work together on Word, Excel or PowerPoint documents. Use your phone, tablet, or computer to continue what you started — wherever you happen to be. Any changes you make will be updated on all your devices. Stay productive when you're off the grid. You can access your files without being online, which means you can always have your most important files with you.

If something happens to your device, you don't have to worry about losing your files or photos – they're in your OneDrive. And OneDrive is encrypted using SSL.

Skype for Business: Skype for Business (previously known as Lync) connects people everywhere. It provides professional collaboration and meetings- all integrated with Office. With Skype for Business, you can simplify your infrastructure with one platform for calling, conferencing, video conferencing, and sharing. On a Skype call, groups of people can work as if they were all in the same room. You can also use Skype to live stream a meeting.

We could elaborate further on Skype and continue talking about some of the other Microsoft Office 365 applications and services. But this post is already long enough.

Microsoft Office 365 is one of the many products that International Software Systems offers. Hopefully, you’ve gotten a taste of what Office 365 can do for your business. The next step is to contact us.

You can also contact me, Laura Peters, at lep@intlsoftwaresystems.com, at my office 714.379.0545, or on my cell at 714.264.4250.

And by the way, je parle français and yo hablo español tambien.

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Great Plains Software Is Still Alive and Well: A Rose by any Other Name...

You guessed! The quote about arose is from Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.”

The full quote is “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” It’s a frequently referenced part of the play in which Juliet argues that it does not matter that Romeo is from her rival's house of Montague. In other words, it does not matter that he is named "Montague." The reference is often used to imply that the names of things do not affect what they really are.

And so it is with the ever popular Great Plains Software, an accounting and ERP software system that hasn’t been officially called Great Plains since it was acquired by Microsoft in 2001. And yet, it was so popular, that many users and even partners continue to refer to it as Great Plains.

The name today is Microsoft Dynamics GP, Here at International Software Systems, we’re proud to have been a reseller since well before Great Plains became Dynamics GP. It’s been our core business since well before that, too. And, per the Shakespeare quote, it not only smells as sweet, but sweeter yet.

Why? Because Microsoft, with its deep pockets, has literally poured money into the product, adding more and more functionality until Dynamics GP came of age as one of the strongest horizontal ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems on the market today. As was the case with Great Plains, Microsoft Dynamics GP clients are fiercely loyal. They’d rather fight than switch.

And International Software Systems has remained loyal, too. We recognize the need that Dynamics GP fills as a holistic midmarket ERP solution. Easy to learn. User friendly. Easy to configure. Flexible. Scalable. Absolutely delightful.

Yes, the virtues of Microsoft Dynamics GP are many. Just ask our deliriously happy “Great Plains’ clients.

… Great Plains, coupled with the ingenuity of International Software Systems, delivered a product that exceeded our expectations in both conversion and day-to-day functionality.
Kevin Moradian, CFO, Fire Sprinkler Systems, Inc.

Our company was in the middle of the transition to Great Plains when the outside service company we were using walked away from the job. We called International Software Systems; Laura made the transition seamless.
Lee Ann M. Engel, Controller, Design Tec, Inc.

… Best of all, Laura Peters made the installation process a breeze. She is readily available and checks in our progress frequently …
Cheryl Jordan, Omega Cinema Props, Inc.

… International Software Systems implemented a software upgrade that was so smooth that we did not experience any business interruption.
Robert Adec, Controller, Fish Co.

Looking for a “Great Plains” partner who will exceed your expectations? Contact me, Laura Peters, at lep@intlsoftwaresystems.com, at my office 714.379.0545, or on my cell at 714.264.4250.

And by the way, je parle français and yo hablo español tambien.


The Designated Path from QuickBooks to Microsoft Dynamics 365

I call it the path to success!

Why? Because, if you’ve outgrown QuickBooks, if QuickBooks is no longer meeting your needs, then Microsoft Dynamics 365 is the way you can get ever so much more from your ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system. And if you’re not already in the cloud, now you will be. After all, cloud ERP has become the platform of choice for savvy businesses. It’s more secure, more flexible, and more cost effective.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 was built as a cloud ERP solution. It was not re-engineered to work in the cloud. That differentiates Dynamics 365 from most other ERP systems that started out on premises and were later offered as cloud ERP applications.

What’s more, Microsoft Dynamics 365 was designed, among other things, to be a step up for QuickBooks users.

And that’s why, if you’re currently running QuickBooks, International Software Systems (ISS) wants to chat with you about your future operational capacity.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 unifies CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and ERP capabilities into applications that work seamlessly together across sales, customer service, field service, operations, financials, marketing, and project service automation. It’s holistic.

Then … combine Microsoft Dynamics 365 with Microsoft Office 365. Office 365 offers cloud service plans for e-mail and social networking through hosted versions of Exchange Server, Skype for Business Server, SharePoint and Office Online, and integration with Yammer, as well as access to the entire Microsoft Office stack.

Then … add Power BI into the mix. Power BI is a suite of business analytics tools that deliver insights throughout your organization. Connect to hundreds of data sources, simplify data prep, and drive ad hoc analysis. Produce beautiful reports, then publish them for your organization to consume on the web and across mobile devices.

And you now have a complete cloud system that will serve you into the foreseeable future.

Who We Are

Since 1992, International Software Systems has sold, implemented, and supported technologies that serve small-to mid-market U.S. and international clients.

Our list of satisfied clients who come to us for distribution, service, EDI, job costing, and other services continues to grow as does our staff, a team of dedicated consultants with extensive training, experience, and certification on all of the products International Software Systems offers.

Let’s Chat

You can reach me at lep@intlsoftwaresystems.com at my office 714.379.0545 or on my cell at 714.264.4250. And by the way, je parle français and yo hablo español tambien.

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Microsoft Dynamics GP in the U.S., Mexico and Canada – In English, en español, en français

Being multilingual has its benefits, for my clients and for me. It means I can work comfortably with companies in their own language, specifically en español en México and en français au Canada.

Fortunately for me and my clients, Microsoft Dynamics GP supports the multilingual and multicurrency needs of Mexican and Canadian companies.

 

Microsoft Dynamics GP (formerly Great Plains Software) is what we call a horizontal solution, which basically means that it has the capability to address the process, operational and financial requirements of several industries. In other words, it is not industry-specific. In addition to breadth, Dynamics GP has depth in many sectors, including but not limited to manufacturing, distribution, financial services, software development companies, transportation, and so on.

With a history that dates back to its first DOS iteration, Dynamics GP has been around for a long, long time and has acquired a stellar reputation as a complete ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solution.

You might ask: How many companies run their business of Microsoft Dynamics GP? The answer, at last count, was give or take 50,000.

You might also ask: How many Dynamics GP installations have I performed? And the answer is that I founded International Software Systems 25 years ago, so I’ve all but lost count. But the number is certainly well into the hundreds.

The other great thing about Microsoft Dynamics GP is that it plays well with scores of third-party add-ons that can round out your system to make it work exactly the way you want and need it to.

Need EDI? Dynamics GP integrates seamlessly with TrueCommerce RedTail for EDI.
Need Project Tracking or Subscription Billing? Dynamics GP integrates seamlessly with Encore Business Solutions for both of those.
Need Field Service? Dynamics GP integrates seamlessly with KEY2ACT for construction and field service management.

And the list goes on.

Got questions about Microsoft Dynamics GP? You’ve come to the right place. I’m Laura Peters, the Founder of International Software Systems, and you can reach me directly at 714-264-4250 or lep@intlsoftwaresystems.com.

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ERP Software Battleground! Status Quo versus Innovation

It would be far too simplistic to assert that in the battle between the status quo and innovation, the latter should win out every time. You might be more sympathetic to the status quo if you were to think about it as your heart versus your head. The status quo may be very near and dear to you. It’s familiar ground. It’s your comfort zone. And who can argue with that?

The point is that it shouldn’t be an argument or a battle at all. It should be a respectful discussion about your business needs and goals. If one of your goals is to grow your business, we should look at how well the status quo is moving you toward that goal. Even if you are and have been happy with the status quo, we can still look at whether it’s helping you remain competitive.

You need a reason to choose innovation, because optimizing your processes to align with the most up-to-date software systems available is not going to happen without some pain. Even if that pain is the heartache you and your team will experience when you have to let go of the status quo, which is the way things have always been done thus far.

The status quo is like your favorite old t-shirt. You know, the one that’s literally falling apart. But it’s so comfortable. You and your t-shirt have been through a lot together. At International Software Systems, we get that. We have favorite old t-shirts, too, that we’re loathe to give up.

And yet, as technology experts, we also understand the value of moving on and moving ahead when there are good reasons to do so. We’ve been around since the very first release of Great Plains Software when it was a small company in Fargo, North Dakota. Those were the good old days, when Great Plains users gathered every year for “Stampede” in Fargo in the dead of winter. It was like going to a family reunion. Pretty low key and low tech and fun.

Since then, Great Plains was purchased by Microsoft and rebranded Microsoft Dynamics GP. And users gather in different locations for annual conferences with attendance topping 15,000. Hardly a little family reunion anymore. Today it’s a high pitch, high tech event, and it’s still fun.

But I digress.

The important point is that good old Great Plains was DOS-based (remember DOS?) and it was accounting software not ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning). No SmartLists. No multi-currency. No seamless integration with CRM. No dashboards. No mobility. No HR management. And I could go on and on … and on. Today, you could not innovate if you were still running Great Plains, no matter how much you loved it.

If you choose innovation, does that mean you have to change the way you do everything? Absolutely not. There is a middle ground and it’s that middle ground that we work hard to establish with our clients. Let’s have that respectful conversation so we can agree on which elements of your status quo you can keep versus what changes you may need to make in order to optimize your processes, grow your business, and remain competitive.

Let’s discuss your future. You can reach me at lep@intlsoftwaresystems.com, at my office 714.379.0545 or on my cell at 714.264.4250. And by the way, je parle français and yo hablo español tambien.

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If You’ve Outgrown QuickBooks, Then You’re Ready for Microsoft Dynamics 365

I’ll admit, it’s rare to see QuickBooks and Microsoft Dynamics appear in the same sentence. No less in an “if/then” statement. But that was before the appearance of Microsoft Dynamics 365 on the scene. Now there are clear and present reasons for QuickBooks users to contemplate a move up to Dynamics 365, especially if they’re outgrowing QuickBooks.

QuickBooks is often the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software of choice for start-ups and small companies. For one simple reason: It’s inexpensive.

But as your company grows, your ERP software needs to handle an ever increasingly complex set of processes and operations. How do YOU handle these new business challenges? Perhaps you decide to ride it out. Or hire more people. Or buy more tools. OR, what you might best be thinking about instead is finding a better solution.

I’m here to suggest Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Edition for Finance and Operations. It’s a pure cloud solution with flexibility and scalability that goes far beyond the capabilities of QuickBooks. Best of all, It’s designed for small, growing companies exactly like yours.

Ask yourself, does QuickBooks help you grow or is it struggling to keep up with your growing business?

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a comprehensive solution that will grow and adapt with you. If you’re willing and able to shift your mindset from reactive to proactive, you’ll be prepared for the successful future of your company.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 will:

  • Connect multiple systems
  • Simplify your operations
  • Improve data security and controls
  • Make better use of your data
  • Provide smarter financial and auditing tools
  • Keep pace with higher transaction volume
  • Integrate seamlessly with other technologies
  • Work on various devices, from anywhere, at any time
  • Adapt to your business needs
  • Comply with industry standards

If these are your long-term goals, indeed if these are your requirements for an ideal accounting solution, you have just defined Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Dig deeper!

Take a look at Microsoft’s workbook: Beyond the basics – How to evaluate a QuickBooks replacement.

Let’s discuss your future. You can reach me at lep@intlsoftwaresystems.com, at my office 714.379.0545 or on my cell at 714.264.4250. And by the way, je parle français and yo hablo español tambien.


Why My Clients Compare Me to Anna in “The King and I”

Why am I talking about “The King and I?”

I’ll tell you why. Go to any Microsoft Partner Web site, and you’ll see that without exception they all boast of their experience and expertise. It’s not my intention to trivialize the importance of experience and expertise. Those are givens. No partner could survive without experience and expertise. But they’re so ubiquitous that they are no longer differentiators.

As a Microsoft Dynamics partner, my differentiator is “The King and I.” Specifically the song that Anna sings about her relationship with the King of Siam. It’s called “Getting to Know You.” It’s all about relationship. And it represents the mutual relationships that are of the utmost importance to me in my interactions with my clients.

Take a look at the lyrics and you’ll begin to understand…

Getting to know you
Getting to know all about you
Getting to like you
Getting to hope you like me

Haven’t you noticed
Suddenly I’m bright and breezy?
Because of all the beautiful and new
Things I’m learning about you
Day by day

I do my best work when I get to know my clients. Of course I want to understand their business and their business processes. Again, those are givens. Beyond that, I want and need to know my clients as people. And vice versa. I want my clients to know me, the woman at the helm of International Software Systems. The person who will be working with them day by day to ensure that they have a Microsoft Dynamics GP or Dynamics 365 solution that meets their needs to a tee.

Sure. You can get to know me on the International Software Systems Web site. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. When we have an opportunity to chat, and I hope that will be soon, we’ll begin the process of learning about each other and liking each other. It’s the chemistry that counts.

Next Step!

Day by day you can reach me at lep@intlsoftwaresystems.com at my office 714.379.0545 or on my cell at 714.264.4250. And by the way, je parle français and yo hablo español tambien.