Archive for June, 2010

NZ’s GST change only looks simple

June 25, 2010

I’ve recently been thinking through the forthcoming New Zealand GST changes with our consulting team at Enprise New Zealand.

New Zealand businesses will incur unexpected costs as a result of the 1 October GST increase from 12.5 percent to 15 percent, unless they take steps now to prepare for the transition.

From an IT perspective there is a general perception that the rate change is a simple issue – that businesses will change the GST rate to 15 percent in the setup options of their accounting software and carry on. Unfortunately it is not always that simple.

Many businesses – do not appear to have realised all the implications of the change.

Changing the GST rate in your accounting system is one thing, but it’s the issues around the changeover, such as customisations to documents & reports and the timing of particular transaction types and situations that are going to catch people out.

Examples include the handling of transactions such as lay-bys, credit notes, orders, back-orders and quotations that are processed within timeframes that span the GST changeover date.

Someone will have to pay the increased GST – and it will be up to the business to make up the shortfall if it does not charge the customer the correct amount. Companies dealing in large volumes of goods, or companies that order goods in advance are more vulnerable in this situation.

With only two and a half months to go, the IRD is yet to release final official guidelines for businesses. A GST Advisory Panel has been set up to consider the transitional issues businesses are facing and will provide regular comment on its website. See: www.gstadvisory.govt.nz

The flexibility of modern accounting software packages, and the ease with which businesses can customise them, is sometimes a double-edged sword. GST has not changed for over 20 years. Since then a huge number of customized reports and forms have been created by many people for individual business requirements that may involve GST calculations. Without thorough testing, businesses won’t know for sure whether their invoices and credit notes will apply the correct amount of GST or whether GST will be reported correctly.

Enprise New Zealand has committed to run automated tests on its customers’ systems before 1 October 2010. We have developed a software application that can be run – remotely in most cases – through system files and databases to check all customisations and identify instances of hard-coded GST rates in the customer’s environment. Enprise can then advise and or help customers make their system compliant.

The application we’ve developed is automated, but beyond that, business processes need to be checked for each customer to understand whether they are processing types of transactions that require further GST consideration.

The sheer number of companies that need to have their systems and processes checked is a big issue. Enprise will check at least ten customers a day, every day until 1 October. It’s unusual to have to check so many systems in such a short time frame.

It’s going to be a busy time for the local accounting software industry.

The GST change is not likely to kill anyone – but it could result in cost, inconvenience and bother if not properly prepared for.

Social Media Marketing Mistakes

June 21, 2010

I’ve just been reading a very interesting article by Mike Proulx of Bloomberg Businessweek, called Top Five Social Media Marketing Mistakes.

In the article, Mike is saying that businesses large and small should;

  • Monitor Social Media in order to know what is being said about them.
  • Ensure that the right people are responding when needed. The wrong responses can be very damaging and costly.
  • Respond Quickly – delays send bad signals to the market.
  • Never fake anything in Social Media – you will be found out!
  • Never Stop – Social Media is an ongoing activity and marketing investment.

The larger the business and the bigger its public profile, the more critical it is that it manages its Social Media presence expertly and diligently.

Datasquirt’s product “CONTACT” is ideal for corporations wanting to manage all of their Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube etc) and other direct messaging (SMS, Web Chat, Email etc) from a single web-based multi-user console. CONTACT addresses all of the challenges normally faced by corporates wanting to manage their social media presence, from monitoring & reporting, through to team management, standard messages, audit trails, cross-media conversations and general compatibility with modern Contact Center operational requirements.

Datasquirt have been in the Corporate short-messaging business for nearly a decade and supply CONTACT solutions to leading businesses and government departments throughout the world.

www.datasquirt.com

Corporate Contact Centers extend to Social Media with Datasquirt

June 18, 2010

This week I sat in on a pre-release demonstration of Datasquirt’s Social Media offering for its flagship product “CONTACT”. It was being presented to a large British corporate customer who is already very active in the Social Media and non-voice Messaging space.

Social Media is a “hot potato” for large corporate businesses and government departments because they typically require a team of people to operate their Twitter, Facebook, YouTube etc accounts and therefore have specific requirements for coordinating, distributing, recording and reporting these messages and conversations.

What excited this British customer (and me for that matter) was how Datasquirt’s CONTACT solution would allow the corporate contact center to mix Social Media channels in with other channels such as SMS text, web chat, fax and email. All of these channels mix together in a single management & reporting console and allow conversations to span over multiple channel types if needed (for example a conversation could start out on Twitter and then shift to email or SMS).

As a Cloud-based application, CONTACT has been designed from the ground up to run in a web browser and be compatible with the work-flows and reporting expectations of corporate contact centers. It is used by some of the largest corporations and government entities for processing SMS text, Web Chat, fax and email communications. This is about to extend into Social Media, starting with Twitter and moving in to Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and other social media channels.

More details about CONTACT and its multi-channel communication capabilities can be found on Datasquirt’s web site.

Citrix Technology is a Key Success Driver for the Cloud & Service Providers

June 18, 2010

EMS Cortex has always supported and been a strong advocate of Citrix products and technology because we believe that a truly successful Cloud strategy requires that ALL of a business’s applications reside in the Cloud – not just some of them.

Given that so many business applications are based on Microsoft Windows and given that Citrix is the technology & market leader in delivering scalable, efficient and reliable remote access & virtualization to Windows applications and desktops, it’s hardly surprising the so many of our Service Provider partners are also Citrix Service Provider partners.

We see our product Cortex as the “Single Pane of Glass” that provisions and manages all of the popular Microsoft applications (such as Exchange, Sharepoint, CRM, OCS etc) along with the nearly infinite list of applications that can be delivered using Citrix XenApp technology.

During the last couple of months, EMS Cortex has been working more closely with Citrix and in particular with Scott Swanburg, who heads the Citrix Service Provider program.

See what Scott and Citrix Engineers have to say about EMS Cortex in this Blog.

Meet Jason Langley, the General Manager of Enprise Software

June 15, 2010

One of the “Generals” of Enprise Group is Jason Langley, who heads up Enprise Software. Enprise Software is the creator and global distributor of Enprise Job Costing for SAP Business One, which is sold through SAP’s international reseller channel.

I’ve known and worked with Jason for over 15 years, starting from the mid 1990’s, when we both worked at PC Direct (a successful NZ-based Personal Computer company). Jason was the corporate sales rep and I was the Information Services manager.

Jason Langley, GM of Enprise Software

Following PC Direct, Jason has held a number of positions in computer, web-development and software companies. These include another company I’m involved in, Datasquirt (which specializes in Social Media and SMS Text solutions for Corporate Contact Centers) – where he was the versatile “jack of all trades” that held the business together during its early formative years. Jason’s repertoire of diverse skills include computer programming, web site design, graphic art, sales, marketing and general management (I’m sure to have forgotten some…).

Jason’s skills and experience stand him in good stead to lead the team at Enprise Software, which is based in Auckland, New Zealand and works closely with over 100 SAP Business One resellers and their respective customers, which are located all around the world.