Posts Tagged ‘Cloud’

Why “owning” the customer relationship is so important for service re-sellers

November 15, 2017

Sales and billing models have been top of mind for me recently, particularly as Datagate is in the process of expanding into the North American market and getting an understanding the dynamics of the service re-sellers and vendors who operate there.

Relationship_1

In the ICT industry – in particular, business computing and communications – we have seen a huge shift towards the “as-a-Service” model and a shift away from the earlier model of selling hardware and desktop software solutions.  This has brought about what we refer to as the age of the service re-seller.  Service re-sellers are everywhere at this time – you just need to know how to recognize them.

Service Re-sellers

Within the ICT industry, service re-sellers are businesses that sell on-line services that are built, owned and supplied by another another party – a service vendor.  Typically in the ICT Industry,  service re-seller are Managed Service Providers (MSPs), Business Solution Providers, Value-Added Re-sellers (VARs) and Telecommunications specialists.

Often, service re-sellers have the advantage of being able to offer a closer, more personalized service than what the large service vendors can offer. MSPs can often position themselves as a single point of contact for all ICT services to their end-customers. Service re-sellers will often combine and bundle services together from different vendors to create unique value offerings – which are more difficult for competitors to displace.

With any online service sold by re-sellers, such as cloud solutions, telecommunication and data services there are a number of different marketing, sales, billing and support models that are possible.  Each is model is significant as to who “owns” the customer relationship.

Who “owns” the customer relationship?

Any relationship has at least two parties and obviously the customer owns one side of the relationship.  But on the the other side, the ongoing supplier relationship; who “owns” it will depend on who controls it and who is more visible to and engaged with the customer.  Most important is the flow of money; who bills the customer and under what brand?

If the re-seller sells, bills and supports the service under the re-seller’s brand and also holds the supply agreement with the customer, then clearly the re-seller fronts and owns the supplier side of the customer relationship.  If the re-seller allows the service vendor to perform any of these functions under the vendor’s brand (particularly billing and the flow of money), then it cannot be said that the re-seller owns the relationship.  If the service vendor performs all or nearly all of these functions under their brand, then the service vendor owns the relationship.

Why is owning the customer relationship so important?

The “owner” ultimately gets the most business value from customer relationship, in terms of control of the service and also the boost in valuation of their own business.

If the re-seller is the relationship owner, then the re-seller has more power in negotiations with service vendors and is often able to change or re-negotiate service contracts or change vendors in the background to the customer relationship.

Business valuations are most often calculated on multiples of revenue.  Locked-in monthly recurring revenue  (MRR), such as what you have with contracted on-line services, is valued significantly higher than other types of revenue.  This is because MRR is the best quality revenue – in that it is regular, ongoing and largely predictable – a solid cash platform for building valuable businesses on.

How to own customer relationships in the service re-selling model

For a service re-seller to “own” a service relationship (such as telecoms, Cloud software & services etc), those services must be named, billed and supported under the re-seller’s name and/or brand.

This typically requires a white-label service-billing solution, such as Datagate that can plug into usage data supplied by service vendors, apply pricing plans created by the re-seller and the automatically create & distribute re-seller-branded bills to the end-customers.  Datagate also provides re-seller branded portals where the end-customer can view invoices, reports and analysis of their service consumption.

Datagate’s mission is to enable service re-sellers (who are typically MSPs in the ICT industry) to maximize the value of their business and “own” their customer relationships in the areas of telephony and other on-line utility services.

We are also committed to helping service vendors maximize their sales channel growth through service re-sellers.

 

 

The Convergence of IT, Telecommunications and Electricity

October 14, 2015

Converge02

This is a time of great opportunity and also great risk of disruption, for businesses working in the fields of IT services, Telephony and Electricity.  Each of these three industries on their own are under increasing margin-pressure, because each industry can be seen to lack a great deal of differentiation.  All can now be classified as on-line infrastructure services. Phones are computers, computers can be phones – all require a network and electricity to operate.  Increasingly, all must work together to provide a working platform for the common customer.

The needs of the market, the customers, will ultimately drive the outcome of who wins and who loses.  The market favours those who are efficient, those that have the best understanding of the customer’s needs, those who adapt, those who offer the best service, those who are easiest and least costly to deal with.

Increasingly we are seeing the rise of businesses who offer combined IT and telephony services. These are now intertwined services, where phones and computers share the same networks, Internet connections and infrastructure,  They are now very much one and the same.  The technology of both has converged.  Furthermore, the sales process and the customer relationship are now the same. It no longer makes sense for the customer to source telephony and IT from different suppliers.

Now add the supply of electricity to the mix of IT and Telephony.  It’s a logical addition – another on-line service. It can leverage the same sales process and the same customer relationship as IT and Telephony. Companies that provide all three of these services to their customers, can offer a better, more complete offering, while at the same time getting maximum return on their sales and on-going relationship effort.

This convergence of on-line services, is the reason why I’m so convinced that my new company Datagate is on the right path.  Datagate is a white-label, Cloud-based billing engine and customer service portal for companies that sell services including Telephony, Electricity, Hosting, IT services and other utility services.  Datagate produces a single unified bill for the end customer that includes all subscribed services and lets them review and analyse their bills and consumption of services in their own private on-line portal.

Datagate is rapidly building a base of on-line service re-sellers, covering IT, Telephony, Electricity and other services, enabling these businesses to pick and choose the services they want to sell and allow them to create their own bundles and pricing plans.

Convergence is a great creator of business opportunities …and also a great disruptor.

 

 

 

Enprise using SAP HANA hosted by I-BN

June 24, 2015

i-bn_logo

Enprise‘s development team has recently switched to using an SAP HANA development environment, hosted by I-BN.

We have been delighted with the quality of service that we’ve received from Gary Feldman and his team at I-BN. They are very responsive to our requests and have deep expertise in the software and technology they are working with.

Based in Georgia USA, I-BN are specialists in hosting business software in the Cloud. In particular they specialize and have many years of experience in hosting SAP Business One and the SAP HANA platform.

Enprise acquires Datagate Innovation

April 3, 2014
Datagate acquisition


Mark Loveys and Tim Mulcock

This week Enprise announced its acquisition of Datagate Innovation Limited, which is a Cloud Software Developer that specializes in on-line reporting and billing portals for Hosted Service Providers, Telco’s and Utility Companies.

Following the acquisition, Datagate’s founder, Tim Mulcock is staying on to lead Datagate in the role of Managing Director and he also becomes a significant shareholder in the wider Enprise Group.

Prior to founding Datagate, Tim was a co-founder of EMS Cortex, a global Cloud Control Panel provider for the Cloud/hosting industry – which was acquired by Enprise and subsequently sold to Citrix Corporation in 2011. Tim also has extensive industry experience, gained from working within Telecom New Zealand and also as a co-founder of Bizo – a New Zealand hosted service provider that was later sold to Orcon.

I’m enthusiastic about the synergies between Datagate and Enprise. Datagate will leverage Enprise’s extensive international contacts within the hosting industry (from our time with EMS Cortex) and also leverage our strong background in Business Management and ERP Software. Already, Datagate and Enprise Solutions are talking in unison with common potential customers.

Enprise will also benefit from Datagate’s laser-sharp industry focus on Cloud and Hosted Service Providers – which is a strong global market vertical that Enprise can apply to its international sales channel and ERP-based partnerships.

Specialisation is so important when you’re operating in the large global markets. This will be a strong new focus for Enprise.

Grayling Chooses AccountAbility Cloud Job Management and Accounting Solution

November 22, 2013

Accountability

Grayling, the world’s second largest independent PR consultancy, presently uses AccountAbility in ten countries and plans to roll it out to a further 18 countries over the next 12 months. Prior to using AccountAbility, the Grayling group of companies used several disparate systems that were not able to meet their needs.

AccountAbility delivers the functionality that Grayling requires as a global agency. The fully integrated solution facilitates the management of global business structures and includes an outstanding multi-currency capability. Eliminating the need for different systems, AccountAbility allows the company to consolidate information and report across their entire network with full reporting capabilities including job, production time, resourcing, financials and in particular profitability. The all important revenue tracker, has for the first time, given the Global CFO the ability to track global client revenues in real-time, giving him a single source of the truth.

Grayling selected AccountAbility on its strength as a vertical solution, built specifically for the marketing communications sector, as well as it being Cloud technology that meets the complex needs of a modern agency. The ease and speed of implementation was a key factor, as was the total cost of ownership. The solution offers full functionality with an intuitive interface, allowing ease of use to any level of user across the business.

I am very excited about Enprise’s investment in Accountability, as it is now a globally-proven, high-growth solution with first-mover advantage in its huge vertical market. Enprise will be working closely with Accountability in the coming years in order to help achieve the significant potential of this innovative solution.

Enprise Invests in Cloud Solution Accountability

August 20, 2013

This week Enprise Group announced its investment in Melbourne-based Cloud Solution developer, Accountability Access Pty Ltd.

Accountability is a Cloud-based Job Management and Accounting solution designed specifically for creative and communication agencies. Its customers are typically multi-branch, multi-national businesses in the creative, communication and advertising industries who want an easy to use, pay as you go, Cloud solution to process and track the accounting and billing of their projects. The solution includes a full browser based client, an iPhone/iPad applications and is built on the latest Microsoft technology with multi-currency, multi-lingual capability.

I am excited about this investment, as it signals the start of another global sales partnership for Enprise Group with Accountability. Accountability is a superb product with huge market potential and Enprise has the experience, capability and global footprint through its channels in North America, Europe, Africa and Australasia to significantly boost the existing Accountability sales channel.

A new business unit will be set up within the Enprise Group specifically to market and support Accountability. It will be able to leverage the resources of the group, including the depth of accounting and job costing expertise of our team, plus our branches in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Sydney, Melbourne and Pretoria.

Empowering the Customer – so many choices

May 10, 2013

As time moves forward in the world of business and commerce, we as consumers increasingly get offered more and more choices and options. “Empowering the customer” is what it’s all about.

A case in point is the financial and business management software industry where I work through my role at Enprise Group. Today there are exponentially more options than ever before in all aspects of designing, configuring, consuming, delivering, accessing and paying for software and related services. In addition, there are significantly varied choices of software vendor and choices in the type of expert services to help and guide you in the use of your selected system. I think this abundance of choice is great and the different options work well for different types of businesses in different situations.

Let’s look at the different choices and I’ll offer you my opinion of the relative pros and cons;

    1. Choice of Financial Software

Your choice of financial software is critical because you want to know that the software will be around for the long-term to grow along with your business. My advice is to stick with strong market-leading vendors who have modern technology platforms & development roadmaps, decent market share and are profitable growing businesses themselves. My recommendations for Australasian businesses are vendors like MYOB, SAP and Microsoft. These are sound and proven long-term operators that have innovative, future-proof offerings. The heart of your financial system is not something to take undue risks with in my opinion. Your choice of software vendor has long-term implications. Strong, established vendors will also tend to have a strong and established channel of service and solution partners that can ensure that you get the best performance and add-on solutions for your system.

    2. Cloud versus On-Premise

Financial software in “The Cloud” is a valid software outsourcing/management, delivery and financing option for many businesses, but it is being over-hyped at this time in my opinion. It is the right option for some businesses, just as on-premise is the right option for other businesses. A clear and logical view is required to see through all the smoke and mirrors to make the right decision for your business.

“The Cloud” for financial software refers to a combination of options, including; multi-tenanting, outsourcing, hosting and subscription pricing or “software as a service” or “pay as you go”. Let’s look at the pros and cons of the individual options and remember that each of these can be selected individually or collectively when buying financial software solutions these days.

    • Multi-Tenanting:

    This is where many different businesses share the same instance of an on-line software package. It is a very good way of getting a large number of customers to share and thereby reduce costs, but that in turn comes at a cost in terms of a loss in flexibility. It’s a bit like riding in a bus instead of your own car. It costs a lot less but you have no control over a lot of things, such as when upgrades, fixes and changes will happen to your system and the ability to pilot-test for workflow issues in a new version on your data before you commit to an upgrade. There is also the limiting of options with regard to connecting to other software or devices. This is potentially scary stuff to medium or large businesses with more complex workflows, but of little concern to smaller simpler businesses.

    • Remote Hosting:

    Having your software and server hosted and managed in a professional-grade data centre with lots of redundancy, by professional, qualified engineers is without doubt the most safe and secure option if you’re serious about safety and security for your system. This is a good option if you have business-grade Internet connectivity which is subject to minimal outages and speed problems. If your local Internet connections are not up to scratch then hosting your software and/or server outside your building will be painful. There are other benefits, such as being able to access your software using a range of platforms and devices but then again there can be added complexities when you want to do simple things like integrate with software on your local computer or do fancy stuff with printers and scanners etc.
    Remote hosting can be more expensive or less expensive than on-premise hosting, depending on the expertise level of your staff, Internet and other costs and what grade of server you already own.
    All in all a mixture of pros and cons depending on your situation. Remember that any software can be remotely hosted – not only the multi-tenanted browser-based variety. As an example, check out 2Cloud.biz

    • Subscription Pricing:

    Often referred to as SaaS Pricing (Software as a Service) – this is where you pay as you use the software. It’s a bit like leasing a car and there is usually a minimum term, such as two or three years that you sign up for. It’s a Profit & Loss expense instead of buying a software license asset on the Balance Sheet of your business. An advantage of subscription pricing is that for full Cloud solutions, it’s clean & simple and includes all costs including software upgrades, hosting and support. A disadvantage is that you’re often locked into a payment plan and in the long run it can be more expensive than buying the software license outright in the first place.

At Enprise, we like to empower our customers with choices when it comes to their financial software solutions and our consultants are well equipped to help them in making the right choices for their businesses. Cloud or on-premise, local or hosted, up-front or subscription pricing – the choices are all there.

MYOB EXO rules the mid-market, down-under

October 15, 2012

I’m often asked why I continue to be so passionate about MYOB EXO, which is a mid-market ERP accounting system that I started developing back in the late 1990’s and then sold to an Australian corporate more than twelve years ago.

My response is as follows;

  • MYOB EXO, formerly known as “Exonet”, is today the top-selling ERP system in Australasia that is aimed at the “M” of “SME”. MYOB EXO accounts for 14% of new purchases of mid market ERP systems in Australia and New Zealand. No other mid-range system can match that in this very fragmented market.
  • MYOB EXO has been built from the ground up by people in Australasia for businesses in Australasia. It contains all the functionality most Australian and New Zealand businesses require and includes no unnecessary complexity that is needed by businesses in other countries.
  • The MYOB EXO suite of software is sold and supported by a base of experienced and knowledgeable re-sellers on both sides of the Tasman. There is no shortage of options when it comes to sales and after-sales support. This is an important consideration and many international packages sold locally cannot say the same.
  • MYOB EXO is built on highly scale-able Microsoft technology which works superbly on all modern computers as well as the latest data centers for Cloud deployment and/or virtualization. Furthermore, it’s easy to extend and integrate with other software solutions, making it the ideal choice for growing and/or geographically distributed businesses.
  • After fourteen years plus of passionate development, the MYOB EXO suite is now packed with modules, features and functions to give businesses competitive advantage and run like clockwork, giving managers the up-to-date visibility they need to guide their businesses forward in these challenging times.

Q: Would I bet my business on MYOB EXO? A: Yes of course, I have done so for the last fourteen years and will continue to do so for at least the next fourteen.

Nobody knows MYOB EXO better than my team at Enprise New Zealand and Enprise Australia. We welcome inquiries.

DSQ – Enprise acquisition, cloud & growth strategy approved

September 24, 2012

Last week, on Friday 21st September at DSQ Holdings Ltd’s Annual General Meeting, shareholders voted to approve the acquisition of Enprise. This is the beginning of a major new chapter in the evolution of both Enprise and DSQ (formerly Datasquirt), which will now become one and the same.

The new combined business will be named Enprise Group Limited, which will be a public New Zealand company, listed in Australia with over 350 shareholders.

This is a very positive development for all stakeholders (customers, partners, staff and shareholders) of both Enprise and DSQ.

The new Enprise Group will retain its focus on all aspects of delivering high-quality business software, solutions and services to small and medium sized enterprises. It will have offices throughout New Zealand and Australia (Auckland, Sydney, Melbourne, Wellington and Hamilton) in addition to its international channel of around 100 reseller partners throughout the USA, Canada, UK, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

Enprise is a stable and profitable platform for growth, with three business units; Enprise Solutions NZ, Enprise Solutions AU, Enprise Software plus the joint venture, 2Cloud.biz.

Enprise Software is an SAP Gold Software Solution Partner that develops solutions for SAP Business One which is sold through an international partner channel.

Enprise Solutions is a top MYOB Platinum Partner in both New Zealand and Australia, which sells and supports the market leading MYOB EXO suite of business software.

2Cloud.biz is a joint venture, offering Cloud delivery of popular ERP solutions through established reseller channels. Presently, the business is focused exclusively on Cloud delivery of MYOB EXO and associated solutions to the Australasian market.

The new Enprise Group will exploit a range of growth-driving opportunities for its customers and for itself; including the shift to Cloud Computing, Mobile Solutions, Regional Expansion and new “Big Data” processing technologies.

I will be discussing various aspects of the new Enprise Group and its growth opportunities on this blog, over the coming weeks.

New Era for Enprise and DSQ

September 5, 2012

On September 21st at the Annual General Meeting of ASX-listed DSQ Holdings Limited, shareholders will vote on a proposal to acquire the Enprise Group of businesses. If accepted, this will effectively enable the back-door listing of Enprise where it will transform from being a private company to becoming an Australian-listed public company. DSQ Holdings Ltd will transform from being a publicly listed “cash-box” (with no business operations) to becoming the Enprise Group.

For me, the idea of DSQ and Enprise becoming one and the same is certainly an exciting prospect. I have always wanted to build an innovative, expansive and profitable public company and I have been extensively involved in both of these two businesses over the last decade, being a founder and director of both.

In the past, Enprise & DSQ have been successful in building up international software businesses which were then acquired by major American companies. In 2011, Enprise sold its EMS-Cortex business to Citrix and DSQ sold its Datasquirt business to LiveOps.

The new Enprise will maintain a strategy aimed at sustainable growth, running the business as a cash earner rather than a cash burner. Enprise is the perfect platform for growth with its extensive global channels-to-market for business management software.

2Cloud.biz
Included in the proposed Enprise Group acquisition is a one third share in a great new start-up business called 2cloud.biz which is a specialized Cloud Hosting Service provider aimed at the SME ERP market. At present it offers automated provisioning of hosted MYOB EXO systems and is marketed through the channel of MYOB EXO resellers throughout New Zealand and Australia. This business is experiencing rapid early stage growth and is a perfect example of how the Enprise Group can leverage its existing channels-to-market to launch new opportunities.

Enprise Solutions
Enprise Solutions is a Platinum MYOB EXO reseller in both Australia and New Zealand. It has offices in Auckland, Hamilton, Melbourne, Sydney and Wellington. The business is experiencing considerable demand from customers in Australia and our two Australian offices which were established earlier this year are driving a significant portion of our growth. Enprise’s goal is to achieve full regional coverage of Australia and New Zealand within the next 24 months.

Enprise Software
Enprise Software is a Gold Certified Solution Partner for the globally-marketed SAP Business One ERP platform. Enprise’s solutions include the popular Enprise Job Costing and Enprise Rent packages, amongst others. Sales and distribution is via a global channel of SAP certified resellers. There is much growth potential in this business unit as new demand grows for Cloud-based and mobility solutions in addition to SAP’s exciting new in-memory HANA platform.