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Accounting software gets better at languages

Workshop Businesses have become accustomed to software products like MS Office which can be switched between languages (although Word's US English can be stickier than a handful of superglue when you want to select another language). But when it comes to the financials modules in enterprise resource planning (ERP), the multi-lingual …
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Death to re-keying (but not yet?)

Workshop Re-keying data is responsible for thousands of errors and thousands of wasted hours. It doesn't have to be this way, but many organisations are put off automating their systems by the daunting task of trying to integrate everything. Big integration projects do have a nasty habit of running over budget and missing deadlines: ask …
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Love means never having to say where’s the soap

Workshop When thinking about supply chains, what usually comes to mind is the manufacturing company that sits mid-chain. Raw materials flow in from suppliers and finished goods flow out to customers. But there is another part of the chain: indirect, or MRO (maintenance, repair and operations), supplies. These are the goods and services …
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Measuring the basics of supplier management

Workshop How a system such as ERP is configured to get the best from suppliers depends on the sophistication of the system, but some fundamentals apply to pretty much everyone. What most companies want to know is which suppliers give the best price, or the best service, or a combination of the two. In the suppliers ledger you keep …
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Tie me customer down, sport

Women are more loyal than men. Or at least, that is what women told the Ipsos Mori 2010 consumer customer loyalty survey. The study found that three out of five British adults are loyalty scheme members; 67 per cent of women belonged to at least one, compared with 57 per cent of men; and about 68 per cent of women are loyal to a …
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One basket only? Proceed to self service

In tough economic times having lots of customers to sell to can give you a warm fuzzy feeling. But how many of them bring any real value? That warm glow could soon turn to a cold sweat of panic when you see how much it costs to sell to the low-value customers. “The segmentation of customers is vital,” says Dale Vile of the …
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Five ways your customers say they are unhappy

In some sectors – mobile networks or car insurance, for example – customer churn is a way of life. Most businesses like to hang onto their customers, but sometimes, although wooed with expensive marketing campaigns and introductory discounts, customers don’t leave a note on the kitchen table or phone for a tearful it’s-not-you- …
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The human factor: Get the users on board first

Workshop The ability to provision financial systems quickly, securely and effectively to users in different offices with different needs drives the perception of the IT department. As Jon Collins recently wrote: “We may obsess about technical gubbins, but from the business user's perspective, IT is little more than a screen, keyboard and …
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The more you know about your customers ...

Workshop Once you have measured customer purchases using the RFM (recency, frequency, money) formula, the question is how do you drive loyalty with the information you hold. The chances are your customers would be happier, and therefore more loyal, if they felt your organisation cared about them as individuals, not just walking wallets …
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Measuring loyalty 101: know what your customers bought

Workshop Predicting customer behaviour is an essential part of answering the vital question: will the business grow or shrink, swim or sink? Marketers like to measure customer behaviour using “RFM” – recency, frequency and money, meaning value. These three dimensions should provide an accurate picture of past purchasing patterns and an …
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Timely information: We want it now. But not too much of it

Workshop The classic complaint from business managers is that they don’t have sufficient information to make the right decisions. This has given rise to an entire subset of IT in the shape of business intelligence (BI) and data analysis tools for slicing, dicing, filtering, probing, and generally torturing the data until it tells you …
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Early warnings and how to see them

Workshop IT industry pundits love to talk about “tsunamis” and “paradigm shifts” – huge and sudden changes in the technological landscape. It’s a great way of selling reports like “Warning all users and vendors: paradigm shift imminent!” But another school of thought reckons paradigm shifts are experienced only by people too too …