A great “Business Management” solution is not just about great software. One of the key ingredients to a successful installation is the services that are required to successfully implement and manage the solution. At Online Advantage we have all the experience that over 25 years of solving problems and implementing systems into Wholesale/Retail Stock Distribution and Manufacturing/Project Costing businesses brings. Our high levels of customer service and responsiveness is one of the defining characteristics that sets us apart in the market.
There are a number of essential activities that are involved in any project to install Online Advantage, and most importantly, to maintain the system in an on-going sense through the years of use via our client support services. The sections below detail out each of the main types of service we provide.
The actual installation of Online Advantage can be done in as little as a few weeks by our experienced implementation team. However, keep in mind that the implementation of any Business System also includes importing and converting old data from various sources, the integration and testing of any interfaces with third party software, the training of employees on the use of the system, and the completion and testing of any specific customisations.
A good implementation enables you to be in control of every aspect of the application and continue to adapt, update, add new features, and extend Online Advantage to suit the needs of your company – always. The whole process can typically take anywhere from a few weeks to six months depending on the size and complexity of your business but with Online Advantage we usually aim to have clients up and running in 6 to 8 weeks.
Our training services are an essential part of any successful implementation project, and often play a role with upgrades and when clients expand the use of the system throughout their organisation. A “Test” system, often referred to as “the sandpit” is always created so that users have an appropriate and safe place to train and practice in. They not only use the sandpit during training sessions, but are also encourage to re-visit the Test system in their own time to review and consolidate what they have learned.
We have found through experience that having a Test system that is populated with “familiar” data (e.g. Products, Customers, Suppliers etc.) goes a long way to making users feel more comfortable with a new system.
The recommended training agenda for implementation projects is as follows:
- Introduction – a “Look and Feel” overview session to orientate new users on navigating the Online Advantage environment
- Modules – we usually run a session for each application module to be used, with only relevant users involved. Sessions are structured for the audience and typically include transaction processing, reporting/displays, and maintenance topics. Module sessions can be “tailored” to specific processing methods once decisions are made on procedures
- Report Writing — for those who want to learn and use the Report Designer to create new or customise existing reports/documents
- System Admin — a session specific to the internal System Administrators responsible for such tasks as User creation and maintenance, printer allocation and general system maintenance
For optimal results, training is best conducted in groups of six or less. This training is conducted on-site or in an off-site training facility, depending upon your situation. We often perform training sessions remotely too via the internet using some software tools to share screens. We do this when required to save travel time/costs with remote branches/sites. As a minimum requirement, each training environment should be set up with:
- A client device (PC or This Client) for each participant
- A course workbook for each participant
- Online Advantage course Outline per participant
- Easy access to a printer
- A whiteboard, flip chart or other suitable props
We’re in for the long haul with support. We are not some third-party re-seller/partner working with a piece of software we thought might be good to sell. We own it. We sell it. We implement it. We support it.
Online Advantage is our product, designed and developed by us. Designed not just to assist in solving our customers business systems needs, but also designed to be easy to support and maintain. We’ve been offering support services for Online Advantage for over 25 years and like to think we know what we’re doing when it comes to keeping the system running smoothly for our clients. We provide support services to our clients via phone, fax, email, and through our online incident reporting and tracking system.
One of the powerful benefits of the design of the system is that it is server-centric. That’s a fancy way of saying that all the software resides in one place and runs from that one place. Basically all on one central server, or on several central servers in the case of our cloud based hosting facility where we have built-in server redundancy.
The by-product of this server-centric approach is that our support team only has one place to solve problems or investigate requests for clients. As long our support team have access to the server where the system resides to check, adjust, patch and manage the software and database elements of the system, we’re able to handle all the possible issues that will arise over the years our customers use Online Advantage.
As your business grows and adapts, your operational needs can change. Our Client Advisory Team is available to assist with the review of your procedures to ensure you are taking advantage of the best features and to maximise your benefit from Online Advantage. We can even lead your team in the discussion of business process mapping, procedure re-engineering, and systems problem solving if required.
Unlike other business management applications, the decisions you make today can be changed tomorrow, next week or next month. All of the information provided during your implementation, maintenance, upgrades and version migration can be adapted or modified at any time to meet the changing needs and demands of your company. By choosing Online Advantage, you can reduce all those hidden organisational, on-going-integration, operational and maintenance costs associated with rigid software solutions targeted for the corporate sector.
How difficult is it to upgrade ERP software?
Online Advantage presents another break-through in business software – an easily upgrade-able application! Easy upgrades aren’t just a sales pitch with Online Advantage.
We are consistently trying to improve the software to suit different industry business types year after year – so that way we keep up with the needs of the ever-changing Manufacturing and Wholesale Distribution industries. These upgrades are built to make customisations simple without impacting the migration process, and we develop data migration tools as part of our development process. We’ve also re-engineered all our reports so that they are developed using the same Report Designer tools we provide to users. This means that behind the scenes reports, and their layout, are held in the system as data. No different than a customer or details about a product. This ensures that reporting changes, one of the main areas of ERP system customisation, is easily upgraded to new versions as available.
Added to this is our built-in “Custom Data” system that allows users to add prompts to existing data input functions so they can capture additional information into Online Advantage about their Customers, Suppliers, Products, Assets, Employees etc. Our “Custom Data” tool does this without a single software modification required. The new data also becomes instantly available to our built-in reporting tools without any extra effort from the users.
Our upgrade services are often offered as a mini-implementation project. Depending on the needs of the organisation, we might provide some Implementation services, training on the new features in the latest version, some consulting and process review and perhaps some data conversion/data migration. Hosted clients and clients with software maintenance receive new versions of Online Advantage with no additional upgrade license fee. This means that the only cost for an upgrade is any services they decide are required as part of an upgrade project. More often than not our upgrades are performed with no additional charge to our clients.
No longer does your business system need to remain static, as if frozen in time. Now you can keep up with all the latest product features without sacrificing your custom extensions.