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"Innovative Thinking" A Newsletter from Innovative IT Consulting In This Issue

November 2011

Last month we talked about how Business Transformation is the new mandate and yardstick by which to measure ERP Success. This month we look at INTEGRATION, a key requirement for enabling transformation.

In the expert's corner John Pellegrino turns his attention to the Product Configurator one of the powerful features of X3 that set it apart from other ERP systems. Don't miss John's discussion of questions asnd answers (hint - the questions are more important than the answers!)

On the blog front, check out Paul's latest post on the Sage ERP Business Management Blog - on Transformation through ERP

Let's Get Social! One of our core values as a company is the relationship we have with our customers. We always look to build deep relationships that enhance our ability to deliver value and make doing business easier. Communications is a key part of this value, as this newsletter has proven over the years. We're extending this to key social media outlets like Facebook, Linked In and Twitter to keep the dialogue and conversations going. See the links on our newsletter and our updated web site and join in!

By Paul Sita, Principal, Innovative IT Consulting, LLC. Paul can be reached at 631-549-1685 or psita@innovativeitc.com.

Putting the transformation puzzle together. Last month we talked about how Business Transformation is the new mandate and yardstick by which to measure ERP Success. We also looked at some of the key aspects of transformation: it’s PROCESS FOCUSED, not transaction focused, and it takes into account your extended supply chain, not just your internal organization. This month we look at INTEGRATION, a key requirement for enabling transformation.

Getting beyond the core. No ERP system has all the functionality required to help you realize the efficiencies in your business processes and overall business insight that are the foundation of Transformation. In the past limitations in technology and difficulties in integrating multiple applications together pushed ERP vendors into developing functionality within the core ERP platform to support customer needs, particularly in critical areas such as CRM and Business Intelligence.

However, these efforts largely proved unsuccessful. These other functional areas are specialties unto themselves, and it is difficult or impossible for an ERP vendor to continue to enhance and advance core ERP functionality and also do the same for things such as CRM.

Best of breed is only one part of the solution. In the past, companies have tried to cobble together a variety of “best of breed” solutions. This was a great approach to building a large, expensive internal IT staff, but not a solution to achieving transformation any time soon. This is not the approach that you should take. Fortunately, technology giveth as well as taketh away. And in this case, newer technologies, particularly web services and object oriented technologies such as .NET have made it feasible and reliable to integrate best of breed packages with core ERP systems.

Integration and the new math. You should be focusing on ERP systems for which these integrations are already done and working. Even better when those tools should come from the same ERP vendor!! For example, Sage ERP X3 and Sage Saleslogix CRM. are now an integrated solution. Saleslogix CRM functionality goes way beyond what CRM functionality exists in X3. It’s truly a case where one + one = three. One integrated system that's much more powerful than either solution on its own. And that’s the kind of math that adds up to Transformation.

By John Pellegrino, Principal, Innovative IT Consulting, LLC. John can be reached at 631-549-1685 or jpellegrino@innovativeitc.com.

The Product Configurator is an advanced part of X3 and one of Innovative IT Consulting's specialties. Although not every company implementing X3 needs a product configurator, for those that do it is a major advantage to know that there is an integrated and full-functional one available. In this month's tip, let's look at setting up the questions within the configurator.

A game of 36 questions (not 20). When setting up any configurator you need to create a series of questions the end user answers that configures the product. For example, if you were selling computers the questions might be what size monitor, how many G-bytes for the internal disk drive, and what operating system do you want, etc. When you are setting up the scenario for the end users in X3 the main screen has a 36 question limit. So, what do you do when you need to ask more than 36 questions (yes, of course, I’ve had to do this)?

Get in Shape (and Pattern). X3 has a feature called Shapes and Patterns. In general, it is used to go to different sub-screens with different questions based on a main screen answer. For example, if you were selling mirrors you would ask for different dimensions for rectangular mirrors (length and height) than for circular mirrors (radius and/or circumference). You would setup 2 Shapes and Patterns screens with different questions and then present the appropriate one based on the answer to the main screen question for mirror style. But, you can set any main screen question to always call a sub-screen which will give you more questions in a scenario. The Shapes and Patterns screen allows 15 questions so in essence you have a limit of 540 questions (36 * 15). That should be enough for any situation.

Help is there if you need it. If you need help with the configurator, call Innovative, the X3 eXperts.

"An advanced module of X3 that is not part of most ERP systems. (2 words) ."

T R U D P O C   O U N I O G R A F R T C

_ _ _ _ _ _ _   _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Answer to last month's word scramle.

"A handy tool that is part of the X3 toolset (2 words)." (EXPORT TEMPLATE)

More on Transformation - what it is and how Innovative is working to help you get there. Stay tuned. Keep your comments and suggestions coming in. We love to hear from you ! Please keep checking the INNOVATIVE WEB SITE for useful tips, and our newsletter archives. The game is changing. Innovative helps you win!

Integration - a key requirement for Transformation!

X3 eXpert's Corner. The X3 Product Configurator Questions anyone?

Word scramble.


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