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

April 2012

"Our business is very simple." These 5 words frequently begin the ERP process, and also frequently contain the seeds of failure from the very beginning. Read our lead story to avoid this critical ERP mistake.

In the expert's corner John Pellegrino finishes up his series of tips on the X3 Product Configurator, at least for now!. His piece may be titled "For Display Only" but it's here for you to read and benefit from.

On the blog front, check out Paul's latest post on the Sage ERP Business Management Blog - on the role of functionality in your ERP project.

Sage Summit - coming sooner than you think! Sage Summit is the Sage worldwide users conference. Last year Sage successfully merged the partner and customer conferences and it created a lot of synergy and value for all. We encourage you to attend and participate. We're planning a meeting specifically for the X3 community. Stay tuned in our Sage ERP X3 Linked In Group for further details. Click HERE to see what all the excitement is about.

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

"Our Business is Very Simple". Thus begins a first conversation with many executives about implementing an ERP system. And unfortunately, all too often begins the first step of a project doomed to failure. The executive is usually articulating what they WISH WERE SO, or WHAT THEY THINK is so, not what is actually so. And therein lies the problem.

What is simple? Simple and familiar are two very different things. Things which are simple to use in practice may be very complex to design and perfect. (Think of the ease of use of Apple products vs. everyone else's products). To executives and users alike, what they are familiar with, what has been tweaked and refined over many years in their currrent system - is simple to them. But the rules in your current system around pricing, commissions, unit of measure conversions, currency conversions, revenue recognition . . . .are probably anything but simple. Even more importantly, they are probably not documented sufficiently for you to share with any ERP vendor.

We're not unique! You're probably correct. In the big picture, you either make things, distribute things, sell B2B, sell B2C. And with respect to any given single requirement that you have, you are probably not unique. However, if you go through the exercise of identifying the list of requirements you absolutely have to have, then that list is a signature which in most cases - is unique.

Let's not over-complicate things. Because ERP is an area that many mid-market business owners and executives are not comfortable with (how could they be- they don't buy new systems very often - and in many cases have NEVER done it before!) they engage with ERP providers in an adversarial way. They believe that the ERP vendors are looking to complicate things to bump up the project cost unnecessarily. This is either a true reflection of their inability to articulate what they need or a tactic - but in either case it is a serious obstacle to moving ahead with a system that can help their business grow and evolve.

Enter the small enterprise.One huge difference in the past 10 years is that many small businesses have a lot of the same characteristics that used to be hallmarks of much larger companies - such as importing and multiple currencies, extended supply chains, EDI mandates, direct and indirect salesreps, multi-channel sales - the list goes on. We call this the SMALL ENTERPRISE. And addressing the needs of the small enterprise is neither simple or easy. Start by checking your pre-conceptions at the door, and make a serious attempt to capture the special needs and business processes that make your business unique and contribute to its value proposition. We also encourage you to engage the services of professionals who can get their arms around your requirements and needs. You're not the experts. They are.

The X3 Platform. We believe that one key to success for small and medium sized companies is to invest in a PLATFORM, that provides a lot of flexibility for the future. And that platform is Sage ERP X3. With its embedded toolset it provides the foundation to address not only the unique set of needs that you already have but for the needs that most certainly will keep arising over time. In the months ahead, we'll focus on some of these tools and how they can help you remain agile and fiexible for the future. And of course if you want the best X3 partner to guide you –the one with a true consulting mind set Innovative is here to help. The X3 eXperts.

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

This month I conclude my series of tips on the X3 Product Configuration Tool. This tip was supplied to me by my good friends at Tangerine Software in Montreal, Canada. The objective is to allow the user to see a “field’s” value, but not allow any change to it. This technique is called display only and we have been using it for years to inform the user that they are in the right place, in this case in the right configuration scenario. Although that seems like an easy concept the way to do this involves a few steps.

Everything is as it seems. The first attempts at this would lead you to some standard X3 configuration settings. You might set a variable to the value you want to display (as per last month’s tip there are a couple of ways to do that). Then you would create a question and set the default to the variable. This does the display part perfectly, but it doesn’t take care of the “only” – it allows the user to answer the question.

When 1 Equals 0. Another standard technique in the X3 configuration tool is to ask a question based on a condition. For example, if the answer to question 1 is “Yes” then ask question 2. For a display only field you want to make the condition such that the question is never asked. There are a myriad of ways to set a condition to always be false, but I use 1=0. This does the “only” part perfectly, but it doesn’t display the default you set.

Enter the glue. What glues the 2 concepts together to get the full display only? Without going into all the steps necessary to set one up, you need to create an entry point between setting the variable and asking the question (entry points are another great tool in X3). Then you have to write some code for the entry point that sets the question’s variable (Q_QUESTION) and the answer’s variable (S_QUESTION) to the original variable in step 1 (S_VARIABLE). I’d be glad to share the exact details of this if you contact me via email at

"What many successful mid-sized companies have become over the past 10 years. (2 words)"

L A L M S   R S E P T R E N E I

_ _ _ _ _   _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Answer to last month's word scramle.

"An easy to use inquiry tool that is part of the X3 toolset" (REQUESTOR)

More information on recent development with Sage ERP X3, and Innovative's expanding practice. 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.

ERP - Don't Underestimate Your Needs! The emergence of the small enterprise.

X3 eXpert's Corner. X3 Product Configurator 4 - For Display Only.

Word scramble.


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