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Post Info TOPIC: Making THE move...how was your experience?


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Making THE move...how was your experience?


Hello,
For a research report I would be grateful to hear from those of you (preferably those working in or with SMEs) who have experienced planning and implementing the move to a new software, accounting or otherwise.
1. General comments: was your experience different to expected? If yes, better or worse, and why?
2. In hindsight, what would you have done differently/better?
3. What were your contingency plans, and were they sufficient?
4. Was your planning based on any models, business or otherwise? What were they?

Many thanks in advance,
CB



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Research! For?

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Caron



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Thanks for asking - especially because feedback is so important!

The research is conducted on my own behalf; I am writing an academic report.

The issue is broad, so by way of clarification I add that today it will typically, but not necessarily, be relevant to those who have moved to the cloud.

Please ask as may questions as it takes to reply to the above!

With much appreciation!



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Moved to the cloud as an SME. Is that a joke?! Micro businesses perhaps, not true SMEs.

Timing isn't great. It's tax season.

Too broad/vague for proper research. You don't even identify yourself.

What do we get out of responding?

Also posted on aweb (duplication of readership).



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Caron



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I am sorry if my question offended you in any way; that was not my intention at all!

I do appreciate that it is Tax season, and I thank you even more for your time.

To be fair, I am not only referring to those that run their own practices; If you helped a client move, or those that work in the Finance department of a company in any industry where a new software was implemented, I'd like to hear about that too. For example, someone who works for a privately run emergency medical service organisation, shared with me her experience implementing a new software for the medics to report an incident and its details, and how this software integrates with the accounts software.

What do you get out of responding? It is possible that I misunderstood, but I thought forums are a community kind of thing... Would you appreciate a copy of the report when it is ready for submission?

In terms of identification, I am a member of the ACCA and AAT, and the report will form a large part of a degree from Oxford Brookes University.

It is true that I also posted it on AccountingWeb (can you spot the last other forum I posted it on?), and the purpose was to get as much feedback as possible from.

Any questions, please feel free to keep asking!

Many thanks for your help!

CB

 

 



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Hi CB,

good luck with the degree. I did the MSc with UCL through the ACCA route and would highly recommend it.

The cloud is pretty much a dirty word.

businesses are told by those pushing it that they need to be in the cloud but are not told its so that the software companies can then hold their data to randsom.

I have seen several companies who have been forced to change internal processes to fit with the software and they felt that this was normal. It takes a consultant like myself coming in to tell them that its not and the software is supposed to be there to make their lives easier, Not them being there in order to make the software companies lives easier.

I am seeing an increasing trend as more companies need saving from the cloud that they require bespoke sollutions. My preference for upgrading companies is moving them from the cloud to Excel. That is very relevant to management reporting and information required for strategic decision making.

Bespoke Excel based solutions tend to be Excel, VBA, SQL (normally SQL Server or Mysql).

Power BI and Tableau are also making good headway into this market and I generally offer those as alternatives.

SSIS is a really useful tool but SSRS is clumsy software compared to Power BI, and Power BI has also basically killed SSAS.

I see no point at all in Access. It is not as good a database as SQL server (or MySQL, or Oracle, or DB2) and it cannot do anything that Excel cannot do so why does it exist? Similar to the cloud I have moved companies away from their dependance on Access based systems as well.

I don't deal with smaller companies. My minimum turnover client is a little over £100m p.a.

Hope that helps.

kindest regards,

Shaun.

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I've been heavily involved in moving software, introducing new systems, project work etc for various sized clients. Not one SME has moved to cloud and I agree with Caron this is more likely to be a micro client who would do so ( many of whom frankly have regretted it).

Too busy to respond to such broad questions.



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 Joanne 

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Thank you Shaun and Joanne for your replies.
In reply to Shaun's: Thank you for your good wishes. I'd be curios to hear more about your experiences with UCL's MSc - did you take the single or double module route?
Aren't bespoke Excel packages pricey in comparison to off-the-shelf software like Sage, Xero and QBO? But considering your clients' turnover, maybe that makes sense... I think your comments reinforce my earlier hunch: that I need to speak to those in SMEs.

In reply to Joanne's: I am mightily interested to hear why your clients regretted moving to the cloud. Because it is tax season, and because those questions are broad (you see, the questions don't even target moving to cloud necessarily!), I am considering creating a questionnaire with SurveyMonkey or a similar alternative and post this at a less busy time (could we ever say we're not busy??!!). Would you say mid February is ok, or will people want more time?

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Why not make yourself properly known? Add your full name to your profile page.

If you wish to add a survey you will need to ask for permission of the site owner/mod. I dont do surveys, other than the recently well put together one from Ciot.

Now if you knew my background (which is highly documentated on this site), I wouldve thought you would be more interested in talking to me about actual experience with SMEs/mid and large corporates than fluffing around the edges talking about the nonesense cloud products that are out there. I only wish I could easily locate the best response to the xero 'issue' that Ive have read recently which sums up why clients have moved away from it.

But honestly, you are losing out purely because of the 1- 6 hit wonders who post on here and disappear Im afraid. I no longer have the patience, will nor inclination to provide responses to long generic questions when I get absolutely nothing in return. 8000 posts of helping folk and Ive had it. (apart from a few folk, who know who they are!)

Sorry, Im out.



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 Joanne 

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A bespoke Excel package will do exactly what you want it to rather than the company needing to adhere to what the software wants it to.

The decision to go to the cloud is generally made by managers removed from the actual work but when productivity dips and information ceases to be available that they were dependant upon before then its their heads that are on the block and I have seen a lot of back peddling away from the cloud. I've also seen sites pay for cloud services that they don't use in order not to get egg on their faces for the stupid act of buying it.

The best cloud based solution that I feel exists is dropbox. fantastic peice of kit where one keeps a permanent backup whilst the data also exists on your machine and you are not tied to the software.

I did the two modules MSc. The first part related primarily to understanding economics, financial morality and economic crisis. Like Joanne I come from a background in banking systems so I found that really enjoyable. Also it makes many of the throw away lines in the big short make a lot more sense and I finally figured out how a gold fish managed to swallow a whale when RBS took over NatWest.

The second module was more hands on involving team leading, working as a CEO and CFO of an airport, turning around a failing show company and learning to understand yourself better. You were never dependant upon the work of others for your final result but having led teams in the real world I found it a very good reflection of that where one forged alliances, got annoyed (actually, seriously angry at times) with the people not pulling their weight, pulled through the trenches those who were trying but this was new to them. You came through it shell shocked but a different person to when you went into the process... Lol. Sounds like I was in the apprentice.

I would recomend it to any ACCA/FCCA to do. Its hard, like the ACCA qualification it has a high failure rate. But, its worth it. Not least as UCL is one of the world top ten Uni's and having on your CV really makes a difference both in getting to interview and your confidence in the roles you apply for.

All the best,

Shaun.

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Shamus wrote:



Like Joanne I come from a background in banking systems

Shaun.


 Ah but  you appear to be ignoring the background in corporate finance with the slant on assessing SME (and large corps) systems (financial, production, import, export, investment and cashflow capabilities) which in my case is more appropriate here, alongside the implementation and project experience used working directly for such businesses, both in practice and in FD/FC/head of Accounts type roles.

 



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 Joanne 

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We came from very different areas. You dealt with the clients systems, I designed and developed the financial systems some of which you may have used although the timing where we were working with the same bank may have been off.

My area was in the design and developmen of payments, securities and fraud systems in retail and commercial banking so no exposure to import, export and very little link to investments.

Can't talk too much about what I did beyond that but I'm pretty sure that our paths never crossed in corporate.



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Shaun

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Once again, thank you so much Joanne and Shaun for your detailed responses.

To Joanne: Thank you for alerting me to the fact that I need permission to post a survey; I wouldn't want to inadvertently error like that!
Now that you've brought it up, I will have a peek at your background so that I can ask you about the issues that interest you most.
When you have a moment (I know you're busy!!) I would appreciate the response to "the Xero issue" because so far I have heard much positive feedback from SMEs and micro companies (due to Xero's brainwashing, maybe?).
I am sorry to hear that you no longer have the patience, will, nor inclination to provide responses. I hope that I have not helped you come to that decision. The reason I have 6 posts compared to your regular feedback (8000 is impressive!) is because I am a newbie, which means just that. I signed up less than 36 hours ago. For all my achievements and awards, I am so young that you probably started posting while I was still in primary school. This means that I am still learning (shouldn't we all be?) and I credit my success to the help of kind mentors who were generous enough to expend of their time without a care of receiving something in return. In time, and to a lesser extent now, I too hope to be at the giving end. Sure, constant giving can lead to burnout, but what is the alternative?
I sincerely hope that you understand my intentions for writing the above: It is NOT to tell you off in public (especially as I'm a "freshman"); because I noticed that you are not the first to ask about return, I write to further the wider cause of why I think this forum was established in the first instance.

Regarding my full name, perhaps when I feel less under attack I will share it. Not that it is a state secret. I ask that you please allow me to share when I am comfortable to do so.

Now to Shaun: Like I said we too once had an Excel package made bespoke for us. One problem we experienced is that over time, as the company grew and evolved, the package didn't! I guess like with everything there are pluses and minuses...
What do you mean by "when productivity dips and information ceases to be available"? Are you referring to a loss of internet connection?
Your experience with the MSc sound fascinating! I am pleased to hear it, because when I've got OBU out of the way in May I will seriously consider that degree. My other option is to do the MBA also offered in conjunction with ACCA. Do you know anything about that?

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Calling me an old bird! How to make friends and influence people. I only started posting c5years ago. I'm a spring chicken, a mere child myself, despite my haggard face, which is only there due to the amount of mentoring I've done, outwith this forum. I'm joshing with you (!!)

The 6 posts wasn't a reference to you, I'm pretty sure you hadnt posted 6 when I said it! Burnout?!! Not at all, it's more the total lack of appreciation from certain folk generally, (no I'm not talking about you!), general laziness of posters, increasingly common traits in society. All mentors get some pay back, usually the enjoyment of passing on knowledge, plus the appreciation, plus seeing folk go on to do well, it's never a complete one way street. I'm still mentoring and training elsewhere.

Shaun, yep defo used some of your systems implementations as you know. I just remembered I rejected a biggie after it had a fatal flaw, but that has since been implemented (not one of yours obviously) in card services. My parting shot before getting into this bloody lark. So glad I didn't go into this at 16, as I'm bored silly by it all already.









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 Joanne 

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You should check out answers with reference to the legal position



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see bee wrote:

Now to Shaun: Like I said we too once had an Excel package made bespoke for us. One problem we experienced is that over time, as the company grew and evolved, the package didn't!

If you buy any software package you get constant releases as the environment changes. Perhaps through legal changes, perhaps through the demands of growth. Excel is no different to (say) sage or quicknbooks in that todays sollution may need upgrading due to change.

A lot of code is developed by people not trained in developing code and I have often found myself rewriting old systems written by people who thought htat they were able to develop automated solutions but when the underlying data changed the code was unable to handle it.

Code has to be developed to allow for a certain amount of flexibility and always with the old adage in mind of "make it idiot proof and they just make a better idiot". As such the underlying code must do all the calculations. There should be no actual spreadsheet in the spreadsheet even if the occassional report does look like one.

It sounds in your case as though the software was professionally developed but then not maintained so you simply outgrew it where if you had kept it maintained I suspect that it would have grown with your company... I say suspeect rather than would have as all too often those who initially write the code keep trying to amend whats there rather than realising that a time comes when modules need to be rewritten completely. There is a lot of code out there which is the equivalent of a bag of nails held together with elastoplasts. Thats not the fault of the code but rather those who maintain it who do not realise when the time is right to replace rather than fix.

Add to that Excel now is not the same as the Excel that your software would have been built in. Yes code written in Excel 4 will still work but it will not work efficiently.

I've seen horror stories where people who were supposed to know what they were doing used conditional formatting on volatile sheets. To start with that would work but over time it would get slower and slower with those using it blaming Excel rather than realising that they were the one's causing the problem every time they amended the sheet.

The last site that I worked with had one sheet that once a month would take 40 minutes to run! Took me under an hour to reduce that 40 minutes to under 5 seconds. And it was all down to conditional formatting.

Same sort of thing with Vlookups. Anyone can use them... But very few ever should as Index and Match is way more efficient.

People complain about Excel being old, and slow. The reality is that it is a stunning peice of software that anyone can use but not everyone uses it properly and rather than think that the issue lies with the operator they assume that the issue is with the software.

Perhaps in that way its accessibility and ease of use if both its benefit and its curse.


What do you mean by "when productivity dips and information ceases to be available"? Are you referring to a loss of internet connection?

No, but now you mention it, lol.... When companies adopt cloud based solutions they still expect to see the reports that they saw previously but of course the reports invariably no longer have the same data sources and frequency the details previosuly available are no longer present with no way to add them because these are off the peg rather than bespoke systems.

Productivity often goes down as cloud based solutions seem to be geared for single line entry which is on occassion clumsily implemented. For those entering transactions the work becomes much more difficult meaning that to use one bit of new software you often need to buy additional software to do things like automate the data input whilst still paying the same amount for staff as you need to check everything entered.

The real issue I find is that the managers who buy the products do not think about what they are losing only about the promised productivity gains that often fail to materialise.


Your experience with the MSc sound fascinating! I am pleased to hear it, because when I've got OBU out of the way in May I will seriously consider that degree. My other option is to do the MBA also offered in conjunction with ACCA. Do you know anything about that?

The MBA was announced after the MSc. so I had already signed up. In hindsight I am happy with the choice that I made. It was hard but it was seriously enjoyable.

At the same time that I was doing the MSc. my son started Uni doing a BA and looking at the level of teachng that he was getting comparative to that from UCL was like comparing a bow and arrow to an M16 assault rifle. I think his seeing some of the lectures that I was doing, especially how interested the lecturers were in the material and how much they cared for the class (there were 612 of us!) helped him with the decision to give up his course as he just figured that by comparrison he was just racking up debt for nothing.

I cannot comment on the MBA but I cannot recomend the MSc. highly enough... Just as with the ACCA qualification itself, ignore completely the length of time per week it says that it will take and double, or in some weeks, triple it.... And be prepared for a lot! of reading where you are often expected to find relevant books and articles yourself in order to provide sound, well rounded arguement.

It really does make you question everything!

Would I do the MBA now... I don't think that it could be a step up from the MSc. If I go further from here then it would be a doctorate.... But that would be a huge commitment.


 



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Shaun

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Cheshire wrote:


Shaun, yep defo used some of your systems implementations as you know. I just remembered I rejected a biggie after it had a fatal flaw, but that has since been implemented (not one of yours obviously) in card services. My parting shot before getting into this bloody lark. So glad I didn't go into this at 16, as I'm bored silly by it all already.


If it got rejected it wasn't one of mine biggrin

Card services... Only worked on that with one that thought it was a bank (and now belongs to one) but not for the one that both of us were part of.

My big two that you might have caught were FATF VII and Currency on demand. The latter though was really retail banking so probably not that one.



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Shaun

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see bee wrote:




Your experience with the MSc sound fascinating! I am pleased to hear


You have in some ways timed your query to perfection, as Shaun has not been as chatty for an absolute age.

As is often the case in life as one departs another returns.



-- Edited by Cheshire on Friday 27th of December 2019 01:57:33 AM

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 Joanne 

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Thoughts are my own/not to be regarded as official advice,which should be sought from a suitably qualified Accountant.

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Cheshire wrote:
see bee wrote:




Your experience with the MSc sound fascinating! I am pleased to hear


You have in some ways timed your query to perfection, as Shaun has not been as chatty for an absolute age.

As is often the case in life as one departs another returns.



-- Edited by Cheshire on Friday 27th of December 2019 01:57:33 AM


Lol, the company that I'm working with at the minute turns over £15billion per year and have decided that they can't afford me over the Christmas break... I know, you couldn't make it up.

Thankfully the one that we used we work for processed more than that every hour, 24 hours a day so at least they didn't need me to take Christmas off... I'm really begining to wonder how big a cut my agent is actually taking, lol. biggrin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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Shaun

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see bee wrote:


To Joanne: It is NOT to tell you off in public


 giphy.gifgiphy.gifgiphy.gif



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Shaun

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It's been a busy two days and I am already thinking that you're guessing that since I've filled my quota of posts I'm gone...

To Joanne: Name calling is not my thing, and to show you I mean what I say I have edited my previous post... Let's keep things amicable. And in case you're still wondering about my identity, where I come from one reason the old are respected is because wisdom comes with age. Not that you're old; it's an adjective that's subjective.

To Shaun: I am beginning to think differently about Excel (about cloud, not yet!)... Your assumptions about maintenance are correct. Thanks for the comment about VLookup, as I use it all the time. I will keep your comments about the MSc in mind... and if I'm still around in May, perhaps I'll even let you know what I've decided.
About taking leave, you should know that a £15bn turnover could well mean its got a similar loss... we've seen too many high-profile companies lose it to think differently.
I'm glad my firewall blocks images sent by others, because I could only imagine what you've posted in response to mine.

So now back to my initial question: when is a better time to re-ask people about their experiences and hope for a good number of response? Mid Feb?


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I'm struggling to edit my previous post. When I click on preview it is different to when I "submit post". solution?

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I just came across a very interesting report about the research findings of an independent company on behalf of Sanderson - an ERP manufacturer. The consensus across 4 major industries (supply chain, wholesale, retail and manufacturing to be exact) was that everyone is looking for cloud-based systems. How does that fit with your assertions, Shaun?
If you'd like to see the full report, please let me know.



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If you are paying for a report you expect the report to say what you want it to, otherwise you hire another company and another and another until you get the report you want and thats the one that you publish.

If enough people believe what you tell them, perhaps aided by an official looking report, then what you are saying becomes the truth even if it did not start out that way.

My findings amongst major corporates is that the cloud is a dirty word and companies are abandoning it.

Why not just do a search for the many, many reports out there about why business is ditching the cloud. Those one's tend to support my experience, I'm sure that the report you found supports your stance.

We are not going to see eye to eye on this and I don't see either of us convincing the other as both of us are argueing our positions from our own experience. Mine of companies ripping the cloud out of their businesses, you of companies implementing it.

All the best,

Shaun.









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Actually the report was released by the research company themselves, Step Beyond by name. I highly doubt that they would risk tampering or manipulating with the results in any way.
I like your final comment: We agree to disagree.
However, I am still left with a begging question: if my opinion is based on research and yours on experience, which is the more reliable?

Happy New Year,
CB

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see bee wrote:

Actually the report was released by the research company themselves, Step Beyond by name. I highly doubt that they would risk tampering or manipulating with the results in any way.
I like your final comment: We agree to disagree.
However, I am still left with a begging question: if my opinion is based on research and yours on experience, which is the more reliable?

Happy New Year,
CB

------------------

 

Shaun's. Based on fact. 

Research easily skewed, plus as said right at the top, based on a set of too wide or indeed too narrow set of questions and based on type/size/segment etc etc of client, all of which we don't know, as well as the poser.

I could of course just go to my corporate finance contacts for a yes/no do you use cloud accounting type question of the hundreds of SMEs at a corporate level and get the answer, but I don't think you would like the answer.

 



-- Edited by Cheshire on Tuesday 31st of December 2019 09:09:26 PM

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 Joanne 

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Sorry Joanne if I didnt make myself clear: my opinion is formed, amongst other things, based upon research conducted by Step Beyond. We've moved on from discussing the earlier research. Now that you've mentioned it though, nobody seemed to mention that mid Feb is a bad time to re-post my initial post... so so it will be.



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Cheshire wrote:
see bee wrote:

Actually the report was released by the research company themselves, Step Beyond by name. I highly doubt that they would risk tampering or manipulating with the results in any way.
I like your final comment: We agree to disagree.
However, I am still left with a begging question: if my opinion is based on research and yours on experience, which is the more reliable?

Happy New Year,
CB

------------------

 

Shaun's. Based on fact. 

Research easily skewed, plus as said right at the top, based on a set of too wide or indeed too narrow set of questions and based on type/size/segment etc etc of client, all of which we don't know, as well as the poser.

I could of course just go to my corporate finance contacts for a yes/no do you use cloud accounting type question of the hundreds of SMEs at a corporate level and get the answer, but I don't think you would like the answer.

 



-- Edited by Cheshire on Tuesday 31st of December 2019 09:09:26 PM


 Surely yours as well Joanne. Based on fact. Rather than subjective and/or as you say skewed info.



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Caron



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Hey, now that would be fun!
Are you able to do that?
But please add one more question (and I expect everyone on this forum to understand my motive): Age group; Likert style.

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see bee wrote:

Sorry Joanne if I didnt make myself clear: my opinion is formed, amongst other things, based upon research conducted by Step Beyond. We've moved on from discussing the earlier research. Now that you've mentioned it though, nobody seemed to mention that mid Feb is a bad time to re-post my initial post... so so it will be.


Don't worry, you made yourself clear, I'm not going senile yet.

Have we moved on? I didn't think so, this is all about the view you had clearly formed prior to posing your question in the guise of undertaking research, so it's all related. If your opinion is formed, what is the point of said research? (I don't want an answer!!) Although it could go some way to explaining the broad nature of the questions....so now we are back at the beginning.

Perfectly clear to anyone reading this why you want to add the age related question, absolutely no need to explain.

Nobody has mentioned Feb, but then it appears no one else has been interested enough to post on this one at all, despite being online

 

edited to finish last sentence as phone jumping about. Or maybe it's cos I'm partying too hard 



-- Edited by Cheshire on Tuesday 31st of December 2019 10:15:04 PM

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 Joanne 

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see bee wrote


Are you able to do that?


 Easily



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 Joanne 

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see bee wrote:


But please add one more question (and I expect everyone on this forum to understand my motive): Age group


Thats an interesting one.

People such as Joanne and myself are the age group of those in larger companies making the decisions to buy (and then rip out) cloud based solutions.

Consultants tend to be early to mid twenties and have never really worked at a serious level in business but have a geat degree that they feel puts them in a position to advise those that have on what they are doing wrong. Across the board they are advising people that the cloud is the way forwards (as its the current buzz word, much as SEO used to be before it became toxic).

Members here often brought in as bodies to help iron out the issues when systems change but are by and large without the power to influence consultant driven management policy.

One issue I see with asking about age is the same reason that the labour party desperately wanted children to be able to vote in the last election. If younger people know the cloud and not what came before it then how do they compare. Similarly older people are forced away systems they know for often inferior products will be assumed to be set in their ways rather than the reality of being happy to adapt where the new system is better.... I have yet to encounter a cloud based system better than desktop products available in the market.

If you believe that independantly produced reports are truly independant you still have a lot to learn about the way that business works as that seems as innocent as assuming that independant reviews in social media are always independant, that site clicks and likes are always genuine or that the telephone is telling you the truth when it repeatedly tells you that your call is important to whoever you are attempting to contact.

Some may say that I'm a little synical. I would say after sitting in the boardroom of many medium sized companies and working in seriously big business and consultancy for a lot of years that I am a realist. I know how decisions are made, often by weak managers hoping that nobody discovers that they are there by accident. And feel that nobody gets fired by following the crowd even if the crowd is running at full pelt towards the edge of a cliff but it must be ok because everyone else is doing it.

The lemming mentality of cowards is not a good reason to adopt new technology.

Dropbox is brilliant, thats cloud based. I have no issue wth it. Software that exists in the ether though and holds your data to randsom... Really? How did anyone ever manage to argue that as being a good idea unless of course the people that were being spoken to did not understand what they were actually buying or the options that were available.



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Now now, no need to take offence, especially cos you haven't even allowed my New Year's resolution to kick in... nor yours (hope you've got some!). 
The questions from the first post are intentionally broad; if you recall cloud was just one way those questions may relate to your vast experience.
"If your opinion is formed, what is the point of said research? (I don't want an answer!!)" - I'll withhold my reply then.
Cheshire wrote:
see bee wrote


Are you able to do that?


 Easily


 So will you? Or in your view will that still be a distortion??



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Sorry - previous post addressed to Joanne.
Reply to Shaun is coming.

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To Shaun: I get you (at least I think I do!). Let's look at things from a different angle.

What do you think is the way forward in terms of ERP or other software?



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see bee wrote:
Now now, no need to take offence,  have to try a lot harder for me to take offence!
especially cos you haven't even allowed my New Year's resolution to kick in... nor yours no idea what you are on about (hope you've got some!). 
The questions from the first post are intentionally broad; or perhaps not fully thought through, which is perhaps why no one has responded if you recall cloud was just one way those questions may relate to your vast experience.
"If your opinion is formed, what is the point of said research? (I don't want an answer!!)" - I'll withhold my reply then.
Cheshire wrote:
see bee wrote


Are you able to do that?


 Easily


 So will you? Or in your view will that still be a distortion??


 How would a distortion occur?

 



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 Joanne 

Winner of Bookkeeper of the Year 2015, 2016 & 2017 

Thoughts are my own/not to be regarded as official advice,which should be sought from a suitably qualified Accountant.

You should check out answers with reference to the legal position



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see bee wrote:

To Shaun: I get you (at least I think I do!). Let's look at things from a different angle.

What do you think is the way forward in terms of ERP or other software?


 what do you think?



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 Joanne 

Winner of Bookkeeper of the Year 2015, 2016 & 2017 

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You should check out answers with reference to the legal position



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To your first post: in an attempt to finally summarise the intent behind those four questions: I am looking to hear about the experiences of those who were involved in the planning and implementation of information systems (preferably within SMEs).
For those that require examples to aid their understanding, here's one from AccountingWeb:

"In the course of my time as accountant for a large Scottish charity I had to change accounting software several times. The accounts were first computerised on a PC based system in the early 1980s and upgraded to Pegasus a few years later. Our parent body then insisted we joined their new mainframe system which had to be changed in 1999 as it was not Y2K compliant. A few years later we went back to Sage on networked PCs. This was in place when I left in 2005.

1. The systems worked as well as they could for the time
2. Each time it got easier as I understood what data needed to be shifted.
3. That wasn't my job, it was done higher up
4. The plannning was doine higher up"

Of course this answer is quite brief; where possible more detail is appreciated.

Regarding distortion, it's in reply to Shaun's.


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see bee wrote:

To your first post: in an attempt to finally summarise the intent behind those four questions: I am looking to hear about the experiences of those who were involved in the planning and implementation of information systems (preferably within SMEs).
For those that require examples to aid their understanding, here's one from AccountingWeb:

"In the course of my time as accountant for a large Scottish charity I had to change accounting software several times. The accounts were first computerised on a PC based system in the early 1980s and upgraded to Pegasus a few years later. Our parent body then insisted we joined their new mainframe system which had to be changed in 1999 as it was not Y2K compliant. A few years later we went back to Sage on networked PCs. This was in place when I left in 2005.

1. The systems worked as well as they could for the time
2. Each time it got easier as I understood what data needed to be shifted.
3. That wasn't my job, it was done higher up
4. The plannning was doine higher up"

Of course this answer is quite brief; where possible more detail is appreciated.

Regarding distortion, it's in reply to Shaun's.


Adds nothing to original post.  find it condescending you consider you need to add an example to 'aid understanding'.   

'distortion' was tagged on the end of a response to Joanne's post. either way no explanation for such a comment.

i notice you didn't say what you think about erp and other software. 

All seems a bit of a pointless one way street.



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I don't understand how distortion is in response to my post?

Genuine question. I can see that you are being backed into a corner a bit here and may be getting a little defensive. How does distortion relate to what I said?

As for the question about enterprise resource plannng.

The bulk of the ERP system is about data input but the only part of it that management is concerned with are the resultant statistics.

Most ERP systems are actually a pretty front end to an SQL database (SQL Server / MySQL / Sybase / Oracle / DB2 / etc.). I've worked with quite a few and it takes management a little while to get past the idea that I have absolutely no interest in the front end, only in the database that it maintains and how to access the data in it.

Generally when I go to a site the first thing that they try to do is teach me how to use their ERP system. And I stop them immediately as thats not what I need. Often they cannot answer my questions so I need someone in a position of authority from the company that sold them the ERP system to fill me in on what I do need including the database password to access the data directly and authority to exampine the system catalogue.

Doesn't matter to me whether the front end is a cloud based front end or desktop. All that matters is the underlying data and how to access it directly rather than via the ERP system.

Most vendors don't like that as you're exposing their system and everything that is wrong with it. You might be surprised at the number of ERP systems that don't even pay lip service to standard normalisation. I've found data from multiple companies co existing of single data pages so company A's performance is affected by perhaps company B through Z.

In big data scenarios you will have data sourced from multiple input systems existing in a core database. Where I come in is in creating data extraction and statistical reporting tools that supply the board with information upon which strategic thinking can be based.

Why then you ask when I really don't give a shit about how the data gets into the system am I so up in arms against the cloud?

Pretty much its because cloud companies are milking businesses with products not as good as those that they are replacing and the one's doing the data input have very little say in the matter even though the cloud is making their lives considerably more difficult. And for what? So that ERP companies can pretend that their offering is something special rather than a pretty front end on an SQL database that could be recreated easily using Excel, or Access, or a Myriad of tools if people realised what it was that the cloud companies were actually selling which in real terms seeems the latter day equivalent of snake oil.

Think about it. you are entering data into a system to be stored to record current status for later retrieval. All that it is below the smoke and mirrors is an SQL database sitting behind whatever front end the ERP service provider puts on it.

But then wrap that up in the cloud and million buzz words and business owners have no idea what magical thing exists beyond their keyboard where they enter data and then it gives them something back... In the format that it thinks that the user needs, not neccessarily what they do need.

In my experience people are not as stupid as software, especially ERP and CRM system providers believe that they are.

I have been in numerous meetings with ERP pushers and on numerous occassions I have used the sentence... "Don't piss in my ear and tell me its raining".

I'm afraid that when it comes to business I have no bullshit filter. And in a world fed up to the back teeth of the manipulative machinations of management consultants companies pay me good money to go toe to toe against my former employers biggrin

Shaun.



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Shamus wrote:
If you believe that independantly produced reports are truly independant you still have a lot to learn about the way that business works as that seems as innocent as assuming that independant reviews in social media are always independant, that site clicks and likes are always genuine or that the telephone is telling you the truth when it repeatedly tells you that your call is important to whoever you are attempting to contact.

Regarding distortion, I refer to the above paragraph. But let's not get sidetracked. 

In response to Casu: I admit and publicly apologise for the condescending tone. 

In response to Shaun: (a summary to confirm my understanding) according to you, then, is cloud really the same thing as existing ERPs (also based on a SQL database) just with a "fancy front"?

If that's not the case, please ignore the following questions:

1. what's wrong with a "fancy front" if essentially it's the same thing?

2. if the answer to Q1 is "holding data to ransom" is the following link a solution? << Removed >>

 

 



-- Edited by Shamus on Wednesday 1st of January 2020 03:53:17 PM

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see bee wrote:
Shamus wrote:
If you believe that independantly produced reports are truly independant you still have a lot to learn about the way that business works as that seems as innocent as assuming that independant reviews in social media are always independant, that site clicks and likes are always genuine or that the telephone is telling you the truth when it repeatedly tells you that your call is important to whoever you are attempting to contact.

Regarding distortion, I refer to the above paragraph. But let's not get sidetracked.        I think you need to stop trying to direct traffic.   Plus answer the questions that have been posed of you.   Shaun gave a full answer to your what do you think of ....ERP......yet you still have not added yours.   Caron (Casu) was correct, its all a wee bit one sided.  

In response to Casu: I admit and publicly apologise for the condescending tone. 

In response to Shaun: (a summary to confirm my understanding) according to you, then, is cloud really the same thing as existing ERPs (also based on a SQL database) just with a "fancy front"? 

Emperor's new clothes and all that in most cases. 

If that's not the case, please ignore the following questions:

1. what's wrong with a "fancy front" if essentially it's the same thing?   You need to re-read all of the comments Shaun has made and then it will become clear, unless you keep a closed mind.

2. if the answer to Q1 is "holding data to ransom" is the following link a solution? << Removed >>    Advertising!   Frankly spamming imo.   Do you think holding data to ransom is acceptable?   Do you think it should require a 3rd party solution or that ethically the company providing the software should provide the ability for backups and data movements when clients get fed up with extortionate fees/bad service etc?

 

Oh Shaun - what did you say? zero.

 

 edited to add 'e' on a typo

 

 

 


Come on - show some mettle - answer the question instead of prodding with a big stick.



-- Edited by Cheshire on Wednesday 1st of January 2020 12:31:40 PM



-- Edited by Shamus on Wednesday 1st of January 2020 03:54:26 PM

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 Joanne 

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Cheshire wrote:
I think you need to stop trying to direct traffic.   Plus answer the questions that have been posed of you.   Shaun gave a full answer to your what do you think of ....ERP......yet you still have not added yours.
To be perfectly honest, I'm still in the process of forming mine; that's one reason I am still engaging in this discussion.

Emperor's new clothes and all that in most cases. 

If that's not the case, please ignore the following questions:

1. what's wrong with a "fancy front" if essentially it's the same thing?   You need to re-read all of the comments Shaun has made and then it will become clear, unless you keep a closed mind. I assume you wrote this before reading the next question

2. if the answer to Q1 is "holding data to ransom" is the following link a solution? << Removed >>  Advertising!   Frankly spamming imo.   Do you think holding data to ransom is acceptable?   Do you think it should require a 3rd party solution or that ethically the company providing the software should provide the ability for backups and data movements when clients get fed up with extortionate fees/bad service etc? I am not arguing whether it is ethical or not, I am just suggesting that maybe this will provide a solution that gives "the best of both worlds". Regarding fees, I don't know what all companies out there charge, but to give you an example: Sage charge about 6 (!) times the price of Xero (if you need more than 1 company/ten users). The nominal fee for << Removed >> might just be the solution.

Oh Shaun - what did you say? zero.

 edited to add 'e' on a typo


Come on - show some mettle - answer the question instead of prodding with a big stick.



-- Edited by Cheshire on Wednesday 1st of January 2020 12:31:40 PM


 



-- Edited by Shamus on Wednesday 1st of January 2020 03:53:52 PM

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see bee wrote:
In response to Shaun: (a summary to confirm my understanding) according to you, then, is cloud really the same thing as existing ERPs (also based on a SQL database) just with a "fancy front"?

If that's not the case, please ignore the following questions:

1. what's wrong with a "fancy front" if essentially it's the same thing?


Joanne hits the nail on the head. Emperors new clothes.

I'm pretty sure that I've covered off everything in my last response but to emphasise. The only thing that really matters is the data. Cloud based ERP systems take the concept of off site data storage, put a fancy front end on it and sell it as something new.

The trick has been to convince the end user that the data and the front end are one and the same so effectively if you lose access to the front end you lose access to the data and in that way it is held to randsom.

Now lets get into blow your mind concepts.

The concept of a relation database (that is, a database that you would access using SQL) shares the same logic as a spreadsheet in that everything is arranged in columns and rows (per IBM's original thesis written by Cobb in the 1950's) and each sheet in a workbook can be thought of as each table in a database.

Where relational databases are different is in performance... Or at least it should be... I have seen some horror stories of databases hidden behind the shiny front ends of systems. I won't bore you with details of how the databases retrieve the data for optimal performance.

So... Think about this logically.

If a company has a huge amount of data, why slow down access with cloud based solutions. These are generally the one's that I am called in to fix (by fix read rip out).

If a company has a small amount of data, why does it need a cloud based solution?

Very small companies who know what they are doing could use only Excel but for most companies the ideal is software that maintains a controlled database.

The cloud is no different to existing sollutions for companies without the skills or money to develop their own solutions but it is being put accross as being evolution where it is actually regression

If a company uses a cloud solution their data exists in a huge database with everyone elses. I've seen very simple ERP systems with over 3k data tables sitting behind it (there are also reference and system tables but we won't get into those).

Now add to all that, that the cloud based solution will be a one size fits all.

You as a user get to record what the system allows you to record rather than the data that your business needs. If the cloud company changed something for your business then they change it for every business because there is only one program and one database structure.

I really need to teach you about concepts here such as pseudoconversational processing and the difference between tasks and transactions but again its getting away from the core concept and into the detail of how to build an ERP system.

I know that you were only looking for people who use ERP systems, not those who actually know exactly how they work. For all my nuts and bolts level knowledge though of how it all fits together I could not come up with a better sentence that sums it up than Joannes in that in a nutshell, what the cloud is is very much a case of the kings new clothes.

HTH,

Shaun.



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Thank you very much for your lengthy reply - it certainly is helpful.
Again, I hope you'll allow me to summarise what you've written to confirm my understanding.

What you're saying is that cloud has the following disadvantages:
1. for companies with a huge amount of data, cloud slows access;
2. the data exists on a huge database along with everyone else's;
3. the cloud based solution is one size fits all.

is there anything else I missed?

Based on your reply I hope then to form a proper response to the best of my ability.

Many thanks,
CB



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'data exists in a huge database'

......in huge data centres that are not even hidden in or indeed by the cloud. Just waiting for the first attack given they are, moronically, not even hidden as the old Shell centres were, but are easily locatable and accessible by all sorts of undesirables.

All a bit outsourcery as Piers used to say.

Ethics are abandoned by far too many folk for a quick buck and more besides.


The pricking of sage being 6x xero is frankly bullshit.



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 Joanne 

Winner of Bookkeeper of the Year 2015, 2016 & 2017 

Thoughts are my own/not to be regarded as official advice,which should be sought from a suitably qualified Accountant.

You should check out answers with reference to the legal position



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see bee wrote:

Thank you very much for your lengthy reply - it certainly is helpful.
Again, I hope you'll allow me to summarise what you've written to confirm my understanding.

What you're saying is that cloud has the following disadvantages:
1. for companies with a huge amount of data, cloud slows access;
2. the data exists on a huge database along with everyone else's;
3. the cloud based solution is one size fits all.

is there anything else I missed?

Based on your reply I hope then to form a proper response to the best of my ability.

Many thanks,
CB


Your data extraction needs some work. 



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 Joanne 

Winner of Bookkeeper of the Year 2015, 2016 & 2017 

Thoughts are my own/not to be regarded as official advice,which should be sought from a suitably qualified Accountant.

You should check out answers with reference to the legal position



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Thank you Joanne for your comments.
To add Joanne's comments to the original list:

What you're saying is that cloud has the following disadvantages:
1. for companies with a huge amount of data, cloud slows access;
2. the data exists on a huge database along with everyone else's;
3. the cloud based solution is one size fits all;
4. the data is not held securely enough;
5. ethical issues.

Anything else?


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Cheshire wrote:




The pricking of sage being 6x xero is frankly bullshit.


Prove it!



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Cheshire wrote:

Your data extraction needs some work. 


 I'd kindly offer you a pen to help me if I could.

Please can we keep this to a constructive level? What have I missed?



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Happy new year to everyone.

I note that this thread has had a bit of a life. I have considerable experience of converting accounting systems, but am still not sure what the research is about.

I have also been writing accounting and commercial computer systems since 1981. This has been on midrange systems, mainframe systems, desktop systems and "in the cloud".

Over time I would expect pretty well everything to move to "cloud" based systems. What prevents it is that it is relatively difficult to write responsive software for cloud systems. Because the servers are some distance in time from the screens (clients) it is often not that flexible. Furthermore migrating software to the cloud really means re writing the user interface and often the business processing that updates the database. The database can remain the same, however. Historically progress has involved migrating through faster computers with it being possible to keep going with the same software. However using a browser interface to a central server is a completely different model.h

Hence often cloud software appears to be a step backwards. Over time, however, better cloud software will win out.

There are questions about things like access to data, but in the end those businesses that behave unethically will find that they lose business.





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