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The Big Switch

Published on July 15, 2012 by in Featured

“A hundred years ago, companies stopped generating their own power with steam engines and dynamos and plugged into the newly built electric grid. The cheap power pumped out by electric utilities didn’t just change how businesses operate. It set off a chain reaction of economic and social transformations that brought the modern world into existence. Today, a similar revolution is under way. Hooked up to the Internet’s global computing grid, massive information-processing plants have begun pumping data and software code into our homes and businesses. This time, it’s computing that’s turning into a utility” – This is an excerpt from Nicholas Carr Wall Street Journal bestseller titled ‘The Big Switch’.

If we are not already connected to the internet, immediate access is just a click away. Smart phones, tablet computers, free WiFi, and the ever-increasing use of personal WiFi hotspots, ensure that Internet access is readily available no matter where you are. And if you have access to an Internet connection, then you have access to the cloud. Like electricity, cloud computing soon will be ubiquitous.

Another similarity between computing and electricity is the way in which the delivery methods of each were affected by technological advancements and economic forces. Like computers, electricity was initially used only by businesses. The companies that required electricity produced the power that was needed to operate their factories and manufacturing processes. Toward the end of the nineteenth century, most power plants were privately owned by large businesses.

The same can be said regarding computing power. Almost every business that’s been around for more than a few years continues to own and maintain computer hardware on site. Yet almost every new technology start-up does the exact opposite; preferring the flexibility and agility offered by companies like the web giant Amazon and their massive core infrastructure and data-centres.  The days when outsourcing computing power was looked upon with suspicion will soon pass.

 
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TechnologyOne Apps

Published on July 8, 2012 by in Featured

Inspired By Apple

Apple pioneered ‘Apps’ as we know them when the first generation iPhone was released back in July 2008. By February 2011 10 billion apps had been downloaded from Apples Apps store,  and less than 18 months later the total is 30 billion and growing at an exponential rate.  Apps are a lot more than games for your smart-phone though; These days Apple software is no longer even sold in stores and can only be acquired from the Apps Store.

TechnologyOne plans to use the ‘Apps’ concept to distribute software in future. Apps will include new features, functions and fixes, (no more hot-fixes, revisions or releases) and will see the Enterprise application broken into many Apps; such as Ledger Enquiries, Payments, Data Entry etc.  Customers will be able to download and trial an App in a Test Environment prior to committing to purchasing and implementing it Production. Apps will be hosted within the existing Ci workplace or in a browser and will support iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows, Mac and other platforms.

Ratings and Comments

One of the popular features of the App distribution model is the ability for users to rate Apps and share their opinions by making comments. Apple has provided Rating and Comment functionality on their website for a great many years now and this a reason they have such a loyal and appreciative user-base.   Their willingness to provide their clientele with a platform for publicly assessing software quality and usability add a level of honesty and transparency that grows happy clients.

Reiterative Development

TechnologyOne plans to implement a version of this Rating and Comment functionality as they move forward with the Apps distribution model.   The company plans to allow Beta Testers to rate and comment on Apps beta software releases;  Technology One software developers will read and respond to this feedback and move towards a reiterative software development cycle. Deep customer engagement and feedback-fuelled development and eventually public rating and comments will ultimately produce better quality software more quickly.

 
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End of Year Checklists

One of the great strengths of the Technology One suite of modules is the logical design and flexibility. The system can cater for up to 60 financial periods which may start and finish on any date, though the vast majority of users operate 13 periods from July to June with Period 13 for End of year adjustments and Period 14 used by End of Year Allocations used to calculate profit and loss and carry forward balance sheet balances. Most Organisations develop their own Year End Procedure including a detailed Year-End document which is reviewed and updated as requied each year. The Year-End document normally references a Year End Calendar and Checklists. A typical set of year Year End checklists is available here.

 
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The Future of Ci

Simplicity

The new focus for Ci is Simplicity; doing more with less, getting better results more easily and with less effort. Iain Rouse, TechnologyOne Product Owner spoke of the company’s commitment to delivering on simplicity in forthcoming releases of the software. Mr Rouse presented employee ‘My Details’ screens featuring all the key information an employee needs laid out cleanly on a single screen. TechnologyOne understands there are plenty of areas of the system that are powerful and rich in features, but don’t really deliver simplicity as well as they could. Commonly used features such as Timesheets or Applying for Leave will be accessible with a single-click from an uncluttered dashboard instead of a series of selections through too many screens.

The key objectives of the Simplicity theme are:

  • Simplify and improve the User Experience
  • Reduce complexity of the Enterprise Suite
  • Initial Focus of devolved functions for casual users
  • Support of iPhone, iPad and other smart devices

Over the next 18 months the rollout of the Simplicity theme will encompass the following specific areas:

  • CPM – Enterprise Budgeting, BI, Performance Planning
  • Financials/SupplyChain – DataEntry, MyRequisitions, Enquiries, Contracts
  • HRP – MyTimesheets, MyLeave, MyDetails, MyTeam, Talent Management
  • ECM – MyECM: Search, Tasks, Registration
  • CRM – MyCRM: Contacts, Activities, Engagement
  • Assets – MyWork Requests
  • Property – My Requests, Billing …
  • Students – eStudent and eAcademic

Consolidation Release

Feedback has revealed that clients have been asking for:

  • Performance
  • Product Quality
  • Less upgrades

TechnologyOne plans to accommodate these requirements with its Consolidation Release, which will be a single ‘go to release’ for all customers. This release will enable the company to focus all its Research and Development efforts for the first time on a single high quality release over a long time period of 4 years as opposed to the previous frenetically paced 6-12 month release schedule. The pay-off from this approach is bound to be greater performance, stability and quality.

The company will move to a 4 year upgrade cycle but will still release new functions, features and fixes regularly.

 
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The Accidental Superuser

Published on June 5, 2012 by in Featured

We’ve  recently upgraded from Version 11.7 to 11.9 (11.09.04.009).  In 11.7 we gave many users access to $F1.USR.PREF.MNT – User Settings (via menu $F1.USR.ENVIR.MNU) primarily to enable them to toggle between different security categories. In 11.9 this same function gives people access to creating, deleting and editing users. Thankfully we picked this issue up during our Testing prior to going live and adjusted accordingly, as this has the potential to be a major security risk.

If you are on 11.9, check your workplaces to see if you’re inadvertently giving regular users the ‘keys to the kingdom’. 11.9 , 11.7  and earlier versions feature Roles including  GL Officer, AP Officer, and Manager  include a Menu titled User Environment ($F1.USR.ENVIR.MNU) and anyone  with access to this  can easily make themselves super-users.

 

 

 
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