By Sarah Hastings
Whether you are a new internet business or are extending your ‘bricks and mortar’ business to the net, Sage Pay’s Dublin and Cork morning seminars will demonstrate what you need to focus on to develop a successful e-commerce business. From the rise of mobile commerce to digital marketing and website optimisation, the seminars will showcase e-commerce best practise. Register here (link to: http://www.sagepay.com/ireland/seminars) to attend the events.
- Dublin: May 30th in Bewleys, Sandyford – registration from 08.30am
- Cork: May 28th in River Lee Hotel, Western Road – registration from 08.30am
Guest Speakers: John Coburn- Praxis Now, Alan Coleman- Wolfgang Digital
Creating an online st
Six Months Later
A little over Six months ago I embarked on a journey. Well, a series of journeys if one were to take me literally. I ditched the car, and clambered aboard the bus and LUAS (Tram system) for work for the month.
Six months on, how is it going? Am I still taking public transport, or was it all just a publicity stunt (as I was challenged at the Christmas party but that’s a different story!)?
Short Answer – Yes, I am.
Let’s go back to the Beginning
Well, let’s go back to my original motivation for giving up the Volvo and reverting to public transport. I had three reasons for doing this:
- Environmental protection.
- Save a bucket load of money.
- (The ulterior motive) – as Exec accountable for Facilities, do as I would have others do and ditch that free parking space and let the train (ok, tram and bus) take the strain.
How did I ‘fare’ (geddit?)
Environmental protection: Tick! – In fact, thanks to the LUAS Eco Calculator I calculate that I save 1.79kg of CO2 each time I make my journey from Four Courts to Citywest – over six months, and on average maybe 15 working days (when I take out holidays, business travel etc) that makes an emissions reduction of over 320kg – and that’s not including the bus!
Save a bucket load of money: Tick!
The chart says it all. I’ve saved a lot of fuel money, not to mention the other savings such as on tyres and servicing.
In fact when I took my car to Koping before Christmas, the service engineer said my Volvo would need new rear brake pads fitted soon.
He mentioned that they had 10,000 km left in them; now, if my calculations are correct, that €130 a month I’ve saved equates to about 7,500km over 6 months to December – and because my annual mileage (kilometerage?) has reduced so much I decided not to replace the pads until next year.
How much did that save? I don’t know but I am sure I wouldn’t have got much change from €100.
When I subtract the monthly taxsaver ticket cost of €60-odd (after tax) I’ve made a saving at least of five hundred euro, and a grand over a year – not bad. And that excludes tyres, tolls, city centre parking when I’ve taken the bus as well.
The ulterior motive? – well, I can’t say much to that but I have noticed there are now a few more people taking public transport although I wouldn’t take credit for that.
But isn’t that just, well, you know… just marketing – surely it’s not all rosy in the garden?
No it’s not. The journey usually takes an hour, is 50 mins at very best and has been up to 2 hours at worst . This is when I had to walk a few km as I was in the LUAS behind the one that crashed with a bin truck last September.
Then there were the times when it was raining and I forgot my brolly, or it was cold, or I had an early meeting and had to leave home at 6.30, or had to work late and had to change at Belgard, and the time I just missed the bus / LUAS and the next one wasn’t for 20 minutes… all things one would expect. I guess I’m quite a philosophical person so these things don’t really upset me.
The worst thing though is when I am in a rush and have to get to an early meeting on time – then I have had to drive which is worse because I feel I’m wasting money as I already bought the ticket. Heigh ho.
There have been many side benefits – really.
- My 13-year old daughter goes to school in the city centre so we often take the bus into town together in the morning – usually she is playing Angry Birds © on her iPhone and does her best to ignore me, especially when she sees her friends… but it’s good for me anyway (I am told that’s not my fault by the way it’s normal teen behaviour!)
- I get to read the news, check email, catch a snooze or just watch the world go by
- I miss out on all the lovely traffic jams
- I don’t worry about traffic lights or being cut up at junctions or roadworks (usually)
- I mix with real people instead of cocooning myself
- I save the company money (yes I do – I often take the bus to Dublin airport when travelling and save taxi and parking charges!), or take the bus to City Centre engagements
- I can have a drink at a function and not worry about driving home
- Forces me to get out of the office at a reasonable hour
- Great exercise – I won’t tell you how many calories I burn a week in walking between stops and home/work but it’s in the thousands. I weigh 3 kilos less today than this time last year..
So in conclusion
It’s not for everyone, but I don’t feel so odd – in fact it’s quite the norm in my home country of England to commute by train / bus / tube. I appreciate it’s not practical really if one lives further out rather than in Dublin. But for me, I’m delighted to have tried it and I guess the proof of the pudding has been in the eating.
See you on the LUAS!
By Kevin McDonald, Graduate Product Manager at Sage
Whether you are starting your own business or thinking about upgrading your current business software it can be a daunting task to find the best software to suit your needs and your budget. In my previous role as business advice consultant for Sage I was able to new and existing business every day. I wanted to write this article to provide some advice and points to think about when you are looking to get new software for your business.
1. It’s an investment – First and foremost business software should make your life easier but you also should consider it an investment and think about how you can get a return on that investment. For example if you have an accounts administrator doing your accounts manually they could spend a long time doing the accounts. If you have an accounts package in place then the time spent doing accounts will decrease. We all know that time is money so think about what you will get back from the business software you will be implementing in your business.
2. Ask questions – Nobody wants software they do not need. Think about your current business processes and how you will wrap them around the business software you are looking at. It’s just as important to know what a program can’t do as it is to know what it can do.
3. Plan ahead – Think about what you may need from your business software one year after implementation. Will you have any specific reporting requirements? Do you see the number of users you will need to access the software increasing? Is there an upgrade path so if you “outgrow” a product what do you need to do?
By Alan Leahy, Manager, Sage CRM Cloud Product and Operations
When you’re thinking of using Cloud CRM to run your business you may find that you have many questions relating to data privacy, security and compliance. We understand that answering these questions is essential because we understand the importance of your data. That is why we’ve launched the Sage CRM Online Trust Centre to demonstrate how we manage your customer data, so that you can feel confident about choosing Sage CRM Cloud.
We want you to be confident that we are open and transparent when managing your customer data. The online trust centre provides you with information on the three key principles we operate the Sage CRM Cloud platform on:
We keep your customer data separate from other customer data in a dedicated database.
We employ the latest security technologies and processes to secure your data.
Sage CRM Cloud gives you the option to store your data within Europe or North America, so you can comply with local regulations.
We want you to be confident that we are open and transparent when managing your customer data because we take the responsibility of managing your customer information extremely seriously. We do this by employing the latest security technologies and processes to secure your data on the Sage CRM Cloud Platform.
By Beatrice Whelan, Social Media & Content Specialist at Sage
I get asked a lot of questions about social media. Many business owners are skeptical about the benefits of social media and want to know how they can implement and measure social media for their business. That’s one of the reasons that we decided to produce a free guide for those that are starting out or are already using social media for their business, but still have lots of questions.
Seven out of ten businesses in Ireland are already using social media to connect with customers. Of those that are using social media 70% use Facebook, 61% Twitter and LinkedIn and 44% use YouTube (source – AMAS State Of The Net). Other popular social media channels being used include Google+, and Pinterest. Boards.ie is also a very popular forum in Ireland, although one that is sometimes overlooked by business owners. Search for your company name or product or service offering on boards.ie to see what people are saying about your company or what questions they are asking about the type of product or service that you provide.
By Beatrice Whelan, Social Media & Content Specialist at Sage
Although employees in Ireland have one of the lowest rates of workplace absenteeism in Western Europe, absenteeism costs Irish businesses 1.4bn per annum. This figure however only accounts for correctly recorded absenteeism whereas in fact it could be the case that many absences go unrecorded due to poor record keeping and tracking. In a recent Sage survey respondents indicated that the single biggest cost to running a business is staff cost with 48% identifying this as their biggest expense.
One way to make a saving on staff costs and to manage employees and absenteeism effectively is to track both authorised holiday leave and unscheduled leave correctly using an online system.
I spoke to Lorna Keogh, Manager of the Business Advice Team in Sage. Lorna explained that manual systems that require the use of paper and spread sheets are extremely inefficient at tracking and recording employee leave. Research has also shown that absence rates are higher in larger organisations. Could this be because the larger the organisation, the more difficult it becomes to track leave and absences with manual systems?
As Lorna explained, “The challenges posed by these systems are experienced by employees and managers. If a team manager is out, absence requests will go unseen until they return. The team member waiting for the manager to respond to their request needs to ensure it is recorded in the spread sheet and not just confirmed verbally.
“It is very difficult for team members to see when their colleagues will be out and plan their own leave effectively, ensuring there is sufficient cover. Although a shared calendar can address this, discrepancies between the calendar and spread sheet inevitably crop along with a difference in opinion between the manager and team member as to how many holidays each employee still has.
By Lorna Keogh, Manager of The Sage Business Advice Team
In Ireland, the Payment of Wages Act 1991 gives all employees a right to a pay slip which will show the gross wage and details of all deductions. You can however remain legislatively compliant and be cost effective and time efficient by emailing payslips instead of printing them.
If you are printing payslips one of your first concerns was probably around what you print them on. Some payroll products will support plain paper printing which is a cost saving as it removes the need to purchase payslips. However as this has only a basic layout it can result in receiving more payroll queries from employees and spending more time answering these. Plain paper printing also may have impact for employees because if they are applying for a loan from a bank for example, the bank will often request that any payslips are on official company stationery and not on plain paper. With this in mind you will most likely purchase payslips to use when printing your payroll.
If you email your employees their payslips there is no cost involved in printing them. If they need them printed on official company stationery they can arrange this only when needed instead of it being the norm. If you use an online self-service payslip portal for your employees, like Sage PeopleLink, they can login themselves and access payslips that were issued to them months or even years ago and print them out if needed. No more queries to the payroll team looking for lost payslips as employees can login to PeopleLink and access their payslips themselves.
With payslips organised the next concern could well be security. If printing payslips, to ensure they are private and confidential you will need to use a security payslip which is sealed or to use non security payslips and manually place these into sealed envelopes. Employees who are on leave will need to wait until they return to receive their payslips and there could be security concerns around where their payslips are stored in the meantime.
by Ian O’Toole, Senior Consultant at BSM
Not all ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems are right for all businesses. Scale, cost, functionality, technology and implementation partner are all key considerations when selecting an ERP system. Addressing the following seven steps can help to ensure you select the system that is right for your organisation.
1. Have a Clear ERP strategy
Before engaging vendors in a selection process your organisation needs a clear vision of what it is embarking on and what a system can and should deliver. Developing this strategy can be thought of as the start-up phase for the overall project. The strategy should clarify scope (functional, organisational, and geographical), expected costs and benefits, technology and any other constraints.
2. Assemble the Project Team
The project team for the selection project should represent all key internal stakeholders. This will help avoid biased definition of requirements and will also help to foster buy-in to the new system. The selection project team is likely to form the core of the implementation project team once the system is purchased.
By Jim Coyle Product Test Managerat Sage
If we go back ten years or so (a long time in the world of software development), nearly all Sage software teams worked to a process loosely described as ‘Waterfall’. This involved the creation of mandatory project deadlines, along with an unflinching determination to create a rigid, highly detailed plan, covering the best part of a year, and the heroic defence of this plan come what may. The plan ruled.
- Defending the plan became a goal itself (and what customer cares about our plans?)
- The world does not stand still once the plan is set
- Feedback on the product (including the test team feedback) was far too late
- More time was spent on documentation than delivering real value (aka software)
- Failure to accept changing requirements was not realistic and out of step with our customers’ needs
- In effect, risk was carried very late in the project timeline – almost setting up projects to fail
Once people realised the failings of Waterfall development, the switch to Agile processes was inevitable and involved a major cultural shift for the R&D teams:
- The emphasis switched from defending the plan to flexible planning (accepting change is inevitable and changing the plan accordingly)
- Fortnightly drops of working software became the sole measure of success – rather than documentation and PowerPoint presentations
- Agile processes encouraged early user feedback and test team participation
- Customer collaboration was forefront
- Individuals and their interactions was placed higher than processes / tools
- High risk / high value items are tackled first to front load risk. High risk / low value items are dropped
The result – our software success rate improved enormously. These days, to a large degree, our customers get what they want, when they want it, and with quality built in.
Launch of Sage 50 Accounts Pulse creates a new era of Connected Computing for SMBs.
9th November 2012 – Business software and services provider, Sage Ireland, today unveiled one of the Ireland’s first business apps to be made available on Windows 8 – Sage 50 Accounts Pulse.
Sage’s pioneering app has been designed to deliver top-line financial information to Owner Managers and company Directors, who don’t necessarily have accounts software expertise but who need to monitor cash flow, profit and loss, customers, and suppliers.
With its friendly and intuitive interface, Sage 50 Accounts Pulse gives users greater financial control and effortless business insight on demand.
“At Sage, we are focused on giving our customers the freedom, confidence and control they need to achieve their business ambitions,” explained Lee Perkins, Managing Director of Sage UK’s Small Business Division. “Our technology agenda has always been driven by innovation that responds to customer needs and we believe Windows 8 has the potential to transform how businesses can search and share data and enjoy unprecedented value from Connected Computing. This app not only allows existing customers, but also new users in a wider variety of roles, to access the data they need in an easy, meaningful way, whenever and wherever they choose, enabling them to do their job even better and to efficiently manage their business.”
Jay Paulus, director of product marketing, SMB, Windows, Microsoft Corp. added, “We are confident that Sage’s business software and services will help extend next-generation mobility to small and midsize businesses across the world. Sage’s innovative and intuitive apps are a great example for how businesses can benefit from Windows 8.”