Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Importance of Business Intelligence

Business Intelligence (BI) is a broad category of applications and technologies for gathering, storing, analyzing, and providing access to data to help executives and end users make better business decisions. It refers to the logical analysis of business information to drive business action. By using financial and non-financial metrics to assess the present state of a business, you are better equipped to decide upon an acceptable course of action.

Some of the key terminologies and tools related to BI fall under the category of Key Performance Indicators (KPI). This term describes the financial and non-financial metrics used to help an organization define and measure progress toward organizational goals.

Understanding which KPI’s are appropriate to monitor can be different for each organization but when carefully selected and monitored, KPI’s can be a valuable resource for your business.

Event Triggers and Alerts are in essence “Super” exception reporting. The benefit of alerts and triggers is real-time or near-real-time notification, enabling managers to take immediate action as necessary.

Alerts are a notification generated only when specific, pre-defined conditions are met. This could be when a customer accounts receivable exceeds a specific amount or is past due, number of days in inventory exceeds predefined targets, cash balances are below minimum levels or when internal control procedures have been violated.

Event Triggers are actions that are taken when a specified event occurs such as automatic notification to a customer that an order has shipped or automatic notification to internal audit staff that transactions meeting specific criteria have occurred.

For more information on Business Intelligence, click here.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Bold Moves that Separate Great Companies from the Rest

Every great business owner or management team knows that making bold strategic decisions can help them differentiate themselves from the competition. Whether the moves they make are as simple as being honest with the public regarding their company or desires; or as complex as changing technology to protect their corner of the market – they are taking risks and therefore creating their own destiny.

A new weekly publication on ChannelWeb’s is profiling 10 such companies each week that ‘Came to Win’, by documenting the bold or sometimes more strategic moves businesses are making. Some of those listed include: Apple, Google, Cisco, Verizon, Dell, IBM and HP. There’s no doubt that these are all leaders in their respective industries and there’s good chance that others can learn from their strategies.

We chose our top three favorites from the list:
Apple: In what some would call a ruthless move, Apple changed the terms of its iPhone Developer Program license agreement to prohibit cross-compilers, which previously allowed outsiders to develop iPhone apps. This notably excludes other companies such as Adobe Flash and Microsoft among others from making money off of Apple.

Verizon: Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg chose to be transparently honest when he came right out and said that they want the iPhone, and that their network is plenty capable of handling the increased traffic iPhone users would bring. This move could cause some iPhone buyers who love their Verizon network to hold off on switching to AT&T in hopes of an agreement between Apple and Verizon.

HP: While there’s no proof that the HP Slate (the rival to Apple’s iPad) comparison slide came from HP, many believe it was ‘leaked’ from them. The slide shows a side by side comparison of HP’s Windows 7-powered Slate and its apparent advantages over iPad in terms of processing, graphics, connectivity and cameras. This ‘leak’ managed to take some of the spotlight away from Apple, which is no small accomplishment.

To read about the rest of the 10 companies profiled, click here.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Crystal Reports Training Opportunity

Are you in the process of growing your business? Do you need more quality information out of the data you put into your system? Do you need to cut costs and make better use of your resources? PositiveVision has a solution.

Our Crystal Reports training classes are designed to help you get quality information out of your accounting system. From identifying specific report types needed for writing and designing reports, our training program will give you the tools needed to see the inner workings of your business.

If your business has experienced any changes, or you simply want to move to the next level of visibility within your organization, please give us a call – we’d be happy to help!

Multiple Solutions for Multiple Needs

PositiveVision has been helping businesses in the Greater Chicago Area as a software consultant for more than 8 years. Having installed countless applications and supported dozens of companies, the principals of PositiveVision remain the same, continually offer the best software applications, ones that provide our clients with the integration capabilities and efficiencies to meet their needs.

With that said, we are very excited to announce our newest product offering, Microsoft Dynamics GP. This solution has proven itself as a flexible, powerful business management solution. But despite its long track record, it still sets the standard for innovation, with powerful tools for creating insight and efficiency across your business.

This addition to our current product offering helps complete our tool box, offering a solution for every business including:

- Peachtree by Sage
- Sage PFW ERP
- Sage MAS 500 ERP
- Microsoft Dynamics GP

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing represents a fundamental change in the way consumers and businesses are using their computers and mobile devices, and it is a trend that small businesses cannot afford to overlook. “Cloud” is just another name for the Internet, and thus cloud computing really refers to any services and applications that are hosted and accessed via the web. In the software world, this is also commonly referred to as Software-as-a-Service or SaaS.

Cloud computing allows small businesses to remotely manage and store information, and access software or services from virtually any device with Internet access. Small businesses can also use cloud computing technology to boost their storage capacity via online storage services and create online backup and archiving accounts.

Cloud computing allows small businesses to save on expensive hardware, software, and maintenance costs since data and applications are being held on remote servers. Users can access their business services and applications through almost any device with an Internet connection including laptops, mobile phones, and PDA’s. It is also easy to add new users to the system when you need them.

As more and more software developers are offering “cloud” versions of their products, we wanted to breakdown pros and cons of cloud computing. Visit our blog, to read the pros and cons and to determine your next step.

Getting to Know Nicole Sherman

Nicole is a Computer Consultant and Network Specialist for and has been on the PositiveVision team since 2004. Prior to joining the company she was an Operations Manager responsible for Purchasing, Order Processing, Inventory, Internet EDI, and managing local and remote access networking. Nicole has over twelve years of experience working with business software systems and is considered an expert in her field.

When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to be a vocal instructor and singer.

How does doing what you do now, compare to what you wanted to be? In many ways being a consultant is similar. I help people learn how to improve; sometimes it’s their workflow or their processes. I provide our customers with knowledge and help them grow, much like a teacher does with a student.

How have you grown professionally over the past year? I was certified on Peachtree Quantum 2010, and successfully deployed Microsoft Steadystate on a network to manage one of our clients’ internet and program access through group policies in Active Directory.

What lessons did you learn in 2009? Last year I learned to look deeper into challenges and recognize that a path that once appeared the best route, may not remain so as we begin to take it. I continue to keep my eyes open and look for new options that may become available even once a plan has been set.

What are you most looking forward to in 2010?
Professionally I look forward to seeing the economy improve. I also always look forward to learning new software and programming. Personally I look forward to my eldest son graduating into high school, and my youngest getting out of diapers! And I’m looking forward to being tapped out for Order of the Arrow at Boy Scout summer camp!

What is your favorite thing in life and why? I’d have to say my family and friends; they are what make everything else in life enjoyable.

Bernard Foods Keeps Health Food Costs Low

A referral is worth a thousand words. It says that you value our expertise and that you can entrust your friends and colleagues to us for assistance with their technology needs. We don’t take this lightly and want you to know that we appreciate every single referral you give us.

Likewise, we greatly value our clients products and services and wanted to refer one of them to you!

As a family owned and operated business, Bernard Foods has been providing high quality food products since 1947. Of the sequence of events that led them to where they are today, Steven Bernard, President and CEO of Bernard Foods reflects, “When my dad first started the business the customers loved his products. It wasn’t long before dietitians were asking him if he could make certain foods without sugar or salt to accommodate those with dietary restrictions, and that was the beginning of our eDietShop.”

Publishing their first catalog in 1982, and opening their online store in 1996, the primary mission of eDietShop has been to serve those who, for medical reasons, must restrict their intake of sugar, sodium, fat, carbohydrates, cholesterol and calories. As people lean more towards healthier lifestyles, eDietShop is able to provide the finest options in nutritional gourmet foods. The best part is consumers can purchase these foods at wholesale prices. Steven explains, “When we cut out the middle men, the consumers win. Supermarkets can’t compete with us because of the availability and great prices we are able to offer.”

If you’d like to see what health food and gluten free options Bernard Foods has available, visit their website at

Credit Card Compliance: What You Need To Know

Regardless of size or industry, all companies that accept credit cards must adhere to the safeguards mandated by the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard—referred to as the PCI DSS. While most companies are aware of PCI, many are unsure what it means for their businesses. As well, companies that use a third party for clearing and remittance often incorrectly assume that PCI compliance does not apply to them.

So, what are the risks of noncompliance? Beyond exposing your customers to fraud or identity theft, your business can be held responsible for the credit card company’s losses. In the event of a security breach or lack of PCI compliance, credit card institutions can assess your company higher credit card processing fees and levy fines of up to $500,000—or even bar your company from processing any credit card transactions at all. Keep in mind that this applies to all companies that accept payment by plastic—even if they don’t store any related data.

Acquirer audits, which can be carried out at any time, cover the 12 areas of mandatory compliance. The failure rate for PCI certification audits is high; according to recent research by VeriSign in “Lessons Learned: Top Reasons for PCI Audit Failures and How to Avoid Them,” fewer than 30 percent of companies pass these examinations on the first try.

To learn more and even take a self-assessment questionnaire to evaluate your risk visit:, or visit the Sage
PCI Compliance Webinar library packed with a ton of great information.