European IT & Software Excellence Awards 2017

WineSuite has made the final in the ‘Vertical Solution of the Year’ category of the European IT and Software Excellence Awards 2017. WineSuite is a state-of-the-art cloud-based solution for the wine industry built by FHL, powered by NetSuite.

The winner will be announced at the Awards Dinner at the Royal Garden Hotel, London on 30 March 2017.

With specialist features including reserves and portfolio management, bonded warehouse management and en primeur sales, WineSuite has been developed to make operating within the wine trade as hassle-free as possible.

Andrew Peddie, Managing Director of FHL said “This award is testament to the first-class team we have at FHL. After seeing a gap in the market for a cloud-based solution specifically tailored for the wine industry, the team took time to fully understand merchants’ complex needs. WineSuite is now THE solution for the wine industry. No other provider can boast as comprehensive, user-friendly, scalable and as powerful a solution.”

Tom Mann, Sales Director from Appellations adds, “WineSuite is completely customisable, we can use it anywhere in the world and it’s perfectly tailored to our needs. It’s simply head and shoulders above every other solution on the market.”

FHL Wins Two NetSuite Awards Ahead of 10th Anniversary

FHL has scooped two prestigious partner awards from NetSuite for acquiring the greatest number of new customers in 2016 and for generating the highest new customer revenue. These awards strengthen FHL’s position as the number one NetSuite partner across EMEA.

The presentation ceremony took place during the NetSuite Partner Day at Millbank Tower, London on 21 February 2017.

Andrew Peddie, Managing Director of FHL said, “These awards are a tremendous achievement that reflect FHL’s  ongoing success. We’ve invested heavily into making FHL a ‘best of breed’ NetSuite partner while ensuring customers are provided with first-rate services and support. We’re now reaping the benefits of this investment as we have the very best team and resources in place to support more and more organisations with their NetSuite implementations.”

“Winning these sought-after awards is a great way to mark our 10-year anniversary and is testament to the hard work, dedication, customer-centric approach and ‘can do’ attitude of the FHL team.”

Pictured: John Mackay, Head of Professional Services; Karl Savage, General Manager.

Major risks of not choosing the cloud

Given recent high-profile media reports of cloud hacks, it’s no wonder business owners are nervous about putting their operational data in the cloud, but is this fear justified?

With more businesses accepting that not having business data in the cloud is a bigger risk than trying to manage it in house, it’s worth taking a closer look.

Not all “clouds” are created equal

Reports of cloud hacks affecting one billion Yahoo emails and iCloud’s private image store are obviously worrying, but in a business context, these events are much less frequent and rarely, if ever, related to “true cloud”.

It’s important to recognise that not all clouds are created equal.

So, what is the cloud exactly? It’s still computers, databases and the internet but it’s important to look at how it’s configured.

Traditionally, software has been operated “on-premise”, which is a single version of software on the company’s server, connected to the company’s network, on the company’s premises and supported by the company’s own people.

It is purchased and owned by a single owner who is entirely responsible for the upkeep of the system.

State-of-the-art “true cloud” solutions work differently. True cloud providers deliver an application which serves multiple customers. It’s always up to date, capable of being configured to specific needs, globally accessible, requires no IT skills to manage, cost-effective due to a subscription-based model and sits separate from client data meaning that it’s far more secure.

Then there are the “fake cloud” solutions which are a hybrid. The software, servers, network and IT skills are outsourced. It is still a single version of software, but just not on your premises, and so the benefits of “true cloud” are not being enjoyed while the risks associated with on-premise are still very real.

The issues around on-premise and fake clouds

Up until a decade or so ago, on-premise was the only way a business could buy software and customise it to its needs.

The issues of going down this route is that software can go out-of-date very quickly and having to rely on updates and IT people to maintain it can be very expensive and sometimes, upgrades cause problems.

It’s also typical for companies using on-premise software to become “locked” to a version of software and later identify IT requirements for software as a bottleneck and not the enabling force that they had hoped for.

Of course, on-premise systems that rely on human intervention and manual processes are less reliable than a properly programmed application.

In fact, it’s not uncommon for business owners to back-up financial data to a USB stick and companies to faithfully back-up their data onto magnetic tapes that turn out to be blank.

Fake cloud environments are a poor compromise. The only “benefit” to the customer is that other people are “hosting” and managing their application for them (and charging them handsomely for it!).

So, with the upsurge in so-called fake cloud environments, it’s now difficult to be 100 per cent certain where the data resides, how it is segregated, protected and backed-up and exactly who can access it, move it, write to it or delete it.

Why is not choosing the cloud such an insider fraud risk?

For most businesses, data is critical. Lose the data, lose the business. Data is so valuable that it is equivalent to money.

If you choose to go on premise, this is akin to keeping your money in a shoe box under your bed, and by going with a hosted provider or a fake cloud environment, this is like keeping a box of money under someone else’s bed! Only a true cloud solution is like putting your money in the bank.

Insider threats present a far greater risk when you choose a solution that isn’t true cloud.

For instance, when business software provider, Sage, experienced a data breach potentially impacting 280 firms, it turned out to be a disgruntled employee.

This is not an isolated case. CIFAS’s Employee Fraudscape 2016 report highlights that 153 organisations identified a total of 585 confirmed insider fraud cases in 2015. This includes 38 cases of unlawfully obtaining and disclosing commercial or personal data.

Whether employees purposely commit fraud or do so through negligent/accidental behaviour, the fact remains that on-premise servers offer insiders far greater access to the company’s valuable data.

Don’t be a technological dinosaur

Dwelling in the past is not an option for progressive business owners. A true cloud business solution could make the difference between success and failure, with non-cloud solutions proving higher risk and more difficult and costly to change.

For many businesses, not choosing the cloud could see them left behind by their competitors and quite possibly extinct.

Andrew Peddie is MD of cloud solutions provider FHL

Image: Shutterstock

Read the original article on RealBusiness

From Sage to NetSuite (in just 8 weeks!)

When Allied Insulators Managing Director Jon Knapper opted for a management buyout, he was faced with a challenge.

Could he find a cloud based software system to run his new venture?

Even if he could, would it be possible to migrate all his business information from Sage without interrupting the business?

Jon had just 8 weeks to accomplish this.

NetSuite solution provider FHL not only achieved this, they delivered:

  • 70% reduction in manual processes
  • 80% reduction in paperwork, filing and data entry
  • 100% cloud based solution

“Thanks to FHL, our day to day operation is extremely smooth” says Jon.

This Reels in Motion video production sums the project up nicely in under 3 minutes.

More videos soon…

IT Success = Psychology and Planning

Installing a new business system or switching from old legacy systems is always going to be a challenge. It has been referred to as the business equivalent of heart surgery.

Understandably, any organisation embarking on this wants to get it right, but is success all about software and technology? How much of a part does psychology play? And what about the need for careful planning?

Wanting to change and being prepared for change are not the same thing. Often, it is not just the system that is changing, most often, everything is changing, from the structure, organisation, roles and culture through to working methods. If the outcome is to be successful, there are a number of factors businesses must consider.

The fear of change
Uncertainty, loss of control and a fear of greater transparency of roles and information are some of the psychological barriers people face when embarking on new business system projects. It is natural for business owners to remain circumspect, perhaps based on previous experiences or “what if it all goes wrong?” scenarios. The danger here is that the fears create a self-fulfilling prophecy.

For many businesses these days, cloud-based solutions are most appropriate for their needs. Whilst it is good practice for a business owner to evaluate and manage risk, data security is commonly sensationalised to the point where fear of “hacking” and “cyber-crime” is irrational in the context of legitimate enterprise-class cloud business solutions. It can manifest itself as ‘fear of failure’ and stop the project before it starts!

So how can psychological barriers be overcome?
Change requires good leadership and significant change needs additional trust, support and confidence. A clear vision for the business needs to be well-communicated to key stakeholders if the project is to be navigated successfully.

Good research and frank discussion by business owners and (sometimes) key stakeholders is also important for addressing any potential psychological barriers before a project is attempted. Many technology firms are used to these situations and are available for face-to-face meetings with team members and customers where open dialogue and shared credentials help to lower barriers and engender trust.

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail
As well as the psychological considerations of change, there are also practical aspects too. By the very nature of the project, implementing a new business system is likely to impact every area of an operation. Risks as well as rewards are real, and proper preparation and planning is important. It is one thing to know that a business needs to change in order to flourish, quite another to achieve a state of readiness.

When preparing for a project, it is prudent to prepare well, especially as disagreements between stakeholders about how the business currently works, could work and should work in the future are common. Businesses much document as much as possible, from organisational structure, definition of roles and workflow (current and future) through to accounting codes, products and services for sale and contact lists. It’s a lot of work but most organisations start to benefit immediately.

Once the business is prepared for change, planning can take place.

“Diligence is the mother of good luck”
When running a successful business, taking on more work is always going to be a challenge so it is even more important to plan well, set realistic budgets for time and money and adopt an AGILE approach.

When researching technology solutions, the business needs to make sure the chosen solution has a strong pedigree and is suited to its needs both commercially and functionally. It also needs to be secure, scalable and future proof.

In addition, choosing an implementation partner needs to be carefully considered. This will be a collaborative exercise and so the business should expect good advice from the partner – it is not about being sold to! The partner’s track record and certifications need to be properly checked before a short list can be drawn-up of the top two or three – these will then need to be visited. A good partner will be helpful and constructive, will warn of the pitfalls and have no problem in suggesting customers that can provide references.

What does success look like?
Success can manifest itself in many forms and ‘what success looks like’ must be determined from the start of the project and then measured. For some, simply having all their data in one place is success, for others, it’s having an e-commerce site that is linked to inventory and accounting, or being able to get business information via the internet instead of driving to the office.

To achieve project success, addressing psychological barriers and being well-prepared for change are absolutely key, and yet these factors are all too often overlooked by businesses as they embark on their IT journey.


Andrew Peddie is MD of cloud solutions company, FHL. For more than a decade, the FHL team has utilised the NetSuite technology platform to transform business, working with small family-owned companies and global PLC’s. With experience of more than 150 projects, Andrew has experienced many of the common pitfalls that businesses experience when undergoing change.

Credit to Ambition Magazine

Link to original article: https://community.mbaworld.com/blog/b/weblog/posts/it-success-psychology-and-planning