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:

FHL and NetSuite to Partner with Warriors

Wigan Warriors Rugby League Club are delighted to announce a partnership with First Hosted Limited (FHL), Europe’s leading Partner of the number one Cloud Business Management Software Suite, NetSuite.

NetSuite is a unified business system that connects financials, customers and commerce and FHL have been recognised as NetSuite’s European Partner of the Year for the past five years.

FHL provides advice, professional services, training and support for cloud computing systems to businesses of all sizes and is Europe’s leading provider of NetSuite products, solutions and services.

Boasting an award-winning team with decades of combined Cloud and business systems expertise, FHL has delivered successful NetSuite solutions to more than 100 organisations by partnering with their clients to achieve properly configured business systems in a practical, timely and cost-effective manner.

Wigan Warriors Commercial Manager, Dan Burton, said:
“Like Wigan Rugby League, FHL continually strive to be the best within their industry and are partnership focused when it comes to delivering for their clients. Partnering with another global leader in NetSuite and Europe’s leading partner in FHL is another significant step forward in the development of our commercial programme.”

“Wigan Warriors recently engaged FHL when the club recognised the need to identify the best cloud based system from a Club operational perspective, as well as the best partner to help the Club implement it with a strong support network.”

“Both recognised as champions, there is a natural fit in terms of organisational values and ambitions where we look forward to growing our relationship with Andrew and his team.”

Andrew Peddie, FHL Managing Director, said:
“The success of Wigan Warriors both on and off the field and their impact on the community is nothing short of inspirational. FHL is extremely proud to be in partnership with one of the finest sports clubs in the world.”

For more information on FHL and NetSuite, visit

Cloud security – myths and truths

Even in this day and age, some businesses remain fearful of the Cloud. Are they right to be circumspect and untrusting? Is Cloud data an open door to hacking and cyber-crime or is this an irrational fear? We’ve all seen sensationalist media coverage around Cloud security involving celebrities, banks and even accounting software, so what is the truth?

Data security for a business is paramount and with so many companies feeling comfortable about moving their business to the Cloud, surely the Cloud cannot be as risky as we are led to believe? But how do we distinguish the myths from the truths?

Myth 1 – All Clouds are created equal

What is “The Cloud” really? It’s still computers, databases and the internet. There are so many different offerings of “Cloud” services that bunching them all together under one heading can be misleading. At a personal level, for example, most people don’t know where their data is anymore. So when you save your iPhone photos to iCloud or manage your Facebook profile, where does that information reside? Who takes care of it? What happens if you can’t access it one day or it disappears altogether? This may be a small risk to an individual but this level of uncertainty would be entirely unacceptable for a business.

Myth 2 – Cloud business systems employ the same level of security

Obviously, enterprise class business systems need to be far more secure than personal ‘data Clouds’. However, you can’t assume that all Cloud business solutions have the same level of security.

The measures different providers put in place can be worlds apart! ‘Best in class’ Cloud providers have extremely tight security measures in place, including:

  • Top quality data centre architecture that includes two geographically separate data centres.
  • Application security comprising industry standard SSL encryption and application-only access so that users can only access the application features and not the underlying database.  Audit trails, restricted user access, IP address restrictions and robust password policies are also key for making sure a business’ data is as secure as possible.
  • Continuous system monitoring by a dedicated security team so that any suspicious activity is quickly identified and dealt with.
  • Background checks on Cloud provider’s staff and strict physical access restrictions to the data centres.
  • ‘Best in class’ security certifications, providing independent verification of the system’s security credentials.

Research is a must here. Security is a primary consideration and so each business needs to conduct its own diligence.

Myth 3 – Choice of technology partner has little bearing on Cloud security

The term “Cloud Computing” is popular so it stands to reason that traditional software companies see a wider market for their applications if they, too, are “Cloud”.

Be wary of re-engineered applications, or as some people call them “fake Clouds” which could be something as simple as your own software running on someone else’s server. This is not solving the challenge of moving to the Cloud, this is just taking your server off your premises and moving it somewhere else.

If you want to enjoy the benefits of “true Cloud”, look for a partner who works only with true Cloud applications and does not volunteer for the onerous task of providing hosting.

Myth 4 – On-premise systems are so much safer

It’s interesting that so many business leaders still consider on-premise business systems as so much safer than Cloud solutions. Yet storing data on-premise is akin to keeping all your money in a shoe box under the bed.

Far too many businesses still have on-site servers that are inherently risky due to location, questionable back-up processes and defective security measures. Servers in unsecured places and business owners with data backed up to USB devices on keyrings are worryingly common.

And how many businesses test whether their servers could be restored if there was a devastating fire, for example?

Whilst cyber-crime needs to be protected against, how many business owners seriously protect themselves against threats from ‘insiders’? The malicious theft of data from a disgruntled employee, a fraudulent act from an unscrupulous insider and negligent/accidental behaviour that creates a security breach, are still far more common than cyber-attacks. An on-premise server offers ‘insiders’ far greater access to the company’s precious data!

It’s important to keep concerns about the Cloud in context. If the combined purchasing power of a global installed base can make best-in-class security and availability affordable to the majority, then surely anything that takes the risks out of a business is a good thing? Best-in-class Cloud software is out there and so perhaps it’s time to stop worrying about what could happen, and look to see what’s available now and how it could help your business?


First published on Compare the Cloud.


Top mistakes when choosing a cloud partner

Choosing a new or replacement business system can be a daunting task which is complex and fraught with risk. Cloud technology projects are no different. In fact, a project to implement a new cloud solution is like conducting open heart surgery on the business. The technology partner is the equivalent of the skilled surgeon who ensures the operation is a success with no loss of life and minimal side effects. With so much pressure on the business to ‘get it right’, it’s staggering how many companies put little thought into choosing their partner.

Read full article… 

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