BTerrell Group Blog

Key Questions to Ask Potential Cloud Vendors

Posted by Keith Karnes on Mon, Apr 13, 2015

As a provider of a best-in-class financial cloud solution, we know the advantages and benefits of the cloud, but we also know how overwhelming it can be when companies begin the search for a new cloud vendor.

In general, cloud computing offers a lower Total Cost of Ownership, higher reliability, better availability than on premise software, no IT maintenance, better sustainability, better automation, and better security. Choosing a cloud-based approach for your business can be a tremendous financial benefit, but how do you know you are asking the right questions to ensure you choose a provider who can address your concerns, exceed your expectations, and adapt with you? Diversity Limited published a great whitepaper detailing many questions companies should consider asking potential cloud vendors.

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Here are a few questions I believe are the most valuable to address when considering a new cloud vendor:

  • Does the vendor’s product fit your current needs, and will it adapt as your business grows and changes?
  • Can the vendor provide references and statistics about the solution’s reliability and availability?
  • Does an independent entity regularly assess the solution’s security environments?
  • Who owns the data, and what happens if/when you discontinue service?
  • How well does the vendor’s solution integrate with other key solutions you use?
  • Can you customize the solution to meet your needs? If so, who performs this work?

While my list mainly focuses on the product’s criteria, I want to note the value of determining what is important to your businesses, not just general themes. Companies don’t always fit a standard list of attributes; each company has its own set of unique ways of conducting business and handling processes. It is also important then to feel comfortable with the solution provider you choose.

BTerrell Group, for example, is an Intacct Premier Partner, which means Intacct recognizes us for delivering “comprehensive, high quality services, support, and software to help companies get maximum value from their Intacct investment.” In our 24 years in the industry, we’ve always believed in the power of helping our clients achieve success to attain our goals. We stand behind Intacct as a trusted cloud solution, and we would enjoy the opportunity to discuss Intacct’s features and benefits that will help you maximize your potential and continue on the path to success. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Tags: cloud computing, Intacct, cloud, new cloud vendor, financial cloud solution

Saving the Best for Last...Dropbox Volleys Back in Cloud Wars!

Posted by Brian Terrell on Thu, Aug 28, 2014

Dropbox continues the online storage service race to the bottom with their new offer of 1 TB of storage to Pro Plan users for $10 per month, according to Mashable and numerous other online reports today. Just yesterday, their price for half that much capacity was $50 per month, so this represents a significant price decrease. In addition, Pro Plan users may now offer outsiders password protected links to stored data. The company intends the Pro Plan to be used by "in betweeners", i.e. those who use the service for business but do not consider themselves candidates for the full fledged Dropbox for Business plan, which delivers not only a 5 user license but also the tools to administer those additional users.

Dropbox back in cloud wars

Computing will soon be offered only as a service. And, we will be very happy about this as consumers because our access will be subsidized by the "in betweeners" and the business users...sort of like long distance in the 1970s and airplane tickets today. Our proximity to these higher paying users offers better service and higher satisfaction as we enjoy some if not all of the value the full paying fare provides. I noticed this first in early 2013, and it just keeps getting better and better!

 

Viva the Cloud!

Tags: cloud, cloud storage

Super Powers of the Cloud: The Security of Concur’s Cloud

Posted by Info Info on Wed, Jun 11, 2014

by Concur

 

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series Super Powers of The Cloud. Previous entries can be found here.

Mobile app security is a concern for most app users, especially with the seemingly daily news stories of data breaches striking large companies. And it’s not just large companies being affected. For every security breach story that breaks, many more go untold. Symantec reports that companies with fewer than 250 employees were the focus of 31 percent of all cyber attacks in 2012, up sharply from 18 percent in 2011. 

It’s understandable for app users to feel unsure about the security of mobile apps, especially if these mobile apps require them to input sensitive information. And let’s face it; no one wants to feel vulnerable.

Like superheroes need capes and armor, app developers and app users need to know their environment is secure before they can wholeheartedly focus on doing superhuman work. Security is the platform upon which all productivity and collaborative benefits of apps can spring forward. Without security, all the perceived benefits of mobile apps can quickly become a mirage.

For example, Starbucks recently promised to tighten security on its IOS app because of a multitude of mobile app breaches. Because the app contained security flaws – including a lack of encryption, no password protection, and a clear-text data file that is easily exposed – the convenience benefits can be easily offset by security concerns, rendering the app useless for many users.   

Concur’s investment in security

Perhaps a more concerning trend than the amount of apps being hacked is the amount of companies who don’t seem to care about security.

This certainly is not the case at Concur, where mobile app security is a top priority. The Concur Trust Platform with PCI Compliance, ISO and SSAE 16 certifications are combined with data encryption and remote wipe capabilities, ensuring a secure solution for all users. And for those who argue that traditional, paper-based expense tracking is more secure, how is carrying around a stack of receipts and paperwork more secure than a locked, password-protected phone?

Concur’s mobile app security does not allow sensitive credit card data to be stored on the mobile device when transactions are conducted. What this means is that the most sensitive client information (e.g. credit card info) is housed only in Concur’s secure data center, not on the mobile device. Whether clients use Concur’s web-based service or mobile app, they can rest assured their information is safe.

If you’re considering mobile app usage to increase capabilities, productivity and employee satisfaction at your business – but are concerned about mobile app security implications – rest assured that Concur’s top priority has been, and will continue to be, the security of our users.

Expenses affect every part of your company. Learn why more organizations are leveraging Concur’s automated expense tracking solutions to not only address mobile app security, but financial security as a whole. Don’t wait, fix it.

Tags: security, cloud, concur, expense tracking

How Cloud Business Apps Give You Super Powers

Posted by Info Info on Wed, May 14, 2014

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by Concur

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Super Powers of The Cloud. You may read the first installment here and the second installment here.

Okay, so cloud business apps won’t give you super powers, at least not yet. But when you go from expense tracking the old-school way to a do-anything-from-anywhere situation, you sure feel super about your new powers.
Apparently there are plenty of employees who feel super these days. According to CDW’s 2013 State of the Cloud Report, 73% of IT staff say employees’ personal use of the cloud has influenced enterprise adoption of cloud computing.

If you haven’t yet gone skyward to the cloud, then it’s time to stop being a mere mortal and gain these “super powers” by using cloud-based mobile business apps:

The power of flight
An app like TripIt can make you feel like you have a jetpack with a “carefree” setting. Simply forward your travel confirmation emails to plans@tripit.com and TripIt automatically creates an itinerary for your trip.

You can send TripIt confirmation emails for more than 3,000 travel booking sites, including airlines, hotels, rental car companies, railways and airport shuttles. TripIt also supports many travel agencies, cruise lines and business travel sites, and even syncs with activity planning sites like Evite, OpenTable, Fandago and StubHub.

Here are a few more things you can do with TripIt:

  • Link your email, and TripIt will automatically import travel plans from your inbox to your itinerary. No need to forward confirmation emails.
  • Set your travel plans to sync automatically with your online or mobile calendar.
  • Share travel details with family, friends and colleagues by simply clicking the “Share” button on your itinerary.
  • Access your itinerary from all your devices whenever you want.


The power of omnipotence
An app like Concur for Mobile can make you feel like you can be everywhere at once (and you can also avoid being anywhere, like back at the office, filling out an expense report form). Concur for mobile complements the web-based solution and lets you manage everything related to expense tracking from anywhere you want. Here are just a few things you can do with Concur for Mobile:

  • Do away with paper by capturing receipts with your smartphone and uploading IRS compliant images directly to expense reports.
  • Approve or reject expense reports immediately via manager access.
  • Add car mileage to your expense report.
  • Match invoices with purchase numbers, track progress of submitted invoices and expedite invoice approval on the go.
  • Use e-receipts to capture electronic transaction data directly from airlines, hotels and car-rental companies. The line-item details automatically upload to your expense report.
  • Import credit card charges which are automatically assigned to the appropriate expense report.
  • Use the automatic payment capability to quickly and easily reimburse your valued employees

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The power of protection
The Concur and TripIt apps are built with world-class security. The Concur Trust Platform with PCI compliance, ISO and SSAE 16 certifications are combined with data encryption and remote wipe capabilities, ensuring a secure solution. Your personal data and credit card details are never stored on your mobile device and stay secure in Concur’s world-class data center.
Expense reporting affects every part of your business. Learn how super life at your company will be when you stop waiting and call upon your power to fix it.

As a Concur partner, BTerrell Group is able to extend a 10% savings on any Concur solution you implement.  Please contact your BTerrell representative for details.

Join us on May 21st at 1:00 pm CT for this informative webinar: Fix Expense Reporting and Boost the Bottom Line, featuring Concur.



Tags: app, cloud software, cloud

Super Powers of the Cloud: How the Cloud Empowers Employees

Posted by Keith Karnes on Wed, Apr 23, 2014

Written by ConcurConcur Logo

This is the second post in our four-part “Super Powers of the Cloud” series. 

The Cloud Empowers EmployeesToday’s tech savvy workforce demands the powers of connectivity and mobility. And cloud computing is a way to give them the superhero-like powers they seek, whether they’re selling in Sochi or expensing client dinners on the go from Minnesota.

Today, it is not beyond your employees’ scope to be super anytime from anywhere.

Despite some speculation a few years ago, companies are now diving head-first into the cloud. As writer Derrick Wlodarz notes on BetaNews, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer received a lot of criticism when they went the cloud route. But today, Microsoft’s Office 365 provides cloud services that have been utilized by 37% of organizations, according to a recent survey.

With the future pointing to a cloud-filled forecast, many employees expect and want cloud capabilities. Businesses can’t afford to scare away employees who may be put off by outdated technology. Employees want tech powers!

Here are four types of super powers today’s employees get from cloud computing:

The power to produce from anywhere

With the cloud, employees can carry the entire office in their backpack and most tasks can be achieved by simply plucking a smartphone from a pocket. The 40-hour work week – for the most part – is a thing of the past. In fact, normal business hours don’t apply to many organizations anymore as employees are free to work when it makes sense for them (as long as they’re productive, of course).

Tying productivity to a physical location is like permanently strapping flight-capable employees to the ground.

The power to collaborate more effectively with team members

The cloud gives employees real-time access to always up-to-date information. It also lets employees come together in a collaborative setting from all corners of the earth. Meetings are less likely to be rescheduled, more gets accomplished and workflows are optimized. For example, mobile expense management via the Concur app syncs workflows with real-time notifications and data insights from the C-level to the end user.

The power to be a productivity master  

Tech savvy employees are always looking for new “hacks.” If a process can be done more efficiently, they want to learn how to do it. Web-based and mobile apps present real-time portals to all the information an employee could possibly need to excel, and more. Conversely, paper-based, on-premise solutions and processes are now viewed by most employees as “restrictive” because they can’t tap into the flexible, integrated capabilities that create efficiencies.

Take mobile expense management, for example. There’s no need to file away paper receipts, organize them later and attach them to a printed expense report form when you can simply snap photos on the go and automatically upload them to the appropriate expense report line item, which also eliminates the need to manually enter accounting codes, categories, etc.

Credit card charges, along with e-receipts from hotels, airlines and many other vendors can be imported automatically, saving loads of time and eliminating data entry errors. Mobile expense management capabilities can shave over an hour of tedious expense-related tasks from a single business trip. What employee doesn’t want that?

Not only does this save heaps of time for employees, it also saves the company money. According to The Aberdeen Group’s Expense Management for a New Decade report, the cost for a single expense report using outdated manual processes is $41 per report compared to a best-in-class process costing $7 per report.

Cost to Process Expense Reports

The power to be a satisfied employee

Who doesn’t love having awesome tools at their disposal? Employees know about the tech solutions that are available to them – they use them every day in their personal lives. If it makes the job easier, and helps employees succeed by getting more done with less, in a super flexible manner, they want it.

 

As a Concur partner, BTerrell Group is able to extend a 10% savings on any Concur solution you implement.  Please contact your BTerrell Group representative for details.

Join us on May 21st at 1:00 pm CT for this informative webinar: Fix Expense Reporting and Boost the Bottom Line, featuring Concur.

Register Now  >

 

Related posts:

Super Powers of the Cloud: How Cloud Computing Make Business Owners Superhuman

Tags: cloud, concur