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Thread: iCode Everest or Netsuite? - Looking for an "all-in-one" small business solution

  1. #151
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    6

    Visoncore by Comtech

    Has anyone checked out Visioncore by Comtech? Seems like a nice program.
    http://www.comtechsolutions.com
    Thanks.

    Benjamin Cohen
    www.azardisplays.com

  2. #152
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    10
    Checked it out. Seems solid in most areas. Clean interface. The ecommerce integration could be tighter. Also, you'll need PCCharge to charge CC's in the system and ShipRush for shipping integration.

  3. #153
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    6

    Visoncore by Comtech

    Is anyone actually running their company with 10+ users using either Visioncore or Interprise?

  4. #154
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    1

    Feedback about Everest

    We were using two separate “on-demand / hosted applications” – one for ERP and one for e-Commerce. (NetSuite & Infopia) We initially made the selection based on what we perceived as low cost / low risk. We took the approach of purchasing the functionality we needed at the time for the lowest price … but we failed to select vendors that could keep pace with our growth. The hosted application from NetSuite was always crashing and because we did not manage the system directly, we had limited control and visibility into problem resolution. The frequency of vendor issues & outages was negatively impacting our bottom-line.

    After issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP), we selected Everest to drive our back-office ERP and our front-office internet store front business. As with any installation, we had a few bumps in the first month or so, but after only six-months the benefits speak for themselves. We have had record-breaking revenues, which we largely attribute to Everest. Everest is quite scalable – increased our total brand inventory by 1/3 – more products has equated to more sales. We can tailor the storefront without requesting customizations, which can be costly and time-consuming, and we redesigned the navigation of www.planetshoes.com, which now lets users find products online faster and easier. We also have far greater control enabling better SEO which has driven more traffic to our site.

  5. #155
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    80
    If you like Visioncore be sure to checkout Adept Suite. Adept Suite is 100% free but unsupported. Also works with PC Charge and Shiprush...

    http://www.download.com/Adept-Accoun...html?tag=lst-1
    ----------------------------
    Gary Harrison
    Interprise Solutions

  6. #156
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    2
    i've read this entire thread. lots of good info. has anyone checked into Allbase or ECI2? these are 2 my boss is looking at now. we are also very small, new company. 4 employees, we import/distribute hand-crafted mosaics from Europe. any input much appreciated.

  7. #157
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    52

    Keep on "slappin"

    WOW!! It's great to see how this thread has progressed over the past 3 years!! I was one of the original posters on this thread and since my original post in Feb. '05 (when we were first looking for a software to support our inventory, CRM, acctg. and e-commerce) our business is now 4 years old and in this time we've grown our revenues by 4X. 3 years ago when I was first in here looking for a solution this forum was a very big help, so I figured that since I am in "renewal mode" I should post our experiences in here, as they may help others.

    We have been a Netsuite user now for just about 3 years and there is plenty of good about the system and a few shortcomings. We are a wholesale company (consumer goods) that wholesales internationally, wholesales domestically in the USA and we also have 2 e-commerce websites (www.slappa.com and www.slappa.co.uk The UK site is NOT on Netsuite but on Monster Commerce)

    Netsuite has done a very solid job helping us manage our CRM, basic accounting, and e-commerce. Their user interface is very clean, their dashboards are very good, the ability to drill down on information from every section/report is great, the reporting is sufficient (you could add on crystal reports for additional fees), the CRM is good and we have NEVER had an issue with security OR downtime. Also with Netsuite, I have never worried about disaster recovery because I know they have things covered….this is one thing that I don’t think many buyers consider when trying to choose a solution. Their inventory management does a solid job at providing the basics (multi-locations, reorder levels, real-time levels for the sites). Their sales commissions capabilities are nothing special

    The biggest issues we have encountered with Netsuite are:
    (a) they are not an open system which creates serious challenges when trying to use Netsuite along with other software (IE they currently do NOT work with outside analytics software because they have an advanced analytics package of their own, yet their analytics cannot provide us with accurate ROI on our PPC campaigns). We have contacted 4 Netsuite integrators and none of them have a sure fire solution to this issue. 2 integrators told us they are now working on an integration, and according to Netsuite they will open the cart code sometime in 2008, but currently there is nothing Netsuite customers can implement to get accurate ROI information on PPC campaigns. This is a very serious issue for any companies that rely on PPC campaigns to drive e-commerce revenue. Another challenge is our desire to implement social networking aspects into our sites. Netsuite needs to address this in a cost effective manner
    (b) the cost to add on new licenses or modules is very expensive (we were able to negotiate a great price for the first 10 licenses, yet their costs to add more licenses and modules are absolutely crazy).

    Even though we are 80-85% satisfied with Netsuite, our current license term is about to expire and we figured it made sense for us to look at how the market, the players and the offerings have progressed over the past 3 years, and as such we have been, over the past 2 months, scoping out other solutions that may be a better alternative to Netsuite. One thing to point out here with regards to our assessing our options; we value (when evaluating all these companies) who they are. In other words, their management team, their track record and their customers are all factored into our initial decision as to whether or not a company "warrants" our serious consideration. I have seen a few posts in here “assuming” that Netsuite has the potential of being bad because they are a “bigger” company and in my opinion this is a very wrong attitude to have. Netsuite has been around, is backed by Larry Ellison (which certainly has it's bad points) but does tell us that they have the resources to continue to make their product better and unlike some of these other offerings, Netsuite is not going to be a flash in the pan that can go away in the next 12 months. Also now that they are public they are under heavy pressure to grow their business, which means they will have to get aggressive to keep their customers. It’s great that so many new companies have popped up in this space over the past 3-4 years yet we have to try and figure who has staying power and who doesn’t. As such, there are MANY newbie companies that offer solutions in this space that we just cannot consider because we see them as too risky.

    So, while this is not an exhaustive list, here are the companies we have considered this time around:

    Interprise Suites- I think we all want to love this company. Their website looks slick and gives us the impression that they know what they're doing, they are already on .net and FINALLY here is a software company that says they are for a small business and have actually priced their solution for a small business. But I have read far too many customer issues that seem to all revolve around the fact that this software, while on the right track, is not ready today to "cleanly support" a business like ours. One place from which I have gathered this info is the forum on their website
    http://www.interprisesolutions.com/forum. One issue we have encountered with them is trying to get their folks to respond to a request for a demo, and after 2 weeks we still haven’t been able to get a response.
    Gary have sent you a PM you so you and I can talk about some of these issues I have read about.

    Everest- We have again looked at Everest, and they are still attractive from the standpoint of their software and the pre-sales effort/attention. They are open source so we can do any customization we like, they have a stronger e-commerce offering then Netsuite and they are moving to the .net platform in 2008. I'm not crazy about their user interface and their drill downs are clunky (or I should say not as clean as Netsuite), but to us the biggest issues is still their pricing! while they pitch themselves as a solution for "small" business's, I believe they are priced for companies who are doing at least $4-5 million in revenues. I just read this interview with the Everest president which seems to support this notion http://s29294.gridserver.com/archive...r-choice.html). Relatively speaking, $4-5 million in sales is small business, but I believe these guys, as many other companies offering such software solutions, fail to recognize how many $1-$5 million business's there are who need such a solution. I respect that they feel strongly about their software and as such they take the "we only offer very limited discounts" position, but they still fail to recognize (as do many other vendors) that a $50,000++ initial investment + training, hosting and maintenance fees is a very large investment for a $2million company. I believe if their sales OR marketing group did a study on how many deals they lost to pricing they would take action to correct this.

    Based on the great post by Chris_WI on page 8 of this thread, we are now in the process of looking at http://www.mainstreetcommerce.com (haven’t heard back from them yet but when we do I’ll update this post)

    Evolution (www.darwinproductions.com): I have been playing with their demo version the past 2 days and have a demo set up with them tomorrow AM. So far I like what I see with these guys. It’s an open system and except for the fact that I have to get familiar with their user interface (obviously I’m now very familiar with Netsuite so everything we look at will require some time) I like what I see. Also they have been VERY responsive to e-mails and initial questions (I have received 3 e-mail responses today—which is a Sunday)

    http://www.comtechsolutions.com: I have downloaded the Vision Core demo but cannot get it to work. I’m waiting to hear back from them regarding getting the demo to work + them scheduling a sales demo for us. I’ll update this once we hear back from them.

    www.corezon.com: we’re waiting to hear back from these guys also.

    www.devix.com: also waiting to hear back from these guys, although their cost has us concerned

    So while we are not yet sure that we are moving away from Netsuite, we are looking and will be making a decision over the next 2 weeks. I’ll post an update on our findings as we make progress.

    Dom

  8. #158
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    2
    mutahman,
    feel as though i know you, having read everything you've written here. timing is everything, isn't it? thank you for the update. glad your biz is going so well. will look forward to more from you.
    Happy New Year!

  9. #159
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    52
    I've received many private messages asking for a status report, so here it is.

    Evolution (by Darwin Productions): We used the demo version for a week, had a demo with them and it's a pretty good solution that is affordable. My e-commerce director didn't like the fact that the shopping cart is their own code, so we have taken them out of the mix. This seems to be a pretty good solution that doesn't have many customer references, which makes us uneasy with regards to this software having been used in prime time and as such makes us wonder what (if any) issues can pop up when implemented. Here are the customer references we were provided with (a few of these sites are still not working at the time of this post). http://www.eiki.com/, http://www.firstmobe.com/, http://www.eworldbuyer.com/, http://www.fromeco.org/, http://www.vpodsecurity.com/, www.zwickerevanslewis.com, www.sawaskty.com, www.feltrim.com, www.firstmobe.com

    Vision Core (by Comtech): We have used the demo for 2 weeks, had 2 demo's with them and like most of what we see. this is .net based and on SQL server database, and is very open for customization. With that said, most small companies (we are in this position) will have to have an integrator help with customization (in other words if we want to take advantage of this "openness" we have to have someone outside write the code). Their shopping cart (Able Commerce is the software that seamlessly and in real time integrates with Vision Core and provides the e-commerce capabilities) seems to be very strong, and everything on the back end (Acctg., Inventory, CRM is also pretty solid. They have most of what we need, multiple currency, we can add as many companies as we want, multi warehouse. The way we would set up price levels is a bit whacky, and the fact that we have to "post" documents even after they are saved (IE if we create and save an invoice, it still is not posted to the system and as such I can see that some transactions can go "missing". Another thing I don't like at all (and this is probably because I have grown accustomed to Netsuite) is the customization of reporting. When you click on a report you have to always set the date range (before a report pops open) and to customize a report seems a bit complicated. Also, most of the reports are an "end point", where the information from that report cannot be drilled down further. For example, today in Netsuite I have a Daily Sales Report, when I open it it shows me each transaction as a line item and I can then click on one particular sale and it takes me to the detail of that sale, I can then click on the customer name to have it take me to that customer, I can then click on "transacctions" to see all the transacctions of that customer. My point is that most all of the content in Netsuite reports remains dynamic in that I can continue to drill down from the report to find supporting information. In Vision Core I will have to run multiple reports to drill down (Vision Core does some drill down in some of their out of the box reports, but not much. Also, my e-commerce director tells me that he can do some customization work to some of our custom reports to make them web based, this way we can pull info from the Vision Core database and have hyperlinks on chosen reports. The total cost of ownership makes this package very attractive, where a 8 user license with 3 websites and maintenence is about $12,000. This doesn't include implementation and migration of data (we have 3 years worth of data on Netsuite and it's a MAJOR job to bring all the static and transactional data over), yet it's a very affordable price for what seems to be quite a strong solution.

    Interprise Suites. these guys have solidified out initial opinion that they are not ready for prime time. My e-commerce director did an initial demo, and then asked for a second demo. He didn't hear back from them for about a month, and then just 2 days ago received a mail from the guy he was communicating with telling him "sorry I was in the hospital for a month". I don't doubt that the guy was in the hospital, but I have lived and worked in Asia for 15 years, and worked for 2 years in the Philippines and in my experience, reliability and the Philippines are 2 words that just don't go together. In this forum I sent a private message to Gary Harrison and still haven't heard back from them. Lastly, I spoke with an integrator of theirs, who told me that he nearly went out of business because he waited for a year for them to get the product ready for prime time, and despite many 2007 release dates having been set by Interprise, they consistently missed the dates. He told me he finally got an e-mail from them in December (I believe it was Dec 18) where he was told SP3 was ready to roll. We're going to do one more demo with them in the next week or so (because I have not seen them do a demo) but right now I feel there is no way I would consider these guys.

    Netsuite. I wish these guys would wake up and smell the coffee with regards to pricing. Yes their e-commerce needs work, specifically they need to open up their cart. I have talked with 3 integrators who are now converting Netsuite customers to other solutions and all 3 told me 1 of 2 reasons why each customer was leaving Netsuite....it was either because of pricing OR because their cart was not open. It's a shame that they are not addressing these issues because I believe Netsuite offers the absolute best back end solution for us small business's. I hate the idea of moving away from these guys, and will have more talks with them this week to see if there is any way we can negotiate a way to stay with them.

    Everest. Solution good. Implementation a nightmare (spoke with 2 of their integrators). Pricing stinks. They are going to be moving to .net which means there could be problems with this new release. In short, we have taken them off the list because they simply fail to recognize that they are priced out of the market.

    Mainstreet commerce: Again open platform is very attractive and these guys are the most customizable amongst everything we have looked at. but we need general ledger and they don't have it (we would have to plug in something like Quickbooks) and I don't like the idea of that. I have received a PM from someone who had a terrible experience with Mainstreet. I think these guys are onto something, but need to beef up their support and sales team (it seemed weird that the CEO was the guy who responded to our mail and gave us a demo....it's not that I don't want to talk with the guy who is at the top of the totem pole, but if he's doing demo's all day that makes me a bit uncomfortable as to the size of the company and their ability to support us down the road).

    Corezon never replied to a request for demo.

    The skinny is, we like Vision Core the most but I'm not sure if we like them enough to leave Netsuite. We're going to continue digging deeper and if there are other solutions that you guys suggest are "definitely worth a look" let us know.

    I hope this all helps

  10. #160
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    18
    Muthaman,

    Did you try PostBooks?

    http://www.xtuple.org

    xTuple just released PostBooks 2.3.0, which works with the Yahoo! shopping cart. This product is backed by a company with many years of solid product use in production environments.

    Best of all, it's free; in fact, it's open source. You can buy support contracts for $600 per user per year, but you aren't required to do so.

    It also has a unique advantage in that you can use Windows, Mac, or Linux for the server OR client. What these companies implementing on the .NET platform don't seem to realize is that Windows won't be the dominant platform forever. When Microsoft stops selling XP and Vista is the only thing you can get, and folks realize that they can hand over lots of money to buy a machine with enough power to run Vista, and more money for Vista itself - or just use a more reasonably-priced machine with Linux - many folks will opt for the Linux route. If you use PostBooks you can do this; with many others you cannot. xTuple has a case study of a company using all Macs and no PC's here:

    http://www.xtuple.com/news/casestudy-moline.php

    (Note that OpenMFG is the 'big brother' to PostBooks and offers much more ERP functionality...)

  11. #161
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    52

    Never heard of these guys

    or_Josh...thanks for the info. How are you affiliated with these guys?

    I'll take a look at them. Have any of you guys heard of, demoed or use these guys? If so what was the experience?

    Thanks

  12. #162
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    6
    Is anyone using Business Flow from MainStreet Commerce? http://mainstreetcommerce.com/
    I would like some feedback regarding implementation and connecting their Website/OrderEntry system to other accounting systems. Also how they like the overall use of the program. Thank you.

    BC

  13. #163

    Is "all-in-one" the best solution?

    mutahman -

    You've put an impressive amount of work into your search. I'm sure the info you've posted will be useful for a lot of merchants. There are just a couple of points that I would like to make:

    First of all, there appear to be very different skill sets involved in creating shopping carts, order management systems and accounting software. There are few, if any, example of software companies that get all three right. So by restricting your search to totally integrated systems, you are probably ruling out some of the best examples of each in order to find one system that does at least a fair job of all three. Also, once you select an integrated system, if you decide you want to replace any one component (either because you are no longer satisfied with it or because a better alternative is becomes available), it may not be possible or practical to make that change.

    Second, in response to your comments about having the CEO of a company reply to your information request. As you obviously know, you are not just choosing software; you are also choosing the company that produces, markets and supports it. It's like "Goldilocks": You don't want a company that is so big that your business is insignificant to them. Or one that is so small that they might not have the resources to survive and continue supporting their products. (Then there's open-source software, but that's a whole different animal.)

    But size does not necessarily mean stability. Take NetSuite, for example. "In 2006, its revenue was $67 million and net loss was $35.7 million. For the nine months ended September 30, 2007, its revenue was $76.8 million and net loss was $20.6 million." Yes, they've gone public now, and have lots of money to work with, but do you really want to hitch your future to a company that's losing millions of dollars per year? What if they can't turn it around? Or what if they decide that your business is not profitable enough for them to bother with?

    Then there's that small company CEO who's taking your sales call. That may be a sign of a company that is too small or too new to make you feel safe using them, or of a small but growing company with a CEO who still is actively involved in the day-to-day operations of his company and not afraid to talk directly to prospects and customers. (That sounds familiar, actually.<grin>) A better indicator of a company's stability might be the number of clients using their systems, and the ratio of employees to customers. Take a look at Ernie Schell's latest chart of order management companies at:
    http://multichannelmerchant.com/opsa...s_solutions_2/

    There are some familiar names there that only have a handfull of customers, and others that have a ridiculous number of employees per customer. To my mind, either of those conditions should make you think twice about risking your business on their products.

    I hope you find some of those comments useful.

  14. #164
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    52
    Barney
    I certainly do find your comments informative. I agree with much of what you say, although much of this topic (or the points you bring up) are not zero sum.

    My own hesitations around integrating multiple solutions and preferring to go "all in one" certainly cut down the number of options I have, yet (for me personally) I would rather deal with one vendor VS. multiple vendors and integrators.

    I believe for my requirements (at least over the next 2-3 years) for CRM, erp, acctg and e-commerce are handled quite well with the “all in one” solutions on the market. Is any one of them perfect…NO. Will a “mix and match” of different softwares provide me with the perfect solution…MAYBE. And it will most likely be quite expensive for the integration and customization of bringing an integrator in to make everything “real time, all the time”.

    3 years ago when trying to find an "all in one solution" I had very limited options, both in terms of the number of vendors who supplied an all in one solution AND the features offered in the few all in one solutions available. But today my options have grown considerably (number of vendors and the advancements in their software). Are all these options "ready for prime-time"....unfortunately not.....but we still have more choices today and if these guys can stay alive for another 12-18 months it will be interesting to see how many choices of kick-ass all in one software there will be on the market.

    As a small business owner I couldn't agree with you more about how important it is to have the owner accessible to every customer (and quite frankly, many of the medium and larger companies should have the owner more accessible to customers). In this particular instance I like dealing directly with the owner, but it also leaves me a bit weary to have Mike doing the demo's..all the time. With him doing the demo’s who is running the company? Who is handling the support? Who is managing the engineering? These issues, regardless of size, are all important to me with regards to how my vendor operates. My point is, he cannot be doing demo's all day long and getting much else done. It's a perception issue, and quite frankly, it's his job to give me (us) the perception that he's NOT a one man band.

    It is not my intent to disparage anyone person or company, and I want to see all these small guys make a legitimate run at the likes of Netsuite (and the other "big boys")...but in order for these little guys (Main Street, Comtech, Interprise, etc) to last in this survival of the fittest landscape they will have to continue to make strides on the features, functionality and support they have and also work on how we PERCEIVE them to be behind the scenes (because let’s face it, none of us have done a vendor visit to see what is really going on at their site(s).

    With regards to Netsuite, of course no company is immune to going under, and I sincerely believe if they do not address their pricing OR their lack of open source they are going to have a major problem fending off these competitors and turning around the red ink. But much to your point here, at least with NS we know their financial position and the fact that they have the money (from the IPO) and the backing (from Larry) to feed the beast for a while…we don’t know if any of these other guys may be in the same red ink scene, and if so how would they finance a turn-around (or even just buy more time).

    I like your post because it makes many of us think past just the issue of “ABC software has this feature and XYZ doesn’t”.

    I’m going to probably regret posting this next line (expecting to get inundated with PM’s) but if any integrators feel they can put together a kick ass, real time ERP, CRM, ACCTG and e-commerce build for us that would be $20-25K (including the integration and implementation) then PM me with what you have in mind and I’ll certainly take a look

    Hope this all helps

  15. #165
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    32
    I have been looking at a system from rla-assist.com called Esyst. Has anyone looked at this? Any comments? I am in the same position as you mutahman, waiting for the ideal package to roll out.

    Would appreciate any comments.

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