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

  1. #16
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    Mar 2005
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    1
    mutahman - can you provide any updates on the implementation process? We are considering netsuite and I would be very interested in any feedback you can provide. Thanks to everyone else, this thread has provided more unbiased info than I have found anywhere else.

  2. #17
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    Mar 2005
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    11

    Merchant Companion 2 by Sonic Cube

    Hi guys,

    I am not sure if this will help or not. I am from MerchantCompanion.com. If 90 percent of your business came from your website, you might want to consider our more cost effective solution. Our MC2 software is also an Order/Fulfillment/Inventory/CRM/Email Management package for small to medium e-commerce businesses. MC2 is designed for multi-user environment with enterprise-level departmental task management for more “visual” and logical processing flow. It is compatible with many shopping cart systems, so you are not limited to the shopping cart choices. As for the licensing, MC2 is per site, not per seat. Add additional stations as you need to streamline your business. For complete feature list, you can visit us at http://www.merchantcompanion.com. Thanks.

    Let me know if there is anything I can help.

    George
    MerchantCompanion.com
    626-820-0477

  3. #18
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    Apr 2005
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    6

    Interprise Suite

    Another alternative will be Interprise Suite from Interprise Solutions once it is released.

    It uses some new .NET technology that allows it to run as a desktop application like Everest or as a Internet based application like Netsuite.

    They have a free 3 user version and the unlimited user version starts at only $1,500.

    http://www.interprisesuite.com/

  4. #19
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    Mar 2005
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    Hi computerguy,

    Just a quick question. Can you import orders from shopping carts in Interprise Suite?
    From the website, I can not find much about other shopping cart integration support.

    I think the main difference between MC2 and Interprise Suite is that MC2 is focusing on small-to-medium "e-commerce" businesses and Interprise is more for wholesale/import/export businesses.

    Best Regards,

    George

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.
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    22
    Bryan,

    I set my entire business up with Yahoo. You can do it for less than 5,000 as long as you don't get carried away with photography and a lot of useless pages.

    Fred

  6. #21
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    Mar 2005
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    9
    Quote Originally Posted by SonicCubeMC2
    Hi computerguy,

    Just a quick question. Can you import orders from shopping carts in Interprise Suite?
    From the website, I can not find much about other shopping cart integration support.

    I think the main difference between MC2 and Interprise Suite is that MC2 is focusing on small-to-medium "e-commerce" businesses and Interprise is more for wholesale/import/export businesses.

    Best Regards,

    George
    Dear George,


    Thank you for your question.


    Interprise Suite is designed to be a complete solution that eliminates the need to use a multitude of applications to complete the day to day tasks of business. As such we plan on developing our own shopping cart solution, Interprise Cart, to fulfill the ecommerce needs of our users. This will eliminate the complexities involved in setting up and maintaining communications between two applications that were not designed to work together. Our customers want solutions that will work with the least amount of expense and effort and the peace on mind that knowing that one company has the expertise to be able to meet their needs from start to finish.


    Interprise Cart will be fully integrated with Interprise Suite offering a complete ecommerce solution. The inventory module of Interprise Suite already has the web specific fields in place and we include a very nice html editor so that users can fine tune the appearance of their inventory items on a “per item” basis if needed. The cart will be designed around .NET 2.0 user controls and design templates so that virtually any website design can be implemented. Source code will be provided with for a nominal charge. Implementation options are as follows.


    Real-time

    In this setup the website is fully connected to the company data. The company data can be hosted on your website (your office workers connect to the data via web services) or locally (You have a T1 or DSL connection in your office with a fixed IP). If you choose to host locally, Interprise Suite can be setup to host your pictures at a different location with a higher speed internet connection. This will allow you to serve the html part of your pages locally – and the images from your ISP. This will allow you to scale quite a bit on even a DSL line.


    Partially disconnected

    In this setup your website is located at your ISP while your corporate data is located elsewhere. As web users are browsing your website they are running off the local database at your ISP. When web user begin a process that requires real-time data such as entering a new user/order, updating a customer record, etc. then Interprise Cart will connected back to the main system via xml web services.


    Fully disconnected

    This is like partially disconnected except that all transactions are done outside of the main company’s database and is updated periodically via xml web services.


    For complete details please visit our website at http://www.interprisesuite.com/InterpriseCart/Index.asp

    Thanks again

    Jenny

  7. #22
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    Apr 2005
    Posts
    6
    Quote Originally Posted by SonicCubeMC2
    Hi computerguy,

    Just a quick question. Can you import orders from shopping carts in Interprise Suite?
    From the website, I can not find much about other shopping cart integration support.

    I think the main difference between MC2 and Interprise Suite is that MC2 is focusing on small-to-medium "e-commerce" businesses and Interprise is more for wholesale/import/export businesses.

    Best Regards,

    George
    Hi Sonic!

    I would agree in your comparison. Your application looks great for a ecommerce business. One of the best. However our companies primary business is in distribution so we need something that has alot of B2B features - like icode and everest. ecommerce is a low priority for us.

    The thing that I like about Interprise Suite is that it looks like it takes the best from netsuite and icode (which are two applications i have been considering) so anyone looking at those two applications may want to check it out.

  8. #23
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    Mar 2005
    Posts
    11
    Thank you Jenny and Computerguy. I actually told one of my importer friend to try Interprise since our Merchant Companion 2 does not manage shipment schedules and import/export related functions at this moment.

    One thing I do not like about complete internet based solutions is that you are giving too much trust on your internet connection. Since most offices will not have business-class T1 service, the best they will get is probably business DSL which is not 100% "Solid" in real world. You are taking the risk that if the internet connection from your office somehow got interrupted, you will not be able to run your business at all. Another concern I have is that if they "quit", you would lost everything. You might have the backup data, but you will have to find another solution that will "take" the data. We see many businesses still run ancient DOS based applications, why, because their developers had long gone, so no more new versions for them. Luckily, they still have the software and can still perform their daily routines. If they were using internet or service based solutions, they will have nothing to run their businesses in this scenario. A business succeeds on its plan A, but a business survives on its plan B. We always have to prepare for the worst case imaginable.

    Best Regards,

    George

  9. #24
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    Dec 2004
    Location
    Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.
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    George,
    An interesting view of an all Internet solution. I use Yahoo stores for my business at www.jelessycollection.com. If I hosted this business myself not only would it cost me a lot more money, but the reliability would be very poor.

    Believe me when I say that soon computer operations will be a utility that you outsource either locally or to a lower cost country. Light pipes are very reliable.

    Fred

  10. #25
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    Mar 2005
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    Hi Fred,
    I think you misunderstood my point. I was talking about the accounting/order management/operation back-end software solutions. Not the front-end website hosting solutions. I do agree with you on the hosting part. No one should ever consider hosting their own sites unless they know exactly what they are doing. But for a daily operation application, it should be available whenever you need the data. The more factors you depend on, the poorer reliability it gets. From my point of view, internet based operation solution is just the same as your online web mail service. How many times we got frustrated because our web mail service is temporarily not available or the internet connection is down? Some free web mail services even disappear without notice. What if this happens when the shopping cart is not working properly and customer wants to place order over the phone with your representatives? See my point here?

    Best Regards,

    George

  11. #26
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    Apr 2005
    Posts
    6
    Quote Originally Posted by computerguy
    Another alternative will be Interprise Suite from Interprise Solutions once it is released.

    It uses some new .NET technology that allows it to run as a desktop application like Everest or as a Internet based application like Netsuite.

    They have a free 3 user version and the unlimited user version starts at only $1,500.

    http://www.interprisesuite.com/
    George - I was referring to Netsuite vs. Everest with my post. Not eCommerce solutions.

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    9
    Quote Originally Posted by SonicCubeMC2
    Hi Fred,
    I think you misunderstood my point. I was talking about the accounting/order management/operation back-end software solutions. Not the front-end website hosting solutions. I do agree with you on the hosting part. No one should ever consider hosting their own sites unless they know exactly what they are doing. But for a daily operation application, it should be available whenever you need the data. The more factors you depend on, the poorer reliability it gets. From my point of view, internet based operation solution is just the same as your online web mail service. How many times we got frustrated because our web mail service is temporarily not available or the internet connection is down? Some free web mail services even disappear without notice. What if this happens when the shopping cart is not working properly and customer wants to place order over the phone with your representatives? See my point here?

    Best Regards,

    George

    Dear George,

    Thank you for your question.

    You are absolutely correct about the problems associated with running a website that is designed to work in “real-time” with the company’s backend data. Since the typical office does not have the redundant internet connections that an ISP location will have, even a temporary interruption of the Internet connection will cause the company’s website to go down.

    We designed our “Partially Disconnected” Interprise Cart implementation (Described in above post) to overcome this problem. Like Interprise Suite, Interprise Cart is built off “Smart Client” .NET technology and will use a modified version of the Microsoft Offline Application Block http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/de...ml/offline.asp allowing it to continue many important functions (such as taking new orders) in the event that the internet connection in the office is down. Once the connection is restored then the new transactions will be uploaded.

    Microsoft will be making many improvements to the offline application block in .NET 2.0 and this is one of the reasons why we are developing the Interprise Cart in this platform.

    Jenny

  13. #28
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    Apr 2005
    Posts
    6
    Too bad I joined this thread so late. During Fall '03 I spent considerable time reviewing Icode and Netsuite. We were using Peachtree and our business was reaching a point where we really needed a much more customer-centric system for processing orders, invoices, inventory, service, contacts, sales, etc... Our web orders were also increasing and the cart wasn't linked to the back-end. We do considerable mail-order and couldn't manage our list in Peachtree (double-entry everywhere).

    Netsuite was impressive but we needed the complete version and price quickly added-up. Over a 3 year period we expected it would cost considerably more than Icode. If we added more staff than expected, it's per user/per month/year-after-year cost would outstrip a purchased license even quicker. On top of that, our access to the on-line demo did not run consistently fast. Didn't seem to matter whether we were using DSL or Cable access and some of the slower periods were late at night as well as 5pm. I wasn't comfortable with it.

    So I bought Icode Everest Advanced, 5-user license, on Jan. 1 '04. I gave them $10k and expected to spend another $8k for implementation and a couple add-ons. We decided to wait to implement till we had a new accountant/IT person hired. We were ready to go by Sept. '04 and called Icode. Implementation costs had doubled and they wanted over $16k with a possibility it could hit $20k. I was going to go ahead but they were booked-up till early '05. We called them early in Jan. Now, they wanted to send a new quote! It came in at $37k not counting the add-ons we still needed. After adding those, the bill would be $45k with more due for the 2 new seats I wanted by that time. Can I even tell you how outraged I am!? Add in the original $10k and the cost of a pretty hefty new server, and Icode would have cost $60k for a company of fewer than 10 employees. That puts it into the same price range as a MAS90 or Great Plains implementation with local services. Granted, Icode is a better, fully integrated solution (in my opinion) but none of these guys seem to get the market for $1M to $10M small business software.

    By the way, Icode doesn't want you to install on your own. You can't get any service or qualify for the annual maintenance plan until you pass a 23 page exam and pay them $2700 per try for a remote sysem-analysis performed by their engineer until you finally pass (probably after you've spent thousands more guessing what you'll need to fix).

    So, Netsuite looks less expensive than it did a year ago but it's still too high and too slow and too inflexible. To those that are looking at the entry price for a single user, think ahead a couple years. If you're only going to have 2 or 3 people, it might be a good deal. If you're going to grow, look at the projected costs and think twice.

    Now we're considerning ManageMore, Image Premier by Comtech Solutions and finally I've just become aware of the coming InterpriseSuite. I'm holding out great hope for the latter. It looks great and they understand the pricing of this end of the market. Fingers crossed!

    Why do these software guys think you'll go from a few hundred dollars for QB or PT to $50k or more? Too bad Icode hired new execs from the mid-market (client companies over $100M). Though their program was so capable it was a bit harder to learn, it was a great solution that really fit the needs of the growing business market.

    I've ranted long enough,

  14. #29
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    11
    Computerguy,

    Sorry for the confusion, I might have made things more complicated than they should be. My points are actually simple. Point one, think if you can handle the worst case if you lost internet for 1 or 2 whole days before choosing internet based management software. Point 2, as software companies come and go, or as often as they change terms and conditions. It might be a better assurance to have the running piece of the software on your own computer than remotely hosted services.

    Jenny,

    Thanks for your explanation. But I wasn’t worrying about the shopping cart part of your package. I was worrying about the Accounting/Order Managing portion of this approach. As a programmer myself, I totally understand the technology portion of this kind implementation. However, as a business owner I would like to have my order information, customer information stored in the database locally. I would choose your third solution that is hosting the Interprise Suite Database locally in the office. At least in the worst situation that I lost internet connection for who knows how long, I will still be able to not only place the new order, but also search the old orders or complete any customer service related crucial tasks. Also, since Microsoft’s striped-down version of SQL server is offered as Microsoft Desktop Engine (MSDE) for free, a small business with little budget can enjoy the powerful SQL performance without paying for a full featured MS SQL server. As for the shopping cart implementation, I believe it will be vary valuable for businesses adding e-commerce capability to their existing channels. Our business model is the opposite. Our clients will first start an e-commerce website with the shopping cart system of their choice. While growing they will soon find the limitations of their shopping cart systems in terms of order/fulfillment/customer/support management. And that’s when we jump in, unfortunately we have to accommodate which ever shopping cart system they use.

    Rowen,

    For a company that will ask you to pay and pay more for simple things, it’s a company to avoid. How hard to write a nice installer that will do a self check to make sure the program itself is functional? Not to mention that you are paying $45k for the application. Take Windows XP Operation System for example, it is far more complex than any of the accounting software on the market. Still, anyone can put in the Windows XP CD in the CDROM and have a working system 30 minutes later. The business application consists of the database and the program. If it needs more than two installers, it’s a bad design. It makes me feel sad after reading your post. Small business is the best part of the economy. They don’t have money to waste. Still, people don’t have a heart to help small businesses grow. Even $10k can be used nicely to promote their businesses to the next level and the software companies are asking 4 times more just for the accounting software? Heck, for $40K, you can even develop your own customized solution to tailor fit your business. Many of this so called enterprise class software are even using Access database as the backend, the problem is, Access db is slow by design when used on a network and provides no self-maintenance capability other than the file itself. You also need to spend $$$ again for Microsoft Office License just to run it on each workstation. When the database size grows to couple hundred megabytes, it will be extremely difficult to use on the network with multiple users, not to mention multi-location VPN possibility. What do you do at that time? Pay a lot more for their SQL based “enterprise plus” edition again?


    Best Regards,

    George
    http://www.MerchantCompanion.com

  15. #30
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.
    Posts
    22
    Very interesting thread everyone. Small business hosted solutions are more reliable and less costly than home grown self hosted applications. I will do some research with our Tatum Partners,(www.tatumpartners.com) and post which applications are best for a small business.

    Fred Held Partners.

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