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RemoteDesk, eTransact and iConnect

We have received numerous questions about the differences between RemoteDesk, eTransact, eAdvantage, iConnect, and other general e.Commerce solutions. So in as far as our knowledge extends on eTransact, we will give you some preliminary factors to consider when selecting your solution.
eAdvantage - this used to be the name of the ACCPAC product now called iConnect, this now is a term that encapsulates their eBusiness offerings.
    iConnect - this is ACCPAC's on-line, real-time solution, designed primarily for employees, and consists of applets of which there are 4; Sales Order, Receivables, Purchase Order and Payroll.
      eTransact - hosted solution that serves as a web site/shopping cart like order entry system. It is similar model to RemoteDesk e.Commerce with shopping cart integration, but has a good B2B model too. Both are batch oriented.
        RemoteDesk e.Commerce - This is a desktop application that front ends your ACCPAC data for remote orders from sales reps, branch offices, customers and the web. Each type of remote has a specific desktop definition, or it can be retreived from a PocketPC device, a web site order form, or a web site shopping cart.

        • Are you using ACCPAC Plus or Windows?
            For ACCPAC Plus, you can consider RemoteDesk or eTransact.
            For ACCPAC Windows, you can consider RemoteDesk , eTransact or iConnect.

        • How long has it been shipping, and approximately how many installs to date?
            This becomes important because eCommerce companies are opening up daily to offer 'integrated' solutions, when all they often do is custom write a solution specifically for you, when you order. If the product is new, check out from current users what is the turnaround time for encountered problems and fixes. When on-line ordering becomes critical, there is no room for down time. For any of the above, get the information and guarantees in writing, this will help you if you become responsible for promises that were made.

            RemoteDesk History: Released in 1996, 2200 installs to date, our number one selling product, it is our major company initiative to continue to expand this product line, and continue to offer the latest in technological advancements for incorporation into its growth. As always, Bravo will continue to take your company where it needs to go, at a price you can afford!

        • What is your budget?
            There are 2 different philosophies when you are budgeting for eCommerce. With a product such as RemoteDesk eCommerce, you with RemoteDesk you own the product, you can do with it what you want, you can change ISP's, you can move it into an in-house system when this becomes more affordable down the road, and you can change the shopping cart in any fashion you want. The data resides at your location, on your servers, you control it. For on-line solutions the data resides on their servers. If you decide to leave in 3 months due to performance issues, speed, limited functionality, or price, you have to start again from scratch. Your shopping cart setup, etc. are all gone.

            For more details on the components of a web based solution, press here .

        • What is the primary motivation for wanting this technology?
          • 1. Are you trying to simplify the order process for sales reps?
          • 2. Are you trying to simplify the updating process from branch offices?
          • 3. Do you simply want to automate more, and the benefits of a solution that offered reduced entry seemed appealing?
          • 4. Are you trying to offer easy ordering for large customers?
          • 5. Do you want to attract more customers for web based ordering?
          • 6. Do you want their employees to have access to company based information such as payroll?
          • 7. Do you have inventory problems and need everyone to be ordering from live inventory levels?
          • 8. Do you want your sales reps to have the ability to produce quotes, process orders and easily update head office?

            If you are looking at options 1 thru 3, RemoteDesk, eTransact and iConnect are all applicable.
            If you are looking at options 4 and 5, RemoteDesk and eTransact are applicable.
            If your primary motivation is points 6 or 7, iConnect will have to be evaluated further, as RemoteDesk and eTransact do not satisfy these 2 options. If you are looking at point #8, only RemoteDesk satisfies this option, and you can evaluate this product more thoroughly.

        • Is it critical that the remote source see actual inventory stock levels, or is 'start of day' levels sufficient?
            If you must have actual inventory levels at the time of order, then iConnect requires further consideration.
            RemoteDesk and eTransact can display current stock levels only as often as the system is updated. This can be as frequently as every 10 minutes, but transfer times and upload times have to be considered. For a company with 100 items, this would be easy, but for a company with 10,000 items, this may not be an effective solution if frequent updating of stock levels were required.

        • What type of users do you want to support?

          • Web Surfers:
            • If your focus is to put your products on the web for B2C web based ordering, there are 2 primary options available at this point. You can look at RemoteDesk eCommerce with your own shopping cart, RemoteShop or a simple HTML order form, or the eTransact B2C system. Most companies dealing with web surfer ordering that are trying to increase exposure of their products, usually don't need mission critical 'live ordering', but this will be a decision for you. A reminder that a 'live ordering' system usually requires a password be issued prior to the ordering process, and this may frustrate companies who are looking to simply place an order.

          • Sales Reps:
            • RemoteDesk is an ideal product for sales reps. It resides on their laptop or PocketPC device and allows them to create quotes and easily convert those quotes to orders or invoices for direct processing at head office. It also integrates to ACT! or GoldMine contact management systems to complete the sales force automation cycle. It is ideal because it does not require that the sales rep be on-line to order, which sometimes isn't possible for reps on the road. When the transfer does take place, it is often less than 3 minutes, which is cost effective if using hotel or long distance calling rates.
            • For sales reps with the ability to log on to the internet while on location,RemoteDesk eCommerce, iConnect or eTransact provides them with the ability to place orders on behalf of the customer.
              If the order process demands that reps have the exact stock levels at order time, then the logistics of iConnect must be further considered.

          • Branch Offices:
            • This will depend on a few variables. If the branch office must have accurate inventory levels at time of ordering, then iConnect may be the best choice. This may require dedicated lines depending on the order frequency, and depending on the number of people ordering simultaneously, a detailed analysis should happen regarding transaction volume, speed and efficiency. iConnect is also the better choice if you want branch offices to be able to access inter-company information such as reports, payroll, policies, sales analysis and the like. It depends of course on how central the head office information is.
            • If the branch office can use 'inventory levels as of last update', then RemoteDesk with Client or Invoicer offers a very inexpensive and more powerful alternative to on-line ordering. Not only does the branch site not require any accounting software, but RemoteDesk gives them the ability to order or invoice from the desktop, send the details to head office and receive order confirmations and new stock levels, within a 3 minute e-mail transfer. No lengthy log-on times.
            • Both RemoteDesk and eTransact offer updated item quantities, pricing and customer information.

          • Existing Customers:
              When selecting a solution that involves your customers, the best thing to do is ask them what they would prefer.
            • RemoteDesk eCommerce and eTransact are equally effective in solidifying the relationship between you and your customer, it is simply a question of what they want. Pick your 10 best customers, and evaluate the results. Chances are the responses will be varied, but it will give you some solid information to base your decision on.
            • If they want an on-line system, RemoteDesk eCommerce B2E, and eTransact B2E offers a detailed discount structure and provides them with information that pertains directly to the customer with a shopping cart look and feel.
              If you do not want the expense of the B2E options and you are using your own generic shopping cart with RemoteDesk eCommerce, these will be SRP pricing only. Custom modifications would be required to offer discount structures. If they don't need to see their actual discount, it is mainly the convenience of on-line ordering, the discounts for on-line orders are handled when the order hits RemoteDesk eCommerce at the central office, and all customer details are accounted for at that time.
            • If desktop application and e-mail are okay, RemoteDesk offers similar features on the desktop for taxes and discounts, excluding the shopping cart look and feel. It is a simple to use order form.
              The cost for each RemoteDesk Customer is $495.

        • Do you have technical staff devoted to this project, or funds to install, train and support your decision?
            When deciding to do electronic commerce, on-line ordering and automating, this means a change will occur in the way you do business. It also means your staff and management need to put an effort into the selection, installation and maintenance, because you want a solution that will grow with you. Now is the time to decide whether in-house staff will support the product, or will you remain dependant on outside sourcing.

            RemoteDesk eCommerce for example integrates to your accounting system, and uses your existing e-mail. The support required from staff will be the addition of new remotes, and the operation of the product. Most companies have an existing staff member that can handle these responsibilities. If you are adding the web based ordering, you can depend on your existing staff if you don't require continuous layout changes to the shopping cart. Otherwise, you are probably best to use an outside source for these occurrences.

            For eTransact the same staff expertise as for RemoteDesk will be sufficient if using the 'hosted' model.
            If you are looking at iConnect you will either require a technical staff member to maintain the internet server, firewall, ISDN lines, and ACCPAC server software for the addition of new logins, or contract a company to be on call. Either way, you must ensure there has been a budget set aside to take care of this both personnel or subcontract wise.

        • After evaluating these questions if you are still not sure, please send us an e-mail describing your situation and we will get a technical rep to analyze your needs and offer you some advise and guidance. Send your description to; Sales@bravosw.com
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