Saturday, December 31, 2011

Starship Version 12 has been released

Starship Version 12 has been released mid-December 2011.  It is an upgrade path from Starship versions 9.x and higher.

V-Technologies will discontinue support for version 9.x on December 31, 2011.  FedEx will retire all API transactions as of May 31, 2012 -- so customers on version 9.x will no longer be able to ship FedEx packages after this date. It is recommended that customers still on this version implement a plan for upgrading. 

Some new features in Starship version 12:
  • UPS Paperless NAFTA certificate of origin.
  • Quantum View Notify - in transit notification.
  • Restricted articles for international shipments.
  • Rate updates effective January 2, 2012.
  • Support for FedEx Web Services.  This allows for expanded features such as FedEx SmartPost and Electronic Trade Documents.
  • Exclusive support for USPS Endicia.  USPS Manifest and Metered mail was discontinued in Starship version 11 and higher.
What for a future post with more information once we have a chance to work with the new version.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

C&G Consulting Named to Sage Software’s President’s Circle

Firm Ranked Number One for Year-Over-Year Revenue Growth in Mid-Market ERP Sales

Waukesha, WI (December 28, 2011) – C&G Consulting has been ranked number one in North America for year-over-year product revenue growth in Sage Software Mid-Market Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system sales. This top distinction has earned C&G Consulting a spot in Sage Software President’s Circle, an annual recognition of Sage’s top performers who assist small and medium sized businesses with cost-effective business management software systems. C&G Consulting is a Sage North American business partner specializing in the sales, implementation and support of Mid-Market ERP and CRM systems—including Sage MAS 90 ERP, MAS 200 ERP, MAS 500 ERP, SageCRM and Sage Peachtree.

“We honor C&G Consulting for its hard work and focus on our mutual customers, which has earned the firm the Sage North America President’s Circle Award,” said Tom Miller, VP of Channel Management for Sage. “Congratulations to the entire team at C&G Consulting for this accomplishment. We wish them continued success in the coming years.”

C&G Consulting partner Rick Sovitzky, CPA, CITP, is thrilled that his team earned the Sage President’s Circle Award for the first time: “An award like this is a tangible sign of dedicated teamwork and loyal, satisfied customers. Most new customers are referred to C&G Consulting by existing customers and referral partners. Our team works very hard to provide world-class service to help our customers utilize their business software systems in order to compete and win, both locally and globally.”
President’s Circle 2011 award recipients will receive further recognition from Sage during Sage Summit, a national event for Sage business partners and customers, to be held this coming August in Tennessee.

About C&G Consulting

C&G Consulting provides ERP and CRM business software systems and Managed Network IT services for mid-marketing companies located in the Midwest and around the Unites States from its offices in Waukesha, WI, Appleton, WI, and Northbrook, IL.

C&G Consulting is a division of Chortek & Gottschalk, LLP, a full service CPA firm providing audit, tax, fraud and litigation support services, and business consulting and advisory services with offices in Waukesha, WI, Northbrook, IL, Washington DC and Appleton, WI.

For more information contact:
Rick Sovitzky, Partner
C&G Consulting / Chortek & Gottschalk, LLP
(262) 522-8251 or (414) 698-8226

Sage MAS 90 / MAS 200 year-end payroll updates

Sage released new MAS 90 and MAS 200 updates for processing year-end payroll. The update needs to be loaded before running W-2s in MAS 90 / MAS 200 or in Federal and State eFiling and Reporting.

Main page for Year-end processing:

Link to the interim release download (IRD):
Note that the download is supported with only the following versions:

o MAS 90/200 4.2, 4.3 SU 17-23, 4.4 PU 1-7
o MAS 90/200 EES 1.3 and 1.4
o MAS 200 SQL 3.74

Do not install this IRD for the following versions since the year-end changes are already included or are not applicable.

o MAS 200 SQL 4.45
o MAS 90/200 4.5
o Product Update 8 for MAS 90/200 4.4 (

Please read the 2011 Q4 IRD instructions carefully for your particular version of MAS 90 / MAS 200 for the steps to install the IRD properly. To ensure the accuracy of your data, please verify that the previous year’s IRDs and any updates have been installed as described in the 2011 Q4 IRD instructions prior to installing the 2011 Q4 IRD.

If you own a Sage Extended Solution or any other enhancement to MAS 90 or MAS 200, do not install this IRD before checking to see if your enhancement(s) will be impacted by the IRD.

The link to the 2012 Q1 Tax Table Update is here:

The Tax Table Update includes the 4.2% employee FICA rate, $110,100 FICA limit, and .6% FUTA rate.

Contact us at 262-522-8260 if you have any questions or would like assistance applying the updates.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Phishing Email Outbreak

The C&G Consulting Support Center team has noted a marked increase in calls regarding malicious emails. The most prevalent of these are in the category of "phishing" emails. These are attempts to install malware on your computer or to steal information by trying to get you to click on forged email links. These links are either attached to the email, or are purporting to be links to the Better Business Bureau or financial institutions. The links are usually pointing to web address that are far different from what their label is displaying.

Protect your computer and your privacy by not clicking on links sent to you in emails unless you've checked the link and trust the source. If you "hover" your mouse over a questionable link without actually clicking it, Outlook will display the information about what the link is really pointing to. In most cases, the link is pointing to an entirely different web address than is purported in the text of the link in the email itself. Do not click on these kinds of links. Simply delete the email.

If you have further questions regarding email and security, contact us at 262-522-8226.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Important Changes Regarding PC Charge

PC Charge is a credit-card processor used by some MAS 90/200 customers.  Sage has announced that as of version 5.0, Sage will no longer support PC Charge as a compatible processing software with MAS 90 and MAS 200.

Version 5.9.3 will be the last version tested by Sage for compatibility with MAS 90 and 200.  Future versions of PC Charge released by Verifone may continue to function with MAS, however they will not be tested by Sage.

Sage encourages customers who process with PC Charge to look to Sage Payment Solutions (SPS) as an alternative.  SPS offers the following benefits:
- No additional software to install.
- Seamless integration with MAS 90 and 200.
- Comprehensive reporting via a web interface.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

MAS 500 v7.4 New Feature #3: Sales Order Negative Line Items

Sales order entry now allows negative line items for use with coupons, rebates, purchasing incentives and any other non-inventory item you need to add a negative quantity for on the order.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Sonicwall Releases VPN Client for IOS

Sonicwall now has a native client application for Apple IOS devices (iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch). Prior to this app being released, most VPN connections from the iPad required modification of both the Sonicwall and iPad networking settings. Now, for users of Sonicwall's SSL-VPN systems, the IOS device simply needs to run the Sonicwall Mobile Connect app. After the address, username and password information is entered, the VPN is simple to enable, and can even be connected automatically upon launching the app from the IOS device's home screen. After the VPN is enabled, all other apps on the IOS device can now access the remote network (the office network, in most cases). For example, WYSE Pocket Cloud or VMWare View apps can be used to connect to remote desktop Windows computers (RDP) and VMWare virtual computers. The Sonicwall Mobile Connect app is available for free on Apple's App Store.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Recent Phishing Attack

We have been noticing an increase in spam lately. This is not unusual, the volume of spam goes up and down as botnets that create spam are taken down, then replaced.

The increase in spam appears to at least in part be from a phishing attack that is nearly a year old already. A phishing attack is when an email uses false identity to attempt to gain access to sensitive information, usually financial in nature.

The attack purports to report an issue with an electronic funds transfer. You are requested to click through to a web site. The message is a fraud. NACHA, an industry organization that supports the ACH network, has reported on this fraud as early as February, yet it persists.

Here are some tips on how to avoid being a victim of Phishing scams:

Tips from the Federal Trade Commission:

Tips from CNet:

Tips from the Anti-Phishing Working Group:

Tips from Microsoft on how to recognize a Phishing message:

Friday, November 11, 2011

With Adobe Announcement, iPad Looks to Dominate

Adobe announced this week that they are discontinuing development of their Flash product for mobile platforms. The ability to display Flash-enabled web sites was one of the primary differentiating features for the Android-powered tablets (and smartphones, for that matter) trying to compete with Apple's IOS-powered iPad.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dual Internet Connections

Internet connectivity is increasingly important to business operations. Apart from the obvious email and Internet access, it often provides connections to vendors and customers (via EDI or e-commerce sites), remote access for company employees, and remote office connectivity.

As happened very briefly Monday of this week, interruptions can happen deep in the Internet, beyond the control of your Internet service provider. The risk of downtime can be reduced by setting up redundant Internet connections on the company firewall(s).

Redundant Internet connections can create a mesh network, allowing remote sites to automatically attempt to connect to each other over either of their connections. The cost per business location is the time to design and configure the firewall settings to use dual connections plus the ongoing cost of a second Internet connection, preferably one from a different carrier.

For example, if the primary Internet connection is a T1-based connection, a cable Internet provider could be configured as the backup/redundant connection. Typical ongoing costs for a secondary connection would range from $50 - $250 per month, depending on the type of connection.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Advanced Scripting for MAS 90/200 - Certified Vendors

In a prior blog posts, we've explained Advanced Scripting for MAS 90 / MAS 200.  Here is a real-world example of how it can save time and money:
Company XYZ only wishes to buy from "certified" vendors per a government regulation they must adhere to. They maintain a user-defined field in the vendor master file of the date the vendor is "certified" through.
We added a script to their Purchase Order Entry screen such that once they choose a vendor, it will look at the vendor master file, and check that not only does the vendor have a date filled in the user-defined field, but that the date has not passed. It will only then allow the user to continue entering the P/O. This saves the user time for each purchase order created, because they do not have to manually check the vendor's status.

Contact us to learn more about how Advanced Scripting can streamline your operations.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

MAS 500 v7.4 New Feature #5: Manufacturing Preferred Bins

Uisng preferred bins has been added as an option to the manufacturing process - allowing the ability to define manufacturing specific bin preferences. Prior versions only provided for the definition of bin preferences that were used for both distribution and manufacturing picking.

Learn more about MAS 500 v7.4 using this link:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

MAS 500 v7.4 New Feature #3: Landed Cost Enhancements

Landed cost functionality has several new features such as 1) the ability to apply landed costs to an individual line item or an entire receipt as well as indicate the allocation method; 2) new allocation methods for costs applied to the entire receipt by percentage of total cost, quantity, weight, volume or manual; 3) ability to set landed costs independent of a vendor or item and 4) a new Landed Cost task in Enter Receipt of Goods to create, aplpy or edit the Landed Cost code, allocation method or cost.

Learn more about MAS 500 v7.4 using this link:

Friday, October 14, 2011

MAS 500 v7.4 New Feature #2: Process Customer Refund Checks in Cash Receipts

Customer refunds can now be processed directly within Process Cash Receipts. Prior versions required processing two separate transactions through Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable. Refund checks can even be printed directly from the Process Cash Receipts batch screen using the same check numbering sequence used for regular check printing.

Learn more about the new features in MAS 500 v7.4 with this link:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

MAS 90 / MAS 200 Bank Reconciliation - Clear checks by importing from a file

If you use MAS 90 or MAS 200, do you spend time clearing checks in Bank Reconciliation each month by checking the boxes as compared to your bank statement?  If so, one time saving tip might be to use the "Auto Check Reconciliation" tool available in version 4.40 (as of product update 2).

This utility allows you to take a simple CSV file, containing as few fields as account number, check number, and amount, and import it into MAS 90/200 in order to clear checks.

Monday, October 10, 2011

MAS 500 v7.4 New Feature #1: Allow Invoice Overpayment

Prior to v7.4 invoices could not be left with a negative balance; unapplied payments had to be used instead. A new setting in AR Options, 'Allow Invoice Overpayment', now gives users the flexibility to leave invoice balances negative. You can record an invoice overpayment in either Cash Receipts or Applied Payments and Memos.

Learn more about the new features in MAS 500 v7.4 with this link:

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dynamic Images in Crystal Forms

Sage MAS 90 / MAS 200 ERP Version 4.40 ships with Crystal Reports 11.5. This version of Crystal has the ability to produce dynamic images based on file paths on a Crystal form or report.
This new feature was beneficial to one of our customers who orders products from overseas. Since the vendor is foreign, they may not always understand the product descriptions that are written in English. So an image of the purchased item was added to the item maintenance screen. The item path and image name was dynamically added as a formula in the Purchase Order form, which then displayed a picture of the item on the P/O. This allowed the workers at the vendor to identify the item being ordered by sight.

Friday, September 16, 2011

SageAdvisor -- coming in version MAS 90 and MAS 200 ERP 4.50 and 4.40

Sage is introducing a new "behind the scenes" feature in version 4.50 called "Sage Advisor". This will also be rolled out with version 4.40 as of product update 7, due out later this year.

Sage Advisor is an application that has been used with the Sage Peachtree software for several years. It collects statistics on errors received and information such as operating system versions. Sage uses this information in order to learn more about how to improve the software products, and how to prevent errors that customers receive, but may not report to Sage.

Many other software applications already use this type of non-obtrusive usage statistic reporting, such as Microsoft and Google.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Advanced Scripting for MAS 90 / MAS 200 ERP - jumping to the desired tab

In a prior post, I described Advanced Scripting for MAS 90 / MAS 200 ERP and how it can help a company save time and money. Here is another real-world example:
In versions of MAS 90 / MAS 200 ERP prior to version 4.40, the Inventory Maintenance and Inventory Inquiry screens were very different in look. Inventory Inquiry showed 'quantities on hand' for the item on the first tab. The Inquiry screen in 4.40 and above has a separate 'Quantities' tab, so it takes a couple of clicks to get to it.

To save one customer's user time each day, we added a script to the Inquiry screen such that once a user chooses an item the system automatically jumps to the Quantities tab. This saves the user a mouse click of time for each item they look up.

Monday, September 12, 2011

New Shipping Solution - Sage MAS 90 / MAS 200

In prior posts, we discussed how V-Technologies is no longer offering their Starship Link as of version 4.50 of Sage MAS 90/200. Sage, has, however, chosen a new shipping solution to replace the previous Starship Link.

This means those using Starship will have two options for passing data to and from MAS 90/200:
  • Use the V-Technologies Business Object Interface. This allows the user to start the shipment in Starship, and upon completion it will write back to invoice data entry in MAS 90/200.
  • Use the new Starship Link from Sage (to be released in the future). This allows the user to keep the same workflow as in prior versions of MAS 90/200 and begin the shipment in Shipping Data Entry. Upon the shipment's completion, tracking and other shipment data is written back to MAS 90/200.
These two options will allow users to work the way they need to in MAS 90/200. Stay tuned for more details as Sage releases additional information on the new shipping link in the future.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Old Windows Tip, But Still Useful

Most people use a handful of Windows applications and files with great frequency. Having a keyboard shortcut to launch those items would save a lot of time and mouse clicks. This website details how to make shortcuts to files/applications in Windows.

I do this for many items in my Start Menu (Word, Excel, Outlook, etc.) and map them to Ctrl + Shift + W, Ctrl + Shift + E, etc. and it saves me a lot of time throughout my day.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Advanced Scripting for MAS 90 / MAS 200 - default ship dates

Advanced Scripting in MAS 90 / MAS 200 saves time and money. Here is another real-world example of how we've helped a customer use it to improve their daily operations in a simple way:
Company XYZ typically ships its products 3 days following the order. Every day, the person entering the sales order changes the "ship date" on the sales order header to the current date + 3, or uses their "sales order defaults" window to set the new date, so that the ship date does not default to the current date.
A script automates the process by setting the ship date to the order date + X, where X is any set number of days. A script can also be configured to take weekends into account, so X days does not include Saturdays and Sundays. This simple customizations saves time and reduces errors!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

SMI Performance Patch

Sage has released an update for the Sage MAS Intelligence (SMI) product to decrease the time it takes to process reports. The patch can be found here:

The update applies to those users integrating SMI with Sage MAS 90 / MAS 200 ERP version 4.40. One user who applied the patch reported a 5-minute decrease in time to process a report.

It is highly recommended that any user running SMI should apply this patch. Please contact us for assistance in running the installation.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Quick way to create short Win7 tutorials for friends and relatives

Ever wanted to create a short, quick tutorial for someone on how to do a certain Windows task, but were stuck doing screenshots into a Word document? There's a better way!

The engineers built a little troubleshooting tool into Windows7 that captures windows and mouseclicks into a nice little html document that you can easily edit and then pass to those needing assistance. The tool is called the Problem Step Recorder, and you get to it by opening the Start menu and typing "psr.exe" (without the quotes) into the Search field.

Once the tool is launched, click on Record and march through whatever process you want to capture. After you've stopped recording, the html file is saved which you can easily edit and then send off to the friends or relatives asking for your assistance! If you go to YouTube and search on Problem Step Recorder, there are a number videos that demonstrate exactly how to use this neat little utility.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Advanced Scripting for MAS 90 / MAS 200 ERP - automatically changing warehouses in data entry

In a prior blog post, we summarized a feature in Sage MAS 90 / MAS 200 ERP called "Advanced Scripting". Here is a real-world example of how to implement a script in version 4.40 (or above) that can save a company time and money:
Company XYZ has multiple warehouse codes. When line items are entered on a sales order, sometimes the user entering the order enters the wrong warehouse. As a result, if they wish to change the warehouse code, they must do so on each line.

To save our customer time, we attached a script to the warehouse code on the sales order header. When this warehouse code is changed, it prompts the user to change the warehouse on all the lines. With this simple script, the company saves time for their employees and avoids orders that inadvertently contain line items with different warehouses.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

What is Advanced Scripting for Sage MAS 90 / MAS 200 ERP?

Advanced scripting is a feature that was significantly enhanced in version 4.40 of Sage MAS 90 / MAS 200 ERP. This feature of the Custom Office module allows for "user defined scripts" to be added to the system, just as user-defined fields and user-defined tables are also possible.
Advanced scripting allows for event driven actions, so the system can "automatically" do something as opposed to waiting for a user to take manual action such as clicking a button. This also reduces the possibility of the user forgetting to 'click a button' that would be required to perform a necessary action.
We will present some real-world examples on using Advanced Scripting in future blog posts. The possibilities for scripting are endless, and they can truly save a company money by saving time and preventing potential errors.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Sage MAS 90/200 Autoships - No CDs/DVDs

Just like many other software companies, Sage is looking into providing auto-shipments of new software releases via download instead of shipping out DVDs and CDs to every Sage MAS 90 / MAS 200 customer and partner on an active maintenance plan.
How will this be beneficial:
  • Faster releases -- instead of waiting until the software goes to a production company, gets replicated onto DVDs and CDs, then get shipped out to customers, Sage can give the green light and send the download links out via email. Customers can download the software immediately versus waiting for their products in the mail.
  • Better for the environment -- what happens to the prior versions of software CDs and DVDs that are no longer needed? That's right -- currently many people throw them in the garbage. The waste of these and their related packaging materials can be eliminated -- a better option for the environment.
Sage will likely offer a shippable DVD option for an extra charge, but as most companies now have broadband internet, this should be a welcome change.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Road Ahead for Sage MAS 90 and MAS 200, Part 3

At the recent Sage Summit conference in Washington DC, it was announced that the next version of MAS 90 / MAS 200 ERP will be version 5.0. Although there are few details available at this point, there are specific additions that Sage is looking to put into the software:

  • Mobile apps (such as report delivery).
  • Approval workflows.
  • Changes to key fields
  • Ability to designate a customer, vendor, or warehouse as inactive.

What would you like to see added to the software in the future? Sage looks at customer requests as they make their plans; several of the suggestions here were taken directly from the feedback site:

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Sage MAS 90 "In the Cloud"

SaaS, or Software as a Service, is a hot term in the software industry. Essentially, SaaS is a method of deploying software applications whereby the provider "licenses" the software to customers to use on demand. SaaS can be compared to the traditional on-premise software licensing method in the way leasing versus buying is used when obtaining a new car.

Several software vendors in the market already have SaaS offerings. However, as a company grows, and systems become more complex, customized, and integrated, they may want to transition their ERP package from a hosted solution to an on-premise one. This is often not possible for SaaS-only offerings.

Sage has a compelling offering for customers who want a SaaS solution with the MAS 90 product. A customer who subscribes to the SaaS model and later wishes to run the software on-premise has the ability to do so. The data will transfer over exactly as it was on the SaaS hosted system.

Look for more information on Sage MAS 90 "in the cloud" in future blog entries.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

FUTA Rate Changes to .6% July 1, 2011

Congress has announced that the 0.2% FUTA surcharge will not be extended before June 30, 2011

Employers have been required to pay a flat rate of 6.2% on the first $7,000.00 of each employee’s annual wages for FUTA. The 6.2% FUTA rate included a temporary 0.2% surcharge that was first added in the 1970’s. This temporary surcharge has been extended many times over the past three decades. The last extension, set to expire effective 7/1/2011, was included in The Worker, Homeownership and Business Assistance Act of 2009 signed into law on November 6, 2009.

The FUTA rate will be reduced from 6.2% to 6.0% effective July 1, 2011. Employers will still receive the 5.4% credit for paying state unemployment on time, reducing the FUTA rate to .6% on wages paid up to the annual FUTA limit of $7,000.00.

The IRS is currently revising Form 940 (Employer’s Annual Federal Unemployment (FUTA) Tax Return) to accommodate the two different FUTA rates for calendar year 2011.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Summerfest App

I just heard on the radio that Summerfest has a free iPhone and Android App that includes the schedule and grounds map. If are planning to go to Summerfest and have an iPhone or Android, you may want to download the app.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sage releases Product Update 6 for MAS 90 / MAS 200 ERP

Sage released Product Update 6 today for Sage MAS 90 and MAS 2000 ERP.  'PU6' is a collection of new product additions and program fixes in various modules.

New features that were previously added in 'PU5':
  • New multi-company A/P report
  • Multiple G/L account 'table' available in A/P invoice data entry, manual check entry, etc.

Sage MAS 90 and 200 Product Retirements

Sage's policy on the MAS 90 / MAS 200 product is to support one current and one prior version of the software. As of this writing, here are the support expiration dates for each version:

Versions 3.71 and prior
  • All support ended 9/30/2010
Versions 4.00 - 4.10 and MAS 200 SQL 3.7x

  • General support ends 9/30/2011
  • Support for quarterly and year end updates (tax tables, 941 forms, etc.) ended 12/31/2010
Version 4.20, 4.45 SQL, and EES 1.4
  • General support and year end updates end 9/30/2012
Version 4.30

  • General support and year end updates end 9/30/2013
Version 4.40

  • General support and year end updates end 9/30/2014
If you have a version of MAS 90 or MAS 200 that is no longer supported by Sage, or one that is nearing support retirement, please contact C&G Consulting to discuss upgrading your software.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Selecting a new ERP/CRM system (part 4 of 4)

How to select a new ERP/CRM system (Part 4) – In Part 3, we discussed preparing for and conducting product demonstrations and in this final Part 4, we discuss finalizing the selection and implementing the new solution.

-Finalize Selection — After the demos, you will usually find one system that clearly meets your needs over the others. Finalize the cost and timeline, including software, implementation, training, hardware and annual ongoing costs to fully understand your commitment of resources (cost and people).

-Implement —Selecting the right software is one thing, implementing it is another. Software is only a tool that takes proper training, resources (people) and procedures to be utilized for its intended needs. A proper implementation plan will continue you down the road toward success.

While companies with proper resources can perform these searches on their own following these steps, many choose to hire an outside facilitator with the experience, tools and templates to set a realistic timeline and provide expertise about vendors. Sometimes, solutions look good on paper and in a demonstration, but in practice, some companies offer much more in customer support and implementation after the sale is made.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Ten Immutable Laws Of Security

I found this intersting article from Microsoft while reviewing patches this month.

The Ten Laws
  1. If a bad guy can persuade you to run his program on your computer, it's not solely your computer anymore.
  2. If a bad guy can alter the operating system on your computer, it's not your computer anymore.
  3. If a bad guy has unrestricted physical access to your computer, it's not your computer anymore.
  4. If you allow a bad guy to run active content in your website, it's not your website any more.
  5. Weak passwords trump strong security.
  6. A computer is only as secure as the administrator is trustworthy.
  7. Encrypted data is only as secure as its decryption key.
  8. An out-of-date antimalware scanner is only marginally better than no scanner at all.
  9. Absolute anonymity isn't practically achievable, online or offline.
  10. Technology is not a panacea.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Selecting a new Accounting/ERP system (Part 3 of 4)

How to select a new Accounting/ERP system (Part 3) – In Part 2 we discussed researching possible solutions and creating the request for information. In Part 3, we discuss preparing for and conducting product demonstrations.

-Demo Script — Now that you have your top two options based on the requirements, prepare a demo script which outlines your key requirements within a demo focused on your functional areas (invoicing/payroll/etc). You will dictate the items the vendor is to cover during the demo in a flow that most resembles your business (for example, enter the customer order, create the purchase order, receive goods, ship to customer, complete invoice, etc.)

-Conduct the demo — Using your demo script, schedule vendors for half-day or full-day demos so they can prove to you that they can deliver on what they have promised, allowing an apples-to-apples comparison of possible solutions.

In the final part 4, we discuss finalizing the selection and implementation.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sage MAS 90/200 Product Update 5

If you are a MAS 90 or MAS 200 user, have you upgraded your 4.40 system to Product Update 5 yet? This update was released March 28th, 2011. It includes the following feature enhancements, in addition to bug fixes:
  • Inactive Item Designations - flag inventory items as "inactive" so they can no longer be purchased or sold, while retaining the item's history
  • Physical Count with Count Cards - Conduct a physical using count card information and check for missing count cards.
  • Enhanced Security for Item Costing and Vendors - Improve security for inventory items by restricting user roles from accessing standard cost or vendor information (including receipts).
  • Multiple Company Aged Invoice Report - Print the A/P aging for multiple company codes at once. Vendors across multiple companies can be combined.
  • Expense Distribution Tables - Pre-define the default G/L account for A/P invoice data entry to not one, but multiple accounts.
  • A/P Check Sorting Options - Now sort checks by vendor name in addition to by vendor ID.
  • Company-specific Background Colors - Allows for different company codes to have different background colors across the entire system.
Product Update 5 can be applied to any MAS 90 or 200 system that either has no third party enhancements or enhancements that are compatible with this release. Please contact us if you are interested in applying this update to your system.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sage MAS 500 v7.4 Scheduled for June 2011 Release

Sage MAS 500 version 7.4 is scheduled to begin shipping later this month. Both new and existing customers will benefit from the new technologies in addition to the usability, scalability and performance improvements offered in this release. Notable enhancements are included in Advanced Manufacturing, Business Insights, Core Financials and Distribution modules.

v7.4 continues with Sage's initiative introduced in v7.3 to assist them in driving the direction of the product and to reduce the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). v7.3 introduced the "Sage Advisor" which provides the ability to collect platform and operating system information, tracks usage data on the local client installation, provides reportable statistics on most used tasks and provides a framework for future usability and TCO improvements. v7.4 introduces "Smart Updates" which is designed to simplify software updates and upgrades, reduce the risk and cost of updates and protect software customizations. Phase 1 of the Smart Updates rollout incorporates client side improvements to detect current updates applied, install only those objects changed since the last update was applied and to alert the user and report on customizations that exist. Phase 2 will be incorpated into future releases and will extend the client side detection capabilites to the server side.
Contact us for more information on this release or Sage MAS 500 in general.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sage Peachtree Business Intelligence

If you are a Peachtree user, this is the reporting solution you've been waiting for: Sage Peachtree Business Intelligence.
Get customizable Microsoft® Excel®-based business reports, automatically updated with real-time data, so you can access the information you need to make swift, confident decisions. No manual exporting, consolidating, or cutting and pasting data. No broken formulas to fix. No need to reformat the same report month after month.

Critical Information Made Visible
Sage Peachtree Business Intelligence gives you customized reports, on-demand, without having to manually update any spreadsheets. It pulls real-time information directly from your Sage Peachtree Accounting system—and even other databases—into any Sage Peachtree Business Intelligence report template you've saved. Drill-down for more detail, slice and dice to find the answers you want, and make informed decisions with confidence.
Spreadsheet Based Reporting Inside your Sage Peachtree Accounting Software
Sage Peachtree Business Intelligence is ready to launch from within your Sage Peachtree Complete Accounting 2012, Sage Peachtree Premium Accounting 2012 and Sage Peachtree Quantum 2012; no separate installation required. It's Microsoft® Excel® based, so the tools and features may already feel familiar and intuitive, and it comes with powerful and useful standard reports you can produce right away:

· Company Dashboard
· Sales Analysis
· Top 10 Customers
· Purchasing Analysis
· Financial Reports
· Income Statement - Comparative Financial Report - Actual vs. Budget
· Income Statement - Comparative Financial Report - Actual vs. Prior
· Income Statement - Comparative Financial Report – Current Period vs. YTD vs. Prior Year
· Balance Sheet - Comparative Financial Report - Actual vs. Prior
· Balance Sheet - Monthly, Quarterly and YTD Financial Report

If you would like more information about Sage Peachtree Business Intelligence, please contact C&G Consulting.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Road Ahead for Sage MAS 90 and MAS 200, Part 2

Sage released a preliminary road map for the next two years of the Sage MAS 90 and MAS 200 product. Being preliminary, all information presented in the road map is assumed to be a guideline, and this information can change at any time.

That being said, this is on the horizon for 4th Quarter 2011:

Sage MAS 90 / MAS 200 Version 4.5

  • SageCRM 7.1 Integration - one free SageCRM license for all customers
  • Ability to migrate to Microsoft SQL Server database (business framework modules only)
  • New functionality in the payroll module including deduction recalculation in data entry
  • New functionality in sales order, including auto-generation of purchase orders from sales orders, price level by customer/product line, item pricing by total quantity, and lot/serial distribution from sales order
SageCRM 7.1 Release
  • Sage eMarketing for SageCRM - fully integrated e-marketing module to create custom, personalized, e-mail marketing campaigns with over 90 templates out of the box, and analysis of the results (low monthly subscription fee)
  • SageCRM Communications Management - integration with Microsoft Exchange for calendar and communications management.
  • SageCRM Total Campaign Management - multi-channel campaign management, out of the box graphical marketing campaign workflow
  • SageCRM for the iPhone
  • SageCRM for Twitter
  • SageCRM Interactive Dashboard - manage key accounts and working day from a single screen

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Road Ahead for Sage MAS 90 and MAS 200, Part 1

Sage released a preliminary road map for the next two years of the Sage MAS 90 and MAS 200 product. Being preliminary, all information presented in the road map is assumed to be a guideline, and this information can change at any time.
That being said, the immediate news for 2011 includes the following:

July 2011 - MAS 90/200 4.40 Product Update 6
  • A new feature for printer settings saved by workstation and form code or report setting.
Second Half of 2011 - Sage MAS 90 / MAS 200 in the "Cloud"

  • Cloud deployment hosted by Sage
  • Aimed at customers with a short implementation timeframe and limited IT staff or budget
  • Low per-user monthly pricing
  • No upfront software costs
  • All business framework modules available
  • Seamless migration to on-premise when the business grows
  • Hosting provided by the second largest data center in the world (QTS Atlanta Metro)
  • 99.784% recorded uptime for 2010
Contact C&G with questions.  We'll post more details in the future.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

What is Positive Pay?

Positive Pay is an anti-fraud service offered by virtually all commercial banks to help prevent unauthorized checks from clearing your checking account. Positive Pay is designed for businesses that want to prevent check fraud and want their financial institution to help monitor against suspicious check activity.

This is how it works: Your company will be required to send a file of issued checks to your financial institution each day checks are written by your company. Your financial institution will provide you with the file format requirements needed to submit the checks. This file will then be imported into your bank’s computer system. When those issued checks are presented for payment at your bank, they are compared electronically against the list of transmitted checks. The bank will match the account number, check number, and dollar amount of each check transmitted for payment, and all three components of the check must match or it will not be paid. If a check presented to the bank is not found or the amounts do not match, your bank will mark the check as an 'exception' and not clear the check through your account. Many banks offer you the opportunity to review the daily exceptions, as some exceptions may be legitimate.

If you want to prevent unauthorized checks from clearing your checking account, contact C&G Consulting for more information on how to implement Positive Pay in your business.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Selecting a new Accounting/ERP System (Part 2 of 4)

How to select a new Accounting/ERP system (Part 2) – In part 1 we discussed creating a selection committee and documenting needs and in Part 2 we discuss researching solutions and creating the request for information.

-Research possible solutions —Sage (Peachtree, ACCPAC, MAS 90/200 and MAS 500), Microsoft Business Solutions(Dynamics GP, NV and AX) and Intuit (QuickBooks) dominate the general software marketplace but you may need to look at specific (vertical) solutions for construction, manufacturing, retail, service, etc.

-Request for Information — This step involves sending vendors your key requirements and asking them to reply with their ability to meet your needs and the approximate cost for software and implementation for the user count you provide them. Once all replies are received, you will be able to easily narrow the field to the two top candidates.

In Part 3, we will discuss preparing for and conducting product demonstrations.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

System Review and ERP and CRM integration

I recently met with a manufacturing and service customer that is interested in having us assist them in conducting a system review of their Sage ERP system, dsicuss integration strategies with their existing CRM, and to assist with the automation of their sales tax calculation and reporting processes.  (See  They had been putting off upgrades for several years during the downturn, but now that their business is recovering, they are looking for technology solutions to help them scale as they are anticipating significant growth. 

As a first step in the process, they agreed with my suggestion to conduct a simple, low-cost internal survey of their users to help us build an agenda for future in-depth investigation.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sage MAS 500 and Process Manufacturing Expertise

C&G is assisting a large Illinois based manufacturer and distributor of raw materials and ingredients for the food, drug and cosmetic industries evaluate and improve its' utilization of their current ERP software. C&G was contacted by this company to help them evaluate and improve on their current Sage MAS 500 and Process Manufacturing implementation. C&G was chosen for the project based on our extensive expertise with mid-market ERP solutions as well as high recommendations from our clients in similar industries.

During our first visit, a C&G consultant conducted user interviews spanning all key operational and financial areas of the company. The purpose of these interviews was threefold. First, to get a good understanding of how the users are using the Sage ERP system today. Secondly, identify what data they are capturing outside the system and why. And finally, document those areas of concern or lack of system usage which inhibits them from efficiently maximizing the in-depth capabilities of the MAS 500 and Process Manufacturing software.

Upon conclusion of the interviews, C&G prepared a report for management that summarized the key findings of the user interviews and a breakdown of major system improvements that could be gained through additional user training and changes to some operational workflows. The report concluded with what we believed to be the steps, priorities and associated investments to successfully re-engineer the prior implementation to take full advantage of the ERP software capabilites as well as significantly reduce reliance on external subsystems in day-to-day operations.

C&G's recommendation to conduct a complete evaluation of and change to the current Pricing and Quotation process was selected as the first major initiative to pursue.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Save Time and Energy with Sage MAS 90 and 200 Sales Tax

Do you ever worry about being in compliance with the latest sales tax rules and regulations? Or has it become increasingly difficult to manage the calculation and reporting for multiple state, county and local sales tax jurisdictions?

If so, C&G Consulting can help! C&G Consulting has assisted clients with automating sales tax calculations, reporting and return preparation with seamless integration to the business management / financial system. Depending on the business system, integration is transparent to the end-user who experiences no changes to the internal process of the order/invoicing process. We offer a hosted, web-service-based solution that automatically performs address validation, sales tax jurisdiction research, and rate calculation for multiple state, county and local tax jurisdictions. Reporting and return preparation is also simplified with easy access to the online reporting system.

If you would like assistance with your sale tax reporting needs, please contact C&G Consulting.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Selecting a new Accounting/ERP system - Part 1

How to select a new ERP system - Part 1 - "Creating a selection committee and documenting your needs"

First and most importantly is to create a steering/selection committee that is represented by individuals throughout the organization. This committee will be the resource to move the company through a successful selection by representing their functional area, defining the requirements, evaluating software against those requirements and be an advocate for the software chosen. Much higher success (based on completion of selection and implementation within a timeline) is achieved with a committee verses only production, financial, or IT involvement.

Generally, these are the steps you should take when looking at replacing your existing systems:

-Document your needs — Most companies will start searching for software when they really don’t know what they’re looking for. Thoroughly documenting your current processes and procedures will allow you to identify what really keeps your business running, identify opportunities for improvement and most importantly, keep you from forgetting critical needs. Gather this information by functional area (invoicing, job costing, payroll for example).

- Identify your key requirements — The ability to print checks is not a key requirement, as all software can, but things such as supplier price-list imports, serialized service history, machine or technician scheduling, customer asset listing, seasonalized inventory levels, customer discounts based on sales volume and return material authorization are key requirements. By functional area, document the key items you need your system to perform. Don’t forget reporting, as most businesses have very specific information they need in management reports to make daily business decisions.

In Part 2, we discuss researching solutions and creating the request for information.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Security - The Big Picture

Bruce Schneier, well-known security pundit, has an excellent 20 minute presentation from a TED conference where he discusses the concept of security. Mr. Schneier frequently comments on technology security issues, but in this presentation, he expands his scope to talk about the very concept of security and illustrates how we make security-related decisions every day, often without even thinking about it. Here is a link to the video of the talk.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mac OS Malware

It appears the first prevalent piece of Macintosh malware is now proliferating. It is reported here that a fake antivirus tool is popping up on Macintosh computers via web browser. We have been testing Eset NOD32, and it appears to be a more advanced and effective blocker of viruses and malware than the traditional Symantec, McAfee and Trend Micro products.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Graphically selecting files in Explorer

Here's a Windows 7 tip for all those who don't like using the Ctrl or Shift keys when selecting multiple files or directories, but prefer using the mouse.

When opening Explorer and selecting multiple files (typically used for copying to another disk or thumb drive) it's been accepted that to grab a bunch of consecutive files, you highlight the first one, then hold down the Shift key and highlight the last one, then drag and drop. To select individually, hold the Ctrl key down while clicking on each individual file.

But what if you're graphically oriented, love the mouse and abhor shortcuts, but still want the ability to select multiple files? Windows 7 has a feature that now allows you to do this.

Open Windows Explorer, then select Organize from the menu bar, then Folder and Search Options. Select the View tab, and in the Advanced settings window scroll down until you see "use check boxes to select items". Click in the checkbox next to it, then click the Apply button. Going forward, whenever you hover your mouse over a file or directory, a checkbox will now appear next to it, allowing selection of multiple files without having to remember those annoying shortcut keys!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Buying a Business Laptop

We frequently receive calls from clients who purchase a computer at one of the big box stores and need our help getting it connected to their business network. After upgrading the system to the point that it is compatible with their business network and paying for our time to assist in this process, the client has added several hundred dollars to the cost of the computer. Purchasing the computer preloaded with the correct software in the first place often would save a considerable amount of money. If you are considering purchasing a computer for use in a business, feel free to contact us for our input on your purchase.

I recently received a very helpful article from PC Magazine on how to buy the right business laptop. I hope you find it helpful: How to Buy a Business Laptop

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Look for an increase in Phishing attacks

Recently I received a notice from two different businesses that send me e-mail newsletters. Their mass e-mailing service had a security breach on March 30 in which recipient names and e-mail addresses were stolen from the company.
PC Magazine Article: "Email Data Breach Affects Credit-Card Issuers, Best Buy, TiVo, More",2817,2383016,00.asp

Anyone that subscribes to lists sent out by this service can expect an increase in Phishing attacks over the next few months. Phishing is a social engineering attack that tries to trick e-mail recipients into revealing personal information.
PC Magazine Article: "Infographic: Anatomy of a Phishing Attack",2817,2383197,00.asp

So how do you protect yourself from a Phishing attack? 1. Never log into a web site that you access by clicking on a link in an e-mail. Go to the website manually, preferably from a previously known address. 2. Better yet, never click on a link from an e-mail ever. If you hover over the link without clicking, most e-mail clients will reveal the destination address. If the destination address doesn't match the text of the e-mail message or looks strange, don't open it. Here are some more tips:
PC Magazine Article: "Seven Tips to Avoid Post-Epsilon Phishing",2817,2383134,00.asp

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Virtualization: The Business Impact

C&G Virtualization Project Success
We use virtualization technology to help our clients solve many of their growing technology demands. Virtualization allows more than one operating system to run on one physical computer. This reduces hardware costs and can improve disaster preparedness.

C&G Consulting has helped our clients successfully convert over 20 physical servers to virtual servers in the past 18 months using VMware Converter or other imaging methods. We have also helped our clients successfully install over 40 new virtual servers over the past 18 months. Virtualization has many business uses including: separating server roles, improving system performance, and upgrading software or server platforms. Our average client using virtual servers has five virtual servers for every one physical server.

Virtualization Vendors
The three major Virtualization vendors are VMware, Microsoft, and Citrix. C&G Consulting is a VMware Partner as their virtualization technology is arguably the most mature and fits our clients needs most closely. All of our virtual servers within our own network are running on VMware. We "practice what we preach."


The Benefits of Virtualization for Small and Medium Businesses

The Business Value of Virtualization (a commissioned study by Forrester Consulting on behalf of VMware):

Overview of VMware Virtualization:

Overview of Microsoft Virtualization:

Monday, April 11, 2011

Give Windows 7 a quick shake

Do you ever suffer from window clutter, as in having so many applications running on your desktop that you can't focus on the one you want? Manually closing all those windows is tedious, but Windows 7 has a quick and fun way to minimize all windows to the taskbar except the one you wish to keep on top.

Simply click and hold the title bar of the windows that you want to work with, and shake it slightly left-to-right. Yes, SHAKE IT. All the other windows will drop down to the taskbar ready for you to grab and work with, leaving your current window the sole occupant of your desktop real estate. To restore the other windows, just shake the title bar again. (Note this requires a Windows Aero theme to be turned on, several of which are found under the "Personalize" menu when you right-click on your desktop background.)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Microsoft Access and Sage Peachtree - An Unusual But Effective Pairing!

C&G Consulting is in the process of assisting a Sage Peachtree Accounting user who would like to process salesperson commissions outside their accounting system.

Through the use of Open Database Connectivity (ODBC ) we are now able to address the data tables of the Sage Peachtree system and use this information to analyze the data using the features readily available in Microsoft Access. Additionally, the Microsoft Access environment permits complete control over adding additional data pertainent to managing commissions (in this case) that are otherwise unavailable in the Sage Peachtree Accounting system. Together the two systems work nicely together to provide an efficient and effective way to manage and maintain the end-user's commission program.

If you have questions about custom software development or Sage Peachtree, please contact us for more information!

Learn more about Sage Peachtree.

Windows Explorer - view settings for consistent behavior

Ever wondered how you could set an Explorer window to always display the way you want - even after logging off and back on? Wonder how you could set that for every Explorer window you open? It can be annoying to have to constantly change the settings every time you look at your files and folders. However, setting a permanent preference for Explorer windows is not difficult.

First, set your preferred view in a given Explorer window using the View menu (pick from List, Detail, Icons, etc.), then make windows Explorer apply them to all folders by using the Tools-Folder Options menu. Here is a link with screenshots that shows you how to do this using Windows XP. The process is very similar for Windows 7. (Hint: in Windows 7, if your menu bar is hidden and you can't see any menus, press the Alt key on your keyboard, which will temporarily make the menu bar display itself.)

Thursday, March 31, 2011

C&G selected to implement ERP Solution for 2010 Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year Grand Award Winner

C&G Consulting was recently selected by Waukesha-based Hydro-Thermal Corporation to assist them in implementing a new ERP solution, Sage MAS 500 to replace their outdated Macola software. Key deciding factors expressed by the Hydro selection team were the level of expertise and professionalism demonstrated by the C&G team as well the tight integration between the Sage MAS 500 solution and their Sage SalesLogix CRM software. C&G has just completed phase 1 of the project- Implementation Team Capabilities Training on the financial, distribution and manufacturing modules.

Hydro-Thermal is a family owned manufacturer of steam injection heating systems. They ship their products to businesses in over 45 countries in the food and beverage, commercial laundry, paper, chemical and biofuel industries. To learn more about Hydro-Thermal and what makes them a world-class manufacturer, visit their website at

Monday, March 28, 2011

Closing Windows without using the mouse: shortcut keys

We all know Windows doesn't like to be shut down by using the power switch; it likes to have you navigate to the Start menu, then select Shut Down so it can end its work in an orderly fashion. But what do you do when your mouse malfunctions and you can't move the pointer anymore? Behold the power of keyboard shortcuts! There are many, many Windows shortcuts to choose from, but to close down your programs (and then Windows) when you have a dead mouse, hold down the ALT key and simultaneously press the F4 key. This will close down whichever window is active, and you can repeat this to close down all the open windows and then Windows itself.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Useful Microsoft Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts can save time (and money) by allowing you to work more efficiently. If you find yourself looking for different ways to work "faster" on your computer, try using some keyboard shortcuts from Microsoft.

Here are some commonly used and very useful keyboard shortcuts:

Windows Key Shortcuts

- Show the Desktop: Windows Key + D
- Open My Computer: Windows Key + E
- Search for a file or folder: Windows Key + F
- Display Windows Help: Windows Key + F1
- Minimize all windows: Windows Key + M
- Restores minimized windows: Windows Key + Shift + M
- Open the Run dialog box: Windows Key + R
- Lock your computer: Windows Key + L
- Display or Hide the Start Menu: Windows Key

ALT Key Shortcuts

- Cycle through items in the order they were opened: ALT + ESC
- Switch between open items: ALT + TAB

CTRL Key Shortcuts

- Copy: CTRL + C
- Cut: CTRL + X
- Paste: CTRL + V
- Undo: CTRL + Z
- Bold: CTRL + B
- Underline: CTRL + U
- Italic: CTRL + I
- Print: CTRL + P

Outlook Keyboard Shortcuts

- Reply to a message: CTRL + R
- Send: CTRL + Enter or ALT + S

Useful Mobile Apps

Here are links to a few mobile apps I use regularly:


Written for Blackberry, Android, iPad, iPhone, and others. This application can retain snippets of web pages, type-written notes, hand-written notes, PDF files, etc. and keeps them all indexed. It's effectively a "personal Google" for the pieces of info you want to be able to find again, but don't want too have to spend time organizing. There's a free version, but the paid version for roughly $50 per year will index within PDF files, greatly enhancing the effectiveness of searching through your accumulated data, as well as increase the amount of storage you are allocated which keeps all your Evernote devices in sync with each other.

Android Agenda Widget:

Written for Android only. I replaced the giant clock on the home screen of my Android-based phone with this agenda application which simply shows me a list of my upcoming calendar items, saving me from having to open the calendar application or relying on alerts for only the next appointment.


Written for both Blackberry and Android. High quality audio player for managing and listening to audio and video podcasts.

Pulse Newsreader:

Written for both iPad and Android. A visually rich newsreader application for RSS news feeds.

Zite Newsreader:

Written for iPad only. Newsreader that asks for "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" on the articles it shows you, helping refine the automatic search it does of various content providers.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Quick and inexpensive web order processing

C&G Consulting recently helped Quaker Bakery Brands setup the ability to take orders via credit cards from their website for a new retail product they are introducing to the online marketplace.

Check out Quaker Bakery's new offering, an innovative hot dog and brat bun for 'on the go' without the traditional mess. C&G used Paypal to create the buttons and a simple shopping cart to collect credit card payments, allowing Quaker Bakery Brands to avoid any upfront or monthly costs until they can gauge the volume of web-based orders for the new products.  C&G will be able to assist with further automattion and integration options in the future.

Monday, March 21, 2011

quick access to remote desktop protocol

Ever get tired of navigating through the menus to start a Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) session? A quicker way is to open a command prompt and type (or type in the Run dialog) the command 'mstsc /console'. This will open an RDP window for you, bypassing the need to navigate the Windows menu structure

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Cloud Computing and Data Security, Business Risk

Here is an interesting article that raises several questions regarding cloud-based computing and the lack of answers that the industry is providing regarding data security and business risk. “Cloud computing” can be loosely defined as outsourced or "software as a service" computing, where software and data are kept on a vendor's system rather than a company-owned computer.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

V-Technologies Ends OEM Relationship with Sage

V-Technologies, the maker of the shipping software Starship, has decided to discontinue it's OEM relationship with Sage Software. What does this mean for Sage customers that use Starship with their ERP application?

As of March 31, 2011, Sage will no longer sell V-Technologies Starship Parcel and Starship Freight products for MAS 90, 200, or 500. Customers can purchase these products from C&G Consulting directly.

Sage will continue to support the Starship Link (a Sage product that connects MAS to Starship) for customers currently on a maintenance plan until version 4.5 is released. The Starship Link will not be included in versions 4.5 and above of MAS 90/200. V-Technologies will continue to provide support and maintenance for Starship Parcel and Freight products for customers on a maintenance plan with V-Technologies directly.

Since it's initial release, the Starship Freight product (for companies shipping truckload and LTL shipments needing Bill of Ladings) has used the "business object interface" component of MAS 90 / MAS 200 to link to those ERP applications and does not require the Starship Link component. Users of Starship Freight will be unaffected.

V-Technologies released Starship 10 in mid-2010 and in January 2011 released Starship 11. Both of these releases re-define Starship by adding additional features and functionality over the level 9 product. A few benefits include an alternate business objects interface to Sage MAS 90 / MAS 200, and address validation of shipping addresses prior to sending out shipments.

Starship level 9 only allowed the Starship Link to be used, which required that users begin their shipment in Shipping Data Entry, and click the Starship button to print their shipping label. The freight, weight, and tracking numbers were then returned to MAS 90 / MAS 200.

Starship level 10 and 11, with the new business object interface, switches the workflow around. Users begin their shipment in Starship, and have the option of choosing from a sales order record, or an invoice record, to base their shipment on. Additional mapping capabilities mean that user-defined fields or fields not in the standard Starship map can be passed through to the shipment and appear in Starship. Based on initial testing, we've found this flexibility to be a great step forward!  Once the shipment is processed, information is written back to MAS 90 / MAS 200. Customers using the new business objects interface will not be affected by the removal of the Starship Link option.

For those customers who prefer to use Shipping Data Entry and retain the workflow currently in use with the Starship Link product, V-Technologies is evaluating options for partnering with a Master Developer to create an enhancement for MAS 90/200 that mimics the current Starship Link functionality.  Contact us for more information.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

VMWare View Client for iPad Announced

VMWare has announced an app for the iPad which allows users of its virtual desktop technology to connect to their desktops from their iPad. This will enable the road warriors who are using their iPads to jump onto their full desktop computers back in the office while still not needing to bring along a full laptop computer.

C&G Consulting is going to test this software in conjunction with a VPN connection from the iPad to the company firewall, providing a secure and (hopefully) seamless remote connectivity experience.

The web site has a video preview of this app in action.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sage Customer Summit

C&G is looking forward to Sage Summit 2011 (July 12-15, 2011 in Washington, DC).  It is the conference for Sage customers and partners. It’s the single best event of the year for connecting with and learning from a diverse community of peers, product experts, and industry thought leaders.

Conference at a glance
Partner Days | July 10–15, 2011
The first two and a half days are dedicated to Sage business partners, consultants, and Sage Accountants Network members.

Customer Days | July 12–15, 2011
Customers arrive Day 3 of the conference for an intensive learning program. If you’re a business leader, product user, or IT staffer for a company that runs a Sage solution, you’ll find value from the moment you arrive. Business partners are invited to stay, which means more product know-how to answer your questions and more cross-pollination of ideas.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

New iPad Revealed

Apple just finished their press conference re: the new iPad. Overall: Thinner, faster processor, front and back cameras, about 11% lighter. See's overview of the new model and how it compares to the original iPad.

I like the tweet I just saw from Dustin Curtis re: the Apple press conference: “Superlative superlative superlative, superlative superlative iPad 2. Superlative superlative.”

STOP! Don't click anything if you see a pop-up advertisement!

Malicious advertisements are the most common source of workstation outages among our clients. Antivirus and antispyware tools have primarily been based on "signature based scanning", the maintenance of a list of known signatures or traces of malicious software, viruses, and threats. Just like the immune system in the human body, the threat needs to be known in advance for the system to proactively prevent illness and infection. Since malicious advertisements are newly created by the thousands every day, the signature lists of security software is rarely able to keep up with the threats.

It is possible, even on major web sites, to have an automated advertisement push malicious code and pop-up advertisements to innocent web users. If you see a pop-up advertisement that looks suspicious, fight the reflexive urge to close the pop-up window. The "X" icon on that window is most likely not going to close the window, but rather will launch malicous code on your computer. DO NOT click anywhere within the pop-up window itself.

Try to close a malicious web browser session by right-clicking on the icon for your web browser in your Task Bar (the bottom bar of your screen which displays the programs you have running), then select close. If the page does not close, make sure you've saved your work in other windows and then restart your computer.

If you are at all uncertain about how to respond to a pop-up advertisement, please call your professional IT support team (C&G Consulting's Support Center is reachable at 262-522-8226) so we can try to safely restart your computer before it becomes infected.

Where is all this malware coming from?

Malware infections of Windows-based computers have become a common problem. Infected advertisements (maliciously placed) are the primary source of the problem. Some web advertising networks are being more proactive at addressing this problem than others. See this article discussing a specific analysis of Yahoo-based advertising infections.
Microsoft has tried to address malicious advertisements in their web browser with Internet Explorer 8's "SmartScreen" feature. Google's Chrome web browser and others have also attempted to build in features which help address this problem. Stay tuned to our blog for more tips in preventing malware infections on your PCs.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

C&G is MAS 200 SQL (re)certified

C&G has been Sage MAS 200 SQL certified for ages, but Sage hadn't updated the MAS 200 SQL 3.7x product for many years. Recently, Sage completely re-architected the product and we went through the certification process a second time. We had one of the first sales in the country in December.

C&G selected for ERP, CRM and infrastructure project

C&G was selected to build a scalable IT infrastructure and implement a ground-up Sage ERP and CRM system for a local start-up specialty food supplier.

Alchemex certification

Lisa Lantz, Senior Consultant for C&G Consulting, successfully completed Alchemex Certification, qualifying as an Alchemex Certified Professional Consultant.