December 2019 Newsletter

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Welcome to PSSI’s Update Newsletter

From your enterprise software experts at
Performance Software Solutions, Inc.

December, 2019

UpdateDecember Edition

Happy Holidays from everyone at PSSI!  And maybe most of all from Brian Sittley, who pens a Farewell message to all in our closing article at the bottom of this newsletter.

This month as always we’ll provide updates from our solution partners at Microsoft and TIW Technology on the latest releases of their business software.  Software evolves quickly these days, and we want to be sure you’re up to date on the latest technology, as well as the latest news & updates from our recommended software partners.

As providers of business software and consulting help, our goal here is to inform our clients, partners and prospective customers year-round about the tools, people and software we utilize to make you more profitable and efficient.

We welcome your feedback at any time.  You can call us at 877.273.2444, or drop us an email at

Measuring the ROI of ERP

With a hat tip to the folks at Panorama Consulting, we’ll use some of their thoughts and some of our own to provide a little guidance this issue to understanding the return on investment (ROI) of your business management (or Enterprise Resource Planning) system.

ERP systems aren’t cheap, in terms of both labor and effort, so it’s important that companies realize a tangible and lasting return on their investment.  Since, simply put, ROI can be defined as…

ROI = [(Value of investment – Cost of investment) / Cost of investment] * 100%
… we can then take a quick look at those costs and returns.Total cost of ownership (i.e., TCO, the “investment” you make) consists of 4 key components:

  • The cost of software licenses – these can be for ‘full’ users, ‘lite’ users, ‘machine’ users or some other variant.  But taken together they represent the initial cost of base software.  Don’t forget to add in additional users and other functionality you may add later.
  • Hardware – If you’re implementing on-site, add up all those hardware, networking and infrastructure costs.  If you’re using the cloud, it will consist of monthly usage fees mostly, and be a lot less at least on a monthly basis.
  • Implementation costs – These represent the not insubstantial cost for the consultants, trainers and programmers responsible for implementing your system all the way up through the day you go live (and perhaps a few days after).
  • Change Management – These are the (mostly) training costs associated with revamping the way you do things and learning how to most effectively use your new system.

The more subjective part of the equation is the “Value” of the investment.  There are many ways to do so and they vary from business to business.  But the following value recaptures are common:

  • Reduced operating expenses – These include most notably…
    • Labor – Tasks that formerly required skilled labor and are now automated.
    • Logistics – The benefits of storing all data in a single repository, and thus the elimination of (usually) an enormous amount of excess labor and duplicate entry, combined with improved scheduling, better delivery and logistics, and so on.
    • Utility costs – from reduced costs for physical plant, servers, networking equipment, and lowered electric costs overall.  Seems like a small thing, but it all adds up.
  • Shorter sales cycles – ERP usually produces reduced lead-to-sales times, not to mention improvements in delivery capabilities.  CRM (Customer Relationship Management) components of ERP improve customer and prospect visibility, follow-up rates, contact management regularity and pipeline reckoning — all of which serve to improve sales.  So don’t just look at shorter sales times… look also at increased sales overall.
  • Streamlined supply chains and lower cost of goods – Examples include purchasing efficiencies gained by consolidated ordering that results from better visibility of pipelines and purchasing/sales trends.  Reduced expenditures on personnel from having all the information in the hands of everyone, all coming from a single repository, can also add up fast.  Streamlined supply chains benefit from the data and reporting inside your ERP system as they improve your overall sales, customer, costing and workflow visibility.  These are just a few examples — you’ll find many more when you do your own internal analysis

Then: Do the math!  From the formula stated above, you can begin to calculate your ROI.  The mere exercise of the thinking will get you to drill even more deeply into the real cost savings, as you explore more carefully the subtle, and often not-so-subtle, cost reductions (or sales improvement) available within your own firm, your customer base and your supply chain.

Companies don’t buy ERP systems because they are fun or expensive.  They buy them because they pay for themselves in improved productivity.  It’s a strategic investment.  And once those costs have been recouped, they continue to pay benefits year after year after year.

So go ahead… do your own math.  Use your own numbers, factors and key considerations.  If you’re honest with yourself and complete in your analysis, you’ll probably end up with only one question: Why didn’t we do this sooner?

Questions about your system needs, or about moving to the cloud? We urge you to contact PSSI directly at 877.273.2444We’re here to help!

ALERE Offers Free Trial Packages for Customers: But Know Your Limits

PSSI has been implementing ALERE manufacturing software for over 25 years, and we still think it’s one of the best-priced, best-functioning software products you can buy anywhere.  Users appreciate ALERE’s flexibility over many other systems. 

Trial packages, as pointed out in a recent article from the publishers of ALERE software, can be a powerful incentive.  But they also require a dose of reality.

As TIW Technology President Rod Hatcher wisely points out: “By its nature, an ERP package is a large and complex software program and, without guidance and training, a client can become easily frustrated with ALERE.”  He reminds dealers that it behooves us to set the expectations for the Trial Package.

Rod continues… “What are those expectations? Prospects can experience firsthand the ribbon menus, how smoothly they operate, and the user environment using Fetch, screen-on-screen, and browsers. They can acquaint themselves with where the basic functions of ALERE reside, the ease of access, and view the range of reports.

“Since a sample company is installed with ALERE, the prospect can try basic processes such as processing a simple sales order or editing a bill of material. There is also sufficient data to run most reports and view the different output methods.”

But Rod also notes the limitations.  While some more complex functions can indeed be experienced in a trial package, entering data beyond a pretty simple level is often best avoided, since it can quickly become  challenging trying to use options and processes that require training to understand.  In other words, know your limits.

That’s why WE exist.  As resellers for TIW, we bridge the gap between simple sample-data and demos to fully understanding how a full ERP system is best implemented for your unique needs. 

  • Want to Learn More About ALERE?

TIW has a 7 minute Manufacturing Overview Video on YouTube that gives a concise summary of what manufacturing software can do for youClick the link below to see why ALERE may be a great fit for your manufacturing operations.

  • Interested in a trial version for your organization?

PSSI can work with you to understand better what a manufacturing software system can do for you.  For information on obtaining a trial version, contact Larry Lukasik at the number below.

To learn more, call us any time at 877.273.2444, or visit us on the web.


ALERE Manufacturing Overview (7:00)

In this issue of Update

  • Measuring the ROI of ERP
  • Who Is PSSI?
  • Tips & Best Practices
  • Thoughts on ALERE Software Free Trials
  • 7 Minute Manufacturing Overview video 
  • Why Should Dynamics NAV Users Move to the Cloud?
  • Free White Paper: Software That Matters
  • End Note: Farewell and Thank You — And now I really must be going…

Who Are We?

Performance Software Solutions, Inc. is a northern Indiana-based reseller of enterprise accounting, manufacturing and distribution solutions from leading brands including Microsoft, TIW Technology and Sage Software.  We have been serving the small to midsize manufacturer and distributor, mostly across the Midwest, for over 30 years with a team of business consulting and software experts that is second to none.

PSSI specializes in helping manufacturing and distribution firms solve some of their most difficult process and technology problems.  Though we implement software solutions (including Microsoft Dynamics Business Central and TIW’s ALERE), we are most tightly focused on people, workflow and process improvement.  We’ve helped hundreds of companies like yours over the past 30 years improve their operations, process flows, automation strategies and their bottom lines.

Need help with your systems?  Learn more at or call any us any time at 877.273.2444

Looking for some prudent advice before investing in software? Check out our Knowledge Bank.

Click any of our links BELOW for tips and best practices on planning for software…

Who Owns the Cloud?
A Few Password Tips We Hope Will Make Your Life A Tiny Bit Easier
How ERP Supports Lean

Why Should Dynamics NAV Users Move to the Cloud?

“The benefits of moving to the cloud are becoming increasingly evident as more organizations strive to automate business processes.”

As Microsoft Dynamics NAV consultant Ramin Margi recently noted in an article on, there are three good reasons NAV users need to think about moving to the cloud: Interoperability, sluggishness and expense.  Below, a quick look at what they mean.

Interoperability – Increasingly these days, on-premise solutions have difficulty keeping up with the times.  Something as simple as an Office update can cause angst about whether your on-premise NAV solution will still work as expected.  As well, printing and previewing reports can be problematical at times after updates.  Not to mention the challenges of staying up to date with hot fixes and the latest patches.

Moving to Dynamics 365 Business Central can leave behind the constant cumulative updates efforts while still running a system you can trust.

Sluggish Performance – If a server-based ERP system remains mostly static, while the rest of the organization is investing in online CRM or other new integrations, problems often follow.  Getting a legacy system to interact with the latest, greatest online APIs can be a hurdle requiring lots of adjustments to servers and the legacy system to enable these two disparate systems to talk to each other.  Soon, firewall exceptions and other security compromises may be made, thus compromising all systems.  There ends up often being a lot of “middle work” going on that can affect overall performance adversely as companies try to make internet-based systems and live data work with legacy ERP.

Expense – While there are definite pros and cons, generally, monthly costs for a cloud based system run less than those of the in-house server-based system.  More importantly, you get updates automatically, and they’re included in your monthly fee.  Because modifications to your system are done in a new way, those modifications by definition are designed to be integrated into your base system in a way that allows for automatic updates with few additional modifications and minimal tweaking required.  Moreover, cloud-based reporting and business intelligence (BI) systems make it possible to seamlessly report on your data, instead of trying to ‘push’ legacy data into a cloud-based reporting engine.  It’s also more secure this way.

Finally, when you’re in the cloud, you’re always on an up-to-date system.  More effort (i.e., budget) can be applied to training and solutions instead of implementation and debugging.  True, modifications still must be considered — they are after all what gives you a competitive advantage — but modern mods can often be built as ‘extensions’ that can survive upgrades with minimal muss and fuss.  It’s not a perfect system, but it does allow customers to focus on learning, and to have the confidence of regular periodic updates to keep up with technology changes, without those periodic, historically expensive budget-buster upgrades.

BC365 release 2019 represents yet another step in the continuing evolution of the product formerly known as NAV, and PSSI is committed to keeping our clients and prospective clients up to date on the latest changes.  Continue to follow this newsletter for news and updates in the future.

Thinking about integrating Dynamics 365 into your business?  Or just have questions about the process, or need advice and recommendations?  Call us any time at 877.273.2444, or visit us on the web.

We’re here to help!

Click HERE to read our popular white paper “Software That Matters” on the ins and outs of purchasing an ERP System.

Farewell and Thank You… And Now I Really Must Be Going

A farewell message to all from PSSI’s founder

This will be one of the only times — and certainly the last — that you see my picture in a PSSI newsletter.  After 32 years at the helm, it’s time to move on.  It’s been a great run, full of more ups than downs, but now it’s time to shift into a lower gear.  A few parting thoughts follow…

Two years ago I entered into an agreement to pass along the company that I first launched 32 years ago in a back room of my house.  That agreement expires at the end of this month, at which time my good friend and trusted associate Larry Lukasik becomes the full owner of PSSI (formerly PMI).  At the end of this year, I fade away into (nearly) full-time retirement, and Larry gains full control.

Of course, most who know us realize that the process has been well underway for over a year now.  Larry has been running the place for a while aided and abetted thankfully by several of the old-timers with whom I had the pleasure of building PSSI/PMI over these many years.

I go with no regrets, turning things over to a fellow in whom I have no doubts.  The transfer is a win-win for all: a good man gets to fully take the reins of a capable and longstanding firm… employees continue their careers… customers get well served… and I get to walk away with my head held high.

Long-time customers will recall a dozen years ago when I did not choose so wisely, and attempted to sell the firm to a group of not-so-trustworthy folks.  To say the least, that did not end well, and my wife Jackie and I came racing back from an aborted retirement to rescue what was left of the firm they’d nearly destroyed.  Over the next decade, we regrouped, rebuilt and recharged.  The decision I made a couple years ago to sell to Larry was a much wiser one, made with someone whose capability is exceeded only by his work ethic and integrity: a refreshing change of pace from that earlier, ill-fated attempt, and one that assures everyone of bright prospects ahead.

It is my sincere hope that as I depart, Larry and the crew here will exercise the opportunity to grow the firm — as is his stated intent.  Implementing ERP and business systems is an incredibly complex and difficult challenge.  The team here knows they will need ongoing training, loyal customers and more staff.  It’s coming, I know.  I shared with Larry and the team here what I learned many years ago: that the key task of the CEO is always to keep focus on working on the business, not just in the business.  With that comes growth and prosperity.

I would like to thank all the hundreds of customers who have supported us over all these years.  Without you, there is no business.  And of course, our loyal team, some of whom were with me for 20 years or more – the ones whose work keeps those loyal customers afloat.  So thank you David, Vicki, Jackie, Larry, Ted, Gary and so many others over the years for making this the most exciting and rewarding effort of my life.  If it weren’t for you…

For the record, Larry and I’ve agreed that I would stick around for another year in a very minor, very part-time marketing role.  So you’ll still get communications from me on behalf of the firm for a bit longer and perhaps a bit more anonymously.  But the friends on all sides – clients, employees, partners and all the rest – will live on in my memories for the rest of my life.  And for that, I thank you all.

Brian Sittley

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