Business

Coherent becomes an Authorised Sage Developer

Authorised Sage Developer

We are proud to announce that we are now an Authorised Sage Developer!

Sage is one of the most established providers of accounting software, offering on-premise accounting packages for small (Sage 50) and medium-sized (Sage 200) businesses as we as payroll and CRM systems.

As one of the earliest Xero Developers in the UK, we have long helped businesses throughout the world to keep data in sync across their systems, to run specialised reports and to develop bespoke systems with an accounting integration. Our Sage Developer status enables us to bring the same benefits to businesses that use Sage products.

It also demonstrates our commitment to flexibility in terms of the integrations that we can offer and strengthens our position as a business-focused software development company.

If you are interested in finding out how we can build on top of Sage to save your business time and money, or want to explore the possibility of developing a bespoke system, such as a CRM, with a Sage connector, please call us on 0800 292 6474, or hello@coherent.net, to arrange a free consultation.

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Coherent Software turns 5

Our company turned has just entered its fifth year of trading. It is widely reported that over 50% of companies fail within five years and the odds may well be worse in our industry where barriers to entry are low and a desire to grow as quickly as possible is common.

Within the last year we have:

A huge thank you to all of our staff, customers and other stakeholders who have made this possible.

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Tablets for business: Time to get an iPad?

You may have heard the old joke – Steve Jobs was up late one night trying to think of a new product to appease investors. He sat at a table with several iPhones and eventually arranged nine of them into a rectangle, giving birth to the iPad.

Tablets in business: statistics

A surprising number of clients are telling us that they use tablets, and in particular iPads, in their business. In fact, Apple sold 11.4 million iPads in just the second quarter of 2017. As a result, their reach extends not only to businesses, but also to educators and consumers.

Just a decade ago, no IT professional would ever believe that tablets would ever control the market. With the introduction of the iPad, consumers and enterprise customers alike began transitioning, and for good reason. It features an advanced enterprise management system, making it perfect for all businesses due to its feature rich interface and restrictions system.

What we’ve done

We’ve worked with countless companies that wanted to reap the benefits of the Apple ecosystem. Take a look at Auto Car SOR, a dealership financing company that we’ve consulted for. We created an app that allowed them to increase efficiency and save resources by linking up their accounting, task management and document systems. Not only did this get recuperate lost time from manual data input, it also benefited from our bespoke development approach. Coupled with a modern interface and responsive support, they were pleasantly surprised as the system was implemented.

Another business that we’ve integrated the Apple ecosystem into is Capture Pod. They provide photography booth services to events. At an event, a customer was so impressed with their services that they wanted to leave a testimonial — something that they could not record at the time. We developed a bespoke testimonial app that stored video to the cloud and eventually was deployed in several stores in the United States. All of this was created to work on the iPad.

The benefits of having iOS devices in general deployed in your business environment is often times a benefit to productivity and efficiency. The management interface that is provided can prevent staff from trailing off, as well as keep the devices secure. With such a fantastic platform, it’s no wonder businesses love the iPad and it’s why we love it too.

Sources: MarketWatch – iPad sales in Q2 2017

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Coherent to exhibit at the North Lancs Expo

 

We’re pleased to announce that after exhibiting at the inaugural North Lancs Expo, organised by the excellent Lancaster & District Chamber of Commerce, we’ll be exhibiting (with a much larger presence this time!) at the 2018 expo.

The expo is due to be held at the Lancaster Brewery (hint!) on the 23rd and 24th of September between 10am and 4pm.

Please come by and meet some of our team! We’ll also be giving away plenty of goodies.

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Coherent supports the Django REST Framework

 

Django is the gold standard for creating web applications in Python. The Django REST Framework (DRF) is the gold standard for creating RESTful API-driven applications in Django.

DRF has been a key building block to ensure the quality of our bespoke Django development for over two years. It has:

  • Provided new developers in our team with a wealth of documentation and examples,
  • Made it easy to test our applications and contributed to our test-driven development (TDD) approach,
  • Helped to define a coherent structure for our API-driven applications.

We are therefore very, very proud to employ DRF in our stack.

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What the GDPR means for software

The GDPR is the successor to the Data Protection Act in the UK. There is a lot of worry and panic about the changes it brings.

If you’re in the Northwest of England, I recommend attending a talk by Baines Wilson on the practicalities of the GDPR. It could be the best 2 hours and £25 that you spend for a long time (but I’ll forgive you if you can drink 8 pints in 2 hours).

Cumbersome as the changes are for some businesses, they make a lot of sense from a technical point of view. They’ll help to stop sensitive personal data “floating around”, email addresses being “subscribed” to email marketing lists and data sharing and aggregation between apps and websites.

Your Software

The key point for business software is governance. Governance has always been a part of big business. Now it needs to be a part of every business.

Example

The Data Protection Act required that businesses only retain sensitive data that they need. The GDPR goes further by requiring businesses to have a demonstrable process to remove sensitive data they don’t need.

The difference might seem subtle but if you store customer records in a CRM, does your CRM let you set up a “rule” to remove unneeded data automatically?

If not, how laborious would it be to log on every month and remove stale data?

Divide, then Conquer

You need to identify each system that stores sensitive personal data. For each system, identify the risks of a data leak and what you can do to mitigate them.

The easiest step you can take to mitigate risk is to remove data that you don’t need. If your systems make it easy to identify data you don’t need and delete it, great. If not, you may need to consider new software.

You should also identify the safeguards in place in each system. Who built the system and what is their track record like? Where is your data located? Do you have full control over it? Do the systems have appropriate protection against attacks?

New Software

Some systems you use might not be adequate. If so, now is the time to devise a plan of action.

Are your systems generally good but lacking in some areas?
Consider a bespoke integration to add additional governance to your existing system.

Do your systems need to be replaced completely?
We might be able to create software to help migrate your data to a new system.

Should you consider a bespoke software package?
If off the shelf packages are expensive or limiting, now might be the ideal time to consider moving to bespoke software. Bespoke software gives you more control, more oversight and generally lower ongoing costs.

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Think before registering a “new gTLD” domain

TLD stands for Top Level Domain. It’s the last part of a domain name – for example “.com”. The “g” stands for global which just means it’s not tied to a particular country.

About a year ago, there were just a few gTLDs and everyone wanted a .com for their business, their brand or their own name. .com was thought to be the most credible option since it stands for “company”.

The web has been around a long time, though, and good .com’s are in short supply. If you’ve ever had a great idea for a business name or a product name only to find that the .com is taken and isn’t being used for anything in particular, you’re not alone. Because they’re cheap to register and keep, and potentially very valuable, some people have made a very tidy living from hoarding good names and selling them at very inflated prices.

To try to solve this problem, about a year ago, a lot more TLDs arrived. Coffee shops can get a .coffee, clubs can get a .club, accountants can get a .accountant and so on. We very quickly went from a small number of TLDs to a huge catalogue.

For a lot of brands and businesses, it means that you can finally get the name that you actually want.

But it isn’t quite that simple.

Each gTLD, new and old, is maintained by a company. That company leases names on gTLDs they own, to wholesalers (“registrars”) who sub-lease it to you. The older gTLDs are generally provided by Verisign, an American company that has been doing this since around 1985. Over the last 32 years, they’ve not changed much. Their prices have increased roughly in line with inflation and there hasn’t been any notable foul play.

The new gTLDs are owned by a range of other companies. The best known is Uniregistry. There isn’t any evidence of foul play from Uniregistry either – but they don’t have the decades of stability that Verisign has.

Because of the regulations governing TLDs, instead of giving notice to increase their prices, Uniregistry have set fairly high prices for many of their extensions and have discounted them initially to gauge demand. This means that they can effectively increase the price of domains at the top of a hat if demand isn’t what they had expected. This has already happened to some of the extensions, including .guitar and .hosting.

In conclusion, you don’t get any more or any less guarantees buying a “new gTLD” relative to a traditional one. You do get more uncertainty, though.

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Make your documents searchable without giving up control

Ever year, I get a letter from my accountant. Our year end just finished and he wants a pile of paperwork from me to prepare our annual accounts.

I print it all off (sorry, tree), put it in a box, walk it over and dump it on the receptionist’s desk.

Someone their end then has to do some menial tasks like looking through our bank statements and make sure there’s an invoice for every payment in and out. I don’t envy that person!

They might scan it all in or make another paper copy of it for their records.

This sort of workflow is really common amongst accountants, solicitors, conveyancers, IFAs, estate agents etc.

It’s a huge waste of time because:

  1. A lot of the time, you are literally looking for a needle in a haystack
  2. You are following the same process for each customer

You might have heard of OCR. It’s where you scan the paperwork in and the text becomes searchable like on a web page or in a Word document. Maybe you’ve even been pitched to by a company offering a “document management” company. They want you to send them all of your files (??!) to do the recognition and for “safe”-keeping.

But what if there were a way to get the same benefits without ever giving up control of the documents? What if you didn’t have to pay a subscription or tie yourself in?

What if it were dead easy to find precisely what you’re looking for? (an invoice from the council on the 2nd of May for £120).

Enter, bespoke software. Neato!

Bespoke software is a great fit for document management because it gets around the biggest security concerns, eliminates vendor tie in and cuts your ongoing costs substantially.

We’re experienced software developers and we’ve done this before and we can do it again. Give us a call if you’d like to start taking control of your documents.

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Client experience: Alarm System Reviews

Their website is based on WordPress. We were engaged to provide server administration services to improve the performance (i.e. speed up) the website taking advantage of the latest web technologies.

Jon Gavejian from Consumer Media, the company behind Alarm System Reviews, describes their experience:

“We came across Coherent while searching for a SME (subject matter expert) to install and configure the Google PageSpeed Module on our previous hosting provider’s server. We knew right away that the Coherent team had the expertise we needed and awarded the project to them. Throughout the initial PageSpeed Project we found them to be refreshingly responsive to our communications and proactive about suggesting improvements to our technical requirements. Coherent completed the project on time and within budget. Their suggestions even led to performance gains that absolutely exceeded our goals and expectations.

We quickly moved forward with a series of additional projects related to website speed/server optimization. The team at Coherent continued to deliver amazing results that surpassed performance requirements and ultimately secured us as a long-term client. Coherent is now a core part of our organization and just recently pushed live a new custom, high-performance Nginx server for us that is yielding enterprise class performance for a fraction of the cost. The new Nginx server’s custom build includes multiple WordPress installations, the Google PageSpeed Module, CDN integration, server-side caching, PHP7, MariaDB, and HTTP/2 protocol (among many other performance enhancements). We even have the ability to purge all caches at once now. Coherent’s implementation was virtually flawless and the website migrations were quick and painless. You can see firsthand how Coherent is helping us push website performance and speed to the limits by visiting https://www.alarmsystemreviews.com. Check it out and then reach out to Coherent with your project or needs. You’ll love them.

Big thanks to the Coherent team. You guys are awesome!”

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