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Archive for the ‘Software as a Service’ Category

Announcing Creospace Kashflow API Class for PHP5

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

kashflowclassWe are very pleased to announce a new product (and new product category) to our line-up.

We are today announcing a complete Kashflow API class for PHP5. We love Kashflow so much we’ve connected our internal admin systems to it. When we did that we wrote a class that acts as a middle man between our back end systems and KF.

We thought we were on to a winner, so have decided to finish it up all nice with some PHPDoc, some further documentation with examples, plus a support commitment, and let others use it too.

We have two versions. The first is a free “lite” version which just allows InsertCustomer and InsertInvoice, and a complete version which contains all the methods currently available in the API.

It has a number of benefits over using a generic SOAP library such as NuSoap:

  • It is one single file with no library dependencies such as NuSoap or PEAR etc, all you need is PHP5, SimpleXML and cURL which covers most hosting environments, one include and you are away.
  • If you have a PHPDoc aware development environment (such as the outstandingly awesome Komodo Edit) it will pick up the tags and display code hints for the Kashflow Methods.
  • Likewise for arguments and field names.
  • We are just an email away if you have problems (full paid version only) or feedback you want to give us.

I’m sure you’re thinking “oh thats all well and good, but how easy is it to use?”, well we reckon pretty easy!

So enough talking, lets see some code!

This quick example will get a Customer by their ID and return their Telephone number:

<?php
   $kf=new KashFlow("myusername","mypassword");
   $phonenumber=$kf->GetCustomerById(12345678)->Telephone;
?>

One line and pretty easy eh? Obviously you don’t have to get just one field at a time (although the chaining is nice), you can do the following:

<?php
   $customer=$kf->GetCustomerById(12345678);
   $name=$customer->Name;
   $address1=$customer->Address1;
?>

GetCustomer is only available in the full version, but the lite version is straight forward for the methods (InsertCustomer and InsertInvoice) it implements.

The full version will set you back £50 for your whole application (contact us if you require different licensing terms).

Please see here for further details.

Web Based Order Management and Stock Control Systems

Friday, February 20th, 2009

More and more ecommerce websites – online shopping sites – are using new integrated software to fully manage all areas of their business.  Web based order management systems are fast becoming the best time saving methods to use and businesses are now finding out much more about dealing efficiently with their online business using integrated software that is both efficient and money-saving.

As well as web based sales software that not only manages customer orders but also converts into an ingenious marketing tool (email, invoicing, sms), businesses are opting to merge new stock control and order management software into their current technology, making for a powerful tool that both helps the business and assists the employees working it.

The order and stock control systems now promoted through ecommerce developers uses web based applications in order that multiple users have access.  In place of the older ASP versions which were hosted on third party servers, web based stock and order management software is hugely flexible and allows those users to access via their own desktop pc.

Some good features of this kind of system are:

  • The ability to manage multiple orders placed on a website at the same time
  • Options to create picking lists, invoicing slips and split orders that can’t be completely fulfilled at one time
  • Orders can be edited once they have been placed – a great way if a customer contacts you after a purchase
  • Billing methods can be updated and copy orders can be created easily for repeat customers
  • Email and text marketing campaigns can be created straight from the software
  • Invoices can be designed and branded and sent to the customer by email, instantly

In straight forward terms, web based order management systems are professional applications that can be used in one of the most important aspects of your business and can be personally branded to suit the business.  They can be adapted to suit too, allowing natural and organic growth and development of online business.

Integrating Web Based Inventory Management Systems into Your Business

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

Software packages for online businesses come in all manner of shapes and sizes, though web based stock control systems and custom management software can be integrated easily into an existing business making it an excellent choice for small businesses that need to retain stock and manage it effectively.  Benefits of such a flexible system compare hugely to older more sluggish systems.

Functions

To ensure that all business processes do flow, generally there are features that a developer would recommend so that the whole system is adapted to your business.

Particularly impressive functions that can be adapted to suit are those such as stock level management – assisting and recording levels of stock and reordering when the minimum stock has been reached; immediate reporting capabilities on all aspects of stock, auditing and management; the ability to generate statistics and factual real-time reports.

Drawbacks

It is quite easy to sell new software and note it as the next best thing, however one thing to realise when researching and budgeting for a new integrated piece of software is that it may not be able to handle some parts of your business technology and it is worth budgeting extra in order to be able to deal with any issues that may require further technical assistance.

Benefits

Including system options such as stock control and management, inventory, auto ordering etc, opting for a stock control system that is from a web based application can have a huge number of additional benefits, like greater financial rewards and faster report procedures.

Whilst being easy to use and introduce colleagues to, newer systems can be faster and more intelligent ( i.e. having more uses and using less time to conduct tasks ) therefore more versatile for smaller businesses.

In short, whilst it's worth remembering that although nto always the case most web based solutions and can be integrated into current systems, not all of those will be able to work together so factoring enough extra in your budget to cover any unforeseen challenges whilst installing the software is important.

Stock Control and Multi Tasking Software

Monday, February 16th, 2009

Websites offering a multi tasking ecommerce service to a consumer mean successful online business.  With integrated web management and stock control systems, accounting and purchasing can be controlled in addition to the stock which means running an online shop, or ecommerce business, is made much simpler than before. 

When considering a stock control system, ‘System as a Service' – in which businesses integrate most, or all, of the systems on which the business is run.

Having a stock system that is controlled and can handle use by many users can be paramount to smooth running of an ecommerce business, and indeed integrating stock control does ensure other sectors of a business run well and without glitch.

Some features of a recommended stock control system are:

  • Accuracy – a live system that updates in real time to ensure stock reports taken at any time are correct, invoicing is made easier as is auditing and planning
  • Automated – systems which update as a customer clicks and pays
  • Allocation – stock allocation capability in which the system can fulfil and confirm orders to customers, then pass details to staff for invoicing
  • Integrated – an integrated stock system can ensure other areas of your business are enhanced by ensuring other departments outside stock and warehousing are kept up-to-date – no more need to update the system on a daily basis
  • Linked in – EPOS and Ecommerce go hand in hand, linking a stock control system in with alternative areas can ensure systems are updated and reports are accurate

With even more of the above, a web based integrated system can allow for reports to be generated and downloaded into a windows based application such as Excel for further adaptation.

Powerful order processing and a strongly structured stock control system allows you to run your online shop in a professional manner.  Being able to tell your customers whether something is in stock when they click offers them one more reason to come back. 

Successful software makes for successful online business or shop – running ecommerce made simple. 

The Cloud – Inventory Control Software

Saturday, February 14th, 2009

This year small to medium sized businesses have been totally focused on The Cloud – a web based, or web hosted, inventory management service that can be used to run a professional online business if it has a need to retain stock or has a warehousing and distribution centre.

Software under the cloud is allowing online business a way of utilizing an online service which assist with recording customer sales orders, maintaining stock levels and adjusting upon order receipts, creating purchase orders and is capable of producing detailed reporting of income, inventory and customer data whilst being able to handle multi-users. 

We mentioned in our ‘Software as a Service Introduction' that service under the cloud offers ecommerce business much more flexibility, and this is indeed true, and the software can often just sync, or integrate, with current business systems ( of course, this is not a guaranteed integration and should be discussed in more detail with your developer ). 

Frankly, software under the cloud is providing businesses with a fast way of running an online business in a professional manner, therefore offering business intelligence to smaller companies that would not perhaps have the budget, or want to spend thousands of pounds, to pay for a larger system that replaces an old one.

Other Names for The Cloud Software

It is easy to confuse the names for this software – even we use different names to cover this, you will see us use ‘Software as a Service' or ‘SaaS', however below are just a few names that you can find on the web relating to very similar applications:

Analytics as a Service

Performance on Demand

Intelligence on Demand

Platform as a Service

Cloud based data warehousing

The list goes on, however the applications themselves do vary slightly.  When researching for your software, a first port of call will be your developer who should be able to recommend the best pieces of software, explain the ease of integration into your existing business and of course can suggest ways of introducing it.