Power BI: Starting a Third Year of Leadership

By | Business Intelligence, Power BI | No Comments

What’s That in IT Years?

It’s hard to believe that Microsoft Power BI has been around for just two years. They’ve been two years of constantly upgraded functionality and incredible innovation. Every month, Microsoft have announced more amazing things we can do to make Power BI work with and for us.

Why Should My Business Care About Power BI?Power BI Dashboard

IT moves fast; faster every day. Many people in the industry haven’t even heard of business intelligence, much less follow current data trends and understand how to work with it. If you aren’t sure what business intelligence is, or if you don’t know why every business needs it to get full value from and properly understand their customer and financial data, we’ve written a quick guide to get you up to speed. Click here to learn more.

What Has Power BI Done Lately?

Microsoft love to give Power BI more and more improvements and additional functionality. Here’s a selection of some of the most useful updates in just the most recent month:

Visuals and reporting

  • New table and matrix visuals, with new formatting options and improved drill-down.
  • Renaming fields using aliases for specific visuals.
  • Increased responsivity to different screen sizes.
  • Breakdown for waterfall charts.

Analytics and modelling

  • Two new measures: star rating and concatenated list of values.
  • Bidirectional cross filtering for DirectQuery models.

Data connectivity

  • In addition to the wide range of connectivity options already present, a Snowflake connector has been added.

Dashboard functionality

  • The new Performance Inspector helps you if your loading or processing time is slower than it should be.
  • There is a new e-mail subscription button that allows you to choose to be notified when the underlying data changes.

Take a Quick Look For Yourself

We invite you to take two minutes to watch this fun video and get a taste of what Power BI does now and where it’s heading in the future. Then give us a ring or contact us right here to talk about getting this power for you and your business!

Complete Functionality, Tiny Cost – Zoho One

By | Zoho | No Comments

Surprise!Everything you need for business at the lowest per-user cost with Zoho One

We’ve been keeping the new Zoho One system under our hats since we first learned about it while it was in development. It’s been in the works for ten years. But Zoho surprised us by releasing it earlier than expected (how often does that happen), while I was on holiday, actually. So this update is a few days late, but I’m excited to share the news with you now!

I’ve heard of Zoho. What Is Zoho One?

Well, let me ask you a few questions first.

What systems do you use today to take care of your business’s finances and sales inventory? Administer your human resources and foster communication between your staff members? Log and resolve product issues?  Manage your projects and get optimal results? Monitor your website and social media accounts? Serve and connect with your customers and clients?

Do those systems all interface with each other and share the same information? I’m betting not, even if you already use a handful of Zoho apps that you pay for separately.

With Zoho One, you get access to nearly all of the Zoho apps, with more being added from time to time. 35 apps and counting, at the full-featured Enterprise (high-end) level, that all work together. You can choose to use as few or as many included apps as you wish, as a company or as a department. Work simply or in depth, stay in the office or go mobile, combine or delegate duties, give users wide-ranging permissions or keep them on task with access to specific apps, all with a single sign-on per user. Whatever you choose, you can use Zoho One as a complete operating system for your entire business.

Your business needs are respected. You’re not restricted to just what’s in the box. Zoho Creator, included in Zoho One, is a drag-and-drop app builder that allows you to build apps for unique business needs, all under the same umbrella as your existing apps. The developers at Zoho have worked hard to bring you hundreds of integrations with third-party software so you don’t even have to be locked in to using Zoho One exclusively.

Is Zoho One Really Less Than a Pound a Day?

Well, to be precise, it’s 30 US dollars a month per user (£23 and change) for the whole package, with no minimum number of users. Yes, even small to medium sized businesses can access all the functionality and work like larger organisations. Zoho One allows you to progress seamlessly from strength to strength as your business grows. You can afford to put software on everyone’s desk and forget about rationing functionality to just a handful of key people. Everyone can participate in your success.

What About Maintenance Costs?

Zoho One - Less than a pound a dayWe knew you’d ask. What do you think the cost is of maintaining one seamless system with built-in interfaces, compared to the cost of managing several disassociated systems and the in-house-developed interfaces between them? How much does it cost a company to have to deal with many software vendors instead of a few, or even one? Does your cost fluctuate with your usage? Do you pay for separate data storage?

Zoho One is available for a single set cost from a single vendor through a single point of contact. All of the included apps fall under a single contract with no set time limits, and a single service agreement. There are no sneaky required add-ons or upgrades to worry about paying extra for. Your data and apps reside in the cloud, so your generous and secure data storage is also included (the exact amount of storage depends on the apps you focus on and your total number of user licenses).

How Do I Get Started With Zoho One?

Oh, the best part? You can start for free. Try it out. Use your own data. The trial version can easily be converted to the full version without losing any of your work. You’ll be able to start concentrating on your business, not your software.

Click here or on the link below to get your own access. Contact us with your questions (we’re Zoho One users, too) and we’ll be there when you’re ready to step up to the full functionality. We’ll see you in Zoho!Free Zoho One Trial

Caldere Welcomes New Act! Certified Consultant

By | Act!, CRM, Support | No Comments

Welcome our newest Act! Certified Consultant!

We at Caldere would like to welcome our newest Act! Certified Consultant, Sasha Albertini! Sasha just completed her Act! Certified Consultant certification exam with a perfect score. (This shows how far she’s come since taking on a more significant Act! support role with us in 2016!) As a result, Sasha will be able to work directly with Swiftpage on your behalf to make sure you get the best possible service and support for Act! CRM.

Act! Certified Consultant ribbonProfile

Sasha comes from a very strong database support background that includes product data management (PDM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), and project management support and user training, as well as CRM installation and administration. Additionally, Sasha qualified earlier this year as a Salesforce Certified Administrator and is assisting in Caldere’s Zoho and Microsoft Power BI implementation projects.

With over two decades of experience working closely with IT clients in large and small corporations, Sasha prides herself on her approachability and problem-solving tenacity. She believes in your business knowledge and understands that you have the best approach to making your own business successful. Most of all, her mission is to make sure your software works for you and keeps you working, rather than to demand that you tailor your expectations to the software.

What’s Next

The next step for Sasha is to increase her data analytics and BI skills. Along with the high level of experience and skill that senior Caldere staff already possess in business intelligence, database administration, and software development, this will ensure that every one of your Caldere consultants has the very best and deepest understanding of what data is, how to keep it safe, and how to make it work most effectively for you and your business.

Sasha invites you to contact us to find out why it’s better to be a Caldere client!

Tip for Organising Power BI Measures

By | Power BI, Tips and Tricks, Training | No Comments

When we are creating dashboards in Power BI using (for example) Act! tables, we may end up with a long list of tables. These could have come from Act! or from created tables, such as the Dates tables. In addition, we are going to want to create lots of measures.

Power BI Tables View

This is where this little trick can come in very useful.

Setting Up Our New Measures Table

Within the Power BI desktop, click on the Enter Data button on the Home tab.

Enter Data on Home tab

This will bring up the Create Table dialogue box.  We are only interested in the Name field. Here we will enter the name of our new measures table, then click on Load to complete the task.

Create Table view

This will create a new table within the Power BI desktop.  We can then start to move the measures to the new table.

Moving Measures to Our New Table

Go to the first table that holds a measure. Select the measure, then click the Modeling tab.

Modelling tab with measure

Within the Modeling tab we can move the measure from one table to another by using Home Table.

Home Table

From the drop down list, select the new table. In the above example, at present Count_Lead_Source is sitting in TBL_Opp_Measures. To move it to the Measures Table table, we just click on the name of the new table in the list.

Measures table in Home Table list

The measure is moved and is present in the new table. 

Moved measures to new table

Years 2000 and 2500 Incorrectly Shown in Power BI Report

By | Act!, Power BI, Support, Tips and Tricks | No Comments
By Meeta Gargav

We came across an unusual situation in which incorrect years (2000 and 2500) were shown in the X-axis of a Power BI report. Our questions about this issue weren’t specifically answered no matter how much Internet searching we did. We did find a workaround, and we’re describing it in this blog post in the hope that it saves someone else tearing their hair out!

Incorrect Years 2000 and 2500

We created a Power BI report using data from the Act! Opportunity module. This simple report shows the count of opportunities won (Y-axis) over the time period (X-axis).  The slicer in this report is the actual close year.  The report works as expected when we select multiple years.

year 2500 glitch (1)

However, we noticed issues with the report when we selected only a single year. Instead of the selected year (2015 in the example), the X-axis displayed the year 2000, which we did not select, even though it displayed the appropriate data for 2015. It also added 2500, a year that did not correspond with any data, and that did not even appear in the list.

Showing 2500 in X-axis

We get quite a few hits when we run a search on power bi displaying the wrong year.  Some of them are listed at the end of the post, but my workaround is different from the recommendations I found on Google.

Our Workaround

When the issue is present and we select X-Axis in the Format section, we notice the Type drop-down is set to Continuous. Type allows us to choose either Continuous or Categorical.

Most of the resources I found on the Internet say that in a report like ours, the Year should be set to Continuous and the Scale Type to Linear. I found that this setting didn’t work in the case at issue. But when we change Type to Categorical, the report appears as we expect.

Wrong Year Issue Corrected

Here’s a closeup of the corrected report:

Corrected report

The other workaround that I have found is to create another Year column and make it a text field. We would then use the decimal Year for the slicer, and the text Year for the X-axis. However, the reason I don’t use this as my default is that we would then be bulking up our Power BI report with extra columns.

I am really interested in what you think of my workaround, so please leave a comment.

View a YouTube demonstration of the issue and workaround by clicking this link!


Here are a few of the search results that I examined:

https://community.powerbi.com/t5/Desktop/shows-wrong-year/td-p/27652
https://www.mrexcel.com/forum/power-bi/894525-correct-date-wrong-display-powerbi.html
https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/powerbi-desktop-data-types/

Caldere Leads with the Top 3 CRM Leaders!

By | Act!, CRM, Salesforce, Zoho | No Comments

Of the 20 most popular CRM software packages reported by Capterra, Caldere supports all of the top 3!

Contact us today to talk about which of these are right for your company and how we can get you started quickly and easily. If you are already a user of one of these packages, let’s talk about how Caldere can make your experience even better and help you gain profitability and productivity.

Top CRM Software

Act!-Outlook Integration Support: A Case Study

By | Act!, Administrative, Support, Tips and Tricks, Training | No Comments

Have you ever had trouble with your Act!-Outlook integration? Here’s how Caldere helped a client with a difficult issue.

The Client

One of our longstanding Act! clients uses a complex system of several databases and has a few dozen users in total. Their data administrator is what IT support people consider a “superuser”, someone who has more experience and authority than most other people in her company who use the program. She’s smart, and has become knowledgeable enough to train new users and to deal with many common problems on her own. So when she calls us with an issue, as she did not long ago, we know it’s going to be an interesting one!

Act!-Outlook integration supportThe Support Issue

When Act!-Outlook integration is set up and functioning properly, an Act! user can access e-mail from within contact records. They can start an e-mail with a contact by clicking within the contact’s record, the e-mail itself should show in contact history, and so forth. One staff member had lost the ability to use that Act!-Outlook integration functionality.

The data admin knew the usual things to do, of course. First she made sure the staff member had the right permissions. She looked to see whether they were accessing the right database files in the right way, and she asked them whether Outlook itself had had any issues. She checked the staff member’s Act! Preferences to make sure the e-mail settings were correctly set as Caldere had recommended. But then she was surprised to see that E-mail System Setup didn’t show the check boxes for selecting either Outlook or Act! e-mail. The field where the options were normally shown was quite blank. All she could do was close Act! and call us for support.

Diagnosing the Act!-Outlook Issue

We contacted the data admin, and she sat with the staff member to consult while we set up a remote support session on the user computer. First we checked the data admin’s work to make sure we understood what she had seen and done. We confirmed that the options were not appearing in E-mail System Setup, and we made sure all the easiest fixes had been tried (it’s always best to try those first!).

Then we moved on to intermediate-level diagnostics. We verified that the user was running compatible versions of Outlook and Act!, and that there were no known conflicts between the Act! plugin for Outlook and any other Outlook plugins. The user’s Outlook profile looked fine. There were no identifiable compatibility issues between Act! or Outlook and any other software installed on the computer.

How We Solved It

We moved on to the more advanced-level fixes. These can involve fixing damaged programs, editing the registry, or as a last resort uninstalling and reinstalling Act! itself, so they would not have been things the data admin would have tried by herself. One problem that is known to cause the E-mail SystemFinding the way through Setup to show blank is related to Microsoft Visual C++. Since C++ is a Microsoft product, not part of Act!, only limited assistance is available from the Act! vendor’s customer support. We wound up removing the suspected problem redistributable and reinstalling it from a verified good download. We then downloaded and ran a complex batch file that reset several functions and ensured the newly reinstalled redistributable was operating properly.

After applying that fix, we rebooted the user computer and checked to make sure the options appeared in E-mail System Setup (they did, and everyone cheered). We verified that Act! worked as expected once the preferences were set according to our usual operating standards. Then we opened Outlook and verified that the add-ins had been properly installed and were working correctly with Act!. We made sure that the data admin and the staff member understood the issue and that they were happy with the solution, then we ended the support session and let them get back to work.

What We Can Do for You

At Caldere, our tech support team has been working with Act! for many years. We combine our unusual depth of experience and intelligent grasp of systems with a willingness to go the extra mile in identifying and resolving the problems that stop you from being productive. Call us if you’d like us to be your first line of defense when unexpected things happen.


More details about the solution we successfully applied in this case study can be found in the Act! Knowledgebase.

Even More Tools with Act! Premium v19.1

By | Act!, CRM, Maintenance | No Comments

Announcing the NEW eCommerce Connections

Now in Act! v19.1, Premium subscribers can connect directly to popular eCommerce solutions!

eCommerce Connections graphic v19.1

With the new eCommerce Connections, you will be able to:

  • eCommerce Connections History Tab v19.1View your customer purchase history for these solutions
  • From the History tab, view Order ID, Quantity, and price of items in the order, and the order total
  • Send targeted marketing campaigns to groups of eCommerce customers
  • Inform your sales conversations with pertinent details about a customer’s visits and buying habits
  • Boost all of your sales and marketing efforts
  • Start doing all of this without having to install separate apps or plug-ins

New functionality in Act! Companion for mobile users

Users of Act! Companion (first made available in v19) will now have the following additional functionalities in Act! v19.1 to eliminate needless picks-and-clicks and to enhance productivity on the go:

  • Quickly create a History from the Business Card view
  • Use @ mentions to associate history (meetings, events, calls, notes, etc.) to contacts or other users

Take advantage of multiple quality enhancements 

In response to user feedback, Act! v19.1 has put out several updates that you’ll want to incorporate into your installation. Make sure you have all of the new functionality and experience enhancements that make Act! the right solution for your business.

Contact us to learn more about how to upgrade to v19.1 and get the latest technology working for you!

Microsoft Power BI is Magic Quadrant Leader – Gartner

By | Act!, Business Intelligence, CRM, Power BI | No Comments

Gartner positions Power BI as the leader in its Magic Quadrant

Power BI leads the pack again!

Miguel Martinez, Sr. Product Marketing Manager, recently published this post in the Microsoft Power BI blog to call attention to some astonishing news about the platform. Microsoft Power BI general manager Kamal Hathi has confirmed in this post in the official Microsoft blog that Gartner* has positioned Power BI as a Leader in their 2017 Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms for the tenth consecutive year (see diagram to left).

Across all industries, organisations recognise the power and opportunity that come with the implementation of a fast, effective analytics and data visualisation tool.  The ease of use of the Power BI platform and the simplicity with which users can share insights in real time are key reasons why we use and recommend it to link to and make sense of the wealth of data locked in an Act! database.

At Caldere, we think Power BI is the right choice to optimise our Act! database, and we’d like to show you why. Microsoft has shown a huge commitment to the Power BI project. Their roadmap for the future includes new ways to collaborate with users and continually upgrade the platform. We are confident that implementing Power BI along with a strong database will help any business, especially in the SME sector, gain a critical edge over their competitors.

Don’t forget to check out our video demonstration of how to quickly and easily connect an Act! database to the Power BI desktop.

 


*(The Microsoft blog post includes this disclaimer: The graphic was published by Gartner, Inc., as part of a larger research document and should be evaluated in the context of the entire document. The Gartner document is available upon request. Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.”)

The New Act! v19 Upgrade – How To Get There

By | Act!, Administrative, Business Management, CRM, Maintenance, Tips and Tricks, Training | No Comments

So now that you’ve read our post and information page about the great new features of Act! Premium v19, what’s the way forward? Here’s a road map to preparing for and implementing a smooth v19 upgrade with Caldere.

v19 upgrade signCheck Your Vehicle

You will need to inspect all parts of your system to make sure they are operating properly and meet the minimum system requirements. If you’re not sure, we’re here to help.

If you need a license for v19, we can arrange this. (Some users, such as those with subscriptions or some of those who recently purchased v18, may already have a license.) Contact us and we’ll help make sure your license is in order for your v19 upgrade.

If you are upgrading from a version of Act! other than v18 Premium, and you are using or may use remote database access (such as for users who work from home, or mobile users), you must make sure that your SQL database engine is properly updated. We can assist you.

Backing up your databases before you upgrade isn’t just a good idea, it’s a critical step in any upgrade in case something turns out to be incompatible or not to work as intended. Backing up before, and in the worst case, restoring after, an upgrade can be intimidating and technically tricky. If you haven’t done this before, it’s critical that you do it (you would be surprised how many users we’ve seen who don’t know how). Some older databases may even need to be converted before the v19 upgrade. We are experts in this and can show you how to make sure you’re protected.

Most importantly, make sure your data is clean and organised. A clean database, free of accumulated garbage and duplicates, eliminates most everyday data issues and makes your work faster and more efficient. We know some tips and tricks that will help you tune up your data fast so you don’t also upgrade your problems!

Look Both Ways and Behind

If you are currently a Premium Cloud user, it’s important that you don’t attempt to upgrade on your own, or you could lose your ability to synchronise your data. Contact us to get a readiness assessment and understand what your next steps are.

If you share a database with other users (even if the other users are just the other computers you use), do not upgrade only your machine, or only some machines and not others. The versions of the database and the users must match. Contact us to help navigate the ins and outs of upgrading your server and organising all of your users, both direct-access and remote.

Checking your existing software for compatibility is always worth the small time investment. This includes making sure any customisations within Act! itself, as well as any add-on software, operate as expected in the new version. We can help you avoid roadblocks and known issues that can make your new installation troublesome or even cause crashes.

Know Where You’re GoingYour destination - v19

Act! v19 comes with brand new features and useful functionality that you may not have considered implementing until now! To get the full value for your subscription and the fullest use of your valuable data, we recommend you think about ways you can integrate these things into your business. We can discuss ways in which we’ve seen other businesses use these strategies, and help you get up to speed.

When it’s time to apply the actual upgrade, you can put us in the driver’s seat so we can do the setting up of your server, apply the upgrade and any necessary remote sync support to user computers, and make sure any after-upgrade configurations are implemented properly. We’ll catch problems as they occur and work with you to fix them immediately. This will prevent any unnecessary disruption and get you back to work in the minimum possible time.

After your upgrade, our team of experts can train you in any aspects of Act! into which you want more insight. We can provide necessary maintenance and support to make sure you don’t run into trouble on the way. This will make sure you run smoothly and avoid downtime that would cost you money and productivity.

Get the expert assistance of an experienced pit crew… contact Caldere by web form, e-mail, or phone to discuss Act! v19 and plan your v19 upgrade! 

How Can We Help?

Find out how Caldere can help you to build a more successful business:
Call +44 (0)118 945 6220 and speak to one of our dedicated specialists.

Contact us!