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Project management and intelligent analytics are now a part of SAP Business One, the vendor's ERP for SMBs.
The latest release of SAP Business One Version 9.2 is now available in on-premises and cloud versions, and also includes mobile improvements and an app-like browser interface that allows real-time access to its main business functions, according to the company.
SAP Business One is ERP for SMBs and divisions of enterprises, allowing them to implement an ERP system if they have outgrown standalone business productivity tools like QuickBooks or Microsoft Excel. These companies generally lack the resources or IT infrastructure to implement a full ERP system, but SAP Business One allows access to functions like accounting, CRM, production planning and reporting.
Davi Pontes, senior manager of operations, Tribe Medical Group, said that SAP Business One has made a huge difference in running the business more efficiently. Tribe Medical Group, based in London, Ont., is the exclusive Canadian distributer of Arthrex orthopedic devices, such as plates and screws for joints.
Although it remains a medium-sized business with just under 100 employees, the company experienced rapid growth since it began the Arthrex line of business in 2008 and Pontes said it needed an ERP for SMBs.
"That's when we decided we needed something more robust," Pontes said. "We were using QuickBooks and Excel, but there were things we didn't have like CRM, and we were also using a couple older ERP products that were more specific to the medical industry. We replaced that all with SAP Business One, which went live in 2014."
Running SAP Business One has resulted in a complete 180-degree change in how the business operates, Pontes explained. "We get so many efficiencies because we're all looking at the same database in the organization; the reporting and analytic features are fantastic and we do so much of that through SAP now," he said. "There was a lot of manual work that got put into reporting in the past and we do it all so much easier now."
Tribe Medical is not moving to Version 9.2 right now because its small IT team is involved in other projects, but Pontes said they are planning on the move within the next six months. He is particularly interested in the mobile improvements and the browser app in Version 9.2.
"For us it's all about mobility because probably 60% of our staff is in the field sales, so a lot of our need is in mobile reach and all of our sales force relies heavily on mobile technologies and solutions," Pontes said. "For 9.2, there's a lot of improvements and new features and tools in that area like the iPhone app and a new app that Tribe Medical was a part of the development team with SAP on. So we're really looking forward to that for our sales force and excited about the new things that they're bringing to the mobile table."
According to SAP, the new version has a few other added features that deliver ERP for SMBs, including:
- A project management module that helps users monitor the progress of tasks and stages, including all project-related transactions, documents and resources.
- A forecasting process that allows users to forecast demand and establish a basis for material resource planning. It can also enable visibility on demand history, which helps prioritize opportunities and create channels to meet demand needs. Intelligent forecasts are based on predictive analytics enabled by SAP HANA and displayed through dashboards.
New release of SAP Single Sign-On promises more security
SAP's security may be tighter now with the release of a new version of SAP Single Sign-On. Release 3.0 expands existing coverage for mobile and cloud scenarios, simplifies implementation and improves security protocols based on market requirements, according to the company.
SAP Single Sign-On provides users with secure access to business applications and helps companies to protect data and meet security requirements. This includes functions like single sign-on for SAP and web applications, mobile applications, and on-premises or cloud environments; data protection through encryption and data signatures; and advanced security features including two-factor authentication, RFID-based authentication and hardware security support.
According to SAP, Single Sign-On helps companies with cost savings by reducing users' manual efforts for authentication, password resets, and help desk interactions. The vendor claims it's also easy to deploy and reduces the need for provisioning and managing passwords across many systems.
Improvements in the new version of SAP Single Sign-On include:
- Enhanced integration with existing enterprise public key infrastructure (PKI) implementations. With SAP SSO 3.0, the Secure Login Server acts as the Registration Authority (RA) while the existing PKI acts as the Certificate Authority (CA) for both user and server certifications, which means that you only need to use one enterprise PKI if you already have one in place.
- Automated certificate lifecycle management for the SAP NetWeaver Application Server for ABAP. The Secure Login Server administration console helps manage certificate lifecycle by automating renewals for server components, which reduces manual effort, eliminates human error and prevents downtime, according to SAP.
- Expanded single sign-on support for mobile devices. The Secure Login Server allows several ways to provision X.509 certificates for mobile devices and allows you to provision X.509 certificates to a mobile device via the SAP Authenticator mobile app for iOS.
- New encryption-only mode to help ensure continuously secure communications. The new encryption-only mode enables network encryption for the SNC protocol used to communicate with SAP systems even if a user-specific security token is unavailable or not configured. This means that users can protect data communications during an implementation project and ensures data privacy if an end user loses the smart card that holds the required digital certificate.
- The Secure Login Web Client allows a business process running in a browser session, either on-premises or in the cloud, to trigger seamless authentication for a native client such as SAP GUI on the user desktop.
- Enhancements for cryptographic capabilities and security protocols. SAP SSO 3.0 now supports Perfect Forward Secrecy for SNC communications, reducing the risk of compromised keys that allow an attacker to decrypt previously recorded session data.
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