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Archives: August 2016

Sales Reporting, Part 2
The Item File

 Posted on August 23, 2016 by David Gillman

The item file is seemingly a simple file. Use the item number the same way as on sales orders along with the human readable description and maybe a few other fields such as color, weight, and so on. Throw in a few department or categories, too, to make summarizing easier and more meaningful to businesspeople.

Unfortunately, different industries have different ways of identifying, classifying, and describing items. There is no easy way of generalizing a single structure for covering all items that will satisfy reporting needs in all industries. Indeed, even within a single company different departments have different ways of looking at items individually and in groups.

The term "item" covers services, too. Think about the chargemaster in healthcare — basically an item master file used to bill for specific services provided. Other companies in services usually have a list of standard offerings. These are essentially item master files just like a distributor would have in its ERP as far as sales reporting is concerned.

An important point about creating an item file in a data base geared for reporting sales data is flexibility. Inevitably, the industry will change, additional divisions and departments will use the reporting, new ideas on management and sales process will be implemented, and a wide variety of other changes could occur in the company to add to the different ways items are viewed. 

Additionally, item numbers will change over time. The same product coming from different vendors may have the same item number now, but will be different in the future.

There are the usual ways around this problem, such as adding additional columns or writing some logic that looks at the invoice date to find the appropriate item description. It seems like everyone can create a system that fits their company’s need if they emphasize flexibility for the future rather than perfection in the present.

Posted in Education | Comments


What Is the Cloud?

 Posted on August 3, 2016 by Bill Langston

IBM, Oracle, HP, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, SAP, and virtually every other major technology company want you and your company to use their cloud. Each quarter, these companies release new products and acquire companies to bolster their cloud offerings and grow their cloud revenue. Industry analysts forecast remarkable growth in cloud spending. Yet, global spending on information technology has been nearly flat for several years now and Gartner expects it to remain that way for the rest of this decade. So what is the source of all this cloud growth?

As consumers, we generally think of the cloud as a place where we can backup and save files, access applications and websites to do online banking, pay bills, share photos and music, or communicate with our healthcare providers. But if you’re a publicly traded technology company striving to meet ever higher quarterly revenue targets, the cloud can be much, much more. Here are some ways technology companies increase their cloud revenue:

Whether it’s software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), infrastructure as a service (Iaas), business process as a service (BPaaS), a private cloud, a public cloud, a hybrid cloud, or even remote backup, all these resources are commonly treated as cloud revenue today.

Yes, new technology is creating demand for cloud computing, and companies are using clouds in an effort to gain flexibility and reduce cost. But technology companies, eager to impress investors, will continue to creatively expand the definition of cloud computing to ensure they achieve their targeted rates of growth.

Posted in IBM i Marketplace | Comments

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