SYSTEM ENVIRONMENT solutions provided by Reckon Community Help
Also see WAN Environment, LAN environment tips, and 6 ways to
gain best Reckon Community Support in recent articles tagged at foot of this article.
Back on the 5th May 2015, there were 5010 conversations taking place and by 15th Dec, this had grown over 2000 entries to 7107. In that timeframe, ABS researched 375+ of those (about 18%) tackling those within the experience and capabilities of the team members, namely RA desktop, HOSTED, ONE and general ledger/journal usage. (IE: not Firm Practice or POS).
90% of solutions involved education and environment adjustments
Not surprisingly, there were an enormous number of duplicate requests for the same query, and once they were taken out of the equation, the result was typically 90% of the queries related to
- lack of familiarity or
- failure to read the fine print of installation, upgrade or migration. and /or
- lack of collaboration with experienced Accredited Partners with IT consulting skills and/or
- lack of awareness of the impact of the IT environment (LAN, WAN), and
- discussed here: SYSTEM ENVIRONMENT
Both sides exposed
Now let me put a couple of facts on the table, in fairness to both sides of the topic here.
Yes, I'll gladly confess I don't read the manual often too. After 20+ years of using all the variations of Reckon products, I have fallen into the trap of assuming that upgrades are the same as last time. Hey, the last two new cars hit the road before I read what all the ignition lamps mean! Eventually you get curious about one that stays on, and realise: "Hmmm... I should have been aware of that earlier!".
Now you'll surely want to discuss the 10% of real serious issues that need to be addressed. ......Inability to login, share prices not updating, POS features overdue, emails not sending, PDF reports not attaching...... and so forth......
Yes there are some matters that, thanks to Community input, the need to address issues, even for users who are not under subscription, contract or support plans, have graciously made available.
By the way, did I say, graciously? After tackling the day-to-day questions, the research turned to looking at queries that had remained unanswered, possibly due to the spirit in which the query was raised.
An interesting human relations exercise for sure, particularly when tackling it from a totally independent position such as ABS. Solutions for some were found, and a positive feedback emerged. But alas, many other solutions go unacknowledged, making it difficult for Moderator's to accurately determine if the matter is 100% resolved.
The beauty of an anonymous Community.
The silent majority can never be measured, as they connect, obtain their solution and leave no trace of their presence. The power of SEO and analytics is addressing such a statistic. And of course, only bad news filters to the top. Interesting to observe on ANY forum or open discussion media, the lack of articles simply writing in to say - "Terrific! - Enjoying the product/service".
Being in the service industry for 40+ years, it is always interesting to see the reaction of vendors when you simply ring on a Monday to declare: "All's well, and loving your service". I imagine Telco's, Banks, and Insurance firms don't see that too often! My point: Beware of what statistics really mean, including this article!
SYSTEM ENVIRONMENT - what is it?
Not wishing to leave MAC users out of the game here, but I'll focus more on the Windows operating system ENVIRONMENT, because Cloud/Hosted/Browser based solutions are simpler.
To settle that matter, the latter is really dependent upon the BROWSER, its version, its Plug-ins,, Add-ons and preferences, PLUS the LAN/WAN environment impacting connection to the Data Centre.
But for products, in this case Reckon Accounts, running inhouse on a combination of DESKTOP and nearby in-house SERVERS, there are ENVIRONMENT ISSUES to deal with.
- The Operating System on the User's desktop, in relation to the Operating System on the in-house Server, their versions (year), service pack/security update level, and 32/64bit variant
- Related Office Suite packages, typically Microsoft Office, its version (year), service pack/security update level and 32/64bit variant
- Email settings, such as MS Outlook SMTP server settings, ports, timeout values,
- PDF tools, that are used for generating PDF files for invoices, orders, reports, you name it, and that tool's version (year) and patch level.
- OTHER PROGRAMS used for NON-ACCOUNTING business purposes, that have their desired pre-requisites of the above
- Dependent SERVICES running in the background of the OPERATING SYSTEM that are used by complimentary INTEGRATED PACKAGES
- Required hardware like backup devices and the operating system and LAN/WAN/Cloud compatibility of such.
The above covers the majority of the considerations of "SYSTEM" ENVIRONMENT, into which a User decides to install another product - such as Reckon Accounts, or Personal Plus for instance.
Now, if all these products came from one organisation and were fully collaborated upon, and only released at intervals where all the ingredients were compatible, 'at the same time', then ENVIRONMENT considerations would be less onerous.
Users often desire using legacy products
The underlying cause of compatibility issues comes from business or personal desires to use particular REVISIONS of particular ENVIRONMENT items.
For instance, over the last 20 years there have been some major issues with some products. Older readers will recall Windows 98A, and Windows ME, and of course Vista, not to mention Home editions. Industry survived a number of years on Windows XP SP3 from 2004 until the aftermath of post-Vista days settled, and WIn 7 Pro 64-bit grew its legs into a reasonable operating system, for instance.
That journey spanned something like 6 years, which is an eon of time in IT circles.
But back to the point. Software is often BACKWARDS COMPATIBLE, but can rarely be FORWARD compatible. Nobody knows what the future will bring, you can only deal with technology already in existence, particularly when it is somebody ELSE'S software.
Timelines of software
Let's share the history of the major ingredients, thanks to the fine publishing of the acknowledged authors
Microsoft OPERATING SYSTEM releases from 1986 to date. Over 14 major releases during that period, but of interest, 6 of them in the last 15 years. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Windows#/media/File:Windows_Updated_Family_Tree.png
Full details from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Microsoft_Windows_versions
Microsoft Office releases from 1990 to date. Again, over 14 major releases over that period, 9 of them in the last 15 years. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Microsoft_Office
Meantime, Reckon Accounts have been releasing their software annually since the late 1980's and have to deal with the backwards compatibility of known ENVIRONMENTS. This is in the order of 20+ releases of some matured products.
ie: Here's a typical example of how RA deals with access to system on various operating systems
TIPS for your Environment
- Your personal/business needs for computer products should outweigh any commercial, marketing suggestion of upgrading, migrating, adopting
- Each vendor can only make suggestions from within its own scope of knowledge and exposure to related products
- Identifying ALL your business/personal needs for computing, needs to be reviewed and tabled, and not considered one product at a time.
- Unless a computer has a single application purpose (which say, a POS terminal might have), then compromises to accommodate OTHER products is needed
- It is unlikely that future trends and directions, and their dependencies/compatibilities can be predicted that far into the future. Months or a year, yes, but 3-5 years, unlikely
It is probably the recognition of the above points, that makes consideration of a dedicated application on a cloud (SaaS - software as a service) where the only requirement at the user end, is to choose a compatible BROWSER, and run that browser on hardware of their choice (ie: Safari on an iPAD, or Iceweasel on an Android Tablet, or Chrome on a Windows laptop), suddenly looks appealing, to avoid such decisions.
Observations of the COMMUNITY queries.
This is all fine, but the reality is, there are a significant number of users enjoying the continued deployment of legacy products. Perform a search on the Community for 2002, 2004, 2007, 2009 for instance and there are literally 100's of queries on the community from users trying to deploy these products on new computers that have come with Windows 10!
** In the period of time since those earlier versions were released, there's been over 1000 combinations of Operating System, Office Suite, and desired version of legacy Reckon Accounts software in place. **
Take a step back and decide if staying with that legacy product is appropriate, or else, seek out a 'computer' solution that includes the right ENVIRONMENT to suit. It is 2016.
Let's compare this to others in the same industry with comments like this reputable reporter:
".....I am always amazed when someone calls me as asks, "why doesn't my QuickBooks run on this new computer (with the newest MS-OS)?" Well, how could a program that was written more than a year ago, that underwent Alpha and Beta tests a year ago, and was released only 9 months ago, be expected to run under a new OS that hasn't even be formally released yet! I mean do you see anywhere in these operating system requirements for QuickBooks 2015 any mention of Windows 10? ..... [Insightful Accounting LLC: William (Bill) Murphy, Editor ]"
[an extract from an excellent article at: http://www.intuitiveaccountant.com/blogs/from-the-editor/what-about-quickbooks-and-windows-10/#.VpBg7o194gZ]
IT and ENVIRONMENT support to fellow AP's (Accredited Partners) and their clients
Alchester is an independent IT consulting firm, with focus on Business Systems analysis, project management and internal cost accounting management from a business and IT perspective.
Solutions based on integrating complimentary proven technologies introduced from bona fide software developers to improve business efficiencies, is well complimented by ABS' 40 years background experience in the Accounting industry with an astute awareness of the needs of fellow AP's who focus on Accounting and Bookkeeping for their clients.
Other ENVIRONMENT articles to read,
with tips on ensuring you are getting the best out of your Reckon Software.
LAN ENVIRONMENT issues:
WAN ENVIRONMENT uses:
6-ways to gain the best from RECKON COMMUNITY SUPPORT: https://community.reckon.com/reckon/topics/6-ways-to-gain-best-reckon-community-support-around-the-clock
e: [email protected]
An Accredited Partner- Consultant (VIC. Aust)
"Working with Accountants/Bookkeepers PPs/APs, as an
independent IT Professional and retired FCPA Accountant"