f.a.q.

You have questions. wE have answers.

Please browse these commonly asked questions. We invite you to contact us with additional questions.

What is included in my project cost?

Full disclosure is imperative in order for sufficient and proper project funding to be approved. A project estimate from Leatherberry Associates clearly defines the scope of the project, the software and hardware components required, and all necessary support and training servicwhees. All annual licensing and service related renewals are included as optional items except when required.

How long does a typical automation project take to implement?

Projects vary widely in scope and complexity. A simple project can be implemented and rolled out within 1 to 2 weeks. Typically, a moderate project will take 1 to 3 months for code development and testing, ordering of hardware, if necessary, implementation, and training.A pre-engagement discovery process will assist in defining a timeline for your specific project. 

When will I see a return on investment?

There are many contributing factors that comprise the timing for investment return. Many of these factors, such are dual purposed employees and undocumented manual processes, are often hidden from the financial calculators. Time in motion studies are useful in calculating pre/post process automation. Typically, our clients see an immediate impact upon the daily performance of their operations, a fiscal analysis is optimal for financial impact and review.. 

What are some advantages of automating business processes?

It is important to note that automation of business processes is not designed to replace jobs but to improve their effectiveness. Replacing costly time consuming manual tasks with automation improves employee morale, proactively provides key information to those who require it, while reducing overtime. Integrating two or more disconnected silos of data, such as CRM and ERP, eliminates the need for duplicate data entry and may expedite order processing, invoicing and accounts receivable. Many organizations consolidate job responsibilities as turnover occurs forcing existing personnel to take on greater responsibility. Changes to morale are evidenced by reduced productivity levels, increased overtime payroll, and PTO requests.

Employees aided in the job performance by automated tasks are able to accomplish more in less time and have a healthier work-life balance.

What are some disadvantages of business process automation?

Employee acceptance of automated business tasks is a key disadvantage to consider. Change is often difficult when older legacy processes are involved. Employees fixate on manual tasks and associate their job’s co-dependence upon them. “I have to export the data into Excel then spend hours manipulating and grouping the information just right in order to distribute the weekly sales report”. An automated task could run the same weekly sales report then email it to all intended recipients within seconds thereby freeing up the employee to focus on the more important aspects of their role.

Our client’s Accounting Manager attempted to derail their CRM to Accounting integration siting job security. After months of procrastination, the CEO mandated completion of the project. Shortly after deployment, the Accounting Manager called us in tears apologizing for her actions stating she was so happy that there was no longer a need to work weekends, her multi-colored paper based system could now be eliminated, and she could now focus on the Managerial roll for which she was hired.

Every department could benefit from BPA. Where should I start?

We’ll answer the question with a question. “What department has the greatest pain and what process will yield the greatest benefit from automation?  Starting with the greatest pain may not be financially feasible so look for those tasks that are highly repetitive and costly to the organization. Ask Marketing to distribute a survey to internal staff and customers soliciting feedback. Understand that the most effective deployment of process automation should be completed in phases where the first phase is short and simple. Sales and Service related processes are often a great stater for automation. Simple proactive data mining tasks, activity reports, and service status update notifications will begin to close the lack of communication gap between company and customer. 

What is the difference between Hosted and On-Premise?

A hosted software solution is maintained on a cloud server, usually by the software manufacturer. The hosting provider assumes the risk for hardware, security, and software upgrades. There is typically a low to moderate monthly “per user” fee which makes this type of offering appealing. However, consumer beware that this type of pricing model will require monthly payment for as long as the software technology is in use. Annual software assurance or maintenance is usually included in the service fee.

On-Premise software is purchased by the consumer and maintained by the consumer, or its agents, on local consumer owned hardware. An advantage to this purchasing model is that the software technology is owned by the consumer and not rented. Typically the break even point is either 24 or 36 months. After this point, a hosted model becomes more expensive and should be adjusted for as an operational expense. On-Premise software purchases typically include one year of software assurance or maintenance and requires annual renewal in order to continue receiving software service releases, updates, and defect hotfixes.

Who provides Software Support?

Depending up the software technology purchased, the manufacturer may offer some level of support. Leatherberry Associates offers a variety of support plans to ensure your designated technical contact has a continuous support resource should one be necessary. We offer direct end user support upon request.

What type of support plan do you offer?

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What is Software Assurance?

Software Assurance, more commonly know as Annual Maintenance, is an annual fee charged by the software manufacturer. It is usually based upon a percentage of the software purchase price or sum of user licenses. Assurance, when paid, entitles the software end user to receive software maintenance updates, service patches, defect corrections, and major releases during the period for which the Assurance is active.    

Do I have to pay for Software Assurance?

Renewal of software assurance entitles you to the latest version of the software. Clients possessing a heavily customized software solution may opt to not renew their software assurance thereby locking them into a the version of the software installed at the time of expiration. Assurance may be reinstated by paying the software manufacturer’s renewal fees. 

My Solution will require custom code. Who owns that code?

Leatherberry Associates is a technology solutions provider and therefore maintains proprietary knowledge and source code developed over our years of service to our clients. This knowledge and source code is often repurposed in effort to reduce project costs to our clients. However, whenever possible, source code utilized on a project is maintained in such a manner that the client will have access to make changes as deemed necessary. In the event that source code is compiled for explicit use by a client, the compiled code, any executable, dll, or similar files are provided to the client.

Who is able to modify my Solution’s custom code?

We strongly encourage clients to communicate with us before initiating any source code changes. Changes should only be made by a qualified technical resource.

Who will administer my solution?

A designated system administrator will be fully trained and serve as our technical contact at the client site. This individual will be responsible for administering the software deployment. The individual will disseminate learned information to end users as deemed necessary. Leatherberry Associates does offer remote system administration (RSA) as a service.

Should I have a backup administrator?

Employee turnover at the system administrator level averages 18 to 24  months from deployment. Clients are encouraged to train a secondary resource . leatherberry Associates may offer remote administration services during times of transition.

What is the impact to the company if my administrator quits?

Without secondary backup, the lose of a fully involved system administrator could have a lasting affect on the organization’s process automation plan. A newly hired sys admin will require time to digest organizational business processes and could delay deployment of next phase projects. Simply because an individual is familiar with the business process or project at hand, does not mean they are fully qualified to administer the project. A wrongly placed individual could cost the organization.

What happens if a BPA Task fails or is aborted?

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Our database server crashed. Do all of our BPA Tasks need to be rewritten?

Fortunately, the BPA database is backed up based upon the client’s IT backup policy. Additionally, all automated tasks created by Leatherberry Associates are stored in an export file on site and at Leatherberry Associates, Should the unthinkable happen and a server failure occurs, a simple file restoration process will have your project back up and running shortly. 

What is involved in upgrading BPA?

Close your eyes and click OK. Well maybe not that simple, but a software upgrade may be completed with minimal impact to the organization. Tasks created are not affected by core software updates.