Our progress continues on Ascend Version 3. As with most major projects we’ve had some surprises and things are taking longer than expected. We’re focussing all of our energy on providing a fast and reliable system to carry us all into the future. We’re targeting the 2nd half of 2013 for release. Sometime after the 1st of the year our Ascend Sales Team will begin using V3 to run our own day-to-day software business. I’ll be sure to let you know when that happens.
In the meantime there are plenty of things you can do to get ready for V3. This is a first in series of blogs detailing steps you can take now to be ready to upgrade.
- Upgrade to Version 2.5: Before you can upgrade to V3 you need to be on Version 2.5. Many of you already are. Some of you aren’t. Our goal is to have 90% on Version 2.5 by the end of December. It’s a tall task but we’re getting close. If we hit the goal, I’ve agreed to get an Ascend Blue crew cut. And, as an added bonus, I will also dye my Movember Mustache blue. Currently you have to stand a foot away from me to see it. But trust me, by the end of December, it will be awesome! Don’t worry. There will be pictures.
- Replace your old hardware: If you have any of this hardware it’s time to think about replacing it:
- Windows XP PC’s
- Epson III Receipt Printers
- Cognitive Del Sol Label Printers
- Verfione 1000SE Serial Port PIN Pads
If you need help with either of these steps feel free to call us, email us or visit us at www.ascendrms.com.
Before we talk about Analytics, here’s another plug for Version 2.2. Since we released it last Monday, over 250 locations have updated. If you didn’t attend one of our webinars, click here to view a recording. Please note that 2.2 has an upgraded PIN pad interface. It does not support serial port connections. Only USB PIN pads will work. Contact our Support Team if you have need to replace any old serial port PIN pads.
Ascend Analytics is your online business intelligence system. It’s available to everyone that has Ascend. More than 500 locations are using it. If you’re not using it, make plans in 2012 to change that. When you’re ready, contact our Support Team and they’ll tell what you need to do to get started.
If you’re using Analytics, one of the most powerful things you can do is to set your budget for the year. It’s a great way to measure how you’re doing against your financial goals. With 2012 quickly approaching, now is the time to create your budget. Click here for instructions and follow the steps to create a new financial budget. We also have an Ascend University on-line training module that walks you through the process. Contact us if you need an Ascend U sign-on.
This winter we’re coming to a city near you for in-person seminars. Ask anyone that has attended these sessions and they’ll tell you that they’re one of the best business seminars they’ve ever attended. We’ll be repeating our first seminar series and we’ve added an advanced day as well. So, even if you attended the first time around, you’ll want to attend again. Click here for a schedule and class details and contact us now to reserve your seats.
If you can’t make it out to see us you’ll want to check out our new video series. The entire “Power Your Business With Ascend” 1 day seminar has been broken down to a series of 15 to 20 minute segments for you to view at your convenience. Go you to the Training page on our website and view them from there.
And finally, we want to hear from you. Tell us and your fellow bike dealers how using Ascend Analytics has helped you and your business. Post a comment to this blog post to tell your story.
The next update to Ascend will be available this month. We’re very excited about the new features in Version 2.2:
- We’ve totally revamped the On Sale process in Ascend. We’ve created a new screen for adding items to an On Sale. Dealers with multiple locations will now have the ability to download On Sale records created at any of their other locations. We are also showing your On Sale prices all over the application (Products Folder, In-Store Product Window, Select Products Window, etc.)
- We’ve updated the Work Orders Due and Ready For Pick-Up screen. You can now easily switch between the two views from the same screen. We’ve added e-mail and phone number columns and each user has the ability to configure all the columns in the order they want them. New features have also been added to the grid to allow you to search within the work orders listed and to group them by any column you specify.
- We’ve added the ability to print Special Order receipts from the Vendor Order screen. Ascend will print out transaction receipts that you can attach the items to help identify them. When the customer comes in to pick up their special order, you can scan the receipt to open up their sale and finish it.
- We’ve completed our e-mail integration. Now, every place in Ascend where you can send e-mail messages uses our integrated service. In addition to that, we’ve added the ability to create a custom auto-signature that will appear at the bottom of any message you send out.
- We’ve updated our Chase Paymentech credit card integration. The VeriFone PIN pads will now work on Windows 7 – 64 bit PC’s.
- For our Trek Product Registration program we’ve added a confirmation message to appear at the bottom of your customers’ receipts. It’s the same message they’d see if they register their bikes on the Trekbikes.com website.
We will be hosting instructional webinars the week of December 12th. Watch for more details on registering to attend or view one of these sessions.