How Manufacturers Can Avoid Common ERP Software Mistakes

How Manufacturers Can Avoid Common ERP Software Mistakes
Although an overwhelming majority of manufacturers have invested in enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, many are not getting the biggest bang for their technology investment. In fact, a whopping 74% of manufacturers have ERP solutions in place, according to Aberdeen Group's ERP in Manufacturing report. Despite this investment, many manufacturers are not fully using their ERP solutions and are, therefore, not reaping the biggest possible return.  As software developers continue to unveil new features, manufacturers are using an increasingly

smaller percentage of the application's overall capabilities, the research firm determined. Some manufacturers continue to use out-dated solutions that do not take advantage of later advances, Aberdeen determined. Others are based on proprietary technologies that are less efficient and more costly to maintain, according to the research firm.

The average manufacturing ERP implementation used a weighted average of 30.1% of the software capabilities, Aberdeen said, and went on to say " today's globally competitive markets, most manufacturers are essentially leaving money on the table by not taking full advantage of newer technology-enabled features and functions."

Top ERP Disappointments for Manufacturers

If it's time, then, to reconsider your existing manufacturing ERP solution or explore the possibility of investing in a newer iteration, it's worthwhile remembering some of the reasons that ERP implementations can fail or be more time-consuming and costly than originally anticipated. After all, you want to ensure you garner the biggest possible ROI from your new ERP solution, and avoiding common pitfalls is a great way to begin.

Here are 10 common errors or problems manufacturers face when it comes to implementing ERP software.

Unrealistic Expectations

ERP is not a magic bullet. To paraphrase the long-running Staples' commercial, there is no "easy" button to push. Rather, ERP software requires careful, long- and short-term planning, and a phased-in rollout. People will get frustrated, IT staff will be taxed and most likely productivity will dip for a short, learning-curve spell.

Not Enough Training

Managers and end-users must receive sufficient and ongoing training to maximize their use of the ERP solution. Without this upfront training, frustrations will rise - and executives will not have access to the wealth of decision-critical information available to them.

IT's Mine

Although technology lies behind ERP, the software does not - and should not - belong to IT. Of course, IT or one of its partners will install the software, but ERP is a corporate-wide tool and should be viewed as such.

Poor Planning

ERP software and operation does not belong to one particular department or executive. Rather, this company-wide asset requires input from multiple departments and managers to ensure all relevant data streams and processes are incorporated. After all, ERP's entire reason for being is to provide a centralized, accessible repository of the entire organization's information; missing a department or function severely limits its capabilities.


Of course, you want to reap the benefits of ERP software immediately, but recognize that this is not an overnight process. Rushing or avoiding key steps will backfire, potentially damaging the long-term benefits. It's important to set a schedule, but allot ample time for everything from vendor comparisons and training, to pilot testing and the corporate-wide implementation.


There are an almost overwhelming number of ERP software choices so it's vital to take the time to explore each possibility and objectively eliminate - whether it's because of price, features, reputation, financial viability or customer feedback - from your list of candidates. Buying ERP software is not like purchasing a word processing application: Since ERP is so integral to your manufacturing business you really need a true partner that understands your business model, your goals and your processes. Select the wrong partner and you could be in for a messy - and expensive - software divorce.

Lack of Commitment

Given the cost and time associated with an ERP implementation, most likely you'll have buy-in from executive leadership. If not, you'd better wait until you have full-fledged executive sponsorship. The path to ERP success can be bumpy at times and you don't want to operate in an environment of finger-pointing and "told you so." Clear leadership is essential to ERP's success.

No Digging

One great thing about an ERP implementation, whether new or replacement, is the opportunity it affords to revisit old processes and cut out waste or inefficiencies. After all, you don't want or need to automate inefficient business processes that waste time or resources. Consider advances in other areas of manufacturing and integrate these into your ERP plan to truly drive cross departmental and enterprise-wide efficiencies throughout your organization. Don't forget to include these in your ROI predictions and post-implementation analysis.

Bad Data

Similarly, ERP solutions demand quality data: Without it, executives cannot accurately make the right decisions to drive your business forward. It is, therefore, critical to periodically check the accuracy of information stored in company databases to prevent errors in material procurement, manufacturing planning, inventory and purchasing, among others.

Irreconcilable Differences

Likewise, your ERP solution should not be an island. It must integrate well with your existing legacy systems and other back-office applications. If a vendor's software does not work with your existing enterprise software, it's probably wise to remove this ERP system from your list of candidates. Not doing so will only result in major headaches and additional expense.

Whether you're a member of the 36% of manufacturers that have yet to implement an ERP solution or are part of the majority and need to update your ERP software, it's important to wring the last dollar of ROI from your investment. Those manufacturers that best-leverage their Enterprise Resource Planning technologies reduce inventory by an average of 20%, cut both manufacturing and administrative costs by 14% each, increase manufacturing compliance by 20% and improve on-time shipments by 21%, according to Aberdeen.

Translate those percentage points into dollars, and it's easy to see how properly deployed ERP software can easily translate into ROI dollars. Whether you make potato chips or computer chips, making the most of your ERP implementation makes good sense for any manufacturer's business.

Best Practices in CRM Software Optimization

Best Practices in CRM Software Optimization
Implementing your new CRM software is not the end of the journey. There is no end to the Customer Relationship Management journey if you want to grow your customer relationships, adapt your business to a changing market and move your business steadily forward. Optimizing your CRM solution will be a continuous and, if done properly, profitable endeavor. Optimizing CRM software is a constant requirement because your business and your customers are constantly changing. For example,

a customer’s needs may change because of a lifestyle shift such as marriage or divorce, births or graduations, or layoffs and promotions. Likewise, your business has undergone many changes through recession and boon alike. Change, as they say, is the only constant. You’ll need CRM software to track, respond and predict change in your customers’ habits,

activities and preferences. A CRM system will help you boost your bottom-line with your current customer base; reach out to prospects; and, to predict future customer activity both individually and as a group or demographic. Continuously improving your CRM solution on a regular basis will keep you in tune with all three of these customer targets.

Further, automating your customer facing business processes will increase your effectiveness and free resources that you can use elsewhere in your business. Allowing your processes to stagnate will create the opposite effect. Therefore, continuous optimization is key to your company’s profits now and in the future.

Based on realms of research and decades of experience, there are some well advised best practices to help you improve your CRM software utilization and get more payback from your software investment.

Start with an Executive Sponsor

CRM optimization efforts can easily drive your company over a cliff if there is no one there to steer the imitative. Make one person ultimately accountable for CRM optimizations and results. Preferably this person is someone who understands the company's most significant business goals and processes more so than someone who understands technology. Of course CRM improvements require technical support but it should be a business leader that designs and drives refinements and upgrades.

Customer Relationship Management software and strategy touch several lines of business. Without a central leader, departmental conflicts and sub-optimization can creep into customer facing processes thereby degrading overall business performance and alienating customers.

Zero in on Customer Centricity

Traditional CRM focuses on products, sales and other company activities. More modern Customer Relationship Management focuses on the customer lifecycle. Your goal is to move from a reactive state to a proactive one in your interactions with customers. Or said differently, you'll acquire and retain far more customers if you advance from a product company to a customer company. To do this, you need to consider, design and implement customer facing processes not just from the company's perspective, but also from the customers' perspectives.

Ensure every software optimization adheres to this goal. Aim for a seamless and consistent customer experience with each enhancement and customization. Although automating business processes aids a company in its operations the key focus of CRM should be to always remain customer centric.

Change your Change Management Strategy

Far too few companies begin their implementation process with a solid change management plan in place. Even fewer remember to update their change management process to keep it in sync with periodic optimization adjustments.

It is important to remember that customer relationships don’t just happen or advance by themselves. Nor can you put a technology in place that can maintain these relationships without any human interaction from your side of the equation. CRM enables relationships; it does not and cannot form relationships of its own accord.

That includes relationships inside your own company. Rigorous and timely updates to your change management plan will help ensure your own people embrace and advance your CRM efforts and progress.

If there is insufficient buy-in from the top down in your organization, efforts will erode and eventually fail. Furthermore, that buy-in must remain strong long past the initial fascination with the new tool.

Buy-in can fade over time particularly if the CRM system becomes stale and less and less useful as the days go by. Your change management process is your best defense against this deterioration of interest and usefulness.

Be sure to keep your change management process updated and meet periodically with your staff to ensure that the changes made (or planned) fit users’ needs. Forklift changes in particular need a staff preparation period before launch but do not assume smaller changes need little to no introduction or follow-up. After launch, plan on meeting with affected users to solicit their input and refinement suggestions. Then communicate with users again after the improvements are in place. Continue this process with every feature launch and optimization cycle.

Part of your change management should include scheduled tiered-training. This simply means that there is one level of training for new employees that need to learn the CRM system from scratch and another tier for more advanced users who merely require an update on new features and functions. Such an approach ensures users stay abreast of changes, understand how and why to use them, and have an opportunity to express frustrations and approvals of the various CRM capabilities. A one-size-fits-all approach to training that combines both new users with experienced users will invariably fail.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Operations ERP Review

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Operations ERP Review
Since its acquisition by Microsoft in 2002, Dynamics AX has evolved to become the ERP software leader in the midmarket and a strong contender in the enterprise market. Microsoft's more recent product name change — from Dynamics AX to Dynamics 365 Operations — signals the company's intent to continue to penetrate the enterprise ERP software market. Dynamics 365 Operations ERP software

is a cloud-first solution that no longer uses a version number naming sequence (i.e. AX 4, AX 2009, AX 2012, AX7). This ERP product offers online, on premise or hybrid delivery, however, the company clearly pushes the cloud version. Perhaps that's because cloud ERP software offers new benefits for both customers and the company. Here's a summary of the strengths and weaknesses for Microsoft's top ERP software system.

Dynamics 365 Operations Strengths:

The Dynamics 365 user interface is a big step up from prior versions. The desktop client has been replaced with an HTML5 web client that is mobile-first and touch screen friendly. The web client has replaced (modeless) pop-up dialogues with docket panels and uses native browser-based techniques such as multiple tabs and side by side dynamic viewing. The ERP software design is arguably the best user interface in the industry.

The user experience is also improved. While the UI is focused on the visual presentation, the User Experience is designed for utility and achieving user objectives in ways that satisfy user centered design. Dynamics 365 Operations makes extensive use of Dashboards, composable workloads and task replays. 

It has also introduced Workspaces to facilitate role-based tasks and business processes. You can think of Workspaces as single windows designed to guide users on what's most important right now. Workspaces reduce keystrokes and make navigation more intuitive. Commands and menus are also context-sensitive which reduces training and aids productivity.

Software delivery now permits cloud ERP. Dynamics 365 grants choice in delivery, including cloud, on-premise or hybrid. The on-premise or hybrid options can support private cloud deployments for companies still cautious with online ERP. Cloud deployments for production, sandboxes and disaster recovery are provisioned on Azure with Lifecycle Services (LCS) and can generally be completed in less than 60 minutes. 

The on-premise version runs on Azure Pack and Windows server technology, and without any significant differences in functionality compared to the cloud ERP. Choice in software delivery also facilitates 2 tier ERP strategies. This may be a welcome option for multi-national companies that run Oracle or SAP at headquarters, but desire a more lightweight and agile ERP application for geographically remote or decentralized lines of business.

Dynamics 365 Operations in the cloud also introduced telemetry in order to improve customer service and software quality. Microsoft uses an internally developed telemetry system called Kusto Query that can track and report individual tenant performance and deliver proactive warnings by monitoring conditions across the larger set of customer tenants.

Microsoft Lifecycle Services (LCS) accelerates time to value and reduces system administration. LCS is a Microsoft Azure-based administration and collaboration portal that facilitates application lifecycle management. It includes tools such as a data uploader, integrates with commonly used services such as Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) and supports multiple environments (i.e. Dev, QA, UAT, Production).

Business Intelligence is integrated into Workspaces and now near real time using Data Stores, Data Entities, Aggregate Data Entities and improved integration with Power BI. Power BI integration also improves mobility and offers a path toward big data.

When compared to Infor, Oracle and SAP, Dynamics 365 is a significantly more configurable and agile ERP solution. This is particularly powerful as industries converge, new competitors emerge and rapidly evolving market forces require businesses to adopt more agile business strategies.

The ERP software workflow tool uses the Windows Workflow Foundation (WWF). On the plus side this is a mature and strong workflow engine. On the flip side it doesn't compete well with best of breed Business Process Management (BPM) suites.

365 Operations inherits Microsoft platform benefits due to the tight integration between the ERP software and the Microsoft stack, including Office 365, SharePoint, Dynamics CRM and SQL Server stack services (i.e. SSAS, SSRS, SSIS, etc.) The power of the stack is a top cited benefit by IT professionals.

The Dynamics 365 release moved the development environment to Visual Studio and the .NET framework. This technology improvement opens up the ERP application to more skilled resources, facilitates more third party tools and makes the application more extensible.

Relative to Oracle and SAP, Dynamics 365 delivers an attractive Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Software license cost among Microsoft, Oracle and SAP is not materially different; particularly after ERP software discounts. In fact, in many ERP software sales, Oracle and SAP can provide deeper discounts as they are sold direct while Microsoft ERP may be sold through an indirect channel. However, the Microsoft ERP implementation period is often significantly shorter which drives down deployment costs and accelerates time to value.

Microsoft's stability suggests Dynamics 365 Operations is a viable long-term solution. While Microsoft does struggle to deliver clear messaging which delineates its four ERP systems – Dynamics SL, Dynamics GP, Dynamics Nav and Dynamics AX – and even separation between its Dynamics 365 Business Edition suite and the Dynamics 365 Enterprise suite, it's clear among industry insiders that Dynamics 365 Operations is the favored child in the ERP software family. This ERP application gets the most executive sponsorship, R&D and marketing.

Dynamics 365 Operations Weaknesses:

Dynamics 365 has a weak brand and messaging and therefore fails to favorably compete for market awareness with tier 1 ERP competitors such as Oracle and SAP.

Despite achieving limited growth for Microsoft, Dynamics 365 is actually losing market share according to research from Panorama Consulting. The ERP consulting firm reports that Microsoft's ERP market share dipped from 11 to 9% over the last year. The research suggests this is in large part as the ERP market is becoming more fragmented and ERP vendors such as Epicor, IFS, Infor and Plex are gaining market share at the expense of Oracle and SAP.

The Panorama research also noted that Microsoft's channel is fragmented, whereas Infor, Oracle and SAP have a "much tighter handle on channels" than Microsoft. This can challenge customers seeking reputable and high quality implementation firms or global system integrators.

Analyst firm Gartner cites extremely limited support by global system integrators for Dynamics 365. While most global SIs have extremely large practices for Infor, Oracle and SAP, they do not have anywhere near the same dedication to the Microsoft ERP software. The lack of global SI support impacts global companies seeking industry expertise, business transformation or consistent global delivery across locations.

Gartner also notes that Microsoft often struggles to deliver high quality deployments to large customers. According to the analyst firm, "Microsoft's biggest challenge remains its constrained ability to service new opportunities with experienced direct or partner resources, especially for larger customers that expect industry and process depth and comprise extensive and complex requirements." Unhappy customers and a lack of global SI adoption are contributing factors for Dynamics 365 Operations being excluded from the leadership quadrant (top right corner) of the ERP Magic Quadrant.

In part because of a fragmented and indirect consulting channel, several analysts and partners cite a lack of standards, consistency and repeatable methods applied to Microsoft ERP implementations. Microsoft offers an implementation methodology called Sure Step, however, few partners truly adopt this framework. Further, Sure Step is dated and not particularly well suited for newer deployment methods such as agile, Scrum and DevOps.

Dynamics 365 reporting is weak. The Operations ERP software reporting tools include Management Reporter, SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS), SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS), Dynamics Business Analyzer and Power BI. However, the most popular 365 reporting option remains Excel. A MSDynamicsWorld survey found 21 percent of Dynamics customers realize 50% or more of their expected benefits. 

Put another way, 4 out of 5 Dynamics customers are not meeting their reporting objectives. According to the MSDynamicsWorld research, "Customers are nowhere near fully satisfied with their current BI capabilities." Only 37% of Microsoft customers who responded say they are meeting "enough", "most", or "all" of their needs today. Only one third of Dynamics customers said their teams are empowered to develop or request the reports they need.

Financial reporting is particularly weak. The Management Reporter is difficult to use, less than stable and without a clear product roadmap. This application was supposed to evolve into a Corporate Performance Management (CPM) data mart for both financial reporting and budgeting. However, years later the data mart is unstable and Microsoft discourages the direct connection option. The budgeting features were delayed until they were abandoned. Some customers turn to Forecaster as an alternative option, however, this is more of the same.

Dynamics 365 Enterprise Suite includes Human Capital Management (HCM), which includes HR software, U.S. payroll and some talent management software. HCM is particularly weak. The HR software is extremely minimal, payroll software is minimal and for the U.S. only and talent management capabilities are almost non-existent.

Dynamics 365 Operations built in CRM is also very weak. As an alternative to the 365 CRM module, Microsoft's Dynamics 365 push is promoting ERP integration with its flagship Dynamics CRM software, a separate and much stronger CRM suite. However, the Dynamics Connector integration service has a notoriously negative reputation and should be seriously vetted if CRM is an important component in your ERP software selection.

While Dynamics 365 Operations is steadily moving up to the enterprise market, there are not a lot of references with proof of scale. This is in stark contrast to Infor, Oracle and SAP which have plentiful references at scale.

There is a significant Dynamics 365 Operations consulting shortage, especially for large enterprises with complex needs.

While software customization is a strength, it can quickly become a negative if needed to fill routine functionality. Missing features such EDI or weak features such as landed costs may require customization or third party products.

Best Fit and ERP Software Alternatives

Short list Dynamics 365 Operations for evaluation when:

  • Your business is in one of the Microsoft ERP "core" industries, which include manufacturing, distribution, retail, professional services and public sector.
  • You seek a relatively balanced ERP system with reasonable coverage in Finance, Procurement & Sourcing, Production and Supply Chain Management.
  • You desire a native cloud ERP system.
  • You want an ERP system with all the "multi's", such as multi-country, multi-language, multi-currency and multi-dimensional GL accounts and inventory items.

ERP software buyers may be best advised to consider alternative ERP systems when:

  • You require a mature and feature rich ERP system.
  • Your ERP system needs include HCM.
  • You are a large or global company in need of a highly scalable solution.
  • You are a large company that prefers to reduce risk by selecting a tier 1 ERP leader.
  • You are a global company and your preferred global system integrator has a minimal relationship with Microsoft Dynamics 365.
  • Microsoft Dynamics ERP competitors include Infor, Oracle and SAP ERP in the enterprise market and Epicor, NetSuite (for cloud ERP), QAD, Sage and SAP BusinessOne in the middle market.

Five ERP Software Trends to Watch in the Distribution Industry

Five ERP Software Trends to Watch in the Distribution Industry
In the distribution industry, ERP software is crucial for any company that wants to run smoothly, while also ensuring accurate inventory management, reports, demand planning and more. As a result, ERP software vendors are always looking for ways to improve and enhance their distribution. Here is a look at five ERP software trends to watch in the distribution industry: Today, industry leaders want top-of-the-line ERP software systems. Instead of choosing ERP software that records merely

data and has a basic forecasting ability, they want software that is loaded with all kinds of capabilities, believing this will give them a competitive edge. From Artificial Intelligence (AI) to machine learning and advanced analytic abilities, you can expect many in the distribution industry to migrate to intelligent ERP systems.

1. These systems have excellent real-time forecasting and analyzing abilities, allowing users to more efficiently and effectively make business decisions.

2. Small to mid-size distribution companies will take advantage of more advanced ERP system software choices.

The days of smaller and mid-size companies relying on free or basic ERP software will decrease. To compete with the competition, these companies will have to invest in ERP software that offers more than just the bare basics. They will have to make the switch to more robust software with plenty of essential capabilities, such as forecasting.

3. Many distributors will focus on ERP software’s accounting capabilities.

In a survey conducted by SelectHub, 89% of respondents selected accounting as their ERP software’s most important function [1]. Distributors want software that allows them to account for every aspect of distribution, as well as their company’s finances. In addition, they will be looking for ERP software vendors that not only provide what they need right now but are also working on future capabilities. There is a move in the distribution industry to migrate to ERP vendors that offer intelligent ERP systems that continuously look for ways to improve and enhance their software.

4. There will be a push for in-memory computing.

Instead of storing data in disk-based databases, in-memory computing uses random access memory (RAM) for data storage. This allows for the regular caching of data, which gives distributors the ability to access the information they are looking for quickly. In-memory computing also ensures that reports are more accurate in “real time” and allows for the timely viewing of aggregate data.

5. Knowing the importance of field sales, distributors will look for ERP software that allows reps to stay connected outside of the office.

In the distribution industry, effective communication can be a crucial factor in how successful or unsuccessful a company is. As a result, distributors will opt for ERP systems that provide the best mobile access options, often referred to as the internet of things (IoT). Mobile devices can help ensure that reps have pertinent customer information, such as purchasing history and order information, as well as real-time product information at their fingertips.

Top Predictions for the ERP Software Industry in 2019

Top Predictions for the ERP Software Industry in 2019
This may be the first time in my career when there was so much excitement and uncertainty in the enterprise software space. On one hand, major vendors are promoting exciting new flagship technologies. On the other, many CIOs and other executives are nervous about the relative immaturity of these new products.In many ways, 2018 will bring exciting new trends to be aware of. In other ways, the coming year will bring more of the same.

1. Capital investments in digital transformation initiatives will continue. 
With the global economy continuing to improve, more companies scaling for growth, and capital investments continuing to gain momentum, more companies will be more likely to invest in their digital transformation initiatives. Other contributing factors to this trend:

more companies are reaching the end of their legacy system lifecycles dating back to Y2K system replacements, and more industries are going through major, market-driven transformations (think: the retail industry grappling with the disruption of Amazon and the e-Tailing trend). All of these factors will lead more companies to revisit their enterprise system strategies going into the new year and beyond.

2. Cloud ERP software will reach a tipping point.
The trend toward cloud systems has been gaining steam for several years now, but this is the first year where major vendors are all doubling down on their cloud offerings. SAP S4HANA, Oracle Cloud, Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Infor Cloud vendors are all examples of the flagship products being aggressively promoted by the top ERP vendors. The only thing complicating matters? The relative immaturity and lack of proven track record of these systems,

along with executives’ continuing comfort level with on-premise deployments. The coming year may be the year where one of these two conflicting pressures win out and cloud systems are either more widely accepted – or the trend proves to be a short-lived fad. (Watch for our upcoming 2018 ERP Report to see if cloud adoption regains momentum after giving up market share last year).

3. More organizations will be forced off their legacy ERP systems.
As more ERP vendors (link to /erp-vendors/ page) increase their investments in cloud solutions, they will likely continue paring back R&D in some of their legacy products. For example, products such as Oracle EBS, Microsoft Great Plains, and Epicor Prelude are likely to see rapid deterioration of focus and support for these products as they are sunset. Vendors will be less likely to introduce new functionality or provide long-term 

support for these dated products, leading many organizations to conclude that they have no choice but to migrate to more modern enterprise technologies. When combined with trends #1 and #2 above, executives are more likely to reconsider their platforms of choice moving forward into the long-term.

4. More companies will say “no” to ERP software.
Due in part, to #3, while on one hand we predict more organizations moving toward new technologies, we also see more executive teams being skeptical of ERP systems (link to /erp-software/ page) as we have known them over the last 20 years. Organizations are too painfully aware of the historic and ongoing challenges with the enterprise software status quo, so they will be more likely to consider alternatives to big, complex, 

monolithic ERP systems. Potential alternatives include less risky upgrades, more attention to business process reengineering, and point solutions. Whatever the exact alternatives pursued, the coming year’s focus will be on fixing more immediate operational issues and pursuing more low-hanging fruit.

5. Organizations grow increasingly allergic to organizational change management.
This is one of the most interesting (and surprising) trends that we are seeing in the market. An increasing number of organizations are becoming seemingly allergic to the term “organizational change management” – while at the same time recognizing the need to address the people side of their digital transformation initiatives. On one hand, they recognize the risk of not addressing organizational change, but on the other, they are jaded by past org change failures.

In other words, organizational change management has a branding and PR problem. This starts with calling is something more specific, such as people enablement, workforce transition, business process implementation, and whatever other words of choice fit. However, words are just words, so it is even more important that organizations recognize the need for proven organizational change expertise and toolsets – something most ERP vendors, consultants, and system integrators aren’t good at.

2018 Will Be a Year of Transition…

These are just five of the biggest predictions that we see in the coming year. It will clearly be an interesting year of transition. How will you navigate these changes to make your organization more successful in the new year and beyond?