Technology

Virus in SpendMap Free Version was False Alarm

Webroot virus scanning software was showing a “false-positive” on our website last week, saying that our site “Contains malicious content”, when it does not.  Webroot has since updated their database to show that SpendMap.com is totally safe.

Are you worried about viruses or malware in the free version of SpendMap?  These days you can’t be too careful when downloading files from the Internet.

And because of the popularity of the free version of SpendMap, our installation package (SETUP.EXE) has been picked up by many download sites, which we have no control over.

So if you’re worried about viruses and malware (as everyone should be these days), make sure to avoid these other download sites and get the installation package directly from our website.

Before posting our installation file, we always scan it for viruses, malware, etc. using the latest version of Symantec’s Antivirus Software and then we sign it with a digital signature so you can tell if something happens to it on the way to you.  To check the status of the digital signature, you can RIGHT-mouse click on the SETUP.EXE file, select “Properties” from the menu, then click the [Digital Signatures] tab…

No Virus in SpendMap

Of course, you should scan any EXE files for viruses, etc. before running them, and you should follow your company’s security protocols when installing any software.

QuickBooks Integration for your Free Purchase Order Software

QuickBooks is the most popular Accounting system in use by the Free-Procurement community, so we thought we’d give you a little bonus gift with the 2014 release of SpendMap.

We’ve built direct integration with QuickBooks to push approved invoices (bills) and expense reimbursement transactions directly into your QuickBooks database, without the need for batch file exports and imports.

So, for example, once you have approved a supplier’s invoice for payment, SpendMap will create a pending Bill in QuickBooks, so you can cut a check to the supplier and post the transaction to your G/L, with no duplicate data entry.

Direct QuickBooks integration is coming soon, along with 20 or so other new features and capabilities, in the 2014 release of the free version of SpendMap.

SM_qb_logo

Uninstalling your free Purchase Order Software will delete your data

BadDayToday was a bad day.  We had to tell a friend that his data/history was deleted when he uninstalled the system (which was installed on his local C: drive, rather than on a network server).

To make things worse, he also didn’t have a backup of his system, so now he has to start over.  That’s no fun.

😦

So here are a few important things to keep in mind…

  • Per the note under “Uninstalling/Removing the System” in the Getting Started Documentation that comes with the software, if the software is installed on your C: drive, uninstalling the system will remove the software AND delete all your data/history.
  • Please consider moving the database to a network server (even if you only need a single-user system).  That way, your data will be backed up with everything else on the server.  For details, please see “Network Installation Instructions” in the Getting Started Documentation.
  • Please, please, please back up your system on a regular basis.  Details are under “Backup and Restore Procedures” in the Getting Started Documentation.

If this is too much work for you, please consider upgrading to the On-Demand (hosted/SaaS) version of SpendMap.  It’s not free like the Windows/desktop version, but with SpendMap On-Demand we do the backups, upgrades and other system maintenance for you as part of the monthly service.

Tomorrow is another day…

Screen Resolution Settings and your Free Purchase Order Software

We’ve had a few support tickets from people who are using the free version of SpendMap on Microsoft’s new Surface Pro Tablets, with the setting “Make text and other items larger or smaller” set pretty high (e.g. 150%).

Settings like this can affect SpendMap’s minimum screen resolution test, resulting in an error message that you don’t have the required minimum 1024×768 screen size.

If you get this error message, try adjusting that setting to 125% (or until you stop getting the message).

TIP: The higher your screen resolution, the smaller SpendMap (and other software applications) will appear on your screen.  Instead of adjusting your computer’s overall screen settings, you might also consider adjusting the “Font/screen scaling factor” in SpendMap, using setting #10 in Workstation Configuration Settings (PURCHASING > Setup system > Workstation configuration settings).  This will make SpendMap appear bigger on your screen, without affecting other apps on your PC.

screen resolution

Don’t forget to reindex your free Purchase Order Software

The embedded database that comes with the free version of SpendMap is ideal for a free PO System like this because it’s super easy to install (the database actually installs itself when you install SpendMap).

But unlike SQL Server and Oracle databases used in our paid version, there’s nothing running on the server to do any behind-the-scenes database maintenance.

So it’s important to reindex the embedded database once in a while.  For details, please see this section of the Online Help…
– PURCHASING > Utility > Database Maintenance > Reindex all tables

If you would like the system to remind you to run the reindex utility from time to time, just enable the first setting in the [Permissions] tab of the User Master File.

And remember, you can also run the reindex operation automatically (unattended) from a task scheduler.  Here’s the Help section…
– System-Wide Features and Information > System Admin and Maintenance > Unattended Mode

FYI – We just finished a new scripting option to make it faster and easier to configure unattended operations…no more need to preconfigure pop-up options for a user account.  One less thing.

Your network server may be a safer place for your free Purchase Order Software

Craig had the Free Version of SpendMap installed on his laptop (including the database), and the voltage regulator went out, so he couldn’t power up his machine.

Luckily, he was able to make an image of the drive, so we were able to get his system up and running on his new PC.

Since laptop and desktop computers are not as reliable as servers, please consider installing SpendMap on a network server by following the “Network Installation Instructions”, in the Getting Started Documentation that came with your free Software.

You’ll sleep better at night with your database resting peacefully on a nice, safe network drive, even if you don’t need multi-user access to the system.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

MAPI vs. SMTP e-mail setup in your free PO Software


>>> 07/29/2015 update – The free version of SpendMap now includes a free, built-in e-mail service, which you can use instead of configuring the system to use your own e-mail server or ISP.  This post has details.  The balance of this post, below, still applies if you want to set the system up to use your own e-mail server or ISP.


Since we blogged last month about how to set up the e-mail module in the free version of SpendMap, we realize that the MAPI option might be better than SMTP for many smaller companies (the target market for the Free-Procurement Project).

Our suggestion in last month’s blog post to try the SMTP option first came from our Support Group’s experience with our paying customers, who mostly use the web-based version of SpendMap, and who usually have their own (internal) SMTP servers.  For these customers, SMTP is usually the best option.

But for smaller companies, who are more likely to use a third-party e-mail provider like Gmail, YAHOO mail, MS Live, etc., the SMTP option may not work as some hosted e-mail services don’t allow third-party apps to connect to their outgoing mail servers.

So, if you don’t have your own internal SMTP server, please give the MAPI option a try first, using the two fields at the top of the E-mail Setting Screen.

TIP: Assuming you have MAPI-compliant e-mail software (e.g. Outlook) installed on the PC that you’ll be using for SpendMap, setting the first two fields in E-mail Setting to the MAPI option is all that will be required.  In most cases, you do not need to enter any of the other MAPI-related settings further down the screen.  Any e-mail messages that SpendMap generates will be “handed off” to Outlook and will show in your Out Box until you hit [Send].

All the other instructions in that earlier blog post remain the same (e.g. other setup steps, testing, etc.).

Sorry for the false start, folks.  If you have any trouble, we’re always here to help.

Best regards,
The Free-Procurement Project team
Totally FREE software that automates Purchase Orders and a whole lot more
Powered by SpendMap

E-mail Setup in your Free Purchase Order Software

email purchase order


>>> 07/29/2015 update – The free version of SpendMap now includes a free, built-in e-mail service, which you can use instead of configuring the system to use your own e-mail server or ISP.  This post has details.  The balance of this post, below, still applies if you want to set the system up to use your own e-mail server or ISP.


Most people who use the Free Version of SpendMap want to send Purchase Orders and other documents to their suppliers by e-mail.

You can also enable various e-mail notifications, to let people know about important events, without them having to log into the system (e.g. “You have a new Requisition waiting for your approval” or “Your Requisition was rejected”, and so on).

For SpendMap to send e-mail to your suppliers and staff, you need to enable and set up the e-mail connectivity module, which is included in your free PO software.

Everything you need to know to get e-mail going is in the Online Help system, but I’ve taken the liberty of writing it out in detail here, to save you some time…

E-Mail Server Settings

Before we get started, it helps to understand that SpendMap is no different from any other e-mail client (e.g. Outlook, etc.) when it comes to sending e-mail. Just like Outlook needs to “connect” to your outgoing e-mail server to send messages, so does SpendMap. So you can probably borrow the settings from your standard e-mail software and plug those into the E-Mail Settings Utility in SpendMap, using this menu option…
– PURCHASING > Setup system > e-mail settings

Most people use the SMTP protocol (as opposed to MAPI), so I’ll assume SMTP for now. If you have any questions, or if you prefer to use MAPI and need any tips after reading the Online Help, please log a free support ticket.


>>>CORRECTION<<<  After we posted this article, we realized that the MAPI option might be better than SMTP for many smaller companies (the target market for the Free-Procurement Project).  If you have any trouble using the SMTP option outlined below, you might want to give MAPI a try instead.  Here’s another post with more details.

OK, back to what we were saying…


On the E-mail Settings screen, select “ISP or SMTP server” in the two fields at the top of the screen.

Then, in the block of fields labeled “SMTP” just below that, enter your outgoing mail server’s name or IP address. It will usually look something like “smtp.service-provider.com”. Again, you can probably get that from the Settings area of your e-mail software, or you might have to contact your service provider or IT Department.

Next, enter “587” for the port number, unless your service provider advises you otherwise.

Then enter the user account (or e-mail address) that you use to log into to your e-mail account, and the associated password in the adjacent field.

That’s usually all that is needed for SpendMap to connect to your outgoing mail server.

Other E-Mail Settings

Other than that, you will need to fill in the three fields at the bottom of the screen (Proper User Name, User E-mail Address, and SpendMap User ID). This will improve the formatting of the e-mail messages that your suppliers receive.  Again, the Online Help has details of what those fields are used for.

So those are the only mandatory (i.e. minimum) fields that you have to fill in. You may, however, want to review the other (optional) fields. For example, if you want to add some text to the cover page of the e-mail that goes along with each new Purchase Order to your suppliers, you can use the Boilerplate field in the center of the screen. If so, this blog post may also be of interest.

And it’s also quite popular to enable the setting to “Maintain a log of sent e-mail messages” but, again, all that stuff is optional. And again, the Online Help has all the details.

Test to Confirm Settings

Once the E-mail Settings are configured per above, it’s time to test that SpendMap is in fact able to connect to your outgoing e-mail server. Rather than processing a new PO to do this test, I prefer to just try e-mailing a report, which has less variables than processing a PO, so it’s faster/easier to confirm that it’s working.

So just run any report and select the “e-mail” option when it asks you “Where do you want to send the report?”. Any report will do, but personally I like to use a small report for testing, so maybe try the User Master File report, which you can find here…
– PURCHASING > Reports > Master file reports > Users master file

So, assuming the report shows up in your e-mail client, then that means that SpendMap is able to send e-mail.

Additional Setup for Specific Types of E-Mail

Once you have the e-mail feature working per above, you can enable the various types of e-mail messages in SpendMap.

Sending Documents by E-Mail

If you would like to e-mail Purchase Orders or other documents to your suppliers, please see this section of the Online Help…
– System-Wide Features and Information > Documents and Reports > Sending Documents Electronically

E-Mail Notifications

If you would like SpendMap to send e-mail notifications to your users when certain events occur (e.g. an e-mail to the Approver when someone processes a new Requisition, etc.), please see this section of the Online Help…
– System-Wide Features and Information > System-Wide Features and Utilities > Automatic E-mail Notifications

Barcode and Faxing Modules in Free Purchase Order Software

Due to licensing restrictions related to the third party software that we use in SpendMap for sending faxes and printing barcode labels, which limits the number of copies that we are allowed to distribute, unfortunately we will not be able to include faxing and barcode label printing in the Free Version of SpendMap.

Please note, however, that you can send Purchase Orders and other documents to your suppliers using the E-mail Module instead, and you can still scan your suppliers’ UPC barcodes to simplify your inventory transactions if you wish, and you can print your own barcode labels using third party software (you just can’t print the barcode labels using SpendMap itself).

We were hoping to include the same functionality in our Free Version as we offer in our Paid Version, but unfortunately we just couldn’t get approval to give the faxing and barcode label printing technology away for free with the rest of SpendMap.

Sorry folks, we tried.

Is free Purchase Order software right for you?

Barry in Washington, D.C. commented that we might want to be a bit more forthcoming about the differences between the Free and Paid versions of SpendMap. free vs.  paid purchase order software

Sorry about that, Barry.  We didn’t mean to hide anything.

In a nutshell, while they are functionally very similar, the Free Version is a Windows/desktop application that was designed for small businesses and small buying groups in larger organizations, while the Paid Version is a web-based (browser-based) system that is more suitable for midsize and large organizations (since it runs in your web browser with no software to install, it’s easier to deploy to a large number of users).

Technology aside, there are also differences in the way that we sell, implement and support the two products.  For example, the Free Version is all set up for SMBs to do a self-evaluation, while we offer a more “consultative” sales approach for our larger customers who are considering the Paid Version (bigger companies tend to have more complex needs when it comes to their e-procurement systems, which often makes a self-evaluation impractical).

Similarly, the Free Version assumes a do-it-yourself implementation using the various resources that we provide with the free software (e.g. online help, video tutorials, online support system), while our larger, paying customers get to work directly with our Client Services Group and have access to our full line of Professional Services, such as priority phone support, web-based and on-site training, implementation consulting, and custom programming services.

Again, these are just the main differences between the Free and Paid Versions of SpendMap.  For more details, we added a new subsection called “Is this right for you?” to the Getting Started Documentation that comes with the free software.  Just select the menu HELP > CHECK FOR UPDATES, then exit and re-run SpendMap.  The new section is right at the top of the Getting Started Documentation.

Hope this helps.