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Granite House: Head Office

 Head Office

Directions

Catalyst Computer Systems Ltd.
Granite House,
58 Loughborough Road,
Mountsorrel,
Leicestershire,
LE12 7AT.
 Telephone +44(0)116 230 1500
 Fax +44(0)116 230 1522
 Sales sales@catalyst-uk.com
 Software support@catalyst-uk.com
 Hardware ITServices@catalyst-uk.com
 FAQ's, Guides, Hints, Tips, Advice and more Knowledge Base
Office hours are 9:00am to 5:30pm Monday through Friday (for emergency out of hours support see 'Out of Hours' below).

Out of Hours See here for details.
Urgent Weekend Hotline:  +44(0)781 804 4086
Emergency Out of Hours:  emergency@catalyst-uk.com

User Styled e-Commerce and Findit

We all like "pretty" and "interesting" when is comes to the internet. These are things which keep users on a site attentive and involved. For this reason we have invested considerable development time to improve the user experience of our on-line services. These improvements apply to both "Catalyst FindIt" for vehicles and also our trade and retail e-commerce sites.

  • Firstly and most obviously, the viewing of images has improved. It’s become a little more quirky, interesting and easier to navigate.
  • Secondly, this obvious change is complemented but hopefully completely invisible changes. Our "add on FindIt" and e-commerce sites are far more individually configurable. For those of you of a technical bent we now allow third party "CSS" which means that both e-commerce and FindIt can be configured in style. All the usual CSS changes can be applied (Colour schemes, buttons, background images, borders, margins etc) to match the unique user web sites from which they are launched. In short, we’ve moved way beyond just being able to configure the colour scheme and individual web designers can give full expression to their individual artistic ideas.

Jeff

Bike Shack

Great news for motorcycle dealers, "Bike-Shack" is another in a growing list of specialist advertising sites has added to the places that your bikes are advertised completely free of charge.

Catalyst are constantly finding new ways to genuinely help the users of our systems to thrive in testing times. What better way than providing new innovative and overhead free ways to market. We’ve done the leg work to make this completely free for you, in both time and money.

Bike Shack motorcycle classifieds

www.bike-shack.com features bikes both trade and private bikes for sale. It even has a dealer directory which even refers users directly to your own web site.

All you have to do is to ensure that the records of your bikes for sale are complete and have a picture or two and Catalyst do the rest!

Catalyst's first trade e-Commerce web site up and trading

Catalyst's first trade e-Commerce web site up and trading.

Superficially one would imagine that trade shops would be very similar to retail shops. With the benefit of experience I'm happy to testify that they are not! Selling to the trade is actually a very different thing to selling direct to retail and these differences have taken considerable effort to overcome in both design and implementation.

Tran Am - Dealer Online Ordering

After this exhaustive development and testing, it's here, it's live and it's working very nicely for all concerned.

Thanks are due to "Tran Am" for taking the leap of faith with a new product. Even if we have tested a product exhaustively and then some! Yes we are still watching things closely, if more years than a few in the computer trade has taught us anything it's "Expect the unexpected!".

  • As many of Catalyst's customers are also "Tran Am" customers, please use the web site, we really hope the experience is a good one, you can look forward to even more specific trade features to be added to our eTrade e-Commerce solution over the next few months.

Jeff

New look order processing now on “live test”

Continuous Development

For some time Catalyst have been developing a new look and feel for our sales and purchase order processing modules. We recently made significant but invisible filing changes under the surface to pave the way for later improvements. These underlying changes are now widely in use, all users who have updated their software in the last couple of months will have these changes but hopefully have noticed no difference. The actual difference is coming very shortly, a completely new look and feel to the software.

It’s always difficult for a software company. You’ve developed a much better product than the current one but the current product is stable and reliable and a large number of companies depend on it. Both we and our customers want the new product but with "new" there is the inevitable risk of unexpected problems.

The big question is how to ensure that our customers do not suffer from any unexpected problems along with the benefits. The answer is of course that "guinea pigs" are called for. In these enlightened times one cannot experiment on animals so I thought it may be interesting to show how we have approached this particular problem.

In the spirit of making the situation as close to that expected when a user of our software upgrades we installed the upgrade on our own system without informing any of out staff that it was going to happen. The "let people find it and see how they used it experiment" was performed here. Yes a few issues were found and improvements made as a result. We at Catalyst have been running the new version for a couple of weeks now and everyone is happy with the results.

Smooth Transition

The next logical step? A "Go live" with a very much larger client.

Yesterday the brave client updated to the new version. The chosen client is a very significant parts distributor as well a major franchised motorcycle dealer. In short, this user was chosen because they use the order processing systems heavily and in a broad range of differing ways. This is obviously a nervous time for all involved, yes everything has been done to ensure things should go well but ultimately it’s a serious test for the software.

We in fact continue to have a senior programmer present on site because the consequences of any problem could potentially cause major and urgent consequences to a business as busy as this one.

  • We are happy to report things went very well, and continue to look very good into day two. What this means for the future is that our plans for a general release of the very much prettier order processing system around the end of the month are on track and that it will be as well "tried and tested" as is possible on that day.

Larsson Parts & Price Information Now Available

Larsson are an establish European after market supplier of motorcycle hard parts supplier who recently set up a UK distribution operation. Catalyst are pleased to offer the "Larsson UK Ltd" parts and price information as part of the “Motorcycle After Market Price File Bundle”.

  • Subscribers to this bundle will automatically receive this additional information free of charge. Those in the bike trade who do not subscribe to this comprehensive bundle now have one more reason to! It is exceptional value with 14 suppliers for just £135 per year.

Video Tutorials

Catalyst venture into pastures new, we've started an on line video channel in the use of our software.

The library consists of short video tutorials, each on a different topic showing how to achieve a specific task. The purpose of this library is two fold. Firstly it's a free training aid of existing users and ideal for new staff, secondly a way to illustrate to our potential customers the style, features and power of the software.

It is intended that this video library will be regularly updated into the future and will become an increasingly valuable information resource. Whilst I would not recommend this corner of “Youtube” for pure entertainment but browsing it regularly may well broaden your knowledge and use of the software.

  • To access this video resource simply choose the “YouTube” link in the “Keeping In Touch” section at the foot of our web site or go directly to www.youtube.com and search for “CatalystDMS”. It’s free and ever so simple, so please take a look.

FREE small bike advertising on at MCN for all Catalyst Users

Yet another reason why using our Dealer Management System is your best choice.
FREE small bike advertising with MCN

In a unique agreement Catalyst and MCN have agreed free advertising of Motorcycles 125cc or under on the MCN web site until December 2013. Yes just to re-iterate that’s COMPLETELY FREE on the MCN Website until the end of 2013!

There are no catches and no small print!

This offer is open to all current users who have either a current rental or maintenance agreement with Catalyst. Neither Catalyst nor MCN will raise any charge associated with this. All the user of Catalyst’s software is required to do is enter the details of the vehicle, ensure that it’s adequately described and has a photo or two and the rest is completely automatic and completely free.

We are honestly helping your business in the most practical way, by helping to sell your products. Obviously there is programming work to be done by both MCN and Catalyst in order to enable the data feed, we currently expect to be up and running in less than two weeks.

Expect an extra “tick box” on the vehicle “Web publishing” tab to appear very shortly, which will indicate that the data feed is available. We assume that all users will be pleased to advertise their products for free so we will be helpfully automatically ticking the box where possible.

Please beware that this offer is free and will be withdrawn to anyone abusing it by attempting to smuggle larger bikes through this free advertising route, fireblades and the like are not small bikes! Please play by the rules and benefits are free.

This may not actually be “a free lunch” but you’ll probably be able to one from the proceeds!

Jeff

The Customer Retention Centre Has Arrived

We have been working for many months specifically and strategically to help our clients by helping them to market their goods and services both efficiently and effectively. One of the key elements in this strategy has now been completed. It’s a completely free addition to the software and it’s called “The Customer Retention Centre”. As the name implies the purpose is to help you retain and cultivate your clients.

We are in fact shamelessly trying to give companies running our software the edge over competitors.

Great news for everyone with customers!

Yes that does mean for business’s almost everybody! The feature helps you to stay in touch. One of the key aspects to surviving the current economic climate is the customer relationship, staying in touch with clients, reminding them about things they need to do and simply reminding them that you are there to help. This new feature does nothing that the software could not do previously, but it has made doing it a whole lot easier. This is a revolution in ease and automation aimed to make staying in contact so simple and effortless that everybody uses it.

We do recognise that all of our clients are not entirely at ease with technology and automation, hopefully this innovation is so easy and powerful that all will gain the big benefits from cultivating existing customers. Still better news is that this brand new option is completely free to all users renting the software or with a current maintenance contract. This is in fact as close as a software company can come to offering a free lunch, you may not be able to eat it but it will earn a crust or two if used! The new concept is to centralise and simplify all regular customer mailing bringing everything together into an easy to use option which can easily be completely automated so as to run week after week without human input of any kind. By centralising the process it is now very simple to automate everything from service reminders to birthday wishes and send it in the method most appropriate by individual client. You can in fact mark a clients preference for post, e-mail or telephone text message and the software will automatically choose the appropriate contact method, client by client!

Jeff.

Is your data really safe?

With computers becoming ever more reliable it’s tempting to think that a data disaster cannot happen. Regardless of the sophistication of you equipment it is essential to make backup copies of data and to remove those copies to a secure and remote location.

Too many people make backups and leave them close to or even in the machine containing the original data. This will not protect against fire, flood or theft! Friday last week a potential disaster faced one of our clients. Naming no names in order to spare blushes they have come close to losing all data by overlooking the importance of keeping reserve (backup) copies of their company data. The potential costs and disruption which would have resulted can only be guessed at.

Perfect Storm

The client concerned had invested correctly in the technology which under most circumstances would protect them. Nothing however can protect from a number of factors coming together!

A single backup tape was used to destruction by never being rotated as part of a backup set, after a years work the tape failed and the errors reported were not acted on. The server, of good specification contained mirrored hard drives, each could fail without risk of data loss. Unfortunately both damaged in the same instant by human error when tidying near to the server! Happily this particular story has a happy ending. Our hardware department reacted to the crisis by attending site within a couple of working hours, despite this being a Saturday and were able to resolve the situation by a combination of resourcefulness, taking spare drives to cannibalise for parts and good fortune in realising that a “knock” might get the thing spinning. Heaves of relief on all sides!

Backup Regimes

Catalyst design and install backup regimes, train in how to use them but ultimately cannot be there to ensure that they are being adhered to. Further if all data is lost Catalyst cannot magic a reserve copy and are thus potentially unable to help. Personally I don’t think any of us ever want to get that close to losing their entire company information, customers, transactions accounts and all. How many days work does this represent?

I once again appeal to everyone even people not using our software. For your own sake, please, please ensure that backup regimes are effective followed and please make sure you take them off the premesis, if you are in any doubt please contact us and arrange for a Softare or Hardware health visit to verify that all is well. That stomach churning instant in time when you realise you may have lost everything is not an experience I want anyone to go through.

Drying out disk drives

Stories of drying out disk drives on radiators after they have been soundly doused by the fire brigade or spending hours winding tape back into the cassette with a pencil by hand after they were used for sport by burglars. These things make for interesting after dinner anecdotes, they have both really happened. I have personally gone into burnt out buildings in the futile search for anything still reminiscent of a computer. We really will make every effort to recover information in obscure ways but we really would rather we never had to!

Jeff

AutoKingdom

With the aim of helping our clients sell their products Catalyst have negotiated free advertising on "Auto Kingdom" at the web site www.autokingdom.co.uk.

AutoKingdom

This site is currently under development but due to go live within the next few days. The site will feature specialist areas for motorcycles, cars, caravans and agricultural equipment. In order to tempt users there is a multitude of related material including vehicle reviews and news. As with other data feeds from our software this will be completely automated providing Catalysts software users with another free opportunity to market vehicles completely free of any additional effort.

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