Author Archives : Merlin Software


Windows Server 2003 – End of Life

serversDo you currently use a Windows 2003 Server for your business operations? If so, are you aware that as of July 14th 2015 Windows 2003 Servers will no longer be supported by Microsoft?

What does this mean for you?

The end of support from Microsoft means that your server will no longer receive security updates or patch fixes. This could result in your business being at risk from new and existing threats.

What to do now

This is not something you need to address alone, why don’t you speak to our Engineering department for more information about how your business could be affected and for help in the migration process towards a new supported server.

If you don’t want to pay for a new server but don’t want to risk running your Windows 2003 server, you could move to Merlin’s hosted service / Cloud Computing.


Merlin develops new Offline Service

Merlin Offline Service

Don’t want to leave your business fate in the hands
of your ISP?

Merlin Business Software have developed a new solution to reduce this risk.  Merlin Offline enables you to trade even if your internet connection is down.

Ask The Expert

The Merlin Offline solution was produced by our own Engineering team of specialists who had recognised this could be a potential issue for our customers.  Martin Williams, Merlin’s Head of Engineering explains how this development came about.  “A particular customer’s branch had no access to Merlin at the head office as their Internet Service Provider (ISP) had decided to do maintenance work on the local exchange on a Saturday morning…

Martin continues… “…the users asked if there was any way they could have a separate copy of recent trading data available so they could at least avoid turning customers away while their data service was being restored.”

Discussing this with Merlin’s Senior Technical Consultant, John Barber, John reacted quickly by putting together a specification and prototype application, which ultimately resulted in the Merlin Offline solution.

Martin explains “The beauty of the Offline solution is that a full back up is automatically copied to a master station on a daily basis, with the ability to have as many Offline slave clients as you require.  This could be a single client for customers with a single site and server, or in the case of companies with multiple branches, each branch can have its own “master” client which can feed other “slave” clients within the branch.  This is solution is ideal where a large branch has more than one trade counter or office.  The Offline solution also offers an additional safeguard for customers using our hosted “cloud” services who may lose connection to their hosting centre for whatever reason.”

Used simply as a reference, the Offline solution will give you visibility of your customers, their special pricing, stock information and availability up to the last update of data and you will then be able to perform standard Merlin operations to give business continuity whilst the offending issue is resolved.

We have made the solution as cost effective as possible to ensure customers of any size can afford it, with a single master station at just £30 per month and additional slave station’s at £15 per month.

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Growth extends to all sectors to boost construction industry

Construction activity grew in Q3, making it the sixth consecutive rise in activity, according to the latest Construction Trade Survey.

Although private housing output slowed, this was offset by growth in all other sectors. Firms across construction, from SMEs to the largest contractors, reported increased output in the third quarter.

The survey’s key findings include:

  • Sixty percent of building contractors, on balance, reported that construction output rose in the third quarter of 2014 compared with a year ago
  • Private housing output in Q3 rose according to 35% of building contractors, on balance
  • Forty-three percent of building contractors, on balance, reported that private commercial output rose in the third quarter of 2014 compared with a year ago
  • Private industrial output in Q3 rose according to 41% of building contractors, on balance
  • Sixty-eight percent of firms reported labour costs rose and 74% of firms reported that materials costs rose in Q3 compared with the previous quarter
  • Eleven percent of building contractors, on balance, reported a fall in margins in Q3 compared with Q2
  • Forty-one percent of building contractors reported difficulties recruiting bricklayers in Q3 compared with 47% in Q2, and 39% of building contractors reported difficulties recruiting carpenters in Q3 compared with 47% in Q2
  • Construction firms also reported rises in forward-looking indicators, such as orders and enquiries. A rise in Q3 order books in private housing was reported by 15% of contractors, on balance. A further 13% and 12% of firms reported rises, on balance, in order books across private industrial and public non-housing, respectively.

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We’re extending our support hours…

Having listened to customer feedback and in recognition of our customers typical opening times, we’re extending our support hours at both ends of the day.

From Monday 14th July 2014, our Support Desk will be available:

Mon – Thur: 08:00 – 18:00
Friday: 08:00 – 17:00

Q. Has the process in which we log a support call changed?

A. No, you still log support calls in the same way: 01246 457170, support@merlinsw.co.uk or via the online support form.


Merlin customer, Kent Blaxill, opens new branch in Huntingdon

The Mayor of Huntingdon, Bill Hensley, cut the ribbon to officially open a new Kent Blaxill decorating materials branch in the town last week (May 1), the company’s ninth store.

Welcoming the company to the town, Mr Hensley said: “It is great to see another business opening in Huntingdon. It is the fastest growing town in the fastest growing county in the country.”

He was addressing staff, customers and suppliers at the new 3,147 sq ft Kent Blaxill store located at Unit 1, Stukeley Meadows Industrial Estate, St Margarets Way, Huntingdon, PE29 6EB – three minutes away from the A1/A14.

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