What’s next for Sage Pro and Sage PFW ERP customers?
It’s been a little while now since Sage informed its customers that two of its products, Sage Pro and Sage PFW ERP, were being sunsetted effective March 31, 2014. For the customers of these products, this may mean you are no longer receiving product support, and that updates and fixes have been discontinued. If you’re one of the Sage customers dealing with the fact that your ERP software has become obsolete, you’re facing a serious matter that affects your entire business.
The good news is that you have the option of transitioning or upgrading to another Sage product. Another option some customers are considering is to continue to use Sage Pro or Sage PFW ERP and creating or expanding internal support teams to deal with user issues in lieu of Sage support. While both options are viable, having to choose one or the other causes inconvenience, potential cost increase (especially at the front end), and uncertainty.
So what’s next? The answer to that depends on several factors: where you are in the ERP life cycle, how happy you are with your current software and the support you have traditionally received, and what your budget allows for migration and potential upgrading. If you’re in this situation and have not decided your course yet, below is a summary of options and issues to consider.
If you moved into Sage Pro or Sage PFW ERP in the last 3-5 years, staying put may seem like a good option for a while. You have already paid for the product and invested in its deployment. Your employees spent considerable time learning how to use the application and are succeeding with the processes you have established. But staying put is not an option without consequences. Sage Pro and Sage PFW rely on retired Microsoft operating systems, and as the patching and support of these systems discontinues, it’s possible that malfunctions in certain functionality may occur. Sage has indicated that it plans to provide fixes to customers who participate in their Business Care Plan if critical issues do arise.1 That’s helpful if you are planning to continue paying support for a product that isn’t otherwise seeing new features being added. Updates to the software, such as tax updates, payroll and 1099 updates, will no longer occur.
Migrating to another Sage product
If you are happy with your ERP, the support you’ve received and your supported customizations, migrating to another Sage product may be a great choice. Sage is offering trade-in credits when you move to one of their mid-market ERP solutions. If you are a mid-sized product distribution company, obtaining the broader warehouse management and supply chain functionality required for optimal operational efficiency may mean stepping up to Sage ERP X3, and to a higher price point than where you were previously.
Migrating to another ERP
Unless you are close to the end of your ERP life cycle or unhappy with your current product and the fact that you may no longer have support services, this is probably the last option you are considering. However, if you are thinking about a new product, here are a few considerations:
- Choose ERP relevant to your industry. For the sake of affordability, efficiency and standardization across your locations, consider software that is already custom-fit to your industry. For example, a product distribution company will do well to select ERP software with warehouse, distribution and financial management solutions for managing the end-to-end supply chain, rather than a popular manufacturing ERP that includes a simplified module for distribution. You’ll save time and money on extra configurations and expensive customizations by selecting ERP that best suits your business model.
- Select the right-sized software. ERP software publishers that cater to large corporations typically give less attention to the needs of midsize and smaller businesses. If participating in the advancement of your ERP system is a high value for you, choose software that is developed specifically to meet the needs of organizations similar to yours in size. You will find that your requests for new features may actually get into the development cycle during the next year.
- Consider moving to the cloud. Research indicates that companies with on-premise ERP actually see nearly twice the amount of data loss and security-related downtime as those on a cloud-based ERP system.2 Cloud security and safety have come a long way, a reason why many companies are now making to move to the cloud. Companies also move to the cloud in order to increase employee accessibility to the ERP, which in turn positively impacts productivity.
- Lower your overhead with SaaS ERP. A study by the Aberdeen Group reveals that companies with Software as a Service (SaaS) ERP saw a 21% improvement in profit margins after 2 years in their new system, in comparison to an 8% improvement for those who chose on-premise solutions.3 SaaS ERP creates cost saving in terms of IT resources (both staffing and equipment) to run your system. With a SaaS ERP, your product updates, database updates and security patches are seamless. The application is kept up-to-date with current technology.
ERP is a significant investment, and making the right enterprise technology decisions for your company can seem a daunting task with many options and issues to consider. If you are interested in a no-obligation, product-neutral consultation on making the best choice for your organization, we welcome you to contact us.
2Aberdeen Group (2012). SaaS and Cloud ERP Observations: Is Cloud ERP Right for You?
3Aberdeen Group (2014). SaaS ERP in Wholesale and Distribution: Enabling Communication Across a Wide Network.