Dispatch from the Sage Summit Conference – US
The Sage Summit Conference for 2017 was held in beautiful, green Atlanta. This was a smaller gathering than the global events in years past, as it was just one in a string of several Sage stops around the world. Sage also had Summit stops in London, Melbourne, Canada and elsewhere. The advantage of the smaller size was that we got plenty of time to talk with vendors, partners and customers about their businesses. Here are a few highlights:
Sage 300 ERP: The Road Ahead
Sage 300 ERP will continue to be supported as it has one of the biggest installation bases of all the Sage products. Sage is working to incentivize a switch from Sage 300 to Sage 300c, which is the same product but with a subscription pricing model. The benefits of this model is that the smaller payments are more approachable, and that the annual price cannot increase more than 10%. For some customers, this isn’t appealing. While the choice is there for now, Sage will eventually sunset perpetual licensing in favor of subscription pricing.
Sage will also now be supporting only the current version and one version back. So when Sage 300 2018 is released, the supported versions will be 2018 and 2017. Sage 300 version 2014 will not be supported by Sage starting in August 2017. To find out what version you have, open Sage 300 ERP, Help, About Sage 300.
Sage CRM: The Road Ahead
There are new user interface improvements and calendar improvements coming to the product. Sage CRM has significant global reach and is being positioned as a module of Sage 300 ERP.
Third Party Product Highlights
Knowledge Sync (Sage Alerts & Workflow)
Knowledge Sync will soon be releasing Version 10, which will leverage newer technology, including web services. The product will also include alert acknowledgements, where users can confirm that they received the alert sent from Knowledge Sync. Additionally, Knowledge Sync will publish an interview-style questionnaire with 12 questions to understand your business. The answers to these questions will reveal which areas of Knowledge Sync are appropriate for your business process.
The Orchid team continues to innovate and create useful enhancements for the Sage 300 experience. If you’re not familiar with Orchid Extender, we’ll be chatting about it with you soon! Orchid Extender allows you to create optional tables within Sage, allowing you to customize the product to your needs. Extender also has the ability to incorporate scripts to accommodate your business rules- for example, making certain fields read-only, or validating the data that is input to Sage 300.
We also appreciate Extender because of the way it interacts with the Sage 300 ERP database. Since it works at the view level, any customizations or additions that are added with Extender are also included in the database and roll up as part of product upgrades. This prevents having to re-build customizations when moving from one version of Sage to another.
Process Weaver is a warehouse shipment tool, often used as a part of an existing warehouse system. However, it can also be leveraged on its own to do carrier rate shopping and handle product shipments. This would be useful for warehouses that do not need a process for barcode scanning, picking and packing, but just need a better shipping solution.
Auto Simply is known as a manufacturing software, but there are some quite useful enhancements they’ve created that don’t require the full manufacturing suite. For example, with the new Sales Anywhere screen, a user who is not a full Sage 300 ERP desktop user can enter an order with a simplified order screen that feeds directly to Sage 300. This might be used at a warehouse where customers occasionally drop in and request a product, or at a point-of-sale environment like a tradeshow. Within Sales Anywhere, the order can optionally be shipped and invoiced, allowing the user to collect payment right away. The screen is a workstation screen which would be installed on a Windows PC or tablet. However, the PC or Tablet does not need to install Sage 300 as the technology uses Web services IIS to update the Sage backend. An internet connection is required. It will require 1 Lanpak user at the time the order is placed.
Info POS is a vendor for point-of-sale software that integrates with Sage 300 ERP. The software interfaces with Sage 300 using the API so it respects the Sage 300 business rules. The transactions are held in the Info POS trading account and then pulled into Sage during an End of Day reconciliation. At the time of sale, the system polls Sage 300 to get an accurate inventory count to make sure the product is in stock, and checks the customer’s credit limit in real time. Sage Price lists are synced overnight, new customers can be added on the fly, and transactions can be either batched or sent through individually.
Sage Summit Conference Parting Takeaways
The Sage Summit Conference events are always fun for learning about new advances both with the core products of Sage 300 ERP and Sage CRM, and for discovering what helpful enhancements the third-party vendors have created to further extend what is possible.
Heavyweight champion and Olympic Gold Medalist George Foreman was also an inspiring and amusing keynote. Foreman told his story of dropping out of school, then eventually joining a program sponsored by the Lyndon Johnson administration to encourage a vocational education for young people. It was during that more structured time that Foreman began boxing, even though he claims he “never wanted to fight.” He read books, built relationships, and started working on his fitness. Now he’s got 10 children and an impressive history of accomplishments behind him.
While the keynote wasn’t software related, it’s always interesting to hear stories from excellent storytellers, and get excited about the myriad ways in which a life can be built. That’s one thing about Sage Summit that we always enjoy- taking time to get outside of daily problem solving, and take a longer view of the value of good work and how to build the kinds of businesses we want.