The Sage 300c and Sage 50c solutions are particularly significant in the Canadian market, and both have received cloud-based mobility upgrades to make them hybrid solutions.
Sage North America has announced the release of its Sage 50c, Sage 100c and Sage 300c solutions which were announced this summer at Sage Summit. The 300c and 50c solutions allow customers to upgrade to the next-generation cloud and mobile-enhanced product, or continue on the simpler and less expensive upgrade of the older product if they choose to do so.
Sage 300c is the latest version of the ACCPAC product that Sage acquired back in 2004 and which has a significant install base in Canada. Himanshu Palsule, Sage North America’s CTO, remarked at Sage Summit that originally the plan was to update Sage 300 as a cloud-only solution, but that many customers objected.
“300c wasn’t originally on the road map, as we were going to do a pure cloud solution, and customers said that they don’t want this as a cloud right now,” Palsule said.
The hybrid 300c – which allows customers to move to the advantages of a cloud solution if they want, or to get an updated offering without the cloud – was the result.
“Not all our customers are ready to move to the cloud,” said Diane Haines, vice president of Product Marketing at Sage North America. “Some want to go full cloud, but we will help the rest move at their own pace. We are taking these trusted solutions and allowing customers to stay with them while also leveraging some of the new modern enhancements. Both Sage 100 and Sage 300 have over 20 such enhancements, so they can stay with the current solution without mobile access and some other things if they don’t need them at this time. We are allowing customers to make these incremental steps.”
Haines said that given that the 300c is more expensive, because it is a premium product, that may deter some customers from upgrading, but Sage really doesn’t know at this stage how many customers will upgrade to that product at this point in time.
“We don’t know,” she said. “The customer has to decide how ready they are and if they are ready for mobile screens and things like that. Time will tell, as this is the first release of our modernized products. We do expect through that Sage 300c will be our best foot forward with a new prospect, because it has the new features customers are looking for today.”
Sage 300c is sold through a subscription model only, which significantly cuts the upfront cost.
“Sage as a whole is moving to this model, as opposed to perpetual licenses,” Haines said.
Sage 300c – the c doesn’t just mean cloud, but also a combination of connected, collaborative, and customer focused – adds new web mobile screens as a key innovation, although it does not have an actual mobile application. Haines said that Sage did the redesign with the understanding that changing systems is very difficult and there isn’t a big learning curve involved.
“We are introducing some new things like mobile screens, but the interface as a whole will be very recognizable,” she said. “We tried to preserve as much as we could with the web screen. Users have memorized, ‘muscle memory,’ and we didn’t want to disrupt that, but to develop mobile and more user- friendly screens we had to make some changes. We kept it familiar enough that they aren’t implementing a new system, and it won’t require retraining their employees.”
Haines said that not only will current Sage partners and customers make a quick adaptation to 300c, but that it will be familiar to former Sage partners who moved away from the company several years ago when channel-unfriendly moves tried partners’ patience – a policy which has been reversed in the last year under new leadership.
“If I was a partner who moved away from Sage, they will recognize the core, and they will want to come back because we are offering more options and more choices that weren’t there before,” she said.
The new web screens run in all popular browsers including IE, Edge, Chrome, Firefox and Safari. No plug-ins are needed, allowing these screens to be accessed across all types and brands of devices. This allows Sage 300c users to access business data and transaction details from any device. A Sage Payment Center for both Sage 300c and Sage 100c to allow payments from multiple sources is scheduled for availability at some point in 2016.
Sage 50c, which was branded Simply Accounting before 2013, is Sage’s small business accounting solution aimed at the sub-50 user market. Like 300c, it also has a relatively strong presence in Canada, as it had been moved into Computer Associates’ ACCPAC business group before its acquisition by Sage. Like 300c, it is also available as the traditional on-prem product, Sage 50, or as a hybrid solution through cloud integration with Sage One and Sage Drive. Customers can choose to stay with Sage 50, switch to the cloud-based Sage One and Sage Drive separately, or upgrade to the hybrid 50c
Sage 100c, which was MAS 90 before the 2013 rebranding which defined the Sage products by their suggested user cap, has less of a legacy in the Canadian market, and less of a user base here as a result. Unlike the other two offerings, while the revamped 100 is an on premise subscription product, it does not have mobile-enabled browsers, and thus has no mobile screens.
“It does have a completely new UI, and an improved business insights dashboard,” Haines said.