The Oakley ERP Blog

Sage 200 Buyer’s Guide
Monday March 24, 2014

The following Sage 200 Buyer’s Guide provides an insight into the purchase of the Sage 200 Suite. It is important to remember that in choosing mid-market accounting software you are making an investment into your organisation that needs to have a considered approach.

 

Why are we looking at Sage 200?

Every organisation goes on a journey, for the successful business the journey is never ending. Starting out as a small business and setting the stage for transitional growth ensures your business has the best chance for future success.

 

As your business grows one of the first places you look to invest in is new staff to help cope with the new strains on services. While employing additional staff is vital, an often overlooked investment is into new systems to improve productivity and performance.

 

If you are running an accounting system that requires one user to log out for another to log in, the system is running too slow for the amount of users and processes it has to cope with, or you are expanding into new offices and having further functionality to need to report into, then you are leaving your company in a dangerous position.

 

It is when you reach this stage that you need to consider your options and whether to invest into a mid market accounting system also known as an ERP system (Enterprise Resource Planning) such as Sage 200.

 

How is Sage performing in the marketplace?

More than 23,000 of the largest UK businesses, including more than one third of the FTSE 100 choose Sage mid-market software to support their businesses. Sage products are designed to cover the full business growth cycle from start-up to multi-national. Sage is the third largest ERP solution provider to businesses around the world.

 

What is Sage 200?

Sage 200 is a mid-market business accounting software and ERP solution seen as the natural migration route for Sage 50 users and users of alternative small business accounting software’s. It brings together the core functionality a growing business needs to account for, such as financials, Sage Business Intelligence and Sage Customer Relationship Management.

 

Sage 200 financials includes a powerful 3 tier nominal ledger enabling you to produce all of your financial reporting through a combination of primary, secondary and tertiary analysis, all of which can be assigned uniquely.

 

To demonstrate just how significant this is, you could set-up the primary analysis to represent your office locations, secondary analysis to represent different departments and tertiary analysis to represent all of the individual jobs undertaken. This insight then provides you with the power to create and produce financial management reports for a specific office location, department, job or any combination between them.

 

With the combination of Sage Business Intelligence you will not only be able to input all of your financial data through the system but you will benefit from the ability to drill down and run sophisticated financial reports into your business. This is particularly useful when it comes to spotting any anomalies in your data and identifying how well your business is truly performing.

Board meetings at the end of the month will no longer involve hours of manual work to collate all of your financial data as Sage Business Intelligence can produce a comprehensive range of reporting within a few clicks.

 

Further more the Sage CRM integration as part of the Sage 200 Suite includes a comprehensive customer relationship management solution. Sage CRM brings together your expanding business units of Sales, Marketing, Customer Support, Technical Support and Management.

 

By providing a full sales cycle management solution, sales teams can work their pipeline from lead to customer. Marketing teams can track marketing campaigns and keep to overall budgets, while also scheduling campaigns based on actionable insight such as order history of key accounts and determine segments to focus sales and marketing efforts towards for the best ROI.

 

Account managers can keep track of customer support cases and ensure high levels of customer support are always provided and logged through the system for compliance and auditing.

 

Implementing Sage 200 – The first step

The first thing to note about purchasing Sage 200 is that you will not be able to buy the solution direct from Sage. As the software is far more configurable than small business software such as Sage 50 and requires a specialist business partner with expert knowledge into the mid-market to implement and support your systems.

 

Therefore In order to adopt the Sage 200 Solution you will need to locate an accredited Sage Business Partner that suits the philosophy of your organisation.

 

Implementing Sage 200 – The Requirements Analysis

In order to bring a new technology into your organisation your business processes need to be properly scoped out and documented to ensure the new technology suits your business requirements. In bringing Sage 200 into your business, you will want to look for a requirements analysis to be thoroughly conducted with your Sage Business Partner.

 

This will fully map out the project ahead and include vital project information such as planned timescales, resources required and setup information. Although this setup may seem an unfamiliar procedure to those smaller businesses that have grown, it is one of the most important phases to the Sage 200 Implementation process.

 

How much will Sage 200 cost?

Sage 200 is available either via monthly subscription, an outright upfront software purchase, or a finance approach. Sage 200 Online is available via a monthly subscription but does not include access to integrated Sage CRM and Sage Business Intelligence.

 

Each of the payment options are designed to suit your business situation and provide a flexible approach to adopting the Sage 200 Suite.

 

Which is best for me?

It is hard to answer with a one size fits all approach, it really does depend on your business situation. For example if you are struggling for cash flow an outright software purchase may not be a viable option. You may benefit from look at the monthly subscription on either the on premise or Sage 200 Online.

 

The actual cost of the project can not be determined fully until a bespoke quote is created for you; however the final prices and requirements will be subject to the Customer Requirements Analysis that has to be carried out at the start of the project.

 

It is important to understand that there are a number of stages to a Sage 200 project that have a direct effect on the Sage 200 Price. Firstly, you have the software purchase and secondly, the implementation and setup costs and thirdly, the training and support costs.

 

What are the deployment options?

Sage 200 is available via a range of flexible deployment options:

1. Sage 200 On Premise

2. Sage 200 Hosted

3. Sage 200 Online

 

Sage 200 On Premise is the traditional method of implementing an ERP system and while many businesses are starting to move towards hosted and cloud based deployments, on premise is still one of the favoured routes. It puts you in the driving seat with complete control over your ERP system, by hosting the solution on your own data centres.

 

Sage 200 Hosted is the on premise or monthly subscription model of Sage 200, with the solution being hosted on your Sage Business Partners data centres. It gives you the flexibility of a reduced strain on your IT resources.

 

Sage 200 Online is a true cloud based accounting solution that is built on the Microsoft Azure platform. It is ideal for those businesses that prefer a monthly subscription approach and those that do not require Business Intelligence and Sage CRM integration.

 

Functionality vs. cost

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Software can be a big step up for an organisation and requires a considered approach. It is important to view an ERP project as an investment and the way to do this is to look at how the system can help streamline your business.

 

The Sage 200 Suite range from an upfront software and implementation cost through to a monthly subscription model, however which ever route you take is likely to require a greater strain on your resources initially.

 

This can often lead you down the route of sourcing the cheapest ERP solution to your requirements. However as the Aberdeen Group’s Industry report highlights those top performing “Best-in-Class midmarket organizations place a greater emphasis on two other factors —functionality and usability—when selecting an ERP solution” (Nick Castellina, Aberdeen Group).

 

It is important to undergo a full Functionality vs. Cost analysis and remember the right ERP solution may require an initial outlay in resourcing, but the long term gains are vital to future company aspirations.

 

Sometimes you just have to see it

In order to help determine the potential ROI levels from Sage 200 and to understand how it can integrate with your business, it is advisable to see the product in action and get the chance to talk to an accredited Sage Business Partner. We provide a range of ways to see the Sage 200 Suite. You have the choice of either a Sage 200 Webinar, a Sage 200 demo at your premises or we regularly run Sage 200 Seminars in London.

 

So to fully weigh up the decision and be sure you are investing in the right long term accounting solution for your business, contact us to find out more information and see the Sage 200 Suite in action.

Written by David Weaver at 00:00

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