Sage Line 100 Being Dropped – farewell old friend but buyers beware..

Sage has announced that Line 100 is being ditched, dropped, dumped, kicked into the long grass and generally written off as being of a bygone age. As of September 2012 it is, to borrow an old line, an “ex-product”.

This should not come as a great surprise to many. I mean, how many software packages can a company support before its own support people, never mind the thoroughly baffled and overworked support teams among the reseller base, cry out – “Enough is Enough”?

For their customers, no doubt we will see a stampede of discounted offerings as Sage resellers rush to fill the gap. 20% is the going discount rate to move on to another Sage product. But users should resist the temptation to simply accept the next offering (a mistake many make when renewing car insurance, for example) and should really take a long, hard look around them. The buyer should be very careful. To extend the car analogy… trading cars usually involves the customer trying to establish the net cost of his new shiny vehicle while the car salesman does his or her level best to baffle the customer by proposing a simple £x per month figure which extends 3 or 4 years into the future (and may even have a nasty big final payment). And so it will be with the Sage ‘upgrade’ paths.

So, I would be extremely surprised if the established industry players such as Microsoft, Pegasus etc don’t offer similar discount terms off their products to trade-in that old Sage system. It’s a great opportunity to poach existing Sage users into their fold.

As a Microsoft Dynamics NAV reseller, I’m obviously keen to push that product and its differentiators which, if we talk competitiveness v Sage, are many. Here are a few off the top of my head:

1/ Buy one user and you buy one of the most extensive, function-rich accounting suites available (no seperate costs for Accounts and CRM). Value for money.
2/ Add users one at a time. No requirement for 5, 10, 15 etc. Great for cashflow.
3/ Buy ‘lite’ web users for less than a 10th of the cost of a full user. Customers have to start thinking user types, not just numbers, when they buy a new system. We often have twice as many low cost web users inputting POs or time/expenses via the web as full users. Use low spec PCs and save even more money.
4/ It’s Microsoft – so it’s fantastically well integrated with Office, Windows, Sharepoint etc. Future proofing? In the computer industry? How novel!
5/ It’s Microsoft – so they’re investing massively. Software development costs exceed the combined turnovers of their UK rivals. How long will their smaller rivals last?
6/ And, we don’t demand that  you sign up for three years support – it’s always baffled me that customers accept such stringent contracts from suppliers, especially those they have barely met! Trust me, I’m a software saleman?

So, think again before accepting that wonderful Sage upgrade deal. There are some rather tempting alternatives out there.

To help you decide, we have an unbiased  guide to selecting a new accounting system. Just drop me a line at stephen.malloy@turnkey-bs.com and I’ll send you a copy. It’s free, and it might just save you a few years sleepless nights.

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Office 365 and MS Dynamics NAV Getting Closer?

A recent post at MSDynamicsWorld.com cast some light on when and how we might see NAV reach the clouds.. at no extra cost to NAV users.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV made its first move to demonstrate viability with Office 365. At the Directions EMEA conference, Microsoft announced a new version of Equisys’s Zetadocs for Dynamics NAV, dubbed Zetadocs Express, that will work with Dynamics NAV in combination with Office 365.

According to Andrew Levey of Equisys, Zetadocs Express will be delivered as a downloadable module in October 2011. The module will allow customers to capture inbound documents via a drag and drop interface for storage in SharePoint online, and also email documents from NAV.

The module will be no additional cost for customers on a Business Ready Enhancement Plan with a Microsoft Office 365 subscription.

Customers will then be able to upgrade to the Essentials and Plus editions of their Capture and Delivery modules to gain access to more advanced functionality, as well as customisation and automation opportunities.

And so ends another year at Turnkey. A success? I think so.

In a year when the doom mongers were talking down the industry, we’ve just had our best year ever.

New customer adds well up on last year. Revenues up, margins up and levels of optimism well up. And looking forward, we’ve a steady order book which takes us well past Christmas.

So why are we doing so well when others in the IT industry all around are muttering darkly, tightening belts and predicting the end of the world?

If pushed to give a one word answer, I’d say ‘care’. We might not get it right every time but customers, both old and new, know that we care and we want to do the right thing by them. So, even when we hit a blip which is invariably caused by work arriving in the occasional deluge rather than an easily-managed steady stream (chance would be a fine thing) they stay resolutely supportive.

Thus as new sites come on board, upgrades are requested, support calls and development requests arrive by phone, fax, email and the web support portal, we can find ourselves apologising as we seek to re-schedule. But as long as we show we do care about getting it right and communicate that sense of caring, customers are very forgiving people.

Ups and downs in service are tolerated and even recognised as inevitable to some degree, but any sense that nobody cares is not.

The proof of the pudding? In the last 5 years, I can recall only one site that felt moved to take its support elsewhere and 10 times that who have moved to Turnkey. In this industry, these are exceptional statistics.