Cost Effective Alternatives for Replacing a Sage Pro ERP System Eric and Peter Green

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1 Introduction Cost Effective Alternatives for Replacing a Sage Pro ERP System Eric and Peter Green This white paper examines alternatives for replacing Sage Pro ERP system. This product has an end-of life-declared by Sage as of March 2014 as Sage seeks to consolidate its product line. Until September 30 th, 2013 Sage has free upgrade offers and lesser discounts until March 2014 for users of Sage Pro to Sage 100 (was MAS90/ 200) and to Sage 300 (was AccPac). They also offer various credits to upgrade to Sage ERP X3, which is Sage s top-of-the line ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system. Sage Pro was originally called AccPac, not to be confused with the Canadian AccPac that has now become Sage 300. Sage Pro was popular with a wide range of industrial organizations because the FoxPro source code for Sage pro was available which meant that Sage Pro could be modified to meet the specific requirements of each individual business. While some may not consider customizing financials a good idea (especially after the Enron debacle), the ability to customize the Pro inventory and manufacturing modules was certainly widely used. The end-of-life for Sage Pro is being driven by the declared end-of-life for Microsoft s FoxPro development language/environment on which Pro is based. FoxPro was a great environment in which to develop client-server applications like Pro. Microsoft, in its rush to become a consumer oriented, Cloud focused company, is now abandoning many client-server technologies it acquired over a decade ago, including FoxPro. A number of manufacturing companies use BellHawk in conjunction with Sage Pro to add wireless warehouse management and manufacturing execution system capabilities. This white paper was written to provide guidance for those companies and other users of Pro as to the tradeoffs in the different alternatives that are available going forward with or without Pro. Methodology Sage Pro users tend to fall into three categories: 1. Those that use Sage Pro purely as an accounting system. 2. Those that use Sage Pro for a distribution business. 3. Those that use Sage Pro for a manufacturing business. We evaluated several alternatives for the financials: 1. Continuing to use Sage Pro. 2. Moving to QuickBooks Enterprise. 3. Moving to Sage 100 or 300 (for which there is a free upgrade). July 9, 2013 Page 1 of 14 BellHawk Systems Corporation

2 4. Moving to another on-premise ERP system such Microsoft Dynamics GP (Great Plains) and Dynamics NAV (Navision), or Sage X3, or the Cloud-based Plex and NetSuite products, which are offered only on a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) subscription basis. For inventory tracking and manufacturing, we looked at replacing the Sage Pro financials with QuickBooks Enterprise or Sage 300 and then using add-on products that would provide similar capabilities to Sage Pro in distribution and manufacturing. The big factor for inventory and especially manufacturing applications was the ability to customize the code to meet the specific needs of each individual organization. Many add-on product vendors offer customization services but only BellHawk makes the VB.net source code to its software available to its clients. Amongst the ERP offerings, Navision is the only product for which the source code is readily available. Manufacturing software tends to focus on two major areas: 1. Discrete-batch manufacturing used by companies in the automotive and aerospace parts manufacturing business where assembly, machining and tools management play a critical role. 2. Process-batch manufacturing which is used by companies for food, pharmaceutical, chemicals, cosmetics, biologics, and precision materials converting applications. Here the focus is on formulas and materials traceability. Sage Pro does not handle multiple units of measure, track process-batch manufacturing, or capture materials traceability data. It also does not have an integral wireless warehouse management system, so these capabilities have to be provided by add-on applications. In studying add-on wireless warehouse management systems we found that, while all the products did a good job of the fundamentals, there was a divergence of focus. Accellos, IntelliTrack and Fishbowl tend to focus on retail warehousing applications, where capabilities such as wave picking are important. BellHawk, on the other hand tends to focus on warehouses used for applications where capabilities such as materials traceability and tracking expiration dates can be critical. In terms of financials, two critical differentiators emerged: 1. Ability to concurrently handle multiple currencies. Pro has this ability but QuickBooks and Sage 100 do not. All the other ERP systems in our survey have this capability. 2. Ability to easily roll-up and drill-down into multiple profit and loss centers. Pro has this ability but QuickBooks and Sage 100 do not. All the other ERP systems in our survey have this capability. Of course, the most critical differentiator of all is cost. We chose a small/mid size company baseline model with 5 seats each for accounting, inventory, and manufacturing. July 9, 2013 Page 2 of 14 BellHawk Systems Corporation

3 It was not possible to get accurate pricing in all cases, so we decided to bracket costs as follows: 1. $ < $10, $$ $10,000-$20, $$$ $20,000 - $50, $$$$ $50,000 - $100, $$$$$ Over $100,000 Our costs include installation and setup but not on-site user training. They are presented incrementally with a cost for Financials and then as a total cost for Financials plus Inventory plus Manufacturing. We did, however break out the cost to add wireless warehouse management (WMS) capability to the financial products for those interested only in tracking the distribution of products. In the cost section, we marked those products with a free upgrade offer from Sage with an * and those products with an upgrade credit from Pro with a +. We decided to include an information technology section as it is apparent that some products have transitioned to use modern web-browser and web-services (used for computer to computer communications) technology and some are still using older client-server technologies. Microsoft s wholesale abandonment of technologies it purchased or developed over a decade ago may make good business sense for Microsoft as it transitions to the Cloud and tries to become a consumer rather than business oriented company. Software products that rely on older Microsoft technologies, such as Sage Pro, are being forced into end-of-life. We believe that many more such products will cease to work as Microsoft issues kill-bits in its updates to prohibit programs from using older dynamic link libraries which have compatibility or security issues. We have found that many of our small and mid-sized clients do not yet want to transition to Cloud based subscription services because they doubt the reliability of their Internet connections and they need to retain their IT staff for other purposes. But they do like the fact that using a web-browser interface to software installed on their own servers eliminates the need and cost of maintaining thick-client software on Microsoft based PCs (especially given Microsoft s Windows 8 user interface debacle). QuickBooks Enterprise and most of the ERP system have web-browser interfaces but Sage 100 does not. Many of these ERP Systems have web-services interfaces but Sage 100 and 300 do not. Add-on products such as BellHawk, MISys, Fishbowl and IntelliTrack all offer web-browser interfaces but only BellHawk offers a web-services interface for data exchange with other systems over the Internet. Several other factors that were identified in this study that may be important factors in choosing a replacement system are: 1. Availability of customization services while all the products work out-of-the-box, in many cases there is need for customization to meet the specific business needs of each business. July 9, 2013 Page 3 of 14 BellHawk Systems Corporation

4 2. Availability of source code. This can be important for those organizations that wish to customize the software themselves. 3. Can be FDA/USDA/HACCP/SQF validated. This is important for those organizations that need these certifications. 4. Can exchange data with Process Control Systems to avoid duplicate data entry. We have indicated whether these features are available for each of the products. We have also indicated the standard interfaces that are available to each of the financial products for the add-on products. The results of this study are shown in Appendix A as a set of spreadsheets. While we have tried to be as accurate as possible, please realize that these results are based on publically available information over the Internet. So, before making a decision as to a replacement for your Sage Pro system, you should check the facts as they apply to your specific case and make your own judgment. We have included a brief description of each software product mentioned in this document in Appendix B. Recommendations General The simplest course of action is to do nothing. Sage Pro will continue to operate as long as the version of the Microsoft Windows operating system on which it is based continues to work. This end of life is determined by the computers on which Windows runs. Disks or some other component will ultimately fail and the operating system version will not be compatible with any available replacements and so your Sage Pro will suddenly come to the end of its life. But, if you are running Pro on a reasonably up to date Windows 2008 server computer this could be a decade or more away. The biggest problem will come in modifying Pro after FoxPro is no longer supported. FoxPro will continue to be available as long as Windows based computers continue to be available on which to compile FoxPro software. If you are currently running FoxPro on Windows 7 or Windows 2008 computers then this end-of life could be several years away. If you are running your version of Pro on a Windows 2000 or 2003 Server, and you intend to keep Pro, we recommend that you immediately upgrade to Windows 2008, with some new hardware, as these older Windows products really are going away in the near future. This is much cheaper than upgrading Pro, which can continue to operate for years to come. So why upgrade? The answer is that Sage Pro is an old client-server product and may become obsolete for the following reasons: 1. Changes in general accounting and tax rules that are not supported by Pro. Also many accountants do not like auditing financial data produced by non-supported software that may be subject to security breaches. July 9, 2013 Page 4 of 14 BellHawk Systems Corporation

5 2. Requirements to add real-time mobile data collection, with point-of-action mistake prevention, for inventory and production data. 3. Ability to collect inventory and production data at multiple geographically distributed locations. 4. Ability to exchange data with other systems over the Internet. Reasons 2 through 4 can be mitigated by integrating external products from suppliers such as BellHawk Systems to an existing Pro installation. But, by switching from Sage Pro to another system for the financials, you guarantee that these will be supported and maintained for many years to come to be compatible with both financial and tax reporting requirements, whereas Pro obviously will not. Sage 300 (was AccPac) supports accounting audit methods that are rigorous whereas many accountants for mid-sized companies recommend against QuickBooks Enterprise for its lack of double-entry formality and audit trail capture. Auditors for these companies are likely to raise issues as to whether a non-supported product, such as Pro, is appropriate for a mid-sized company. Alternately, you could switch to another ERP system to provide the same capabilities as you have with Pro. Here the issue is the availability of source code, if that is important to your organization. Only Navision make its source code available but there is an extensive learning curve in learning how to modify Navision due to its use of its own specialized language and development environment. By combining BellHawk with QuickBooks Enterprise (for smaller organizations) or Sage 300 Financials (for mid-sized organizations) organizations able to retain the ability to modify the manufacturing and inventory tracking features of the combined system at a lower cost than changing over to Navision. Furthermore the code is written in VB.Net running in a Visual Studio development environment, which is familiar to many FoxPro developers, so the learning curve is much easier than with Navision. The side benefit of using BellHawk is that it supports wireless mobile data collection, multiple units of measure, and capture of material traceability data, which may be important to some Pro users. We also looked at using other add-on products with QuickBooks or Sage 300 Financials as an alternative to moving from Pro to another ERP system. More specific recommendations for these cases follow: Financials For organizations currently only using Sage Pro as a financial package: 1. If you are a smaller company that needs multi-currency and/or multi-p&l tracking then upgrade to Sage 300. The upgrade is free but the annual maintenance fee will be several thousand dollars. 2. If you only need single P&L and single currency then get QuickBooks Enterprise. The 5 seat version will cost you $2,500 but the annual maintenance fee is only about $700 per year. July 9, 2013 Page 5 of 14 BellHawk Systems Corporation

6 3. Do not upgrade to Sage 100 as it uses obsolete technology and is unlikely to be upgraded. It was a great product 20 years ago and has a large user base but Sage has shown no inclination to invest in upgrading it. Inventory For organizations currently using Sage Pro to track financials plus inventory: 1. If you are a large company with lots of money then upgrade to Sage X3 or one of the other ERP Systems in this survey. But please recognize that these ERP systems do not have an integral wireless warehouse management system (WMS) and a third party product must be used. Some recommended options for use with these ERP systems are: a. If you need materials traceability and regulatory compliance then you probably want to consider BellHawk. It is much lower cost than Accellos and has many more capabilities for materials traceability. b. If you are in the retail distribution business then consider IntelliTrack as a lower cost alternative to Accellos. 2. If you are happy with using manual data entry instead of using barcodes to track your inventory and do not need materials traceability then simply upgrade to the Distribution package of any of the ERP systems. 3. If you are a smaller company and want to use barcode tracking then upgrade to : a. QuickBooks Enterprise or Sage 300 plus BellHawk, or b. QuickBooks Enterprise plus Fishbowl, or c. QuickBooks Enterprise plus IntelliTrack 4. In comparison: a. BellHawk is ideal for those organizations such as food, chemical, cosmetics and pharmaceutical distributors that need materials traceability and possibly FDA/USDA/HACCP/SQF certification. b. Fishbowl is highly integrated with QuickBooks and is ideal if you want to use QuickBooks and do not need materials traceability or high volume retail picking. c. IntelliTrack is ideal if you need to use techniques such as wave picking for high volume picking in a retail distribution warehouse. July 9, 2013 Page 6 of 14 BellHawk Systems Corporation

7 Manufacturing For organizations currently using Sage Pro to track financials plus process inventory plus process-batch manufacturing: 1. If you are a large company with lots of money then Sage X3 (no source code) or Microsoft Navision (source code) are good choices. NetSuite and Plex are also good alternatives if you want to migrate to the Cloud and do not need source code to modify. But please recognize that these ERP systems do not directly connect with data collection devices such as barcode scanners, mobile computers, barcode label printers, RFID encoders and readers and process control systems. These capabilities must be added through third party software. To add these capabilities in a discrete batch operation then use MISys. To add these capabilities in a process batch operation then use BellHawk. 2. If you are a smaller company then upgrade to : a. QuickBooks Enterprise or Sage 300 plus BellHawk, or b. QuickBooks Enterprise or Sage 300 plus MISys. In comparison: c. BellHawk is ideal for those organizations such as food, chemical, cosmetics and pharmaceutical manufacturers that need materials traceability and possibly FDA/USDA/HACCP certification. It is also ideal for those organizations that have multiple facilities in different locations. d. MISys is ideal for those organizations such as automotive and aerospace manufacturers that perform discrete batch manufacturing at a single location. 3. While Fishbowl does claim to do discrete manufacturing and is closely integrated with QuickBooks, we do not recommend this unless your organization only does very simple discrete manufacturing operations such as assembly and kitting. 4. Both BellHawk and MISys have integrated MRP (Materials Requirements Planning) capabilities. Alternately BellHawk can use the MRP capabilities provided with Sage 300 Manufacturing. The MISys MRP capabilities are reputed to be excellent for discrete batch manufacturers. The BellHawk MRP capabilities represent a simple to use alternative for smaller process-batch manufacturers but BellHawk recommends the use of the Sage 300 MRP for organizations with more complex supply chain requirements. Summary 1. If you are a large company then upgrade to Sage X3 or Navision. 2. If you are happy with the current client-server version of Sage Pro then continue to use it until it dies. If not then choose one of the following: 3. If you are a smaller company that has simple accounting requirements then upgrade to QuickBooks Enterprise. July 9, 2013 Page 7 of 14 BellHawk Systems Corporation

8 4. If you are a mid-size company that has more complex accounting requirements then upgrade to Sage 300 financials. 5. If you are a smaller company and need to add warehouse management then add-on BellHawk for applications that need materials traceability or Fishbowl or IntelliTrack if you need retail warehouse management capability. 6. If you are a smaller company that needs to track its Manufacturing then add-on MISys for discrete manufacturing or BellHawk for process-batch Manufacturing or multi-site operation. Authors Eric Green Eric is a summer marketing-operations intern for BellHawk Systems. He did all the research for this paper. Eric is studying Operations Management at UMass Dartmouth. He previously worked in a food distribution warehouse, as a QC person for an abrasives manufacturer, and for a demolition company. He is currently President of the ENACTUS Chapter at UMass Dartmouth, which is dedicated to encouraging socially conscious entrepreneurship amongst students worldwide. Peter Green Dr. Peter Green is a recognized expert in implementing industrial materials tracking and traceability systems. He currently serves as the CTO and President of BellHawk Systems which developed the BellHawk and Bell-Connector software, under his guidance. Dr. Green has led the implementation of over 100 tracking systems for clients as diverse as small food processors and the U.S. Air Force and Navy. Dr. Green was previously a Professor at WPI and a member of the research staff at MIT. He received his BSEE and Ph.D. from Leeds University in England. July 9, 2013 Page 8 of 14 BellHawk Systems Corporation

9 Appendix A Results July 9, 2013 Page 9 of 14 BellHawk Systems Corporation

10 July 9, 2013 Page 10 of 14 BellHawk Systems Corporation

11 Appendix B Software Products Sage Pro ERP Sage Pro is a combined accounting, inventory and manufacturing tracking system that is used by a significant number of mid-sized industrial businesses. Its primary benefit is that it is written in FoxPro and the source code is available for modification. Sage Pro originally used the FoxPro database but most installations now use SQL Server. Its primary focus in terms of inventory and manufacturing are in the area of discrete manufacturing. It only uses a single unit of measure for each part and does not have many of the features needed to support process batch manufacturing. Support is being discontinued by Sage in March QuickBooks Enterprise Accounting This is the client-server big-brother version of the QuickBooks product used by millions of small businesses world-wide. For small, single facility, manufacturing and distribution companies it provides a low cost but very comprehensive financial package. It has been criticized by many accountants as not having enough audit controls but it is very simple to use. The big advantage is that a 5 user system can be purchased for around $2,500 with an annual maintenance fee of around $700/year. These 5 seats are more than adequate for the front office operations of smaller organizations when combined with inventory and production tracking add-ons such as BellHawk, Fishbowl and MISys which have standard interfaces to QuickBooks. Sage 100 ERP This is the new name for the old MAS90 and MAS200 products. This product has a large user base, mostly amongst smaller manufacturing and distribution companies who purchased it as a low cost ERP system 20 years ago. This uses older client-server technology. It was upgraded about a decade ago to use a relational database but is unlikely to be further upgraded. Even worse, MAS90 and MAS200 are really two different products, so this product does not have internal consistency. We understand that Sage is now targeting Sage 100 at services companies. Sage 300 ERP This is the old Canadian AccPac product, which is not to be confused with the other AccPac that became Sage Pro, which is also due or end of life in Sage 300 is used by a large number of discrete batch manufacturers and is available in three levels: 1. Financials was Sage AccPac Distribution was Sage AccPac Manufacturing was Sage AccPac 500 This product was recently updated to have a web-browser portal interface and is likely to remain around for a long time. We understand that Sage is retaining its manufacturing focus but adding a distribution market focus. July 9, 2013 Page 11 of 14 BellHawk Systems Corporation

12 This product is moderately priced and, with the demise of Pro and the refocus of Sage 100 on service companies, is now the low-end manufacturing product in the Sage lineup. Sage X3 ERP Sage X3 evolved from the acquisition of Adonix, a French software product. It has had significant upgrades since acquisition by Sage. It was developed from the ground up in Java to be Cloud compatible and runs on a wide variety of platforms. It is offered in the same three levels as Sage 300 but is aimed at the process as well as discrete manufacturing. It is a high-end product with many features that enables it to compete with Microsoft Dynamics AX (Axapta), Oracle ERP and SAP R3. But it is expensive and is complicated to install and setup. Microsoft Dynamics GP ERP Microsoft GP is a comprehensive out-of-the-box business management system that includes financials, human resource management, manufacturing and operations to power diverse small to midsize companies. This cloud and on premise based software was originally Great Plains which was founded in When the company developed Great Plains, it was one of the first accounting software packages in the U.S. designed to have multiple end users and written to run in the Windows operating system as 32-bit software. Its primary focus in tracking inventory and manufacturing is for discrete products. Microsoft Dynamics NAV - ERP Microsoft Dynamics NAV gives small and midsize businesses the ability to track their accounting, inventory and manufacturing in one integrated package. It is customizable to meet the needs of individual businesses and the source code is available. NAV has the features needed to track both process and discrete manufacturing but it is used mostly by process-batch manufacturers. Microsoft Dynamics NAV began life as Navision Financials. In 1995 Navision financials launched their first version of its Microsoft Windows accounting package as the successor to the successful DOS package. Microsoft Dynamics NAV is an international package that is designed to work in many languages. It also fully supports multiple currency operations. Microsoft Dynamics AX -ERP Microsoft Dynamics AX is a business solution for global enterprises that supports industryspecific and operational business processes, along with comprehensive, core enterprise resource planning (ERP) functionality for financial and human resources management. It is an object oriented ERP package, great for manufacturing and distribution, with out-of-the-box functionality such as multi-item dimensions, multi storage dimensions, and multi-language capability. Microsoft Dynamics AX offers flexibility in the areas of deployment, on-site or in the cloud, and for one-time integration or phased in integration. Plex Manufacturing ERP Plex is a Cloud based ERP company that focuses in the manufacturing arena which allows them to deliver plant floor focused ERP without requiring on-premise servers or support staff. Their ERP system is gives real-time access to information and has the ability to communicate with other systems. Plex has been in the cloud since 2001 and has built their system from the manufacturing side of the spectrum instead of coming in with an accounting background. Plex is only available as a software-as-a-service application and is suitable for those mid-sized July 9, 2013 Page 12 of 14 BellHawk Systems Corporation

13 organizations that want to move the tracking of their inventory and manufacturing operations to the Cloud. The pricing for a Plex subscription is unknown. NetSuite ERP NetSuite is a cloud-based solution that allows its users to access the software over the web in a SaaS (Software as a Service).The software is integrated with inventory, warehouse management, accounting and financial management, order management, customer relationship management (CRM), and ecommerce. NetSuite s original company name was NetLedger and its heritage stems from an online accounting software solution. Netsuite allows its users to automate operations, stream line and access real-time business information anytime, and grow their businesses. BellHawk Real-Time Inventory and Production Tracking BellHawk, by BellHawk Systems Corporation, was originally developed as a client-server manufacturing execution system for use by process-batch manufacturers. It has since been upgraded to add a wireless warehouse management capability and to have both web-browser and web-services interfaces. Standard interfaces are available to QuickBooks Enterprise and Sage 300 as well as to Formulator. Interface development is underway to Navision and Netsuite. BellHawk is able to work in multiple units of measure and is able to track the processing of batches of formulas. It has been validated for use in FDA applications and captures materials traceability data. BellHawk also comes with an interface development toolset that enable the rapid development of automated data exchange interfaces to a wide range of systems. Bell-Connector Automated Data Exchange Bell-Connector, by BellHawk Systems Corporation is a toolset for rapidly implementing automated data exchange interfaces between legacy client-server and web-services enabled systems. It provides over 90% of the needed code pre-built or automatically generated and also provides extensive web-based capabilities for monitoring and management data transfers. It has the ability to automatically trap and manage bad data exported from one system before it is sent to another system. It is used to provide BellHawk with the ability to communicate with a wide variety of systems. But it is a stand-alone toolset that can be used to web-enable a wide variety of legacy client-server systems. MISys Manufacturing MISys was originally developed as a client-server manufacturing execution system for use by discrete-batch manufacturers. It has since been upgraded to have a web-browser interface. Standard interfaces are available to QuickBooks Enterprise and Sage 300 as well as to Formulator. MISys is able to work in multiple units of measure and is able to track the processing of batches of formulas. Fishbowl Inventory Tracking Fishbowl was originally developed as a client-server based inventory tracking add-on to QuickBooks. It is closely integrated with QuickBooks and has seen widespread adoption amongst QuickBooks users. It has been upgraded to add wireless warehouse management July 9, 2013 Page 13 of 14 BellHawk Systems Corporation

14 capabilities as well as to add a web-browser interface. More recently, Fishbowl has added some manufacturing capabilities but these are believed to be limited to the kitting and assembly tracking supported by QuickBooks. IntelliTrack Inventory Tracking IntelliTrack was originally developed as a low-cost stand-alone inventory tracking system. It was upgraded to use client-server technology and to add wireless warehouse management capabilities. IntelliTrack now claims to have a web-browser interface. It has a standard interface to QuickBooks. The primary application for IntelliTrack is in smaller retail warehouses as a low cost alternative to products like Accellos. Accellos Warehouse Management This is the old Radio Beacon product. It is an add-on wireless warehouse management system that is primarily used in large high-volume retail distribution warehouses. This product is expensive and is primarily used as an add-on to ERP systems that need wireless warehouse management in a high-volume retail distribution environment. July 9, 2013 Page 14 of 14 BellHawk Systems Corporation

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