Sage Summit’s Cloud Mobile and BI Solutions Bonanza




At the recently held annual Sage Summit 2013 partner and customer conference, Sage did what a company of its stature (and that is still being in a transition of sorts) should do—nurture a vast install base and partner ecosystem, while announcing new cloud and mobile technologies where it makes sense. Businesses need to do more with less, and maintaining cash flow is critical to success. It is important for Sage to enable its on-premises small to medium businesses(SMBs) to gain the benefits of the cloud services.

To that end, Sage North America announced at the summit the launch of three new mobile solutions. As cloud-based subscription services running on Microsoft Windows Azure, these mobile solutions integrate with Sage’s various enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, and are relatively fast to implement and affordable. They are currently available for those businesses running the latest versions of Sage 100 ERP and Sage 300 ERP.



Sage Mobile Apps

A native Apple iPad application, Sage Mobile Sales provides manufacturers, distributors, and retailers with a mobile solution that provides anytime, anywhere access to customer order history, product availability, and an online product catalog. Through a real-time cloud connection to the Sage ERP data, sales reps can process quotes and orders in the field, take payments, and collect signatures using their tablet. The sales force can close more sales by showing relevant “add-on,” “accessory,” and “substitution” products in the moment on their iPad. Companies can also get paid faster by offering customers more payment choices, including credit card, on account, and so on.

Sage Mobile Service allows companies with field service technicians to be more efficient and flexible in the field. With this app, field service reps can schedule work, view completed orders, invoice, and analyze from a Web portal. Service employees can view detailed information such as customer service histories, work orders, and approved estimates on their smartphones. Also from their iPhones, they can then update and complete the work order as well as collect payments on the spot.

Designed to provide Sage customers with an improved invoicing cycle, Sage Billing and Payment streamlines and automates the accounts receivable (A/R) process. The service accepts electronic payments, which reduces the time it takes to receive funds, and automates receipt delivery by sending electronic receipts instead of mailing paper ones. It provides customers with an online portal to manage their account and make payments instead of placing calls to customer service or sales. Reducing the time and expense of filing and storing paper invoices, reduced days sales outstanding (DSO), and receiving payments faster than receiving paper checks are some of the potential benefits.

New BI Tools

SMBs must also make faster and more accurate course corrections, unveil new opportunities, and adapt to the changing market and business landscape with ease and proficiency. Thus, Sage also announced the launch of two new business intelligence (BI) tools for Sage ERP users. Sage Enterprise Intelligence for Sage ERP X3 and Sage Intelligence Reporting Bundle for Sage 100 ERP, Sage 300 ERP, and Sage 500 ERP join Sage Inventory Advisor (which was announced in June 2013) to empower SMBs to make informed and confident decisions. Sage Inventory Advisor is currently available for those businesses running Sage 100 ERP, Sage 300 ERP, Sage 500 ERP, and Sage ERP X3, while Sage Enterprise Intelligence and Sage Intelligence Reporting Bundle will be available in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Through a partnership with Tangerine Software, Sage Enterprise Intelligence offers Sage ERP X3 users self-service BI capabilities in a Web interface to create a view of data that is meaningful to their role and to analyze data with drill down, drill through, and slice-and-dice analytics. The secure integration with Sage ERP X3 ensures data integrity and the reliability of critical business information. The tool can be used out of the box in many areas of business, for budget management and control, sales analysis, inventory control and analysis, quality control (purchasing, production, customer service), or productivity analysis. It is designed for business users who value simplicity, elegant graphical analytics, and a variety of options to share views in Web portals or mobile devices.

The Sage Intelligence Reporting Bundle allows companies to obtain the information required to improve their operations and reporting across the entire business. Companies can experience more efficiency when designing, preparing, and running reports. The Bundle is the more natural option for Sage ERP users to manipulate real-time ERP data, with the convenience of a familiar, Microsoft Excel-based interface to quickly slice and dice financial data, analyze risks, adjust forecasts, and deliver up-to-the-minute reports using the templates provided. Businesses can connect almost any database for their reporting needs to achieve consolidated and automated reporting. Included with the Sage Intelligence Reporting Bundle for Sage 100 and 300 ERP is a profitability dashboard that enables businesses to identify the profitability of customers, products, and salespersons based on weekly, monthly, quarterly or annual segments.

Software Plus (Cloud) Services—Way to Go

Given Sage’s divestiture of Salelogix and ACT! earlier in the year, the company’s remaining Sage CRM product is also much more oriented as a front-office service for Sage ERP customers than as a standalone customer relationship management (CRM) solution. These hybrid cloud-to–on premises mobile, BI, and CRM offerings are a natural way for Sage to go forward, but the vendor will have to be more proactive about informing the market on available integrations and pricing as well as the about providing attractive business models to its partner ecosystem.
 
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