Sage Advice: Do You Rely on a Single “Sage Master”?

Imagine this: every time you need to find a client’s contact information, enter a new sales report into your system, check your inventory list, write a check for payroll, or complete any other task, you have to do so through another employee—let’s call him Steve. This would quickly get fairly infuriating, both for you, tapping your foot at Steve’s desk while takes forever to pull up your spreadsheet, and for Steve, who always has a cluster of colleagues checking their watches and sighing at his desk.

Back in the day, it might have worked to have a single IT professional or finance manager in the office, accessing vital information on a clunky desktop and making floppy discs of important figures. However, in the twenty-first century of business, the times have certainly changed. Every employee has at least one computer, and we all expect to have any information we need instantly available at our fingertips. In this modern corporate environment, relying on an individual employee to manage your digital data just isn’t realistic.

Unfortunately, with Sage’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, this is often exactly what occurs. This advanced application, which is supposed to automate and simplify your financial functions, may only work effectively on a single device or for a sole user (like that dreaded Steve). Confining your computerized financial features to a single “Sage Master” achieves the exact opposite of ERP’s intended purpose, slowing down your software and inconveniencing your team.

At SCS Cloud, we want every business to enjoy all the advantages ERP offers, so we’ve taken it upon ourselves to educate our readers about various applications’ features, pros, and cons. We recently compiled a series of blogs to help businesses decide if Quickbooks was right for them. In our “Sage” Advice series, we cover everything you need to know about Sage’s ERP software. In the following installment, we ask Sage clients to consider the essential question: “do you rely on a single ‘sage master’?”

The “Sole” Problem

From a purely logistical standpoint, filtering all financial information requests through just one user’s login or device is completely impractical. As NetSuite’s recent report on Sage ERP points out, “you and whoever else runs your books shouldn’t feel like a bottleneck.” As an example of just what can happen when Sage ERP strangles an office with sole access, NetSuite also quoted an actual previous user of this software: “Outside my office, there were queues of people wanting access to business critical data. It was my machine that accessed the data so everything from buying a bottle of milk with petty cash to customer queries and order management caused constant interruption to my day—it seemed like everything came through me.” It’s unclear whether this finance manager’s name was, in fact, Steve, but he or she certainly understood this particular plight.

Lackluster Licenses

In many cases, if you want to access Sage ERP on multiple devices, you’ll have to deal with the pesky problem of licensing. Typically, Sage charges an additional fee for each device that accesses the information stored within its ERP software. Having to purchase a new license for each user makes sharing information throughout your company especially expensive.

Plus, the labyrinth of licensing makes it difficult for even one user to retrieve much-needed financial intelligence. One disgruntled user on Sage’s community support forum, Sage City, asked how he or she could access Sage’s “Simply Accounting program…at home,” transferring the data from a cramped office to a home device, and found: “to add a second computer I need to update for $200+. I don’t care if it is on two computers – the issue is I need it off of this one!! The computer in which the business downloaded the program is inefficient to run [it].” This user was completely unable to use the software due to licensing limitations.

Multi-User Miscalculations

Either through costly licensing or Sage’s somewhat sparse cloud options, you can create a multi-user experience on this ERP software. However, even that doesn’t work like it should. As NetSuite notes, “former Sage customers found that, even if Sage gave other users permission to access data, they were accessing a version of data that they suspected to be old or incorrect.” If you look at your sales spreadsheet on Sage with “permission” and all the numbers seem off, you’ll end up right back at Steve’s desk, waiting to access the program directly for the real data.

Multi-user Sage ERP is also plagued by its share of glitches. Sage City user Collin described a “strange problem with multi-user mode” in which he could not “open two concurrent user sessions on a single company [file]” even though he “followed the steps describe in the ‘Setting up Multi-user mode’ article from the Sage knowledgebase.” Ultimately, Collin had to adjust the way he opened the program and specify the company location in order to get this basic feature to function. Users shouldn’t have to jump through hoops just to access their own company data with licenses they’ve paid for.

The Consequences

Sage’s confined configuration for its ERP software has real consequences for the businesses that utilize it. The repercussions of this restricted application include:

  • Lower employee morale. Not being able to access the key figures you need to do your job is frustrating, and so is being the single “Sage Master” of the office. Happy employees are the most productive workers.
  • Wasted time and money. Every minute your team spends waiting for critical data is a minute of real work lost. This can add up to countless hours you’re paying your employees to do nothing.
  • No location flexibility. Working from home is becoming increasingly popular, and many businesses require a certain percentage of travel per year. With Sage ERP’s constraints, your employees could be completely cut off from important financial figures in both of these likely scenarios.
  • Potentially expensive errors. Working off of old, inaccurate, or unavailable reports could lead to serious—and pricey—issues with inventory, payroll, accounting, sales, or other areas.
  • Unnecessary costs. Sage ERP charges extra just for the limited multi-user functionality the software provides. Why invest your hard-earned revenues in sub-par technology?

These are just a few of the potential negative impacts from using Sage ERP.

Mastering ERP

Are you ready for a “Steve”-free solution? SCS Cloud regularly helps our clientele free themselves from the limits of software like Sage. As an alternative, truly cloud-based ERP, we typically recommend NetSuite. This suite of applications includes ERP, CRM (Customer Relationship Management), eCommerce, and PSA (Professional Services Automation), all remotely linked to one source of data. With NetSuite, any member of your team can easily log in on any device and view the information relevant to his or her position. It really can be just that simple. As NetSuite’s report describes, “one of the key advantages of a cloud-based solution…is persistent self-service.” Rather than relying on a sole, struggling “Sage Master,” you and your employs can become the masters of your finances with this efficient ERP system.

Contact SCS Cloud Today

Are you relying on a single “Sage Master”? Are you sick of being the “Steve” of your office? Do you think it’s time to truly take your finances into the Cloud? Contact us today to find out more about our services and schedule a free consultation with our specialists.

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