Sage Advice: Are Your Updates Causing Setbacks?

Picture this: you’re preparing the month’s inventory list on a tight deadline, trying to work out a complex payroll problem, or processing a series of rush orders from a major client, and that familiar box pops up on your screen—“it’s time to update your Enterprise Resource Planning software!” Is there any chance that you’ll click “yes” to a lengthy update and reboot right in the middle of an important financial task (like virtually everything you’d use ERP for)? …We didn’t think so.

In the moment, it might feel like a relief to send that annoying pop-up away and return to your pressing work. However, in the long term, ignoring updates can seriously bog down and bug out your software. Unused updates tend to snowball, potentially leaving your ERP months or even years behind the fast-paced, ever-changing industry standards. As NetSuite recently noted: “An Aberdeen report stated that only 28 percent of businesses are on the latest ERP release of their software.”

Of course, by the time your executives and employees can even consider bringing your ERP up to speed, downloading dozens of updates can take hours of valuable work time, not to mention the hassle of manually installing them. This leaves most companies paying for high-end ERP software while actually using woefully outdated versions.

At SCS Cloud, our team of specialists is determined to help our clients get the most out of their ERP software. The first step is learning more about your options so you can make an informed decision. We recently published a series of blogs to help our readers better understand the pros and cons of Quickbooks software. Now, we’re doing the same for another popular ERP: Sage. If you use this financial application, this week’s “Sage” Advice will help you answer the question: “are your updates causing setbacks?” Read on to find out!

What’s Up with Updates?

It can be easy to ignore updates if you don’t know what they are. As Computer Hope explains, an update is basically a band-aid for software: “An update is a software file that contains fixes for problems found by other users or the software developer. Installing an update fixes the code and prevents the problems from happening on your computer.” Software, and particularly complex business applications like ERP, is complicated, so it’s expected that issues will arise.

However, left un-updated, your ERP could be riddled with defects, putting your company’s operations at stake. Computer Hope warns that, without updates, your software could have numerous “errors,” as well as “security vulnerabilities” and “conflicts with other programs and hardware.” Protecting the privacy of your corporate information is paramount. In addition, since Sage is a standalone ERP, resolving discrepancies between it and other software is also vital.

In short, updates are crucial to your ERP’s functioning, particularly if you use Sage. The company itself acknowledges their importance on its Sage 100 updates page, which lists a whopping ten available updates (each of which solves a different software problem), noting that these are “all about keeping your software investment safe, secure, and working the way you need it to.” In other words, your software would be unsafe, insecure, and inoperable without them.

Battling the Barrage

Sage ERP requires many updates to keep it going and, adding insult to injury, each of them has to be manually downloaded. This program doesn’t automatically update itself, meaning that those familiar and frustrating boxes are likely appearing quite frequently. As NetSuite’s recent report on Sage ERP points out, “you open your ERP application to produce a report, not to update your software.” This technology should help you do your job, not hinder you in the middle of key tasks. If you don’t want to be constantly interrupted by update pop-ups, you’ll either need to set aside specific time just for these downloads when your ERP software can’t be used (which isn’t ideal) or pretend they don’t exist (which is even worse).

Up Glitch Creek (or Glitches Galore, if that’s too racy)

Sage ERP’s updates are designed to remedy problems that crop up with the software, but, in many cases, they actually cause new bugs. There’s virtually nothing more frustrated than taking time away from your work to manually download a new update, which promises to fix some issue, only to have your entire application crash or files corrupted as a result. This happens all too often with Sage ERP software.

For example, Even the simplest update logistics can be difficult to deal with for Sage ERP clients. One exasperated user on Sage City asked Sage ERP support forum: “where do I get product updates now?” He or she explained: “I have been going around in circles trying to get to the download page. Every time I just get right back to the starting page. I start with the download page and then select ‘Sage Business Vision Downloads.’ It takes me to the page ‘We’ve moved.’…When I click on login, I’m taken right back to the first page again.” This client (and, undoubtedly, others) went on a wild goose chase just trying to find the update, let alone install it.

Furthermore, one user noted that a July Update had created problems rather than solving them: “I updated my 7.2 server with the July 2009 update, then I updated my client with the client July 2009 update. Now the client doesn’t want to log in and produces this error.” Ultimately, this Sage ERP customer had to reinstall, reboot, remove the client, and redo the entire process to get the update to operate correctly.

Another user on Sage City posed a seemingly simple question about which order to download backlogged updates in and received quite alarming responses. One responder told the original poster: “call your reseller” since “it’s going to cost you more to have your reseller fix what’s broken [from not having downloaded the last few updates and attempting to do the process yourself] than having them do the upgrade.” Others chimed in, with one commenting: “I think some IT folks [information technology professionals] think they can just run the setup program, convert the data, and have no issues. I’ve seen several cases where users were very unsuccessful with installing their own upgrades.” This reveals, in Sage ERP users and professionals’ own words, that this software is such a landmine of glitches that it requires an expert to execute what should be a simple update.

To make matters worse, Sage ERP puts expiration dates on its own updates, making it even more difficult to keep software working properly. As Sage Support notes on its Sage 100 updates page: “please note: releases prior to 2015 are retired. Retired products and related content are not maintained, updated, or supported.” This means that if your ERP is over a year-and-a-half old, important updates won’t work at all.

The Cost of Outdated ERP

What does it really matter if your ERP isn’t updated? If you don’t want to deal with the inconvenience of installation, it can be easy to imagine that it doesn’t really make a big difference. However, outdated ERP can seriously affect your business’s bottom line in a few ways. If your ERP is behind the times, you may be losing money because:

  • You’re paying for services you aren’t using. While updates certainly feel like a nuisance, they’re actually part of what you pay for when you purchase ERP. Even if you don’t use them, you’re actually spending money on them, and perhaps even more than you realize. As NetSuite’s article, “The 8 Ways Outdated ERP Damages Your Business,” explains: “On-premise ERP systems like Sage…have locked businesses onto a treadmill with annual maintenance fees of more than 20 percent for the right to make a Support call and download the latest software.” In all likelihood, you’re paying Sage every month for the right to ignore those updates.
  • You’re ERP is sluggish and inaccurate. Updates do serve an important purpose. They fill the gaps in your ERP and patch up its biggest problems. Without them, your software is probably painfully slow and perhaps even plain old wrong. Decreasing your processing speed wastes time and money, while incorrect financial figures could lead to chaos in your accounts.
  • Your data isn’t safe. If you don’t update your ERP’s security, your sensitive financial information is vulnerable to hackers and competitors. Breached accounts could cost you thousands.
  • You’re spending unnecessary resources on add-ons and quick fixes. Especially since Sage is already a standalone ERP, it can be tempting to fix your software’s problems by adding new software. These applications can be costly, plus they don’t handle the underlying issue with your ERP: outmoded software.
  • You could be at legal risk. While updates may seem like no big deal, they often accommodate changes in business and financial laws. If you’re found in violation of these, you could be liable for hefty legal fees and fines. As NetSuite’s report points out: “Regulations change. Outdated Sage versions don’t.”
  • IT is draining your budget. Old, glitchy software breaks down, requiring regular professional assistance, and that help comes at a price.

For these reasons and many more, it’s important to bring your ERP up to speed with the right updates.

Upgrading Your Updates

Are irksome updates just a necessary evil of ERP software? Do you just have to accept them and spend hours manually installing them, or risk your financial operations? Fortunately, the answer is “no!” Cloud-based, state-of-the-art ERP software like NetSuite updates itself automatically so you don’t have to worry about the stress, time, energy, or cost of this process. NetSuite’s report quotes a prior Sage user: “from an IT point of view, the hosted software-as-a-service delivery model meant there was very little to do and the costs would be much lower. We were excited.” NetSuite also notes that, with their integrated ERP, “you don’t need to hire an IT specialist, buy kit or manage data backup.” With NetSuite, updates install seamlessly and automatically, so you never have to think about them—except, of course, when you enjoy their benefits.

Are You Ready to Truly Update Your ERP Software?

SCS Cloud can help! We offer personalized consulting, custom development, implementation, support, and training to help you transition from Sage ERP to a better solution. We can help design the ideal ERP for your business’s needs, assist you with installation, and ensure it continues working well for your company. Contact us today to learn more and schedule your free consultation.

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