Since 2014, RKL has been educating the market about the current and future state of Sage 500. With the exception of annual enhancement releases, nothing definitive has been communicated regarding its future. Every passing year, though, we have to address misinformation from competitors trying to scare our clients with threats of Sage discontinuing its support. It’s important to reiterate that some customers have replaced Sage 500 due to compelling business reasons, not because of forced migrations, competitor incentives, or discontinued support by Sage.
Sage 500 continues to deliver a stable user experience for existing clients. Although the underlying technology has aged and significant enhancements are unlikely, clients have not been forced to migrate. Technology has rapidly transformed how businesses operate and how individuals consume technology at work and home. Let's take a look at what's new and different in Sage 500 since our last post.
WHAT ENHANCEMENTS WERE DELIVERED IN THE LATEST SAGE 500 V2023 RELEASE?
The 2023 release is designed to make Sage 500 more user friendly, efficient, and secure. Many of the enhancements are directly inspired by customer and partner feedback including:
- Ability to display audit trial
- Ability to have the Control number and item number sync in numerical order on the Reconciliation Report in Process Physical Inventory
- Database Upgrade Utility Detail Report of Open Batches
- Document Transmittal log to include all contacts who were sent email
- Extended DataPorter functionality to the 1099 tab at Maintain Vendors
- Continued maintenance of work/defect resolutions
For a detailed list of enhancements, refer to the Sage 500 ERP v2023 Product Release Guide available for customers with an active Sage 500 Business Care Plan.
WHAT IS THE OUTLOOK FOR SAGE 500?
The underlying foundation of Sage 500 has not changed since its initial development using Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 (VB6), a technology tool first released in 1991 that has limited support from Microsoft today. Developers and publishers are not using VB6 to develop new applications, instead, favoring more modern development toolsets. However, Microsoft has publicly stated, through a program called 'It Just Works', that upon a retirement date, Microsoft will support VB6 followed by five years of limited extended support. Even in the worst-case scenario, if Microsoft publicizes the discontinuation of support for VB6 before you finish reading this article, you still have five years to execute a transition strategy to safeguard your data and operations.
Conversely, customers on older and unsupported versions of Sage 500 will experience incompatibility issues with Microsoft Operating Systems and SQL Databases that will necessitate an upgrade or replacement strategy sooner rather than later.
HOW MUCH TIME DO WE HAVE TO REPLACE SAGE 500?
Based on Microsoft’s support of VB6 as above, an end of life decision has not been published. We also know that Microsoft’s support of VB6 extends the life of Sage 500 for at least five more years. However, Sage has not published major new features and its development strategy for Sage 500 is focused on usability enhancements and connected services. This methodical approach provides peace of mind for clients to continue using Sage 500 while encouraging the research of replacement solutions at the client’s pace.
We fully support Sage’s “no forced migration" message, but realize that the pace of technology along with business needs change rapidly. For that reason, we are educating our Customer Success Managers and Consultants to engage with our valued customers and begin talking about short and long-term business management software objectives. We also know that many Sage 500 clients are looking for modern technology solutions with features that include Cloud compatibility, web-based and mobile accessibility, automated solutions that replace manual tasks, business intelligence capabilities, advanced analytics and automatic upgrades.
Keep in mind, a replacement strategy takes time starting with initial due diligence through conversion to go-live. Several variables affect project timelines but it’s advised to plan for a range of three months to a year depending on scope and complexity. RKL is committed to the Sage portfolio and has developed data migration tools if you choose to replace Sage 500 with Sage Intacct or Sage X3.
WHAT is Your biggest RISK IF YOU ARE still RUNNING SAGE 500?
The biggest threat to your business is that qualified Sage 500 ERP support specialists will exit the market in the coming years. As this pool of expertise continues to shrink, the ability to get timely support for the product will be more challenging. This is due to multiple factors:
New resources are not interested in learning Sage 500 ERP because of its aging infrastructure toolset.
Existing resources that know Sage 500 ERP are moving on to support contemporary solutions or reaching the age of retirement
Many Sage 500 ERP Partners are discontinuing support for the product and notifying their clients that they will no longer be able to provide them support.
HOW IS RKL ESOLUTIONS SUPPORTING ITS SAGE 500 CLIENT BASE?
- Sage 500 support, services and development continues to be a key part of our Sage portfolio offering to our existing clients. In the past year, we have solidified partnerships with 3rdparty add-ons to extend the life and functional capabilities for customers that are not ready to replace Sage 500 in the near term including our acquisition of the O2 Process Manufacturing solution for Sage 500.
- We’ve also expanded our Sage portfolio offerings to provide multiple migration solution options for our clients to consider. RKL has thoughtfully chosen Sage solutions because of their diverse technology deployment options and purpose-built industry focus, providing options and 'in the Sage family' incentives for our client base. We’ve guided several clients to successful Sage Intacct & Sage X3
Rest assured, RKL is committed to your investment with Sage and appreciates the confidence that you have in our team that supports and guides your software strategy.