Too often in our business, we meet potential customers who make rushed decisions on their business software. Such an important decision is fundamental to the future success and growth of your business so it is unfair and unwise to put rigid timescales on the decision process.
I've taken many a call from a frustrated business owner looking to throw their current systems out in favour of the first system they can find. A call I took from a business owner using Sage 500 ERP for almost 9 years was just such an instance. They were told by their Sage Partner that they had to upgrade immediately as their Sage 500 was no longer being supported.
Faced with an expensive and disruptive upgrade, the caller sought an alternative to Sage. He asked me to quote him a price for our solution and by the end of our call had placed an order for Intact Software!
Utter madness. And before you ask, no, I didn’t instantly send him a sales order acknowledgement just to get the order in. Instead, I sent him off to consider all the alternatives before making his final decision. Of course, I did ask that Intact Software was considered as a possible solution!
Given that many businesses who install Intact Software convert from Sage products, I feel I am in a position to offer some advice to companies faced with a similar decision.
If a sage alternative is on the cards for your company, here is what I suggest you do...
Ask your Sage Partner for time to consider your options – in spite of the initial pressure, you are given plenty of time to make a balanced decision. If you need more time, ask for it. Just don’t leave it until the last minute!
Sage upgrades are not ‘push button’ solutions – they require the same planning, data conversion and process evaluation as a change to a different solution so don’t naively think it’s as simple as ABC.
Make a list of your current and future business requirements; note the various time consuming tasks that you believe can be solved by technology
Consider the scope of what you want to achieve with your business software in the coming years e.g. will you be looking for an eCommerce website and want it to integrate seamlessly into your back office system? Are you looking to become more mobile? Can the systems you're looking at provide these?
Ensure the upgrade or alternative solution resolves any issues you may be currently experiencing e.g. if you are not getting the information you need or you find yourself having to enter data twice, then you will need to ensure the new system can remedy these issues...
And finally, read some of my other blogs on the subject - 'Buying a new ERP system? Our most FAQs Part 1, Part 2, Part 3'
So, if you are using any Sage products and they are not meeting your business or reporting requirements or you are being forced to upgrade as your system is no longer supported, slow down and consider your alternatives.
Remember, a wise decision now could be the making of your business long into the future
It is also important to keep in mind that you do not have to invest significantly in a system only to be left doing the same thing or experiencing the same problems – use this as an opportunity to set up your business for the future.
Dream a little.
Update: Please note, since the time of writing (September 2013), Sage since announced Sage 500 would continue to be supported with a review date for 2017.