Over the past 3 years I’ve come into contact with Sage Software products. I’m curious if anyone else has had problems with this company? By the way, I don’t discriminate! Anyone have problems with Microsoft, Intuit, or others? Please feel free to share, I’d LOVE to know. I asked on more than one occasion for a contact to other companies who’ve installed their products and who “LOVED” it. The managers I spoke with said sure, let us contact those companies and we’ll have them give you a call but I’m still waiting, I’ll update this post should that change!
I have several big beefs with Sage that I’ve finally been able to speak with someone about at Sage although who really knows if it has fallen on deaf ears? Maybe they’ll do something about it? Until then I’ll post to my hearts content!!!
Here’s my list:
Pre-Sales technical questions aren’t answered:
I had pre-sales technical questions when evaluating their products against their competitors products but couldn’t find anyone who could answer them. By the way, Microsoft was worse, I was rooting for their product but I couldn’t get through the front door and they NEVER called me back once. You’d think they’d want to sell some software! I just found out the other day why Sage still supports Windows 2000! It took me 3 years to get that answer! Windows 2000 went into “extended support” in 2005 which, from most in the IT community is considered unsupported because outside of security patches you have to pay for support. Apparently Sage supports one year past anything in extended support. I told them to market that as the “Sage +1” plan, who knows, I think it’s kind of silly for them to support all those OS’s, certainly it’ll kill your developers and your support staff. I wonder how many people still use Server 2000 with Sage products anyway?
Most of the documentation makes claims like MAS 90 can only support 10 networked clients before it experiences file locking problems and their documentation encourages you to upgrade to MAS 200. Besides the fact MAS 200 has some build in Terminal Client there is no difference between 90 / 200, their documentation actually said that. If you want MAS 200 pay less for 90 and put it on a Terminal Server, you’ll save 50% of the cost! That kind of shows me their entire model isn’t well thought out among other things.
Their documentation doesn’t have any metric information, per client bandwidth utilization, disk I/O on transactions, no min’s no max’s, etc. They don’t even make estimations. I spoke with some folks at MAS just the other day and they said it was impossible to know. I find that impossible to believe! They said it depends on how you use it. Isn’t that true for any software? I’ve got a client with 20 or more clients all using the MAS 90 fat client on a gigabit network without incident. We’ve only recently had a lock file issue because of a NIC driver problem but I’ll keep tabs on what’s going on. CPU utilization, disk I/O, etc is nill I’M ACTUALLY IMPRESSED by their product from that regard. It lives past their low expectations, it’s almost like MAS 90 is Sage’s red headed step child :).
Their customer support might be good if you can get to the right person but that’s difficult. I’d rather pay more for support if they were able to help faster, redirect your question to the right person, they’re only open till 8 PM, that is, if they’re not in training so if you run 3 shift’s you’re out of luck or you have to pay for extra support. I’m not sure what that costs?
Another point I thought odd was an email reply to a complaint I had. It included the President and COO of the company I do IT support for on the reply. This was uncalled for and I made them know that in my reply which didn’t include the COO’s address on it. Later, another support manager was insisting to not only cc the COO but the CFO in an introduction letter. Of course that angered me further and I emphasized in 3 responses that is not acceptable. The justification was that this “introduction letter” wasn’t of a technical matter so he could essentially go over my head, furthermore since I was a consultant and didn’t work at the company he could do this. He later said he wouldn’t contact the COO and CFO because I verbally requested it (how many times do I need to ask again?). I think it’s a tacky ploy by the management team to include people in communications that aren’t supposed to be included, clearly it was trying to be used as a leveraging tool to tamper down my complaints. It was certainly not appreciated. What software company calls the COO and CFO or emails them? They have much bigger things to handle than a low level quarrel between their IT person and a software company. I can’t stress enough how ridiculous this was, truly laughable!
Sage and it’s partners live on a high horse, they think everyone that’s not a reseller, Sage Certified, Migration Specialists, or whatever hokey title isn’t capable of managing their product. If they just had the documentation available even a cave man could do it! Most of their partners seem to be less than intelligent even about the products they support anyway and I’ve dealt with three of them. There is an attitude at Sage I just don’t like, same goes for the resellers. I spoke with several people over there about the “do it yourselfer”, I used that on purpose and they bit hook line and sinker. They said their product isn’t for the “do it yourselfer”. I wanted to confirm their thinking, that unless you pay them, their “partners”, etc for support then you won’t be able to manage their product because you’re not intelligent enough, skilled enough, technical enough or you don’t know how ERP / MRP software works. That’s frankly not the case Sage because you can if they provided the documentation, but they don’t! They protect their resellers and partners by keeping users IGNORANT. Isn’t that why customers pay 1500 / year for support? To get the documentation to support their product and for that ability to pick up the phone and call? That should apply on all aspects of the software not just the use of it but installation, migration, or general administration of the product. Reseller protectionism hurts their product more than they know – in my opinion. I’m sure I wouldn’t hate it as much if I had the tools to properly support it, instead I have to reboot the server or reverse engineer the thing.
Why I wrote this:
There were a few links prompting me to write this along with recent personal conversations I’ve had with some customer service personnel and I thought I’d ask the Internet Community at large if Sage Sucks or is it the greatest thing since sliced bread?
Microsoft offers to help unhappy Sage users
Nicholas Piasecki – Buying Software Sucks!
I am currently in the “Sage Sucks” group even though management has seemingly made efforts to appease my complaints, I do appreciate that. It’ll take more than a few conversation to get me into the neutral or positive category though.
My Gift To Sage:
I just sent a kind gift to the folks at sage, it’s a book called “Why Software Sucks“. I think they earned it, I went all out for the folks on the management team, 13 copies, all gift wrapped with Amazon gift wrapping paper and a nice card that said this:
“Dear Jeff, A gift for you and your wonderful management team.
It’s no joke, I sincerely think your team would do well to read this
wonderfully humorous and oh so true book about your industry.
Please distribute to your team.Best wishes”
It’s 240 characters EXACTLY, all the room they gave me on the note! The gift which I’ll write off on my taxes ha ha cost me $262.61, including tax, shipping and the gift wrapping – well worth it if something gets done around there! :)
Cheers, I hope you guys and gals enjoy the book!
Director for The Center of My Own Opinion
The thing you should really be concerned about is the constant transmission of every key stroke in the program to Sage. Wonder why you program only works when connected to the internet. Wonder why when they call they no longer asks for the owner but if selling inventory products they ask for the person in your warehouse that accesses the inventory module the most. Sage transmit data from all your products and shares it with their partners. The PEP files send data back to them.
As an accountant I have seen it over and over again for 40 years. Sage decreased American support so that you will be forced to use their off-shore chat support. A quick google of the chat support person finds that 1 year ago they were working a fish market and the Sage support center is their first computer. They have high level people in the support center that tell you, ” I know the problem but not allowed to assist you”. Then you ask for a higher level and quickly determine they have no idea of the Windows environment.
Sage customers that are forced to purchase support don’t realize they no longer own their product. They buy support subscriptions and get the product as long as they buy support. If you cancel support that was flipping burgers a year ago, they will turn off your Sage product.
Our company started using Act! about 20 years ago, and it was terrific! Even Symantec’s ownership did relatively little damage. Then Sage aquired the product. Sage is the most incompetent, unprofessional, and dishonest software company I have ever encountered.
Instead of fixing the defects in the current version of the program, they release an entirely new version for customers to buy. Act! users, hoping that the defects have been fixed, buy it. And are again disappointed.
My company is in the process of filing complaints with the U.S. Attorneys General office along with VA, AZ, OR, CA, GA, TX, and NY states Attoneys General, in hopes that pressure will be placed on Sage to end their dishonest practices.
Other than that, all we can do is spread the word to potential victims of Sage products.
The good news is that a group of companies is rapidly developing an alternative to Act! based on MySql.
We have used and been abused by Sage for 10 years and going…..problem is I can’t seem to convince my partners to move on! Once they gotcha…it’s costly to change softwares. They make the software very proprietary so you can’t just mix other softwares into it…merchant accounts, website shopping carts, CRM programs etc have to be run through them if you want to charge your customers through the system. It all costs! I don’t even want to start with the problems and tens of thousands of dollars spent to make this software work…..it’s rediculous. Unstable is an understatement. Maybe this year will be our last. We are now being told that we have to upgrade to 4.5 from 4.3 which will no longer have limits on their file sizes (2 gb) which just caused our system to crash this week…double charge customers and on and on……and the new upgrade will no longer support a multiple of merchant services which means you have to use Sage Merchant Solutions if you want to charge your customers credit cards through the system that costs you thousands! Nice monopoly they have conspired. I am not the expert on the system, but I know all the problems and money we have had to throw at it over the years. I have nothing good to say about this software. It’s hard to find people trained on it, hard to learn it, hard to use it, and every little customization you need will cost you plus plus plus. There….I feel better now.
I’ve got a few choice words about their customer service as well. I recently took over IT duties at my company and immediately contacted them about updating our software to the most recent and supported model. I told them my boss was unhappy about our current reseller and asked if they could recommend another one. The fellow at sage immediately calls our old rep (who I have never once had a dealing with) drops my name, number, and basically tells the reseller that I badmouthed him. For the next 2 weeks I’m fielding angry calls from the original reseller.
Probably the most unprofessional thing I’ve ever seen. We’re moving to a competitors product this year purely based on this experience. The CEO thinks it’s hilarious.
I’d also like to note Charles that Sage has your account “linked” to your reseller, so any type of phone call you make or ticket you put in with them automatically gets forwarded to them. It might not have been the fellow at Sage calling or badmouthing you – it might have been the automated alert / notes from the call you placed that made it to your rep. I bet (I’m assuming here) that the fellow at Sage took honest notes, spelled it out in plain English and that was that…seconds later, notification goes out to whomever is linked to your account.
What you can do (and what I’ve done) is ask the Sage people to unlink the alerts about your calls and inquiries to them at Sage so they don’t go out to the reseller. This way big brother reseller won’t know the details and it protects your companies privacy.
Well that’s certainly fair enough and I did not know that, so thank you. I would like to make a counter point though. If we were unhappy with the reseller shouldn’t the service staff have informed me of the notification process first and foremost. Secondly I was told by the original reseller that he had spoken to sage. However, that could have just been convenient cover to call.
I sympathize with your plight (obviously), I was just conveying what I too have learned because I too got a call from a reseller after I put in a ticket and they conveniently told me xyz thing should be checked. They didn’t tell me that either and I called Sage and asked them how the reseller knew that information which is when they told me how their system worked, I then asked well; can I get off of that system? They obliged which was nice. They aren’t informing anyone that your calls are monitored by your sales reps, it’s probably hidden in the fine print in an underground bunker :-). You’re right to infer that it’s hard to know just what the resellers and Sage are doing at times, how are they communicating, etc. It does bother me a bit how tight they are and what information the reseller has to your account. It’s possible the reseller can login and see what you’ve been up to anyway so whether it’s linked to them in a notification system or not it probably doesn’t matter.
Edit to my post – after 2 years Sage now has Microsoft SQL integration. http://www.sagemas.com/Products/Sage-ERP-MAS-200-SQL/SQL-Server-Licensing
I wonder why they used MS SQL vs an open source product like MySQL? Here’s a quote from the above link in case it one day gets deleted:
“The Sage SQL Server Runtime Edition comes with pre-established settings that streamline the Sage ERP MAS 200 SQL implementation process, and is otherwise identical to the full Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard edition.
Per Processor Licensing If you plan on having 20 or more users, you may want to consider purchasing the per processor licensing model, which allows for an unlimited number of users. Cost: $5,000*
Per User Licensing If you plan to implement and run SQL with less than 20 users, per user licensing, or client access licensing (CAL), may be more cost effective for your company. A minimum purchase of 5 users is required. Cost: $175 per user*
Microsoft SQL Server Runtime Edition SLP*
CAL – Per User $175
Per Processor $5,000
*Sage pricing is subject to change at any time without notice.”
They couldn’t have picked a more expensive product, MsSQL is like 10k – 30K although it looks like they’re giving you a deep discount. They probably stuck a deal with M$ (That’s Micro$oft to the laymen). I guess any big organization looking to bump up to 30 clients or more could either bite the bullet OR look at switching to something else. I’m not sure you’d be any better off with something like Micro$oft Dynamics though, you would still need M$$QL.
I would be interested as to why $age didn’t go with MySQL, it can certainly cluster, load balance and do all the things M$$QL can do. Reporting might be the big difference but who knows…I’d like someone to enlighten me on this for sure.
Just found this site. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone, howling in the wilderness :)
I’ve been a Sage user since the late 80’s, and though I’m not a pro, I find the whole thing so hackneyed and Windows 3.1, and crappy, and everything else that I’m amazed I’ve been stupid enough to continue with it as long as I have. I’m switching as soon as I can.
Sage is a revamped Unix database software package using database technology that’s over 15 yrs old. They put a GUI interface over it and it still handles Dot matrix printers the old fashioned way.
Since Sage is not sold directly to the public but only through a Value Added Reseller, your documentation is extremely limited so you are stuck with your V.A.R. for support.
So it’s only as good as the people who sold it and support it, not Sage themselves.
Oh and to make things worse, they bought Crystal Reports so they can take their text output files and convert them into a Windows Based printfile.
If you have more than 10 users, better be using terminal services like Citrix or it will perform like a dog.
I’ve been a network admin and systems admin for 28 yrs now. I have to say working with Sage software is like taking a 10 year step back in time. And their databases always need the sort files rebuilding as well as other utilities.
They better get on SQL fast cause this stuff is extremely limiting………
Right after Sage’s largest partner MIS Group closed its doors http://www.blytheco.com/MIS/, Sage’s agile, market-driven competitors began wooing its customers away, and it wasn’t difficult. If anyone on the planet is still relying on any Sage product to run a business, then you may also be interested in using the worst business productivity solution, Lotus Notes, and I’m sure we can scare up a Ford Edsel for you to drive. Sage is a strong contender for most poorly managed company on the face of the earth, a typical old-line, stodgy plodder vastly more concerned with internal Sage politics than with any notions of what customers and markets might want. Anyone at Sage worth hiring left long ago, and if you are a Sage customer what you get at every level reflects that bottom-of-the-barrel, lowest-common-denominator reality. It takes a lot for me to recommend anyone flee into the arms of Microsoft, but Sage makes the Redmond, WA, death star look like Disney World by comparison.
HA! I love how Blytheco says “…offering twelve hours of technical support availability daily as well as full-service consulting and implementation” – so what they’re also saying / not saying is that for the other 12 hours you’re SOL :p. If you have a 3rd shift good luck! More of the same!
MAS90 is is a horror show that I’ve been watching for about six years. Those of you who have not seen network or CPU usage problems, take a look at the size of your data files. As they grow over time, report back on your experiences…
Sage support? Terrible. Overpriced? YES. Why have they not converted the system to work with a SQL server? God only knows.
We have a guy with anger issues who actually bangs his mouse on the desk while he’s waiting for MAS90 to complete an operation. He says he wastes at least two hours a day waiting on MAS90 to complete tasks. We have a 15 seat license with over thirty machines on the network. The current server is a 3 GHz quad core Phenom with a 1TB SATA RAID. It’s a 100 base network, nobody had the foresight to have this building cabled for gigabit when it was built, so here we are.
Hey John, I’d like to comment on your post. I had heard Sage was moving to a SQL Server back end, I believe they’re FINALLY moving to MySQL but I wonder how they’ll “protect” their data if they do that because if it’s MySQL you could simply do a MySQL data connection to it and manipulate the data which they don’t want you doing. I suspect their implementation will be some hacked up bastard MySQL so they can continue protecting their data. That’s the thing they always say; that they want to protect their data. I’d also suggest you try a gigabit switch (maybe an 8 port for testing) and a gigabit nic to your workstation, you should notice that even over Cat5 you’ll link up at gigabit speeds, we’re running simple Cat5 (not even Cat5e) and we’re linking up at gigabit speeds, things are LIGHTNING fast, we also use the built in dual NIC (NIC Teaming) which you can configure through the BroadCom Software if you have BroadCom NIC’s but Intel also has this feature. Lastly for performance you want to get fast RPM hard drives (minimum 10k RPM which is what we have), a simple mirror will allow you great read performance. Your bottle neck is as you alluded to probably your network speed and hard drive speed. Simple 100 megabit and your typical SATA drive won’t support much, you could also try having your end user remote desktop to your server and have him try using it “locally”, maybe he / she is a power user? Good luck and let us know how it works our if you do try gigabit, a different server config or the local access via remote desktop.
Rafael I have been using MAS 90/200 for over 10 years and I agree with pretty much all of your observations.
First, I want to respond to your question: “I have several big beefs with Sage that I’ve finally been able to speak with someone about at Sage although who really knows if it has fallen on deaf ears?”
I hate to tell you this, but yeah, it’s fallen on deaf ears. I was a Sage Partner for 3 years and even then any issues fell on deaf ears. I ultimately left the MAS90 VAR world because I felt that their business model was self-defeating and made it extremely difficult to provide true value for clients. Their business model makes it such that the only people who have any influence at Sage are the larger resellers.
Let me give you an example of how useless their support is, and how little they care about resolving VITAL issues. For several YEARS, there was a bug that caused the dollar amount on back orders (SO module)to be incorrect. The only way to fix it was use the Visual Integrator utility to overwrite the amount on effected back orders. This is not a minor issue by any means, if you’re trying to determine the total value of items on orders that need to ship. What’s really irritating is that they wouldn’t even acknowledge the problem existed for a long time. And then finally several change logs indicated they had resolved the issue, but in fact they hadn’t.
The other irritating, partly caused by their elitist business model (which is sort of ironic, because most of the resellers are not that capable), is that they constantly restrict or hide access to important functionality. Just recently, they removed the ability to import into the GL detail posting file. Now I can understand that most users shouldn’t be mucking around in there.. but I have a specific reason to replace a number of lost records and after years of being able to, suddenly cannot.
You’re absolutely right on your comments about more people being able to effectively and properly use the software with proper documentation. It does NOT take a training class to learn everything contrary to what all these resellers insist. I think many of these resellers grossly underestimate the technical skill of some people, particularly DBAs. I have figured out a lot of the details about the inner workings of MAS simply from dissecting files and finding their relationships.
I will add that although I disagree with some of the things Mr. Schultz stated below, he has contributed a great deal to users by providing his own knowledgebase and other useful information on his company’s website.
I am a user of Sage products. I am also well versed in several other ERP systems. I agree that ERP systems are not for the faint of heart. Our company was desperate for a solid ERP/MRP system, and I was able to identify MAS 90 as the ‘perfect’ (if there is such a thing) option for several reasons. (1) We has used PeachTree, then used Quantum, so it was a logical transition to MAS 90. All produced by Sage; therefore, I was able to provide a new ERP system to our users that at least resembled the old software they were accustomed to. That was a real bonus for our users. (2) Cost was minimal compared to other options such as IQMS, SAP, and many other programs. Some of the other programs were targeted especially for our type of manufacturing business — one with flexible BOM’s due to their liquid make up. But I was not able to afford any of those options. (3) Ease of installation and transition from Quantum to MAS 90.
Now, granted, I am not your typical accountant or wanna be IT person. My background includes a wide variety (enough to be dangerous) of skills related to computers, networks, computer software, etc. I’ve used several ERP systems, some Windows based some DOS based — yes, I’m that old. I’ve used several AS400 based systems. I have been involved in roll outs of new software and revisions of software. I’ve been involved in troubleshooting software programs that are not functioning correct. And, I worked for 3 + years for a company that actually wrote specialized software for CPA’s who are involved in tax preparation, bookkeeping, and related services. I was responsible for developing software products, working in conjunction with C++ programmers to see the software produced, then provide support and engineer updates and changes to software once they had been rolled out and ‘tested’ by users. That’s the way the industry works. You do the best you can, but bugs will be found by users. I don’t care how hard you try or how much of an expert you are.
My Sage Business Partner wanted to string me up by my toenails when I told him I’d do the installation and conversion of data myself…..he warned me (in kind, yet stern language) that I was opening myself and my company up for lots of wasted time, space, money, etc., because it was unlikely I’d be able to design, implement, and transform the data into a usable system. I did pretty well with everything. Did I have a few regrets? Sure. I made a strategical error setting up my GL and spent about 4 hours one evening repairing it. Since the system is so forgiving when it comes to GL and how to renumber, rename, etc., it was not really a problem….just was more disappointed in myself that I had not seen the logic and chosen the correct numbering system the first time. It was a small thing…..I used department 000 when I should have not assigned anything to it for reporting purposes. In other words, XXXXX-YY-001 through 007 would have been better than XXXXX-YY-000 through 006. You’d understand if you ever tried to pull MAS 90 reports by department and ended up with all your balance sheet accounts that have the generic department -000 included. Duh on my part. In addition, I had a few problems with inventory maintenance and we did not even attempt to pre qualify our pricing strategy into the conversion of data. We opted to manually key in the pricing strategy later, after installation and conversion, because I wanted my users to use that as a tool to become more familiar with the product, rather than me using it as an exercise to become more familiar with the conversion tool, which I was only using for about a 3 week period of time.
Because I had my regular duties with the company to fulfill during traditional working hours, I did my conversion preparation and testing at home in the evenings, and sometimes all night. Within about a month’s time, I had the system installed, set up, parameters set, data converted, and presented an fully functioning system to my staff and we never missed a month end close. I was happy with my performance, and my Sage Business Partner rested easier knowing that I had been able to maneuver my way through the process with out the whole thing crashing down or blowing up. He has mentioned over and over just how amazed he was at how well our implementation and conversion went. We’ve been live now for about 4 months and have most all the bugs worked out.
The devil that you know is better than the devil that you don’t know. I have learned this devil and learned how to communicate with the Sage Support providers. I have had to delegate some of this, however, and don’t do it all myself any longer as I’ve not been able to give my undivided attention to the product once my conversion was completed.
The 4.4 conversion went smoothly, thanks to the IT support person, on whose website I’m posting this long, drawn out post, which has mostly just been me patting myself on the back for the great job I did during the implementation. We did experience a few problems. We found some mapping errors. We found some non-functioning fields that are not behaving well. The mapping errors, which are what I refer to being a problem when one item is in one area of the software in the 4.3 version, but shows up in another place in the 4.4 version, actually was a combination of poor mapping plus very poor data entry on our 4.3 end, which is strictly user errors. So, although the mapping error could have been avoided, the programmer or analyst would have had to test the software with junk data entry in the particular section provided to see what happens on the proforma or migration of data. Testing for the unknown negative is very difficult in software development, speaking from experience.
The non-functioning fields is likely due to the ‘field type’ on that data entry input screen being the wrong ‘type,’ I’ve seen this in software development. If you want to fill a field with an alpha, it has be be an alpha or an alpha numeric field. If you want it to convert itself to all caps, there is a special field type for that. If you want it to only accept data from a drop down, another specific field type. The error I saw today has wrong field type written all over it.
Some user preferences did not come over, and I wish we’d have had some indication that would happen. I was guilty of having the installation and upgrade manuals lying on my desk while my IT specialist was referring to the online help. But, it’s been my experience with my IT specialist that he prefers online manuals anyway, so I figured he’d be just as well without the books. I should go back, when I get a moment, and review any suggestions….might be able to head off further disgruntledness from my users.
As far as support, I’ve had excellent luck. Talk their language, submit your data when asked, allow them to remote to you to help, listen carefully…these are the makings of successful support calls. Having been on the receiving end of support calls, and knowing what tools they usually have to work with, and knowing that they may hear something different when I ask a question because of bulletins, etc, that they receive on an ongoing basis, I find it easier to allow them to solve the problem and ask me questions and be patient. Sometimes IT professionals, not naming names or pointing fingers at anyone in particular, want to actually solve the problem they call about just before the support rep can solve it. I think it’s a sense of accomplishment or something? Anyway, besides the fact that our list of acceptable people who can call in seems to change everytime we renew our support contract, or when I sneeze, or when the sun goes down (seriously, we have had problems with identifying and keeping allowable users to call for support consistent), I have enjoyed their support. They have been able to solve the problems I’ve called about, or they have told me they don’t have a resolution and I’ve learned to deal with it. I had a terrible problem with our MRP system not calculating demand, etc., correctly…only to find out that it wasn’t the software’s fault, but instead, it was our fault due to some set up problems. That turned out to be quite a nightmare, my fault, I’ll admit, because I was not able to get enough buy in from everyone to sit down and agree on units of measure and how to cascade through BOM’s that contained multiple levels of processes. About 4 days of everyone up in arms and us redoing a bunch of data, problem solved. Plus, 4.4 should really resolve the issue because of adding an additional decimal point.
Perhaps the reason they choose to push the envelope and communicate with known officers of the company are because they’ve gotten burned by situations where they trust consultants only to find out that the consultants were not given the ability to make decisions regarding the implementation or maintenance of the product. Perhaps it’s a CYA, which is rampant during these difficult economic times.
I have learned that I can’t fight city hall on every issue, and I also believe that you get what you pay for. Sure, the cost of MAS 90 is not petite or minimal. It’s a large chunk of change; however, it is a drop in the bucket compared to larger systems…..Great Plains, for example, or SAP……completely our of my reach, but likely also have problems in some areas. Maybe they just make a business choice to keep in mind who is writing the checks and keep them in the loop. A lot of businesses use the ‘Follow the Money’ strategy when opting to decide whom to keep in certain discussions.
I do agree that I wish Sage offered extended support hours….earlier and later just because IT professionals, and IT wanna be professionals, often work late at night solving issues and we could use the technical support even at 10 pm.
Thank you, Rafael, for the tremendous effort you put out during the installation, conversion, and now maintenancing of our MAS 90. I know in the beginning you were frustrated because it was more of a one person job, and I wasn’t able to share responsibilities then. But, now is a different story. Thank you for taking these issues on yourself.
Here’s more interesting tidbits about Sage and MAS 90. It’s funny how their documentation says they really only recommend 10 clients on the system (using the fat client, i.e. not a terminal services model) because:
1- It’ll “saturate” the network and create too much network traffic
2- Because the file sharing model creates too much disk I/O and will create lock file scenarios.
Since they’ve been so adamant about it I’ve been loosely monitoring both network traffic to and from the server as well as I/O during the morning hours (the busy time when people get in, run reports, enter in sales data, etc) and I haven’t seen network utilization tick over 4% or an increase in disk I/O. The uptick in network traffic does a spike for a brief second and tamps back down to near zero (presumably because that’s when the task ends), bounces along the bottom of 0 and will randomly spike anywhere between 0% – 2% with a peak spike of 4% max depending on what’s being done. This was with 6 concurrent users (we can have up to 20 concurrent).
I think the Sage documentation is a bit misleading when it is describing how many users can use the fat client simultaneously on one physical server because even if you had 25 users they’re not all actively doing tasks on the system. Some have it open and aren’t using it or they’re just reviewing data, moving to different screens, maybe printing something and that certainly doesn’t take a lot of bandwidth or CPU. Just multiply my estimates x 4 you’d only see a max ~15% bandwidth utilization (rough estimate) and you might start to see more I/O (practically undetectable now!). The “max” is a mere blip on the screen, you’d likely see the median number come up for 0 – 2% to about 5%…maybe.
With respect to bandwidth and I/O I can’t find any metric (and it doesn’t exist, and probably won’t ever exist) for what a client login session does to a system, or what running a report with x amount of data does to a system.
I think real metrics would be a beneficial item for Sage to have. You know they have example DB’s, test data, etc so they can develop their product. Sage could actually get the metrics if they truly wanted to.
Server: Server 2003, Dual Xeon 3.0 Ghz, 4 Gigabytes of RAM, RAID 5, 10k RPM SCSI, Dual NIC Teamed Gigabit Ethernet
Work Statoins: Intel 2.3 Ghz, 2 Gigabytes of RAM, 7200 RPM SATA drive, single Gigabit NIC
Network: Gigabit ethernet
Task = Logon
Server I/O = xyz
RAM Utilization = xyz
Network Utilization = xyz
Task = Report xyz
Server I/O = xyz
RAM Utilization = xyz
Network Utilization = xyz
You could then scale up your metrics and even test it in a real environment to see if your scaling estimates are true! Who knows, there has to be a measurable curve! For someone to say it’s “impossible” to know is impossible to believe :)
I have a sneaky suspicion the “10” number Sage and their partners toss around is a completely arbitrary number and depending on your server specs, workstation specs and network specs MAS 90 can handle substantially MORE than the 10 client number.
I also have a sneaky suspicion Sage doesn’t truly want to know what the capacity of MAS 90 is because MAS 200 is substantially more $$$$$$. If they can get you to pay more for MAS 200 than MAS 90 they’re margins are better even though it’s essentially the SAME software according to their documentation.
Real metrics would be a great thing to see but it might hurt their business which is certainly a motivating factor not to have them :)
It is interesting that Wayne would take the time to reply to this blog post and defend Sage yet offer no real help or possible solution. While he does say that the blogger may have identified some “morons” at Sage, he goes on to say that the blogger himself is overestimating his own capabilities. So is the blogger a moron too? As a Sage solution provider/consultant, wouldn’t it be better clear the air over Sage’s quality of service by offering your services or suggestions to help in the blogger’s situation?
I will say that in my experience with Sage I have had no complaints. 2 of my customers use Sage products and they have been satisfied. One uses a payment gateway for credit cards and the other used to use Peachtree before moving to another system. When I have needed support for Peachtree I have received answers efficiently, albeit Peachtree is not as complex a product as MAS 90 or 200.
I’m a Sage Business Partner. There are morons in every industry – so I’m unsure what the point of your post is other than to point out that you found a few in the Sage world.
We basically make our living correctly what other morons screw up.
Wake up call of the century: ERP software isn’t self-install no matter what the literature leads people to believe.
1. People who self-diagnose their needs usually wind up with generally poor results and wonder why (pick software name) sucks so badly.
In most cases it isn’t that the software sucks so badly – it’s that the selection was bad.
2. Knowledgebase support is available to all users on Basic Maintenance – log in here:
And, yes, it sucks that you need to be under a contract in order to have a valid login. Nobody asked for my vote on the policy so I can’t tell you why everyone isn’t able to access the KB directly without a contract.
3. ERP software just isn’t self install except under rare circumstances where the user has some prior experience with the product.
Most users grossly overestimate their capabilities and underestimate the complexity of their business.
Thanks for your input Wayne! I greatly appreciate your insight especially since you’re a Sage Business Partner! You’re right about #1 except I think it’s “some” People who…, certainly not all right? #2, the KB’s at Sage are clunky, even Sage Support isn’t happy with it and if their docs were better I’d be able to be better. For example: The latest Mas 90 4.4 “Upgrade Guide” isn’t really and “Upgrade Guide” in the traditional sense of Upgrade Guides, it’s a “Change Log”, it only tells you what they’ve upgraded, it give no actual guidance thus the “guide” part in the file name. The real upgrade information is found in the “MAS90_Install.pdf” file, Performing System Startup > Parallel Migration. Weird, I was just looking for an upgrade procedure and I found it under a migration procedure. I guess in Sage Speak “migration == upgrade“, I suppose it could? I’m cool with that as long as I understand the language being spoken but I also find it odd that it’s buried under “Performing System Startup”…what’s “system startup”? I guess system startup to them is after you’ve installed it, they call their product MAS 90 “system” which in my experience is a term uneducated end users use, “the system is down”, oh really, which system? I think we can all agree that ERP software isn’t a self installer but it’s also certainly not rocket science to be lorded over by a special breed or class of people, it’s not as though MAS 90 is in some highly clustered, highly available cloud affecting thousands of real time users :). In the end we don’t live in a perfect world eh? I posted this in an attempt to make things better, they can only get better if your gripes are voiced right? The squeaky wheel gets the grease which is why I also sent along that little token of appreciation from Amazon to my friends at Sage!