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?

Shoddy Documentation:

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 :).

Customer Support:

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?

Customer Relations:

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!

Business Model:

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?

Why Sage Software Sucks

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.

For your polling pleasure! Does Sage Suck or are they Awesome?

View Results

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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!  :)

Why Software Sucks - My gift to Sage MAS90 / 200 Support Services Management
My gift to Sage MAS90 / 200 Support Services Management

Cheers, I hope you guys and gals enjoy the book!

Rafael Wolf
Director for The Center of My Own Opinion