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FAQ: The Sage Pro ERP & Sage PFW ERP Product Retirements

Experts weigh in on what users need to know

Published on by Adam Bluemner

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Retired. Discontinued. Expired. However you put it, Sage PFW ERP and Sage Pro ERP have reached the end of the road as officially supported Sage products.

Since nothing raises questions like a product retirement when it comes to ERP software, we thought a comprehensive FAQ might be in order. To source the most authoritative info and best insights, I connected with 10 top experts from qualified Sage vendors. If you’re a current PFW or Pro ERP user, look no further for answers to the following questions:

What’s the reason for the product retirements?

  • Sage’s announcement in January 2013 followed a lot of activity around Microsoft’s announcement of the retirement of both Visual Basic and Visual FoxPro. We believe that they couldn’t justify the investment of re-writing those programs in newer programming languages. And, at the same time, there were great choices in the Sage portfolio–-products with huge followings, and in many cases for similar types of customers. It just didn’t make sense to rewrite for a smaller target audience. Sage’s retirement offers were the ‘olive branch’ to entice users to review other Sage products and they invested a lot of effort in developing data migration tools for partners to help bring over data efficiently.

    Lesley Slepian Lesley Slepian, Practice Director - Sage Migrations Net@Work
  • The stated reason for the retirement of Sage Pro ERP is Microsoft’s retirement of the FoxPro language. However, FoxPro is not going to stop working on 64 bit machines. Many large companies use Visual FoxPro for custom programming projects and will likely continue to do so for several more years.

What product functionality will be lost due to the end of product updates?

  • In a nutshell, the biggest risk is we don’t know what we don’t know. There are many aspects of the software that heavily rely on the various components of the retired technology by Microsoft like Windows XP or Server OS Office versions and Visual Studio. As the support and patching for these components is discontinued, there may be many scenarios that cause the software to malfunction or worse yet completely stop running.

  • There will be no 1099 update for 2014.

Are there any security risks associated with continuing with the either program?

  • As Microsoft discontinues support for the operating systems that the Sage PFW and Sage Pro programs use, there will no longer be security updates released for those operating systems which will make them more susceptible to cyber-attacks. If a server were to crash, you would not be able to get an unlock code from Sage to reinstall the program on a new server.

Are there support options if issues arise with continuing on the programs?

  • Sage is no longer supporting these products; however, your Sage reseller may still be able to help you with product issues as they arise and recommend a long term plan for your business. To prolong the life of Sage PFW, customers can consider the option of placing their Sage PFW software in a virtual environment (servers and workstations). This will allow users to continue to use Sage PFW for the time being in an environment that is secure, stable and locked to a certain version of Windows and Microsoft updates.

What software options are the best choices to replace Sage PFW ERP?

  • We’ve found that Sage 300 ERP is a good replacement for companies looking for a similar level of functionality and price point. The flexibility of the financial modules, stability in the distribution modules, along with the advancements in mobile technology and deployment on a variety of hardware, allows our PFW customers to have access to features that PFW never had. By using our PFW to Sage 300 data migration tactics combined with our solid knowledge of both systems, the Sage 300 roll-out is relatively painless. Also, our customers using PFW process manufacturing modules have had success transitioning to BatchMaster ERP solution. The products share a similar development lineage and, therefore, have a similar look and feel and base functionality.

  • It seemed to us that many PFW users were in process manufacturing—chemicals, coatings, pharmaceuticals and food manufacturing. Sage ERP X3 is incredibly strong in this area. Customers with HAASP, GHS requirements will definitely want to consider Sage ERP X3. Most of our other PFW Customers found a great home in Sage 300 ERP. There were a lot of similarities and some great reporting tools that they loved.

    Lesley Slepian Lesley Slepian, Practice Director - Sage Migrations Net@Work

What software options are the best choices to replace Sage Pro ERP?

  • In the Sage world, for source code availability and robust manufacturing and distribution functionality, X3 is an excellent choice. Although it’s a bit pricey, particularly in its complex implementation. Sage 100 ERP is a good match for distribution needs and Sage 300 with AutoSimply manufacturing is very similar to Sage Pro with manufacturing. Sage 300 ERP also has good Sage developed and third-party migration tools. Outside of Sage, we have worked with SAP Business One, NetSuite, AccountMate and others, depending on the client’s needs.

  • Using Microsoft NAV’s RapidStart we’ve just about completed templates to convert customers from Sage Pro Series to MS Dynamics NAV including history. MS Dynamics NAV is a good alternative option because of source code capability as well as functionality. Additionally, Microsoft is currently running promotions for new customers.

Are there any financial incentives for companies to transition sooner rather than later to new software?

  • The Sage Investment Protection Program (SIPP) includes financial incentives to migrate to other Sage products. SIPP has been available since early 2013 and the current incentive expires at the end of September 2014. Also, we have seen Sage be flexible on user license pricing for our existing SAS customers (particularly long term customers).

How do I know that I know Sage replacement programs will continue to be supported?

  • Sage has publicly indicated that they are focused on certain solutions to go forward with. Sage 300 and Sage X3 are two of them. Sage has been very pro-active in the retirement of these products. Clients were given notice of the retirement and options for them to consider in migrating to another Sage solution. This included formal notifications, emails, reminders, Webex discussions, etc. Additionally, most of the channel partners similarly communicated with their clients about the retirement, options, etc. This was not a surprise to any PFW client (or at least shouldn’t have been).

Meet the experts

  • Dean Auenson

    Dean Auenson is the Business Development and Marketing Manager at MIS Consulting and Sales. MIS Consulting and Sales, Inc. is located in Portland Oregon and provides Sage, Epicor, DocLink, and custom software solutions for small to mid-market companies.

  • Scott Barnes

    Scott Barnes has been the President of Advanced Information Management for over a decade. Advanced Information Management is located in Orange, CA and offers a variety of technology solutions for small and medium sized businesses including products from Microsoft and Sage.

  • Elizabeth Counts

    Elizabeth Counts has been with Perryman & Associates for seven years and is their Director of Business Development. Perryman & Associates is located in DeLand, FL and offers a variety of financial management software soultions including products from Sage and Avalara.

  • Robert Distler

    Robert Distler is the Managing Partner and CEO at WAC Consulting Group. WAC Consulting Group is located in Northboro, MA and offers software solutions from Sage and Netsuite, as well as support and training services.

  • Mike Ferragamo

    Mike Ferragamo is the Vice President of Sales for Harwood Consulting, a broad spectrum technology solutions provider with 3 Florida locations. Harwood Consulting offers financial management software from Microsoft, AccountMate, and Sage.

  • Kerry Mann

    Kerry Mann has spent the last 18 years as President of Mantralogix following previously building and managing a successful manufacturing company. Mantralogix is located in Missassauga, ON and provides IT services and Sage ERP solutions.

  • Lesley Slepian

    Lesley Slepian is the Practice Director - Sage Migrations at Net@Work. Beginning as a network infrastructure support company, Net@Work now provides full service IT consultancy, including offering Sage and Abila software. Net@Work is headquartered in New York City and has offices across the US and Canada.

  • Deb Smith is President of DNS Computing. DNS Computing offers accounting, manufacturing, distribution, CRM, and inventory software from Sage and Redtail Solutions to business in New Jersey, New York and eastern Pennsylvania.

  • Tom White

    Tom White is the Co-Founder of Systems Advisory Services and a 25 year plus veteran in the IT and business consulting industry. Systems Advisory Services has 3 locations including its Burlingame, CA headquarters and offers a variety of IT solutions including Sage, SAP, and Syspro software.

Next steps

Have questions and want to connect with the right expert to assist with your Sage migration? We can help. In addition to these featured Sage experts, we work with dozens of other top Sage vendors, as well as providers of thousands of other financial management solutions located all across the US and Canada. We’d be happy to recommend the best possible migration partner to work with based on your industry and unique business needs. If you have any questions, please feel free to call Adam at (800) 827-1151 x26 or email adamb@findaccountingsoftware.com.

Adam Bluemner

is a Managing Editor at Find Accounting Software. He's been helping software buyers make informed investments in business software since 2004.

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