BTerrell Group Blog

Weighing the Benefits of Integrated ERP, CRM and HRMS Solutions

Posted by Chris Firra on Fri, Sep 06, 2013

Integrating ERP, CRM and HRMSThe argument between ERP "suites" and "best of breed" (BoB) applications has continued since ERP vendors first appeared. The argument seemed settled in favor of single vendor suites by the late 1990s, but today's proliferation of cloud-based business applications is heating up the debate once again. 

The appeal of best of breed applications was that they focused on industry-specific or niche functionality, whereas ERP suites seemingly strived for the 80/20 rule when delivering customer requested functionality.  BoB vendors argued that because they were not spreading their development budgets over a multitude of products, they could pay closer attention to the market segment they were serving and provide more detailed solutions for their customers.  Additionally, they didn’t have to deal with integration issues, so they could also deploy their solutions more quickly than ERP suite solutions.

The case for ERP suites centered on having a single vendor to deal with (or a single throat to choke, depending on your perspective!) and, more importantly, seamless integration between software modules.  Customers did not have to deploy the entire suite, but could implement only the modules that they required.  Further, the ERP vendors proposed the following benefits:

  • Application suites eliminate duplicate data entry, thereby reducing cost and improving data accuracy.
  • They provide a single version of the the truth where data was the same in all systems allowed team members to speak a common language.
  • They help breakdown information silos and increase information access, presumably improving overall productivity through collaboration.
  • Finally, the common user experience from using a module that is part of a single vendor suite allowed users to become cross-trained and proficient in the new programs much more quickly than with one with a new and foreign user interface.

It's worth mentioning that early on, many software suite publishers saw little benefit in providing integration interfaces to outside vendors, making integration with external applications fairly difficult to achieve.  Nonetheless, most businesses chose to deploy ERP application suites during the last decade because of the reasons mentioned.

Despite the predominance of single vendor suites, businesses continued to deploy some best of breed applications.  In some cases, there simply was no other solution choice available from their ERP vendor.  In other instances, it was simply a matter of "decision by department", where there was no central governance to coordinate purchasing decisions.  In any case, the ability to seamlessly integrate these applications was usually very limited, causing companies to employ expensive middleware solutions, use labor intensive export-translate-import procedures, or resort to manual re-entry to move data between systems.

More recently, distinctions between these choices have blurred as ERP suite vendors improve the functionality of modules and as cloud-based, best of breed applications have begun providing application programming interfaces (APIs) that enabled customers to build integrations.  Some writers have gone so far as to suggest that we now live in an "API economy" where anything and everything are being connected.  It should be mentioned that, while SaaS (Software as a Service) vendors may provide the ability to connect to their software, they may not manage nor support integrations with other vendors' products.  Therefore, the responsibility for maintaining these integrations still rests with the customer's IT department.  

In this vein, Sage provides an integrated suite of products that encompasses the essential business requirements for most organizations: accounting, distribution/supply chain, human resources, sales and marketing.  Like most suites, these products are modular so that customers can select the solutions according to their company's requirements and budgets.  As a Sage reseller, BTerrell Group sells and supports Sage 300 ERP, as well as the other fully integrated applications that round out Sage’s solutions, such as:

Each of these products offers fast and seamless integration with Sage 300 ERP.  However, rather than enforcing a “Sage only” model, the publisher has taken a hybrid approach, combining some of the best features from both the ERP suite and the best of breed models.   First, Sage 300 ERP, Sage CRM and Sage HRMS applications are either best of breed or near best of breed solutions.  Secondly, each of these core applications have rich APIs that are not only the basis for deep, bi-directional integrations between the Sage products, the APIs also allow seamless and realtime integrations with other best of breed applications that are located either on site (like Accellos Warehouse Management Suite) or in the cloud (like Avalara sales tax compliance).

Using an API, external applications can start a secure session in Sage 300 ERP, and then create transactions as if it were a user.  Sage 300 ERP features two types of API architectures.  First, its .NET compliant XAPI provides the means for integrating the ERP with other local applications. The second and newer method is Sage’s SDATA, a web services interface with a service oriented architecture (SOA) suited for building integrations with web and cloud-based applications.  This opens up the possibility of integrating Sage 300 ERP to any customer-chosen SaaS applications that provides a web services API.  For those vendors that have not yet created integrations with Sage, BTerrell Group has resources that fully understand how to utilize Sage’s APIs and that can work with other vendors to develop powerful new integrations. (Just ask!)

Organizations that are currently using Sage's business applications such as Sage 300 ERP, Sage CRM and Sage HRMS, enjoy the benefits of true seamless integration between the Sage applications.  Because of the development of new APIs, you may now choose to build your own powerful integrated suites using best in class applications from multiple vendors. Businesses can enjoy the benefits of tight integration between Sage products and with your chosen SaaS applications. In other words, you can now have your cake and eat it, too!

If you are interested in learning more about Sage products or how BTerrell can help you build a world-class suite of best of breed products,contact BTerrell Group for a free consultation.

Tags: Sage 300 ERP, Sage CRM, sage hrms, sage 300

Four Real-Life Results from Sage ERP Accpac Implementations

Posted by Meredith Gooch on Tue, Feb 21, 2012

Challenge Results
Lack of standardization constrained the quantity and quality of management information, making it difficult for a hotel chain to perform in-depth analysis or generate reports. Sage ERP Accpac Online helps synchronize the hotel chain's diverse accounting practices without diluting its focus on customer-impact systems.
A company's accounting and point-of-sale software was slow, provided financial and inventory data that was several days old, and did not make inventory viewable from other locations. Sage ERP Accpac helped this company cut order entry time in half! Anticipated efficiencies will reduce inventory on hand by 20% and support 25% growth in sales without adding new staff.
A chemical distributer needed to speed up collections, enhance the tracking of customer information, improve sales processes, and minimize training time and related costs for new sales representatives. The company now has quicker, more reliable access to information, optimized staff productivity and customer satisfaction, reduced training time, and closes more sales.
A high-tech company required a streamlined solution that could keep pace with its rapid growth and perform a variety of advanced accounting processes. With Sage ERP Accpac, this company has instant access to key information for effectively tracking sales and inventory data, performing month-end closing, and creating and customizing reports.


 

At BTerrell Group, we look for ways to improve your work-life, streamline processes, and provide you with more accurate and up to date information that you need to achieve the goals you want for your business. Contact us today to begin working on your own real-life results from Sage ERP Accpac (soon to be called Sage ERP 300)!

Tags: sage erp accpac, Sage 300 ERP, Sage ERP Accpac Implementation Results, Sage Accpac Results, sage 300

Sage ERP Accpac Will Soon Be Called Sage 300

Posted by Meredith Gooch on Mon, Jan 09, 2012

In 2012, new versions of Sage ERP Accpac (with the new name - Sage 300 ERP) will be launched with new features to help make your business life easier.

Sage 300 is the Sage family of business management software and services for midsized businesses and organizations and is available internationally. It supports configuration options to best match your needs and delivers a low total cost of ownership. Sage 300 includes ERP, Fixed Assets, HRMS, plus integration with Sage CRM solutions! Sage 300 solutions are sold and supported through local business partners (such as BTerrell Group) and are backed by Sage Business Care to ensure you get the most from your investment. Sage 300 grows as your business grows by providing versions to support the business growth cycle.

You can expect to begin to see these new product names used in communications early in 2012 as the launch for the new version approaches. The Sage website will begin using these names beginning in May.

Sage 300

Here are the naming details for the 2012 launches:
Sage ERP Accpac 100 will launch as Sage 300 Standard ERP
Sage ERP Accpac 200 will launch as Sage 300 Advanced ERP
Sage ERP Accpac 500 will launch as Sage 300 Premium ERP

All of the Sage ERP lines are driven by long-term development roadmaps to ensure Sage continues to deliver leading solutions to help make your business life easier. Rest assured that these products, newly named to make clear the Sage portfolio of solutions available to you, will deliver the same great capabilities, support, and backup you have known and value from Sage.

We'll keep you posted as the changes take place, but please contact us if you have any questions on how these changes might affect you.

Tags: sage erp accpac, Sage 300 ERP, Sage name change, Sage branding change, Sage ERP, sage 300