Sage Summit 2019

From Monday May 13th thru Wednesday May 15th, I attended Sage Summit in Atlanta, Georgia.  Sage executives provided some incites as to the direction Sage is heading as well as training on Sage software and other general business topics.  With Sage being a British company, it’s impressive to learn that last year, over 60 million pounds were invested in Sage products. Even though less than half of Sage’s revenue comes from the U.S. they have determined that 60% of their target market is in America.  In the future many new initiatives will be introduced in the U.S.  Both the new Chief Technology Officer and the Chief Marketing Officer are located in the United States.

Sage studied their clients and found out that over 50% want their software on premise, but over half of the new revenue is coming from cloud-based products.  Sage is working on making sure all of their products are compatible with Office365.

Sage stated that customers can be in a native-cloud or a connected-cloud product (on premise).  There are no plans to re-engineer old Sage products like Sage 50/100/300 to be a multi-tenant cloud product.  Instead Sage will continue to expand its line by purchasing products like Intact, a native cloud product.

To recap, Sage will continue to support their customers in an on premise, cloud connected, or native cloud environment, but not all products will work in each situation.  They challenged the attendees to keep them honest and continue to give them feedback.  They will continue investing in their desktop products and wanted everyone to come back to Summit next year.

I am pleased to see the direction Sage is taking to support their existing client base, support and update existing products, and make investments in new software for the changing customer environment.  I think you can be pleased with your current investment in Sage and the future support you will receive.

 

TPAC 2019

This past March was the Third-Party Advantage Conference (TPAC) held in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. I had the opportunity to visit this beautiful landmark and participate in the conference that brings together a great group of products and people on the Sage 300 ERP platform. Sage Business Partners, Development Partners, and customers from all over the globe were in attendance to discover what products are available on the market to enhance an end user’s Sage 300 experience.

I was in Niagara Falls the week before TPAC to attend a pre-conference training session for Technisoft, one of the featured third-party exhibitors at the conference. The three-day training session discussed how to utilize a tool called Service Manager (version 2019) within Sage 300. Service Manager is a Sage 300 add-on product that allows users to process and track Jobs, Projects, Subcontracts, Serialized Tracking of Equipment, Rental Equipment, Recurring Maintenance Needs, and more! It also tracks Job Planning, Labor Scheduling and Dispatching, Budgeting, and Financial Distribution Statistics. Users can Create Notations throughout Service Manager that might include instructions, pictures, or relevant comments regarding an item, customer, or vendor. Service Manager offers Employee and Customer Web Portals as well as numerous Mobile Field Solution options for online and offline accessibility.

At the end of the three-day Service Manager training session, I was awarded a Certificate of Completion from Technisoft.

Overall, TPAC 2019 was a successful and enlightening event to attend, to forge new relationships and learn about different products that operate alongside Sage 300. I look forward to attending again next year!

“What is CRM, and Why Do I Need It?”

CRM is a very confusing topic – and with good reason. Depending on who is asked, “CRM” can mean multiple things, and each person asked has their own spin on what it is exactly. Simply put, CRM stands for “Customer Relationship Management”. Its primary purpose is to become a resource that is developed as a system of best practices to help manage the members of your front office staff.

When I say “front office”, I mean any representative of your company that has or may potentially have an interaction with someone externally. These people are the face of your company, and coincidentally are the same people that have a direct impact on a customer’s experience. Think of customer service representatives, salespeople, and marketing professionals. Each has a unique type of relationship with any given customer. CRM systems leverage your company’s best practices to create a consistently positive experience regardless of why or who that customer reached out in the first place.

The standard sales pitch focuses on five key results that companies can measure. It goes something like this… “If you successfully implement a CRM system, you’ll to see a(n):

• Year-over-year increase to revenue.
• Better conversion rate for lead cultivation.
• More effective marketing strategy.
• Increase in employee productivity/efficiency.
• Consistent positive customer experience.”

Hopefully, there is enough buzzwords in that sales pitch to trigger your attention, but the reason why “CRM” is next to impossible to label slowly becomes a little more obvious. It ambiguously applies to departments that exist in one form or another within every company. Each company conducts business in a different way across those “front office” departments. Sure, there’s common best practices, but the devil is in the details.

Employees do their job at least a little differently than someone else with the same job description. That’s okay! Employees are meant to have that freedom to do things in a way that enables them to complete the task. Not just complete the task, but do so as accurately and quickly as possible without violating a company’s core values. That’s one of the many things that contributes to a company’s culture.

I can argue the importance of a company’s culture being one of the foundational reasons why it is successful. However, my point in using that word is to present the fact that a company is successful for a reason. A successful CRM does not seek to change that. As the old saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Why does every company need a CRM system? Because it takes what made that company successful, and builds on that foundation of success to amplify the potential of each employee that uses the CRM system. It’s what enables salespeople to sell more effectively. It’s what enables customer service representatives to arrive at the best possible outcome from an interaction.

It’s what enables an organization to move forward with a more focused purpose.

 

Customize your Sage 300 ERP with Orchid Extender!

Every business has their own unique work flow process. So how does Sage 300 ERP accommodate to how you run your business? With the addition of Extender by Orchid Systems that’s how!

What is Orchid Extender? It is a Sage 300 add-on product that allows the user to enhance the functionality of their Sage 300 that best suits their business needs. With Extender, users can create new tables, data fields, data tabs, validate data input, create message pop-up alerts, add buttons to a specific screen, and more! Extender can also customize other third-party modules that are written in the Sage 300 SDK (Software Developer Kit) in addition to customizing existing Sage 300 screens. Orchid Systems also provides some preconfigured scripts available for download from their website.

One example of the endless possibilities that Orchid Extender has to offer is adding a button to the Order Entry screen that will automatically email an Order Confirmation to the customer. In the same click of the button, the Order Confirmation can be automatically saved as a PDF to a pre-defined file destination. This functionality can reduce work process flow time without having to leave the Order Entry screen! Another example is field data validation such as the Address State field on the A/R Customers module screen. If an incorrect entry or no entry is made in this field, a warning message can be prompted to appear on the screen.

Please contact Stephanie Piller if you would like to learn more about how Orchid Extender can enhance your Sage 300 experience!

 

The New Payroll Year

Author: Arlie C. Skory, SPHR – HRMS Partner

WAC Solution Partners – Employer Solutions 

By now you have survived the first several payrolls of the year. This year was every weekly payroll administrator’s worst situation.  Monday was Christmas Eve and Tuesday was Christmas Day with the same difficult schedule repeated the following week.   By now you should be almost done with your W-2’s and 1099’s.  Here are some other things to watch for in the new year.

Medicare:  The tax rate remains at 1.45% on all earned wages.  Employees earnings in excess of $200,000 are still be subject to an additional 0.9% Medicare tax. Employers do not pay the additional amount.

Social Security:  The Social Security base increased to $132,900 from the 2018 amount of $128,400. The tax remains 6.2%.

401(k)/457 Plans:  The employee 401(k) contribution limit for employees under age 50 is $19,000 up from $18,500.  The additional ‘catch-up” contribution limit for employees remains $6,000.

FSA Contribution Limit:  The limit has increased by $50 to $2,650 for 2019

1095-C:  The Affordable Care Act was not repealed so employers with 50 or more employees still must furnish a 1095-C to employees by March 4, 2019.  Deadline for employers to file all Forms 1094 and 1095 with the IRS is February 28, 2019 or April 1, 2019 if filing electronically.

Trend to watch:  Mandatory sick leave laws are gaining more ground.  Currently Arizona, California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and New Jersey have state laws. Michigan has a law going into effect on March 29, 2019. At least 18 other states, including Illinois and Indiana, have similar laws pending. Most call for 1 hour of sick leave to accrue for every 30 or 40 hours worked.  Many cities and counties also have such laws. Employers should remain alert to the pending legislation.