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Bob Scott’s Insights

Blog by Doug Deane

I was recently quoted in Bob Scott’s Insights, and I’d like to expand on what was included in Bob’s article. That 125 word article was boiled down from a 5 minute phone conversation, so most of it wound up on the “editing room floor”.

AccpacBob Scott asked me if DSD was looking at other publishers’ ERP software, and I told him that we were looking at SYSPRO and also at Sage X3 ERP.  The article led the reader to believe that DSD was abandoning Sage, which couldn’t be further from the truth.  But we have found that in the past few years, Sage MAS 90/200, Sage MAS 500, and Sage Accpac ERP have been challenged by products such as Epicor and SYSPRO.  Those products have a smaller market share than the Sage offerings, but their native functionality is broad, and they have specifically targeted the MAS 90/200, MAS 500 and Accpac ERP audience.

To solve a moderately complex set of business needs, we have found that it is often necessary to propose a half dozen or more third party add-on products on top of the suite of Sage modules.  This is called a “best-of-breed” approach, because our customer doesn’t have to settle for whatever functionality is built in to the Sage, SYSPRO or Epicor module.  We pick the very best third party module that meets our customer’s needs, and it is likely to have better functionality than a “factory” module from SYSPRO, Epicor and even Sage (if Sage offers one).

e-Commerce is a great example of this.  SYSPRO has a “factory” e-Commerce module, but Accpac ERP does not have one available from Sage iteself.  However, there are a dozen great e-Commerce packages available for Accpac ERP (such as Iciniti), with equivalent or better functionality than the SYSPRO or Epicor eCommerce packages.  This same concept is true for EDI processing, warehouse management, CRM, etc.  They integrate flawlessly and our experience is that they are just as reliable as “factory” modules.

The challenge for Sage is that Epicor and SYSPRO have been more successful setting the market’s perception and expectations than Sage or its resellers have been.  In a recent deal involving an import/export company, DSD had proposed an Accpac ERP-based system with seven third-party add-on modules to handle eCommerce, EDI, complex warehouse management and other needs.  Epicor had fewer third-party modules, but came in at a substantially higher price, then dropped its price in the eleventh hour in order to win the deal.

We believe that the proposed Accpac ERP system, with its seven third party add-on modules, offered a higher level of functionality and reliability than the Epicor system at a lower price.  But Epicor was able to convince the prospect that the Accpac ERP system was really eight separate packages (including Sage’s), which would not integrate as well, nor be as reliable as the Epicor solution.  Was that the truth?  We strongly believe not, but that will be for the prospect to find out in the near future.  We are staying in touch with them, in case they need any assistance.

Nevertheless, our Sage Accpac ERP proposal contained eight different publishers’ products (including Sage’s), with eight different unlocking keys, eight different sets of documentation, and eight slightly different user interfaces.  If Sage would do a better job of packaging the most commonly needed third party products as their own (like Epicor and many other publishers have done) then this perception problem would go away.  Until then, we are left looking at SYSPRO, Epicor and Sage X3 ERP in order to better meet what our prospects think their needs are, as defined (sadly) by our competitors.

BTW, we have thoroughly examined SYSPRO, and we’ve found their staff to be exceptionally knowledgeable and helpful, and their products to be impressive.  We also feel that way about Sage which is why we’re also taking a hard look at Sage X3 ERP.  The challenge with X3 is that it was rebranded in the past few years by Sage (it was formerly Adonix) and it does not have the branding or product awareness that SYSPRO and Epicor have.  We’ll make a decision sometime in the next few weeks, so stay tuned for an announcement.

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Doug Deane is President of DSD Business Systems, a national provider of on-demand (cloud) and on-premises ERP and CRM software, specializing in wholesale distribution, manufacturing, warehouse management, inventory, business intelligence and eCommerce software.  DSD offers Sage 100 (formerly MAS 90), Sage 300 (formerly Accpac), Sage 500 (formerly MAS 500), NetSuite, Sage FAS, Sage HRMS (formerly Abra), Sage CRM, Sage SalesLogix, Extended Solutions, and Custom Programming.

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