What is Sage Advisor?
Sage Advisor is a cloud product that will be available to all Sage ERP and CRM customers in the near future, and it is available to many now. The purpose of this exciting new product is:
- To provide personalized, proactive guidance to Sage customers that encourages optimum system usage via better use of existing product
- To help Sage customers make significant improvements to their business by recommending products and services that they are not currently using.
In a nutshell, Sage Advisor will allow users to extract the last bit of power from their ERP systems by making optimum use of existing product features, and new services and connected products.
Some Valuable Examples
- Sage Advisor would let you know that a service pack is available from Sage, and that you need to call your reseller to schedule installation. It would let you know which problems have been fixed, and which features, if any, have been added.
- Sage Advisor would let you know, by virtue of the number of items in your inventory and by your inventory turnover rate that you could be benefitting substantially by turning on Sage Inventory Advisor.
- Sage Advisor would remind you that it’s the end of your fiscal year, and that you need to remember to close your subsidiary ledgers before you perform EOY processing.
- Sage Advisor would let you know that there’s a feature in Sales Order Processing that you’re not using, that you might benefit from.
- Sage Advisor would let you know, by virtue of the number of invoices that you’re creating and by the number of sales tax jurisdictions you’re using, that you might benefit significantly from the automated sales tax connected service.
How Does It Do That?
In order to pave the way for Sage Advisor, Sage will be collecting system activity information from each customer (with their permission) and storing it in the cloud. That information will then be interpreted by a sophisticated analysis program and transformed into a highly focused and personalized set of product and service recommendations. Sage Advisor messaging tools and dashboards will then communicate those recommendations to its customers.
Products like Sage Advisor are referred to Product Enhancement Programs (PEP) and the collected data is referred to as PEP data or PEP records. PEP records are only collected with the customer’s permission. They are transmitted and stored in the most secure way, and used only internally by Sage.
This information is, in general, not sensitive financial or business performance information. It is activity-related, and is likely only useful in determining if a customer’s system is performing optimally.
For an ERP system, the typical kind of information that Sage will be collecting is:
- The version of your Sage ERP software
- The serial numbers of the products being used
- Which auditing features are enabled
- How often the “Shipping Data Entry” screen is used
- How many transactions are in the system?
- The type and version of the operating system running the Sage ERP software.
- Are finance charges being used?
This information will be updated daily to the Sage cloud.
Earlier this year, Sage reported that it had over 30 PEP-enabled products, with 51 million PEP records being stored in the cloud, with records increasing at the rate of 2.9 million per month.
Sage Advisor has been running very successfully in the Sage 50 product since mid-2012, and about 15% of the customers have acted on and benefitted from its messages.
When will it be available?
Sage Advisor technology will be embedded in all current Sage ERP systems by the end of this year (many are already transmitting PEP records), and the Sage Advisor dashboard will be available to end-users and business partners by the end of Sage’s 2014 fiscal year.
Sage’s customer-facing teams will also have access to this information, and they shared a sample dashboard with us at Summit. Sage Advisor will be an exciting differentiator for Sage, and will allow Sage and its business partners to make sure that customers are optimizing the use of their ERP and CRM systems to the greatest degree.
Written by Doug Deane, President & CEO of DSD Business Systems.