In the March 10, 2020 issue, Accounting Today introduces the world to Sage’s upcoming construction product, Sage Intacct Construction. A product they describe as a “new module for construction companies that harnesses the Sage 300 Construction software (formerly Sage Timberline) and plugs it into Intacct’s cloud platform.” If you are a current Sage 300 CRE customer, here are some potential takeaways and points to ponder from this announcement.
What will happen with Sage 300 CRE?
While there is no information included in this announcement, we need to ask ourselves two questions to try to determine what will happen to your current software:
- How much has Sage been investing in the current Sage 300 CRE product over the past few years? How many enhancements have they provided in their core product in the last release YE 2019? For this answer, see this link. Review the updates on pages 2 & 3 and remove anything that says “Bug fix” or “fix” or “now correctly”.
- Is there a viable reason for Sage to continue developing 3 products (Sage 100 Contractor, Sage 300 CRE and Sage Intacct Construction) for the same small vertical market?
When will Sage Intacct Construction be ready for a contractor using Sage 300 CRE?
We are not sure, but here is what we understand about the current product and what we have found out (the hard way) from being on the bleeding edge before.
- Sage Intacct Construction began development in earnest in 2019.
- The first release is very limited in Construction functionality (see Accounting Today article).
- We represent Acumatica, including their Construction Edition product. They were in development for two years prior to releasing Construction Edition in January 2018. It took almost another two years to get a product on par with other legacy construction software. Knowing this, we would expect Sage’s development cycle to be longer than what we experienced with Acumatica.
Will the new product be able to replace the functionality we have with Sage 300 CRE?
Based on comments from the Accounting Today article, it appears Sage will use an extended Best of Breed approach to match the functionality of Sage 300 CRE. Here is a quote from the article: “Construction firms can easily integrate with an array of operational applications to ensure they are using the best technology available to address their specific business needs.” While Best of Breed is used by most software publishers today, it is important to make sure that core functionality (Financials, Job Cost, Payroll, etc.) is held in the core SaaS ERP product so that there is a common user interface for user acceptance and training. This also minimizes issues when you update to a newer version.
What is the cost of doing nothing?
Well the good news is the Sage 300 CRE product is probably not going away anytime soon, so don’t panic. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start planning for your firm’s future today. There is a maintaining status quo cost in most situations. If you do nothing, here are the costs involved:
- Most of you will still be paying approximately 20% of the retail price of your legacy system every year to maintain support and get payroll updates.
- You are foregoing the value of a truly informed workforce. Today’s true cloud products offer the ability of a fully functional remote workforce out of the box. That means your entire staff can access the data that you determine they need to do their jobs, without clunky and unstable workarounds or expensive per user licenses.
- There will be a cost of buying and implementing a new system no matter whether you buy the new system from your current software vendor or move to another one. However, with monthly SaaS plans, the annual cost can be close to what you are paying for Maintenance & Support today. (UNFORTUNATELY, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS AN EASY ONE BUTTON CONVERSION FOR ANY PRODUCT CHANGE.)
What should I be doing today?
You are now in the decision cycle. The most important thing you can do is start evaluating your options. The decision you make will guide your firm for the next decade plus. It is not a decision that should be taken lightly or made in the heat of battle.
- Make a list of the true cloud products in the construction industry and set up meetings with their representatives.
- Get an overview demo of each system and note functional gaps in what they offer and what your firm needs.
- Look for applicable new functionality that is unavailable in your current software but is offered by the new vendors.
- Get pricing on each product and the corresponding implementation costs. (Ask for a fixed fee if available.)
Get your team involved, make the decision that is best for your company and move forward with confidence!
Strategies Group has been a valued solution provider and technology partner in the construction industry for over 30 years. We have implemented over 2,000 construction companies on products like Timberline/Sage 300 CRE, Sage 100 Contractor, Viewpoint Spectrum, Viewpoint Vista and Acumatica. We currently represent Acumatica and Viewpoint software solutions for the construction, service, manufacturing and distribution industries.