Reasons to Stay On the Sage Maintenance Plan (Sage Business Care)
Sage Business Care is available and recommended to users of Sage Software solutions through the life of their ERP or CRM systems. Sage’s support and maintenance plan, offered in two tiers (Silver and Gold), provides access to upgrades, new releases of software, knowledge resources and troubleshooting guides, as well as access to Sage’s support team both online or by phone.
More importantly, staying on-plan with Sage keeps the company’s systems ‘alive’, being repaired through its life with new releases and fixes, and able to add users and additional modules that support new business activities. In essence it extends the life of the product considerably, making initial investments last longer. With the benefits of staying on plan so blatant, why would a company decide to go off plan?
Why Companies Go Off the Sage Maintenance Plan
The main reason customers decide to go off plan with Sage Business Care is because of its costs. Sage Business Care is designed to provide a certain value to users of Sage systems. If this value is not being realized, the cost-benefit ratio of staying on plan can quickly skew the wrong way, making the plan an unnecessary and costly expense.
So when would it become appropriate to go off Sage Business Care? When you can’t upgrade to new versions of the software. Two reasons this might happen are if a company has too many customizations in its systems, or if the product has been discontinued. An ERP system that has been heavily customized has essentially been taking off the path of evolution of the system to fit the specific needs of the company. As such, it relies on altered versions of the software that can’t simply be updated, or if it can, it only happens at considerable additional costs.
An ERP system that has been discontinued (although rare, it does happen) will no longer receive new versions of the software, thus staying on-plan becomes considerably less advantageous. For both of these reasons though, but particularly the latter, there are still considerable incentives to stay on plan.
What You Get When You Stay On Plan
When you pay for the plan, you are not only paying for maintenance and support of your current software, but also buying every future version of the system. Upgrades, updates, service packs, new version releases, enhancements, are all different ways of saying that as the product evolves to attain more benefits, your systems will too. “Annual renewals are reinvested by Sage towards future development and improvements,” says Craig Elander, Regional Sales Manager with Sage, “and by staying on plan you are participating in a product specific community of people who are mutually investing in the future of your solution.”
What Happens When You Go Off Plan
When you go off plan you turn your ERP solution into a static system that no longer improves with new versions, new features, fixes to errors, service packs and so on. So what? Maybe you like the version you have and are not interested in new features, but what about if something happens and the system stops working properly? You will no longer have access to Sage’s support staff via telephone or online, nor will you be able to access Sage’s Online Knowledge base, community groups, downloads, documentation, troubleshooting guides and so on.
You could still rely on a business partner, like The Answer Company, for many support issues, but the ability of support a partner can provide will be considerably limited without Sage access.
Leaving Sage’s maintenance plan will also deeply affect the company’s ERP system’s future. Once a company goes off-plan it is no longer able to add new users to the system nor is it able to add additional modules like inventory and warehouse management, CRM, and so on. The company will also lose any credits to migrate to a new Sage solution, should it decide to change systems or in the case that its current systems are discontinued (more on this later).
Additionally, there are costs associated with getting back on Sage’s maintenance and support plan, as companies that goes off-plan will be subject to a substantial reinstatement fee on top of renewal costs. If a company has been off-plan for longer than 90 days, it will be required to back pay for each month that it has been without the maintenance plan.
If longer than 24 months, you may be required to pay a percentage of the total software cost to reinstate your maintenance plan, as over that time period the solution will have significantly improved. If this applies to you, keep an eye out for promotions that incentive companies to get back on plan.
More on Migrations and the Sage Investment Protection Plan
It’s worth mentioning that staying on-plan not only helps performance and maintenance of the company’s current systems. It also provides a long-term path for the company’s future and growth as it offers significant incentives should a company decide to migrate to a new solution.
As we have explored in our previous blog, a company may upgrade to a new business management solution for various reasons. Sage offers companies on-plan financial credit should they need to upgrade to a solution with more complex functionality and improved technology, through the Sage Investment Protection Plan. Should a company with an out-dated solution need to improve to a web-based intuitive solution like Sage ERP X3, they would be able to while not losing initial investments made on another Sage Solution. This is extra crucial if the current solution the company is on becomes retired, as was the case with Sage PFW ERP earlier this year.
Being on Sage’s support plan is an important part of the ERP and CRM experience, so it’s important to understand the long-term objectives of the company and true costs and risks associated with going off-plan. If you are considering going off plan, or returning on-plan to Sage Business Care, feel free to contact us as we can help clarify the risks and benefits involved with that decision.