Scalability in ERP: Sage BusinessVision vs Sage ERP X3
Users of Sage BusinessVision may want to consider a move up to a system with scalability like Sage ERP X3. If your company has the goal of making your investment in ERP systems last, scalability is an area that you will want to focus on. How well, and how easily, a system scales can determine if the decision on an ERP solution was the right one. That’s because scalability of an ERP solution will not only determine how well the system can support the company’s needs now, but also in the long term.
In previous blogs we have higlighted how Sage ERP X3’s delivers improvements in intelliegence and reporting when compared to Sage BusinessVision, and also in inventory management. Another issue that companies currently using Sage BusinessVision will encounter is the accounting system’s lack of scalability. Modern systems like Sage ERP X3 are distinctly better options for companies looking to grow without disruption or technology issues.
Scalability: What it is and why it is important when it comes to ERP?
Scalability is an ERP system’s ability to deal with change. As a business grows the systems that support it will need to grow as well, so scalability is the system’s ability to grow alongside the company. If a system can scale up as the need arises, it gives the company room for growth without major up hauls to its information systems.
There are four distinct areas that a company will want to grow its ERP system: utilization, platform, user count, and functionality. While we will cover the first three here, functionality will be touched upon at a later date.
Increasing The Capacity of an ERP System
Utilization is the system’s ability to handle usage and the burden that additional use may cause on the system. Things like the amount of data stored in the system, number of users on the system at one time, transactions being run, and servers being used to run the system, affect the system’s ability to operate properly.
Systems like Sage BusinessVision, which cannot be scaled up, will see performance continuously worsen as the company grows and more data is entered. For example, with BV’s closed database structure and data-storage limits, the system’s speed will suffer and the database size will become an issue.
A good ERP system for growing companies will have an open database structure that allows for additional servers to be added as the company’s needs increase. Sage ERP X3 can manage data processing across many servers, and as the company grows and more users and operations need to be managed, the system’s performance can keep up by adding additional servers for storage and processing capacity.
Within X3, this is a simple process and the system can handle changes from 10 to 1500 users without affecting performance significantly. The system also has deferred processing capability, whereby it can increase performance levels by rescheduling some offline processes until less computing capabilities is required.
Platform and Operating System Infrastructure
Platform scalability when it comes to ERP is the ability of the solution to deliver its functionality in multiple computing environments. Not long ago, if an ERP solution or other business software ran in a Windows environment, that would have been good enough for most businesses.
This is no longer the case, as users now want to access applications from home or mobile devices, all possibly with different operating systems, while third party business applications may run in different environments, or particular business units having to utilize different operating systems for critical applications. One of the ways that ERP systems deal with supporting access from multiple operating systems is through web-enabled software.
Sage BusinessVision is limited, being one of those solutions that only runs in a Windows environment. The system is not web enabled and does not support mobile device access. On the other hand, Sage ERP X3 offers an open architecture that provides companies the choice of operating systems, databases, network environment, and deployment options. It gives users the ability to switch from one platform to another without impacting the functionality and user environment.
Sage ERP X3 is a web-based solution that runs equally on Windows, Unix, or Linux Red Hat, with either Oracle or Microsoft SQL databases, and it can be deployed as a web application, a desktop application or both. So it has all bases covered.
Growth will lead to Increasing User Count
As a company grows it will hire more people that will need to access the company’s systems. It’s the most basic and fundamental level of scalability, but it is important to consider because even though most ERP solutions will allow additional users, the cost and ease of this happening can vary.
For the reasons we mentioned above (under Utilization), adding users to Sage BusinessVision can cause problems for the system as it tries to handle the additional data and processing requirements. Depending on how the system is deployed, it can quickly become problematic to run too many concurrent users.
To give you an idea, while both BV and X3 can be used by a small number of users, BV’s maximum number of users for its Standard version is 10, and its client-server version 100, whereas Sage ERP X3 can handle up to 2000 concurrent users. Adding users to BV may require an upgrade in hardware and system capacities, while in X3 it’s a matter of calling your business partner (like The Answer Company) and making some simple arrangements.
While scalability isn’t the only important factor when it comes to choosing a software solution for your business, it is the most important when it comes to a couple areas of managing your business, which are:
- Ensuring growth will not be slowed down by your current system capacities, and
- Avoiding spending tens of thousands of dollars to overcome said system’s limitations.
Moving to a system like Sage ERP X3 may just be the last time you will have to move systems, no matter how large your company grows. That is also a pretty effective way to guarantee that your initial investments will continue to pay off in the long term.