Sage have just released their 2010 Product Roadmap for their Accpac line of software. This map outlines version releases through 2011, provides information on new Business Intelligence options and contains a screen shot of the new web client data entry screen.
Through the years most ERP companies have grown through acquisition.
From humble single product beginnings we’ve seen many companies including Sage North America evolve from a relatively tiny one product company called State of The Art which evolved to a company named Best Software then Sage Software then ultimately Sage North America or simply Sage.
As software companies grow and add products with different code bases the single most difficult issue is making each product share data. Acquired products have different core programming code as well as sometimes incompatible data dictionaries.
A common issue is how to link product A whose customer numbers can be 15 characters with product B whose customer numbers might only be 5.
For example the Sage Extended Enterprise is made up of at least three different products: Sage MAS200 + SageCRM + Sage FAS. Through the magic of programming, and brute force, Sage gets all three products to work together and exchange data.
But what if there was a standard that was simple and didn’t require extensive custom programming to enable communication between different products. This is where Sage’s open sourced SDATA protocols and SDATA extensions might come into play.
Stephen Smith, Chief Architect Sage Software, has done a great job of sharing some details of Sage’s SDATA protocols. Stephen’s job (from his LinkedIn profile) is:
Work on defining the architecture and technology direction for the Sage Accpac ERP line of accounting products. Leading the effort to modernize Accpac into a state of the art web based ERP package. Developing a shared Sage technology platform to bring together a number of Sage products into a unified end to end package with Accounting, CRM, HRMS and other vertical solutions; all sharing a common look and feel as nice user friendly web based applications.
According to Stephen’s blog posts (read the full post here) SDATA is a major new feature of Accpac 6.0:
One of the big features in Accpac 6 is SData support. What is SData? SData is a web services protocol based on REST. What is REST? REST is a web services protocol that is very popular among Internet companies. There are basically two main competing standards for web services. One is SOAP which is promoted by Microsoft, Oracle and IBM; this is a fairly heavy duty protocol which requires a fair bit of infrastructure (which is provided by the companies promoting this protocol). The other is REST which was invented as a University Research project and basically uses existing Web Technologies such as HTTP and RSS to implement a web services protocol. The nice thing about REST is that it doesn’t require any extra middleware. You are basically doing everything via standard web URLs. The infrastructure that supports this is basically just the standard Internet. SData is just an extension to REST, similar to Google’s GData which is also based on REST. REST protocols are used by Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo and all the main Internet companies. Gartner estimates that 75% of web services in use on the Internet are REST based. REST/SData also provides a standard mechanism for performing CRUD (create, read, update, delete) on all records.
While it may be too early to know how widespread the adoption of SDATA will be within all of Sage’s products, Sage certainly appears to be making a major push for it’s use. Sage ACCPAC is one of the ERP products (Sage ERP X3 is the other) that Sage has stated will be marketed worldwide.
I’ll be asking Sage where we can expect SDATA technology to appear next. For now it’s seems like an exciting addition to the Accpac 6.x product and will enable significantly greater interaction between different applications as Stephen explains:
All the new Sage ERP Accpac 6 screens are written entirely using SData. This means the screen can access any Accpac Views via SData, but additionally they can access any SData feeds from any product. In Accpac 5.x, the screen controls were mapped via datasource controls to views and view fields. This was great, but it limited you to only connecting our standard controls to fields in Views developed in our SDK. Now that the controls are mapped to a standards based SData fields, it means they will be able to be connected easily to much more data than just Accapc data. Look for other Sage products to start providing SData interfaces in their coming versions.
In a message sent to all North American Channel partners late last night, Sage North America President Jodi Uecker-Rust and Sage EVP Paul Johnson bestowed the honor of Chairman and Presidential Clubs on DSD Business Systems of San Diego California and their related Premier Partners.
DSD Business Systems and their affiliated Premier Partner organization were bestowed with the President’s Club honor for 2009. According to Sage, members of their President’s Club members are selected for:
– Top product revenue
– Total new license revenue
– Top overall total product revenue
Chairman’s Club membership is a level of distinction for exceptional Sage business partners. The objective of this membership is to reward and provide special recognition to our high performing business partners.selected based upon:
Schulz Consulting has been a member of the DSD Premier Partner family which provides us with access to programming resources as well as the technical skills of the other member organizations while still servicing all of our clients locally.
DSD Associates announce the release and general availability of their new Abandoned Cart Recovery Utility (ACRUe) for Miva e-commerce store owners.
Miva e-Commerce Abandoned Cart Recovery Now Available
This utility was created to address a serious outage this past week that affected all Miva Merchant e-commerce stores. During the outage, many thousands of e-commerce visitors’ shopping carts were abandoned when the system went down, and there is currently no way to recover abandoned carts. DSD jumped in, and created ACRUe, which recovers abandoned shopping carts, and reports their contents and who the carts belonged to (if the visitor had gotten that far).
After creating the utility for a large online e-commerce store whose website DSD had developed, the owner was able to use it to contact abandoned cart owners, to find out if they wanted to complete their purchase. They have more than paid for the utility in recovered sales.
Statistical Reporting for Miva E-Commerce
But this isn’t just a utility that’s used for outages or disasters. E-commerce store owners can use it to do statistical reporting on abandoned carts, giving them insight into the reasons that visitors are abandoning carts (i.e. not buying). ACRUe has an optional feature that automatically e-mails the e-commerce site manager when a cart is abandoned, allowing them to follow-up with their customer.
If you’re interested in more information please call DSD Associates directly at 858-550-5900 or visit them on the web at the link below.
Link: DSD Associates
Finding a qualified developer can be a challenge. You can hire someone who claims to “know” your software and can custom write an enhancement for your company.
The problem with hiring a lone developer is you have no way to know what type of experience they possess. Luckily Sage has solved this problem by creating certification levels.
Sage Certification for Developers
Sage has a stable of development partners who have been certified as either Endorsed, Gold or Silver.
Endorsed Partner: Sage invitation only. These partners are required to meet rigorous strategic, technologic, and integration criteria. Their solutions are handpicked by Sage and marketed aggressively alongside their core solutions.
Gold: The Gold level is a select tier for established development partners who have a closer relationship with Sage. These partners agree to adhere to Sage Best Practices and have one of their solutions certified through an independent testing company.
Sliver: Entry level tier for developers who are new to a particular Sage suite of products.
Solutions are either Endorsed or Certified
Sage has a certification process for differentiating the solutions available for their product line. This certification process includes basic qualify and integration tests with the Sage product line. The different certifications are either Endorsed or Certified.
Endorsed: A Sage Endorsed solution means Sage has put the product through additional paces and QA testing. These solutions carrying the Endorsed label have been classified as strategic to the product they integrate with. These solutions may also sometimes be an integrated component of a Sage solution.
Certified: A solution marked as Certified tells you that it is reliable and developed to the highest standards. Vendors must submit their application to Sage for testing prior to achieving this status.
Sage Partner Solutions
The Sage Partner Solution Source is a web site that lists third party enhancements for a wide variety of Sage products. There are over 12 separate Sage product lines represented on the site:
- Act! by Sage
- Peachtree by Sage
- Sage Accpac ERP
- Sage BusinessVision Accounting
- Sage BusinessWorks Accounting
- Sage MAS 500 ERP
- Sage MAS 90 and MAS 200 ERP
- Sage PFW
- Sage PRO ERP
- Sage SalesLogix
- Simply Accounting by Sage