Sage Adds Web Capabilities With New ERP Accpac Release

Sage North America is shipping a new release of its Sage ERP Accpac application suite, the first in a series of releases that will transform the software into a fully Web-based system.

As with earlier releases, Sage ERP Accpac 6.0 is targeted toward midsize customers and is sold exclusively through Sage channel partners. The integrated suite includes financial, sales, manufacturing, purchasing and inventory management applications.

While Accpac was originally developed as an on-premise set of applications, Sage has put together a product roadmap for transforming it into a completely Web-based product, said Michele Ballinger, product marketing manager, in an interview. Accpac 6.0, while still largely an on-premise system, can be deployed on a Web server, Ballinger said.

Sage is faced with the challenge of updating a broad, and in some cases aging, portfolio of software products, company executives have acknowledged in the past, and keeping up with competitors such as Microsoft and NetSuite who have been aggressively courting Sage customers and reseller partners.

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Sage hosts a version of Accpac software called Sage ERP Accpac Online for customers. Revenue from hosted systems grew 40 percent in 2010, said Scott Zandbergen, vice president of product management, in an interview.

Next: New BI And CRM Capabilities

The release also offers a new interface with Web-based aspects such as support for mobile devices. The Accpac Web Portal, built using the Google Web Toolkit, provides users with role-based workflow navigation and mobile access from iPhone, iPad and Android devices. Organizations that implement Accpac 6.0 have the option of using the software’s ’classic’ desktop interface or the new Web-enabled interface, according to Ballinger.

Accpac 6.0 has new business intelligence capabilities including a newly embedded ad hoc query tool call Accpac Inquiry that gives users quicker access to data they regularly use and tailor the information they see to their specific role. Also new is Accpac Intelligence for creating reports and analyzing data extracted from the ERP system, with the ability to download data into Microsoft Excel, and Accpac Snapshots that provides at-a-glance views of operational metrics.

And Sage has added its Sage CRM application to the Accpac bundle at no additional charge. And a new Accpac Fiscal Period Management feature helps accountants and finance managers lock fiscal periods by application module for more accurate transaction processing.

The ERP application suite also has a set of development tools that ISVs and channel partners use to build add-on applications and solutions around Accpac.

Sage also markets the Sage MAS lines of ERP applications, also targeted at SMB customers, and Sage ERP X3 that’s designed for larger organizations.

The Sage ERO Accpac 6.0 is the first major product announcement since the departure in December of Paul Johnson, the company’s top sales executive who had revamped the company’s channel efforts in recent years, for a job with another company.