Sage Readies Cloud Computing Release Of MAS 90 ERP Applications

Sage also unveiled new releases of the on-premise versions of its Sage MAS 90 and 200 application suites, bundled for the first time with the vendor's Sage CRM application, the company said Tuesday.

Sage ERP MAS 90 Online will go live Nov. 22 with a subscription price of $169 per user, per month.

"This is a great way for customers to ease into an ERP online solution," said Erik Kaas, product management vice president for Sage MME, in an interview. Small businesses are becoming more comfortable with application cloud deployments where data resides at a vendor-hosted site, he said.

Earlier this year Sage launched the Sage Partner Transition Journey program, a set of development symposiums, workshops and Webcasts to help channel partners transition their businesses to a cloud-computing model.

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The ERP MAS 90 and 200 applications are designed for small businesses. MAS 90 operates in a file server environment while MAS 200, built on a client/server architecture and running on Windows, is tailored for five or more users.

Sage already offers on-premise and cloud versions of its Sage Accpac ERP applications used by larger SMBs. The Sage ERP X3 suite, targeted toward mid-size to large businesses, is currently available only for on-premise deployment, although a cloud version is believed to be under development.

Sage ERP MAS 90 Online is hosted, using Citrix on the front end to provide Web access, and includes all of the suite's core software modules, including its ERP, human resource management, fixed assets, active planner, and business intelligence applications. The service comes with the vendor's Sage Business Care support, and backup and disaster recovery services.

Currently all sales of Sage ERP MAS 90 and 200 are made through channel partners. Customers will sign up directly with Sage to subscribe to the online version of MAS 90, Kaas said. But channel partners will provide support, training and other services, and customers who are not working with a partner will be assigned one. About 70 percent of the customers using Sage's other cloud computing software already work with a Sage channel partner and about 30 percent are assigned one, according to Kaas.

Partners will earn 25 percent of customers' annual subscriptions for the online applications. While partners won't get the big, up-front payment they do when re-selling the on-premise applications, Kaas said, they should make that up in just three years through the recurring revenue stream.

Sage is pitching the cloud application set as an option for businesses that have outgrown accounting applications, such as Intuit or Sage's own Peachtree, but want to work with a subscription-based ERP application set before committing to an on-premise implementation. That migration is possible because the cloud and on-premise versions of MAS 90 are based on the same code base, Kaas said.

The new releases of the on-premise Sage ERP MAS 90 and 200 are available now. They now come with SageCRM 7.1, the vendor's CRM application that can still be purchased as a separate product. The new ERP MAS applications specifically come with a SageCRM server license and one free user license, plus the option to purchase more user licenses.

The new release also provides some 50 enhancements requested by customers, according to Kaas.

Also available now is Sage ERP MAS 200 SQL 4.5, a version of the application suite that can be deployed on Microsoft's SQL Server database instead of the proprietary ProvideX database and development environment that underlies Sage ERP MAS 90 and 200.