Which CRM Integration for MAS 90 /200 ERP Is Right for Me?
There is nothing that people like better than having options. CRM integration with your accounting system is no different. As Sage has evolved as an organization it is important to understand how their perceptions of integrated CRM have evolved as well. Knowing the history helps quite a bit when looking at the options of integration with something like Sage ERP MAS 90 MAS 200 (soon becoming Sage 100 ERP) and an application like Sage CRM. The first thing to note is that MAS 90 MAS 200 has been around for a considerable period of time. And, during the late 90’s when CRM was first making headway the preferred integration was Sage SalesLogix. Believe it or not there are still some people on that integration and it works for a few organizations. After the acquisition of Accpac (and Sage CRM) from Computer Associates in 2004, new opportunities arose because Sage CRM was already integrated to Sage Pro (then named SBT) and Sage Accpac.
Eventually Sage had some decisions to make regarding their direction for CRM and the decision was made to push their energies towards Sage CRM for many reasons. This is where things get a little cloudy. In the past most of the integrations that have been written between Sage applications have significant involvement with the partners for both the ERP and the CRM side. In this case the team in Irvine decided to take the Sage CRM Code and try to model an integration without partner and customer interaction. What is most interesting here is that “time to market” seems to have taken priority over best practices or the most efficient design of an integration between CRM and ERP (in this case MAS 90/200). What was nice is that Sage hunkered down and created a better integration than that of SalesLogix in about half the time. The challenges came in when we as partners then had to take what they had developed to market. Don’t get us wrong, the integration there today works and works well. In fact, the last three iterations of the Sage CRM integration provided by Sage have been markedly better than the previous version. But, the design inherently deals with how Sage was so quickly able to come to market with an integrated product.
The connection between Sage CRM and MAS 90/200 that we support today enables companies to deploy CRM on a company’s network and push it out through a local web server. The fact that Sage CRM is a natively browser driven application makes deployment easy but there are a number of challenges that prevent you from using the integration outside of your network without deploying Citrix or Terminal Services. You can still manage your customers and prospects and do marketing campaigns efficiently. As you qualify prospects and turn them into customers you start to get into launching MAS screens in order to both promote prospects to MAS and for every day quoting and sales order transactions. You can also access customer data through launching Business Insights Explorer views that are predefined to help sales and customer service people provide customers with relevant information. In this setting each user of CRM must have a MAS License and will utilize a MAS license when transacting with the ERP system.
The other alternative for Sage CRM integration comes to us from the team at Greytrix. The team there has been writing integrations to Sage products for over 20 years. What is unique about the Greytrix integration is that it leverages the best part of Sage CRM and lets users work natively in the browser and do all transactions that relate to MAS without opening any MAS screens. This essentially means that the CRM product is not “handcuffed” by requiring another technology like Terminal Services or Citrix in order to do full customer promotion and order entry while working in the web browser. If the web server is exposed externally your sales people can handle transactions seamlessly anywhere in the world. There is also a nice security model that the Sage CRM integration does not have that lets you decide who can do specific transactions with the accounting system. Most importantly, the integration only utilizes one MAS license regardless of the number of users that are using Sage CRM.
Flexibility is also extremely important when it comes to Sage CRM and MAS 90 and that is one of the paramount considerations when choosing which integration to go with. First, the Greytrix integration works with many versions of MAS and this means that you can be on the latest version of Sage CRM even if you have lots of customizations or other things in your environment are preventing you from upgrading MAS. And, the Greytrix foundation can be affordably modified to handle unique aspects of your business that you may want to capture with integration points not covered by the “out of the box” integration.
The good news is that you hired Net at Work to be an expert in this area and to guide you around the choices available to you. If you have MAS 90/200 and Sage CRM or are currently on a maintenance plan where you can get a free license to get started with Sage CRM we would love to discuss your options with you and show you how to grow your business by adding CRM to the mix.
Related Post: The Benefits of Integrating CRM with Sage ERP MAS 90/200