Which CRM Integration for Sage ERP MAS 500 (becoming Sage 500) is Right for Me?
For those of us in the MAS 500 (becoming Sage 500 ERP) community there have been lots of changes over time. Sometimes they are as simple as changing the name from Acuity to Best Software to Sage Software and the like. Other times there have been more significant changes like the expansion of manufacturing or project accounting capabilities within the MAS 500 application. The concept of CRM capabilities integrated with this particular ERP solution has also been around since before the turn of the new millennium. Now Sage is changing things again and we thought it would be a good time to revisit CRM and the concept of integration with Sage MAS 500 (becoming Sage 500 ERP.)
Where It All Began
At the turn of the century Sage had made some complimentary acquisitions in the CRM space with a company called Interact Commerce (the parent company which owned both ACT! and SalesLogix in the CRM space.) With these new acquisitions there were many companies starting to get their first taste of CRM, and Sage and almost immediately saw an opportunity to tie together their front and back end systems. The bigger challenge was that there was a very large base of MAS 90 and MAS 200 (soon becoming Sage 100 ERP) customers than there were (or still is for that matter) Sage MAS 500 customers. In order to get something to the market quickly Sage turned to a partner (which they eventually acquired) to build the Dynalink technology that many of our readers are familiar with.
When that particular integration was written it had to be created in a way to work with both Providex for the MAS 90 and MAS 200 customers, and SQL for the Sage MAS 500 customers. The product was not fancy by any stretch but moving data back and forth was predictable and there were limited integration points that Sage had to support. Eventually the Sage MAS 500 team saw the possibilities of creating a more powerful integration so Sage once again went about developing a new integration through a third party which was called ERP Link. As a result they stopped testing and supporting Dynalink for Sage MAS 500 after version 7.2. So, what we have today is the evolution of ERP Link (now version 3.0.1) that supports versions through 7.5.
The bridge between Sage MAS 500 and Sage SalesLogix today supports Account promotion of a prospect from CRM to ERP and also supports the synchronization of Contacts, Products, Customer Pricing, and Sales Order promotion from the Opportunity. We should caution that there have been challenges with this particular integration over the past few years and we would recommend this solution with some restrictions if a customer already owns both SalesLogix and Sage MAS 500. If, however, you are newer to CRM or don’t have an existing integration, there is a more stable and what we believe to be a more viable long term solution.
Sage CRM and Sage ERP MAS 500 (becoming Sage 500)
In recent months with all of the Sage rebranding the software publisher has also decided that it will strategically make its other CRM application, Sage CRM the strategic product of choice for integrated ERP clients. In doing so they have communicated that they are going to build integration to Sage CRM for Sage MAS 500. In fact, they have already begun coding this integration but have not given us timing on a release. The idea is that the Sage CRM integration will be available as an integrated connected service with Sage CRM in the cloud as a first release. While this is good news , we do see some limitations on what can be done with Sage CRM in the cloud. The integration won’t fit all customers or service their needs if they need to extend the integration.
Fortunately, there is already third party integration to Sage CRM through a company called Greytrix. The integration is robust and available for on premise customers that wish to use CRM as a fully integrated browser based integration that can be extended to support additional functionality. Today the integration provides customer promotion to Sage MAS 500, Sales Order promotion from the Opportunity, and real time inventory lookups. The integration also gives detailed Accounts Receivable information as well as Sales Order detail down to the line item.
From our perspective the evolution of Sage MAS 500 CRM options should continue to grow. We are even monitoring another data integration/migration company call Starfish ETL that has a newly developed Sage SalesLogix and Sage MAS 500 integration that supports Sage SalesLogix Web and is currently pushing information one direction from MAS 500. As we test and learn more we will continue to communicate what we see on the horizon.
For now, if you happen to have a CRM application that you want to integrate or if you want us to evaluate your situation to see which options can work for you, feel free to reach out to your Sage MAS 500 consultant and we will be happy to coordinate a call with our CRM team to discuss your particular situation.