Since I get many clients asking about their Sage Business Care invoice, I thought I would take the opportunity to share what I know about the program and provide some insight on the importance and value of staying current.
What is Sage Business Care?
Sage Business Care (previously known as Software Assurance) is the current name for Sage's annual software maintenance and support services program. It provides the software improvements and technical support services offered by Sage to protect and extend the value of your investment into the future.
They currently offer two plans in the program: Silver and Gold.
The Silver Plan includes all software improvements and critical updates, access to the online Knowledgebase as well as five support cases per year from the Sage technical support team. Also included is a 10% discount on pre-recorded Anytime Learning courses available online. Customers running Payroll will need to purchase Tax updates for an additional $395/year.
The Silver Plan is what the majority of our clients subscribe to as they are mainly interested in staying current to maintain access to the software improvements. They rely on our services for additional support services as we are familiar with their organization and software set up. The Silver Plan complements our services by giving us access to the tools needed (namely hotfixes and patches) to keep your installation in top shape.
The Gold Plan includes everything from the Silver plan and adds to it unlimited support cases , priority call response, extended support hours, and unlimited access to the Anytime Learning courses. As well, Payroll customers will get the Payroll tax updates at no extra charge and will receive a 15% discount on the purchase of new modules and users.
The Gold Plan is appropriate if you have a growing, mission-critical system and need access to unlimited phone support and payroll updates.
How much does it cost?
The current cost of the Silver Plan is 21% of the MSRP of the software licences you own and the Gold Plan is 25% of the MSRP plus 3% of the resulting total.
The professional services we offer are recommended and often required when implementing the software updates. How much you require will depend on your in-house resources, the complexity of your installation and customizations, and how often you choose to implement the updates available to you as part of the subscription.
In addition, I should mention that there is an option to receive a 3% discount for a 2-year subscription and 5% for a 3-year. We've had a few customers take advantage of this cost savings.
So...should I renew my subscription?
This, of course, is the question we get the most.
If we step back a second, we can all acknowledge that software has changed quite a bit over the years. There was a time when accounting was the only computerized business software package other than Outlook and Excel. It was installed on a single machine and would run, without change for many years before requiring additional investment. That was great for cost savings, stability and your stress with respect to change but today companies are using business software to manage their customer interactions, HR, accounting and much, much more. Keeping your software current can mean maintaining your competitiveness and improving your productivity as well as ensuring that the system's availability is maximized, which is especially important with today's integrated systems that are often used by many employees all at the same time. Staying current means maintaining access to critical updates such as hot fixes as well as to the continuous product improvements resulting from the significant investment Sage makes in research and development. These innovations are delivered through service packs and product version upgrades and enhancements designed so that customers can continue to improve their businesses.
So what do we think? From our experience, we believe you should maintain your subscription as it ensures that your company, and us as your partner, have continuous access to product enhancements and fixes as they become available in order to keep your system functioning and up to date. We feel that paying yearly is a more cost effective alternative to upgrading every few years and guarantees that you will not have to make another major investment in software to replace an outdated one. Another important factor to consider is that, since Sage limits their support to the previous two versions, having software maintenance can be critical to our being able to provide you with the full support of Sage ERP 300 latest fixes and development resources. We have had several clients require a software update to resolve a critical issue. In order to do this, they needed to be re-instated on the Business Care Plan which is often costly as there is a re-instatement fee per month over and above the amounts billed previously. We have had several Clients face this unexpected expense in order to fix a problem with their system. We've also had a number of clients that have recently changed their older operating systems to Windows 7 and 8, and were forced to replace their software at a very high software replacement cost. No business enjoys unexpected costs and down time when the inevitable finally arrives.
Should you have any questions with respect to your companies' specific situation, don't hesitate to contact us.