Tag Archive: web-based business solutions


by Michael Brennan

Sage has been carefully listening to its global market for Sage ERP X3 with regards to feedback and requests on the topic of Financial Reporting and is already making progress on integrating a powerful and flexible reporting technology based on cutting edge BI technology. The Sage ERP X3 core product team in France has embarked on a strategic partnership with our team with the intention of providing a modern Excel-based financial reporting designer and tools.

We have been in the business of offering robust Excel-based business intelligence tools for 11 years and have been working on Sage ERP products since 2005. Sage France’s move to collaborate closely with our team, mainly based in South Africa, is well aligned with Sage Group’s core strategy of consolidating group assets across regions and presents an exciting roadmap of consistent product and service offerings globally.

As global market BI market trends continue to evolve we have been investing heavily in new advanced technologies to power our next generation offerings and are pleased to announce Sage ERP X3 version 7 will include fully integrated financial reporting capabilities based on its next generation In-Memory Database BI Platform codenamed ‘LIME’. This new column based database platform has been engineered from the ground up to cater the needs of tomorrow’s businesses with a core focus on high performance, flexibility and great user experience. The new platform is able to accelerate performance by pre-calculating financial logic and place the results into its in-memory BI database to dramatically improve real-time query performance.

Expectations on this new offering include report design automation to cater for novice Excel users as well as flexible drag and drop formulas for capable Excel users. This approach allows both types of users to pull financial and analytical ledger data directly out of Sage ERP X3 v7 and arrange it within Excel using their existing Excel skills and save your Excel report securely back to the Sage ERP X3 server. In addition to utilizing cutting edge technology, we are also including major usability and modernization changes to our  report designer tools as we ramp up to deliver on ever increasing market demands for simpler BI and reporting software. This is great news for users who are already using Sage Intelligence Financial Reporting for Sage ERP X3 v6 and v6.5 who can look forward to substantial business value increases when moving to the integrated report designer within Sage ERP X3 which will be available as an option to all users using version 7.

Both French and South African teams are excited about the extent of new business value planned for Sage ERP X3 version 7 as a result of their collaboration and having a dedicated BI team focus on the Excel financial reporting capabilities of Sage ERP X3 allows the French team to ship more value to market each release.

Ivan Epstein, CEO, Softline, says that irrespective of the nature or size of your business, selecting the right business software is important for streamlining financial management and business processes. Having a handle on your accounting, inventory control, customer data and the availability to generate powerful reporting are useful when meeting the challenges of today’s business demands.

Opportunities for both web and non-web based solutions continue to abound inSouth Africaand Epstein believes we’re in a good position to embrace our emerging markets, in which the SME sector continues to show strong signs of growth.

“The increasing reliance on systems by businesses of all sizes is driving fundamental change in the way business software is being provided to the SME sector. No traditional software application is immune to web-based competition, so it stands to reason that adopting web application technologies and business practices are an area that local vendors and customers are continuing to adopt.”

Vendors have seen a gradual move in the industry over the past few years, Epstein says. Customers are more frequently adopting Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) models wherein web-based applications are explored as an alternative to traditional desktop applications. For the small business owner, perhaps one of the most challenging aspects is simply deciding which application is most appropriate for their business, as well as sourcing reputable options.

“In the past, SaaS offerings were limited to applications such as ERP, CRM, and the like. Today companies, of all sizes, are also looking at online infrastructure services – applications such as backup and storage. Online backup can help small businesses deal with the challenge of exponentially growing data volumes. It presents a new opportunity for small businesses by giving them all the benefits of enterprise-class backup without the associated management complexity and cost. Better yet, as more mature backup vendors start to offer their software through an online delivery model, small businesses can be sure their data is safely in the hands of proven experts.”

The challenge, however, for SMEs in South Africa which are interested in web-based solutions is the country’s bandwidth challenges “This will continue to improve over time”. Also, Epstein says, some businesses, particularly SMEs, are simply not comfortable giving their sensitive data to others to manage. Others have found that a web-based solution may actually be more secure than their current configuration.

“Either way, I would advise business owners to carefully investigate the issue of security in more detail if they’re exploring the benefits of web-based solutions for their business. Leading web-based vendors realise that this is a critical issue, and they have taken significant measures to ensure the security of their customers’ data files. Vendors must provide a secure data environment for their customers,” Epstein concludes.