Open letter from; Alastair M C Moir, Managing Director of AMA Business Systems.
Dear Sir / Madam
I have some exciting news – AMA is expanding its product portfolio!
We’ve been asked by a number of our larger customers, if we can supply a higher level accounting or enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, because they felt that they were outgrowing Pegasus Opera II/3. As you know, we’ve been Pegasus specialists for about 30 years and we still think that Opera 3 is the best solution in the marketplace for small to medium sized businesses. As you know, it is very easy to use and the out-of-the-box functionality is excellent. However, companies at the higher end of medium sized, are finding that the processing speed of the system is starting to degrade as the number of users and transactions increase. They are also telling us that they’d like to allow employees to work from home, or access parts of the ERP system via a web browser.
So, about a year ago, we started looking around for a system to sell, that our larger customers could upgrade to. There is no clear leader at the top end, so we picked the ones that looked most promising. Products like Sage 200, Access and Exchequer, were excluded as they are too similar in price, functionality and performance to Opera 3. We excluded the likes of Sage 50 and Xero as they were too small and limiting. So we ended up looking at Microsoft Dynamics, SAP Business One, Sage X3 and Greentree.
We had a number of criteria that we thought would be important to our loyal customer base, These were:
1) Speed – the system has to be fast and be able to handle large volumes of users and data.
2) Database – the backend database needs to be robust, fast and modern.
3) Bespoke – all ERP systems can be bespoked, but this is expensive and can be problematical. We need a system with lots of out-of-the-box functionality, so that bespoke and implementation costs are kept low.
4) Upgrades – Nobody likes having to pay to upgrade from one version of the software to the next, so we need a system where everyone is always using the latest version, at no extra cost other than the annual licence.
5) Pedigree – We’ve had our fingers burnt in the past by going for a fantastic new ERP system, only to be let down because the company didn’t have sufficient financial backing. So a strong pedigree is essential.
6) Family – A good relationship between You, AMA and the software author is essential. As your ERP support company, we need to be confident that we can easily escalate any critical issues, on your behalf, to the managers and directors of the software author.
7) Browser Client – Everyone is now using IPads, phones and tablets as an essential part of their daily working lives. We don’t want to be forced to use a particular platform, so it make sense for the ERP software to allow web access via any browser.
8) Workflow/Roles – Many modern ERP systems are introducing this functionality. Basically, it allows you as a company, to specify the typical tasks for a particular job type. This means that the user has all the information they need to be able to do their job right in front of them. They no longer have to run reports off to find out what task to do next.
9) Value for Money – At this top end, you’d expect to pay a bit more for the power and flexibility. But you don’t want to be handing over blank cheques every time you want a simple change.
After months of investigation, looking at product demonstrations, speaking to the software authors and speaking to other resellers of Microsoft Dynamics, SAP Business One, Sage X3 and Greentree, we rated each product against our (and your) requirements.
Greentree became the clear winner, which is why we have now signed up as a reseller!
(For more information on Greentree please click HERE)
Alastair M C Moir, Managing Director, AMA Business Systems