This blog explores what we learned in the first part of the conference. A subsequent blog on the latter half of the event will follow.
Sage Summit 2017 vs. 2016: A Look in the Past
Darrell Vandover, Sage’s lead consultant for X3, presented during multiple sessions by reviewing what is next for the solution. He began his first presentation by reviewing some of the new things Sage brought to X3 in 2016.
In 2016, X3 Version 11 offered better integration across functional modules and better technology. They extended the solution to integrate with HR management, and Sage Payroll was about to make it to the United States.
Sage Intelligence offered much easier financial reporting, and a new financial report writer was offered as part of the cloud ERP solution as well.
Analytics proved to be much better with Sage Enterprise Intelligence (BI), which is compliant with HTML5. Sage eCommerce was partially released in 2016, with a full release in 2017.
Finally, Sage also found additional improvements for Sage X3 Construction products.
Sage X3 provides, at a high level, an extension of the entire supply chain, with enhanced logistics management and new end-to-end processes, including eCommerce and CRM improved production processes thanks to an all-new enterprise project management module and a modern graphical production scheduler.
Sage X3 serves as a simpler cloud and mobile solution with improved processes for global operations, including simpler financial reporting with Sage Intelligence, and extended automated processes for bank statement matching and inter-company consolidations.
The solution also enables more flexible data management and business insights with Sage Data Management and Analytics.
But the biggest improvement is hidden behind all the new features and functions, and is that of Sage X3 in the cloud. This is truly the driving force of ERP and where Sage is going.
Sage X3 in 2017
Now, let’s focus on the changes Sage has made in the past year, as announced at Sage Summit 2017.
Project Management & Task Planning
Sage significantly upgraded their Project Management (PJM) capabilities with Version 11 of X3. They now offer a true project manufacturing module, not merely projects for cost collecting R&D efforts.
In present-day X3, the user can build complex tasks in a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) format. There are new billing capabilities and the ability for a work order or purchase order to be consumed by the project – this is critical to play in this market.
Task planning allows the user to:
- Define labor, manufacturing, expense, subcontracting, or operations
- Assign resources to task or sub tasks
- Set resources and time entry, as well as start and end dates
Additionally, budgeting of projects is a critical capability. Sage X3 provides a one-to-many budget with user-defined cost types and the ability to manage new and old budgets.
Sage created a new production scheduler tool with a new User Interface (UI) and visual scheduling with drag and drop features.
A user can move schedules around to simulate, and when they like that specific schedule they can lock it in and “publish,” which updates all the work orders start and end dates.
Automated Bank Statements & Financial Reporting
Sage introduced automated bank statements in MT940 format, where the user defines the bank format to auto match in Sage X3.
The next step is ACH files, which consists of user-defined matching criteria for bank transactions after defining the format of the bank file. The user can also set up A/R lockbox payments, allowing for automatic match payments with the bank.
A SaaS cloud Financial Reporting Sage Intelligence was also introduced. This feature provides summary level reporting, which is an easy way to generate balance sheet.
You can hide or show rows based on a debit or credit balance of an account in each period. Simple, easy-to-create graphs are available as well. These features will be offered in an on-premise version in the future.
Sage X3 eCommerce is almost as big as Sage X3 moving to the cloud. The ability for customers to create a website tied directly to their enterprise software system is critical in today’s internet business model.
XM Symphony is the name of this product. It is a full eCommerce development tool, with all the out-of-the-box tools you would need to get started, including search, B2B and B2C shopping carts, a customer portal, and sales rep portal.
The Salesforce CRM connector is a bi-directional connector for those who prefer this CRM over Sage’s native CRM software.
This is offered with both on-premise and cloud solutions. It provides user with the ability to pass back and forth customer information, sales orders, and details.
Sage X3 data management and analytics is an integrated data management hub. Basically, it is an agnostic Business Intelligence (BI) tool. Sage offers migration support from older tools (e.g. SEI).
Overall, this new BI tool offers very good graphing capabilities.
Supply Chain Management
A new supply chain management software tool was released, which looks more like a transportation management solution vs. a full supply chain tool. Its capabilities include the ability to:
- Create and track multiple container sizes, gross/tare weights and volumes
- Optimize container capacity by weight or volume
- Build POs live on the screen
- Create tracking templates
- Create complementary invoices from shipments
- Tracks additional cost factors like demurrage and unloading fees
Production & Financial Management
A new production management module was released that is like that of ADC. It offers major and minor versioning on routings, shop floor time tracking, new employee dashboards, breaks and setup, and a workbench behind-the-scenes to see what employees reported.
Financial Management was upgraded as well, presenting the ability to budget with all nine financial segments. Currency conversion can be run on account balances at month’s end with a batch process.
There is a new fast entry booking for journal entries and the ability to create and post un-applied AR payments.
At Sage Summit 2017, it was also announced that Sage X3 also created new construction modules replacing the older workarounds by leveraging best-in-class technology created by Sage’s ISV partner SawSoftMill.
Sage X3 Construction works within the standard X3 interface and offers:
- Project management, including subcontracting
- Contract management
- Document management
- Time sheet tracking that will ultimately integrate with Sage X3 People Payroll, their forthcoming payroll product
- Significant project reporting capabilities, helping to complete construction projects on-time and under budget
In the top three important new capabilities announced at Sage Summit 2017, along with the cloud and eCommerce module, was Sage GEODE, an Advanced Warehouse Management module. This will play big for Ultra clients.
Some of the features include locations, stock, preparation, receiving, dispatching, and five deep nesting of a packing box/container.
GEODE provides multi-level packaging and palletizing functions, as well as directed putaway across multiple internal stores and location types.
GEODE also integrates with automated conveyor systems.
To learn more about Sage Summit 2017, visit their website here.