Sage today announces the addition of their fourth and final mid-market support knowledgebase. Acknowledging that prior online support databases had fallen short of their potential Sage officials noted that the new knowledgebase would be mobile, easy to use and feature a user interface familiar to most of their channel partners.
Effective May 1, 2014 Sage will wind down use of their three existing knowledgebases and consolidate all data going forward into Microsoft Excel 2003 spreadsheets. The use of Microsoft Excel 2003 will achieve several key goals – chiefly limiting Sage’s ERP products to 256 (the maximum Excel 2003 columns)
Mobility – Partners will be able to take the spreadsheet with them on the road using their laptops or tablets.
Cloud Capable – Dropbox file storage will be used to store a central copy of the knowledgebase resulting in less down time.
Security – In order to ensure that partners not on a current plan cannot access the support resource there will be one master password which Sage EVP Spreadsheets Phil Masters will change and update monthly. All active Sage partners will receive a BlackBerry BBM alert each month with the password for the next month’s Excel 2003 knowledgebase.
Sage RSP File Sharing (NEW) – All partners must acquire and use a BlackBerry device with BBM to message other partners and warn of any pending update to the knowledgebase.
Once notified partners have 3 minutes to save and exit the spreadsheet. Version conflicts will be resolved via Sage RSP ™ file sharing ( Rock-Scissors-Paper) with the victor able to save the spreadsheet over anyone else’s changes.
These and many more important procedures will be covered in the new Introduction to Excel 2003 and BBM assessment discussed below.
Flexibility – Each Sage product line will have a tab in the spreadsheet. For example Sage One will be in the first tab, Sage 50 in the next, Sage 100, etc. This is a win-win for partners who can access the full knowledgebase regardless of whether Sage’s support servers are operational.
Capacity Will Limit Sage Acquisitions – Sage have heard concerns about multiple competing product lines. Using Excel 2003 will “hold our feet to the fire” and prevent us from acquiring more than 256 competing ERP products (the maximum columns Excel 2003 supports). Another win win for the partner channel.
New Knowledgebase for Each Year – We’ve heard that prior knowledgebases have become difficult to search and prone to inconvenient outages. To combat this we’ve chosen to stay within the limits of Excel’s 65,536 row limit and each year we will close the knowledgebase and create a new one yearly. Thus vastly increasing search speeds and reducing file corruption at the start of the new year.
As the year-end approaches and search speeds slow Sage will host pivot table and pass through query courses to educate partners on how to search Excel faster.
Some Changes To Help Partners Get Up To Speed
Change is not easy and to help partners adapt and learn this new knowledgebase Sage have implemented the following effective May 1, 2014:
Assessment: Introduction to Excel 2003 and BBM – This new assessment teaches partners the basics of Excel lookups, pass through queries and saving files as well as how to use Dropbox as cloud storage for sharing with thousands of other Sage partners.
The course will also review the innovative new Sage Instant Messenger Powering Local Engagement (SIMPLE) communication protocol (developed internally). Sage partners use a BlackBerry smartphone to instant message (BBM) other partners to warn them when they will be saving a more current version of Excel and could everyone please exit the spreadsheet (beta).
In addition a new position, Sage EVP Pivot Tables and Queries has been created and an active search has begun for the right executive to fill that role. Sage hopes to have this position filled by May 1, 2014.
In order to lessen the burden on internal support resources no versions of Microsoft software other than Windows XP and Excel 2003 will be supported. Future enhancements may introduce newer versions however Sage have indicated they will start slowly with this new knowledgebase with tools partners are already familiar with and therefore won’t complain incessantly about.
More information as we learn of it.