Sage 300cloud takes users into the future

Johannesburg, 19 Jun 2023

Sage 300cloud is moving towards parity with Sage 300 desktop, giving users more convenience and simplifying development for partners.

The Sage 300cloud comprehensive business management solution is a streamlined and efficient cloud solution, delegates heard during a recent webinar hosted by Peresoft Software.

John Thomas, Sage Chief Software Engineer at Sage Development in Canada and the brains behind the development of the Sage 300cloud web UIs, noted that Peresoft had been early adopters of the Sage 300 web screens: “They really embraced it. Peresoft founder Bobby Perel said ‘we want to take that product that’s on-premises to the web’.”

He noted that partners are crucial to Sage 300. “There are a lot of dependencies between Sage 300 and the partner community that we rely on. A lot of the time, the partners are driving the boat – they add features, and it’s the extensibility of Sage 300 that allows that to happen. Some of the results of this are the Cashbook, RecXpress and the EFTXpress modules that Peresoft has done. We’ve enabled partners to create Sage 300 products with seamless integration and a consistent look and feel.”

Sage 300 everywhere

Thomas explained that Sage 300 is on-premises and cloud, in one. “When we started talking about Sage 300cloud web screens and Sage 300 in the cloud, it’s really the same product. It’s multiple products in one. On the desktop, it’s in tethered mode. When we created web screens, we took that rich business layer and put a browser interface on top of that, creating the ability to be untethered. It’s the same business logic and the same database,” he said.

Sage 300cloud web screens run parallel to the Sage desktop, with an almost identical menu and the same look and feel, said Peresoft founder Perel.

Thomas added: “Sage 300 Application Views are an abstract layer to the database that you can write business logic and code in. That’s the heart of the product that validates, checks and processes. Whether you access through the desktop or the web, Views is the door you’re going to come in through.”

Perel explained: “Views separate the UI from the data. This is true three-tier architecture.” He noted that the web screens required no training to use as they were very similar to the desktop.

Said Thomas: “When we developed the web screens, we said the desktop is going to be our guide. There is slightly different styling to make the transition easy for people moving from the desktop over to the web.

One cool thing about it is that it allows you to work in a hybrid mode. The important thing to note is that it’s the same product. It’s like a funnel to the same database, whether you are coming to it from a desktop or browser. We also know that people want to get away from a hybrid mode – they either want to stay on the desktop or the web, and switching back and forth is not ideal.”

He outlined the benefits of Sage 300cloud in a private cloud: “When we started out with the web screens, our intention was to make it in a private cloud. A public cloud utilises shared infrastructure, with management and security performed by a provider, SaaS and PaaS, and applications shared by tenants. Customisation, modifications and third-party applications are management issues.”

“On the flip side, a private cloud utilises an organisation’s own infrastructure, which manages and secures it, and resources are accessed over a private network or VPN. Important characteristics private cloud offers that really work for a product like Sage 300 are that customisation, modifications and third-party applications are easily managed. The software is readily available, easily supported and managed, with the ability to add customisations and partner modules,” he said.

Roadmap to the future

Thomas said: “Sage 300 is all about parity. We’re taking our desktop that’s existed for a long time and taking the functionality that’s on the desktop, to the web. We’ve delivered almost 30 PJC screens in the web, and we're also working on payroll and HRMS integrations. On the technology roadmap are things like moving to a .NET 5.0 (Core) framework, OAuth Support (SSO), true 64-Bit, a developer portal with resources for partners and SQL Server Datatypes.”

Sage 300’s extensive product roadmap includes 2023 releases with enforced complexity for passwords, an updated SQL Server driver to make it an ODBC certificate-compliant driver. Said Thomas: “We’re now Windows 11 and SQL Server 2022 compliant. For the reports or set-up UI, we created a declarative framework for reports on the web that allows us to write reports about five times faster. We’ve taken away some of the requirements where you would have to go back to the desktop to do a product upgrade.”

“The FR for web and the deprecating SIRC are huge, coming out soon. The limited release for 2023.2 will focus on security. Following Sage’s acquisition of Lockstep, a provider of cloud-native technologies that automate accounting workflows between companies, Lockstep is now being fully integrated and expanded to become a Lockstep platform. We are also moving other features to the web to create 100% parity, and we’re champing at the bit to get them done.”

Perel added that Peresoft was also set to release major enhancements to bank feeds soon.

Security and peace of mind

Security is important to Sage 300 and the Sage 300cloud security is as strong, if not stronger than in the Windows set-up, Thomas said.

“We work hard to ensure that it is secure and are working on a limited release to greatly enhance credential security, taking user credentials off the file system and leveraging MS SQL Server’s authentication features and local machine policies,” he said.

Perel said: “In addition, if the internet fails due to load-shedding or network issues, on a private cloud you still have that desktop available to you. You can still bring out your payroll if you’re local, as opposed to in the cloud. Your cloud link is unknown, so it’s less likely to be hacked because people don’t know it exists.”

He said advantages of the Sage 300cloud included that it is easy to install, requiring only one installation for the client, with no workstation set-up needed. “Everyone just gets a login ID and they can log in from anywhere in the world. It’s a perfect fit for the future,” he said.

Thomas noted that Sage 300 is built to meet the needs of global users: “We’re not just a North American product – we think of the geolocations where it is installed. When we do something, we ask what it is going to mean for that region,” he said.