For a number of years Sage have released a new version of Sage 50 every summer. Each new version is chargeable (unless you have Sagecover Extra) and this can be a cause of, shall we say, disquiet for some users.
Some users, and their advisers, see the annual upgrades as evidence that Sage don’t listen to their customers. For example eleansa commenting on an Accounting Web blog says
If Sage really listened to its customers, who include my clients, then they would stop producing so many “upgrades” and merely enhance existing versions under their already expensive annual maintenance contracts.
Yet stripping this down to essentials, it is only a request for Sage to provide more for less, and so just another price discussion between a supplier and its customers. My concern is how much discernment Sage exercise, not how many customers they listen to!
This “disquiet” is fundamentally unfounded. The annual upgrades are optional, and Sage continue to support Sage 50 for a good number of years after their release. For example Sage 50 version 11 will be supported until the end of April 2011, so by the time that support is withdrawn it will have been out for the best part of 7 years.
Sage 50 users can, then, take a pragmatic view of each new version. The two obvious questions are:
- Are the additional features of value to my business?
- Does staying current reduce my IT risk?
We are relatively cautious. For example our Sage 50 support team’s default recommendation is that clients wait until the first service pack is released before implementing a new Sage 50 version. Indeed, except for busy and sophisticated users, we tend to advise against annual upgrades. Not on cost grounds, but because change without significant benefits bring risks.