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The Future of Sage BusinessVision (BV)

Fact-check Sage's latest announcements about 'BusinessVision Enhancements'

On our introductory page on The Future of BusinessVision, we gave an overview of why BusinessVision is slowly dying, why Sage is letting that happen, and what Sage wants you to do about that. We also make the argument that Spire is the ultimate path to the future for users of Sage BusinessVision

Since that original post, there have been a few new developments that have got clients asking additional questions, so we'll try to address those here.

If you haven't already had a look at our other pages on what the future holds for BusinessVision users, you may want to start there:

Sage's e-mail campaign claiming a 'Major Announcement' about 'BusinessVision Enhancement'

In August and September 2015, Sage started sending e-mails and letters to various clients proclaiming that they had a 'Major Announcement' about 'BusinessVision Enhancement'. You're probably reading this because you've seen that e-mail and are wondering what's up.

In addition to e-mailing end users, several senior Sage managers held an August 2015 online Partner meeting for resellers branded as "The future of Sage BusinessVision . . . important clarification to our product strategy".

Quite a number of clients contacted me when receiving those e-mails, asking what Sage was talking about. The communications indicated the following:

"Sage has announced recently that it will be continuing to ENHANCE BusinessVision and in the next update bring immediate benefits to our BV customers and product users."

Multiple clients asked us whether something had changed, and whether this was, to quote one, 'more smoke and mirrors'.

The answer is this: really, nothing has actually changed. Why would we say that?

Let's Check the Facts

Between the Partner meeting and the letters / e-mails to clients, let's look at what Sage actually said, and some fact-checking of their statements:

1. Statement:   "We're going to stop using the words 'End of life' re: BusinessVision."

Fact Check:   They have ALWAYS refused to use this terminology re: BusinessVision, so this isn't really a change

2. Statements:   "We're committed to BusinessVision", and "[Sage] will be continuing to ENHANCE BusinessVision"    **Update Dec 2015 - see Item #8 below**

Fact Check:   In follow-up questions, they confirmed the following:

  • they have not re-hired or reallocated any development resources;
  • they don't have a product roadmap;
  • they don't have the lists (and lists and lists) of product enhancements and bug fixes previously discussed with Sage - the folks in charge now didn't even know such lists ever existed in the hands of their predecessors;
  • they don't anticipate adding any functionality "outside the existing footprint of BusinessVision" - i.e., no new major features, only small things, and some degree of "technical compliance" - i.e., possibly additional compatibility with new versions of infrastructure
  • they acknowledge the inability to login to BV after Dec 31, 2020, but will only say that "we'll probably fix that at some point, but only if we still have enough people on BV to justify the work";
  • they will try to develop a roadmap, to be communicated within a month or so (i.e., before end of September 2015)
  • they were not even aware that BusinessVision is not even listed on the Sage Canada website, and would not commit to getting it there, since they stated they are 'not actively working to sell new BusinessVision licenses'

Update: As of October 2015, Sage have communicated the following to Partners: "Migration is a KEY strategic initiative for Sage, and we are continuing to recognize Partners for their efforts in encouraging their customers to migrate to our strategic Sage Solutions. Qualifying migration products include BusinessVision and Businessworks...". In other words, they keep saying they're committed to BV, but their whole emphasis is actually to move clients OFF BV.

3. Statement:   "We won't force migration onto anyone."

Fact Check:   That's a non-statement. They do not have, and never have had the ability to force migrations to other products.

They only have the power to maintain the software so people want to use it, neglect it so people will eventually stop wanting to use it, or offer other products people might want to use instead. They've certainly leaned towards the latter 2 for years

4. Statement:   "We'll release an update in fall 2015 that will be Windows 10 compatible"

Fact Check:   Based on testing (not by me, but others whose evidence I trust), BV2015 already works fine on Windows 10 - basically, almost anything that runs on Windows 8.1 will run on 10.

5. Statement:   "If people want to move from BV to Sage 300 / 300 Online, we'll provide data migration tools"

Fact Check:   The existing "migration tool" just exports certain, limited data from BV so it can be imported to 300 / 300 online. The folks on this call had essentially zero idea of exactly what data it does or does not export. My understanding is that it's essentially just master files (cust/vend/inventory) and some limited amount of transactional data. In other words, nothing like a complete migration. Spire is the ONLY option that will do that.

6. Statement:   "We want to keep BV users happy and on Sage Business Care (annual maintenance)"

Fact Check:   No indication there will ever be any actual new features to justify this; no idea what Partners should tell their clients as to why they should spend any more money for Sage Business Care - they actually said "we agree that's a hard sell; we'll try to find the right value proposition"

7. Statement:   "We'll let Partners know exactly what we're communicating about all this to end users"

Fact Check:   They sent Partners a "final" version of the letter they said they'd be sending, but what you and other clients have received is NOT the same message. Not completely different, but not what they said they would send.

7. How much have Sage improved BusinessVision in 2015?

Fact Check:   Despite their "commitment to enhance BusinessVision", Sage's list of improvements delivered in 2015 is miniscule based on what's in the January 2016 payroll update, version 7.77. This is the entire list:

  • 100313 – The Sales Summary by Territory reports displayed incorrect values in base currency for invoices posted from orders where the customer was changed from a foreign currency customer to a base currency customer prior to posting.
  • 100314 – The Timecard import utility incorrectly presented a warning that timecards already existed for the period under certain circumstances.
  • 100315 – In the Point of Sale module, the field tab order skipped the unit price field with certain combinations of user and system settings.
  • 100316 – Recurring GL Journal entries that used foreign currency amounts would post unbalanced transactions if the exchange rate changed.
  • Compatibility enhancements with Windows 10 (32-bit, 64-bit), MS Office 2016

So, let's add all this up

Here's what we can learn from the above fact checks: Nothing has actually changed, except the pitch.

  • They're not really going to develop or enhance BusinessVision in any material way.
  • They really don't want customers to stop paying, but they have no idea how to get them to stay.
  • They tried really hard to get BV users to move to 300 / 300 Online (aka ACCPAC), but almost no-one has.
  • Then they tried really hard to get them to consider Sage 50 (aka Simply), but almost no-one has.

One can only conclude they've decided their only play is to just keep everyone hanging as long as possible, and extract every nickel they can from you until you jump ship.

It seems like they actually no longer believe they'll keep BV users as "customers for life" after all. Instead, they'll just string them along as long as possible.

There is no "major" and no actual "announcement" in any of this.

The good news: There is a simple, cost-effective way forward that lets you keep all the things you like about BusinessVision and move ahead to the future at the same time: It's called Spire.

Spire logo medium2

Please contact us if there are other questions you think we need to answer here. We want to make sure clients have as much information as they need to make the right decisions for their businesses.

Additional Resources

Read more about these issues:

Please call us today if you want to discuss how you can move forward to the future in a smart, cost-effective way. You don't need pressure from Sage, you need advice that makes sense for your business, which is our commitment.

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