First Distribution, in partnership with local managed service provider and integrator iSSC, has launched a new end-to-end cloud-based product called Sage on Azure - Powered by iSSC. With Sage on Azure, customers choose between Sage 300 and Sage Evolution and have either one delivered from Microsoft’s Azure cloud.
The solution brings all of the benefits of the cloud to Sage’s accounting software, and eliminates many of the drawbacks of an on-premises accounting solution.
Sage on Azure has been designed specifically to address many of the major pain points of running on-premises accounting software often cited by small businesses:
- The need for on-premises hardware
- Growing IT complexity
- Server availability/downtime
- Low performance at month-end
Sage on Azure has been designed from the ground up for the small to medium enterprise market and is available across the length and breadth of Africa.
The only thing you need to provide is your Sage license and a desire to move away from on-prem hardware. Do that, and you’re ready to migrate over to Sage on Azure.
The very nature of the cloud means Azure is able to address every single one of the pain points listed above.
By hosting Sage on Azure servers and accessing it over the internet, there’s no need to buy, set up, configure, or maintain dedicated Sage server hardware on your premises. This, in turn, reduces the overall complexity of your internal IT environment and allows you to adopt a managed IT service approach instead of employing full-time IT people.
As Sage runs on Azure tin, it’s always up-to-date without you having to do anything; there’s therefore no need to manually update servers and clients to the latest version – when you need it, it’s there, updated, and ready to go.
One of the core appeals of cloud-based anything is the fact that the cloud is almost always available, and there is very seldom any downtime of the cloud servers themselves. Microsoft is so confident of this, that Azure availability is guaranteed at a very impressive 99.99%.
This means that even if Azure does go down – an unlikely event in the first place - it’s only down for six minutes a year at the most. That’s far better than “at least once a month for hours – if not days - at a time” as reported by many SMEs. All you have to look after is your internet connection and electricity – have those, and you’re good to go.
Regarding backups, being in the cloud and powered by Microsoft’s excellent Azure technology means backups are reliably done and always available. Simply set your desired backup interval and parameters and forget about it, restoring only as and when it’s needed from your Sage on Azure console.
And when it comes to disaster recovery, failovers happen so quickly and automatically that you won’t even notice if the virtual machine running your Sage instance hits a snag.
The last Azure benefit we’ll mention is arguably the biggest, and the one that your accounting staff will appreciate most: it puts an end to those bad experiences from the old days, when your server would fall over at month-end as the entire finance department hammered it with requests.
That’s because Azure provides automatic performance scaling according to how much demand is placed on your Sage on Azure instance. That means even under load, you’ll get the performance you need as the infrastructure powering your experience scales accordingly. On-premises servers certainly can’t do that.
Free Consultation Service
First Distribution and iSSC also make the deployment and migration process as easy as possible. Firstly, they offer a free site assessment and consultation service that establishes how ready you are to transition to the cloud to Sage on Azure, and second, they provide advice on what you need to do when it comes to solution architecture.
Once your business’s readiness has been established, and you decide to go ahead with the move, First Distribution and iSSC handle the transition from start to finish. It’s an end-to-end solution that offers everything you need to use Sage 300 or Sage Evolution directly from the cloud. This is a risk-free service that doesn’t ask for any up-front commitment.
How does this compare to Sage One?
While SageOne is also an accounting solution delivered via the cloud, it has a limitation that Sage on Azure Powered by iSSC doesn’t: it’s a standalone payroll and accounting package that doesn’t offer integration with existing business systems.
Sage on Azure does, making it a far more flexible option for SMEs looking to integrate financial functionality into other parts of the business.
This solution is designed for businesses that already have Sage 300 and Sage Evolution licenses, and is structured according to how many Sage users the business is licensed for rather than how many people there are in the organisation in total. At the moment, Sage on Azure is available for businesses that have 1 to 5, 5 to 10, and 10 to 25 Sage users.
As Sage on Azure - Powered by iSSC is a cloud-based service, you will pay month to month over an annual contract period. There is no separate cost for migration, either – you get everything the Sage on Azure service offers for one low monthly fee.
Now also available in First for Cloud
Sage on Azure - Powered by iSSC launches today, and is also available via our e-commerce and marketplace solution, First for Cloud, where partners will be able to expose the solution to their customers through their webstores.
Phase Two Coming in October
This is the first phase of our Sage on Azure - Powered by iSSC rollout; the second phase is coming in September, and it will be a version of the service that will include Sage licensing. Right now, to make use of this service, you need to provide us with your existing Sage license.
All of the benefits, none of the headaches
Thanks to the benefits of the cloud, end users of Sage in Azure get convenient access to their choice of Sage 300 or Sage Evolution without having to pay for, build, or maintain their own servers as well as the scalable performance offered by Azure’s flexible fabric, guaranteed uptime, backups, and disaster recovery - all at a low annual cost.
At the end of the day, Sage on Azure Powered by iSSC gives SMEs exactly what they need from their accounting package - results – without bogging them down with unnecessary complexity.