Modules Available/Scalability – 5 Stars
Sage MAS 90 and Sage MAS 200 are best suited for companies with 10 to 500 employees. Both products share the same features and user interface but differ in their application architecture and overall processing capabilities. Sage MAS 90 is available for Windows 2000, Windows 2003 and NetWare and server networks running on the ProvideX database. A single-user version is also available. Sage MAS 200 is designed to support much larger enterprises with a thin-client architecture, higher performance, greater reliability and remote access support. Sage MAS 200 is implemented in a full client/server platform and supports both the ProvideX and Microsoft SQL Server databases.
Sage MAS 90’s modules can be separated into a number of functional categories: core accounting, e-commerce, business intelligence tools, HR and payroll, customer relationship management (CRM), and financial reporting software. The core accounting modules include GL, AP, AR, Bank Reconciliation, FAS Asset Accounting and Magnetic Media Reporting. Several modules available in the other categories are discussed later in this article in the Integration and Customization sections. In addition, there are application-specific module sets for project management, manufacturing and wholesale distribution.
Ease of Use/Transaction Entry – 5 Stars
Data-entry screens throughout all modules are well organized and easy to use. To keep screens from becoming too crowded, Sage MAS 90 uses multi-tab input screens. Ample lookup fields are provided, which take you to the program’s search screens. In these search screens, you can execute a simple search by selecting a search field and entering the search string. Or you can define more advanced filters that let you define selection criteria for multiple columns. Using the “Lookup Customization Wizard,” you can define a customized selection of columns to display from a list of database fields. You can export the selected data directly from this screen to an Excel spreadsheet. Where applicable, there are standard record navigation buttons that provide convenient access to nearby records.
As mentioned above, version 4.1 introduces several new user interface features to Sales Order, AR, Bank Reconciliation and RMA, including new controls for flexible line entry, customizable column widths, ability to undo unsaved changes, drag-and-drop interface, and a dual grid interface for efficient line item entry. Within data-entry screens, related data and other features can also be accessed with right-click menus and hyperlinks. Version 4.1 also introduces a new file attachment capability, which provides the ability to link any document or file to a specific memo.
Customization/Security – 5 Stars
The Customizer module allows you to make an infinite variety of changes to the appearance of Sage MAS 90 screens to improve data-entry speed and accuracy. You can specify default values to reduce keystrokes. For example, a phone number field could be defined to default to your local area code. By customizing the screen to ignore unused fields and change tab sequences, you can change the screens to follow the exact order of the fields on an input form. Field labels can be modified to reflect industry terminology, such as using “Patient” instead of “Customer” in a medical practice. User-defined fields can also be added without programming and carry into reports, orders and invoices. The “Business Desktop” allows for task and toolbar customizations. You can create private or public tasks, which allow easy access to a particular module or report. Toolbar buttons can also be added, renamed or deleted for a personalized desktop environment.
Security is provided by creating users and assigning roles to users. You can set up users with a “unified logon,” which allows the Sage MAS 90 system to authenticate and use the Windows logon. If you implement unified logon, users need not re-enter their logon and password when accessing the software. Role maintenance is used to define and maintain functional roles, such as AP Clerk, AR Clerk and Warehouse Staff. Roles are used to allow or restrict access to modules and tasks. Access levels can include create, modify, remove or view permissions. Permissions for security events, such as one-sided journal entries, can also be assigned to roles.
Integration/Import/Export – 5 Stars
Historically, the vendor has encouraged a healthy third-party market for integrated add-on capabilities for Sage MAS 90 by providing first-class development tools and interfaces. This has been accomplished by providing full access to the program objects and interfaces through object oriented languages such as VB.NET, which can be used to provide highly customized input, processing, import and export interfaces.
A tool called the Visual Integrator is designed to facilitate integration between Sage MAS 90 and other business applications. Visual Integrator can import from (or export to) any ODBC-compliant source, without the need for an intermediary data file such as ASCII delimited or Microsoft Excel. You can define and schedule Visual Integrator jobs, which perform specific user-defined import and export functions. It supports the ability to run subroutines using scripts that can run before the job starts, when the job succeeds or if the job fails. Validation logic is built into Visual Integrator to assure that the data being imported conforms to any database and business logic rules.
Sage Software has been very aggressive in the software acquisition market, which enables it to provide a host of applications that interface in one way or another with Sage MAS 90. Sage Abra is a set of payroll and human resources modules that are directly offered by Sage Software. It includes modules like Abra Alerts, Abra Attendance, Abra HR, and Abra Payroll. Other compatible applications from Sage Software include Sage FAS (fixed assets management), Sage SalesLogix (CRM) and ACT! by Sage (sales contact management).
Reporting – 5 Stars
A wide selection of reports is provided for each module, utilizing the latest Crystal Reports engine. Version 4.1 also enhances the Business Insights Reporter (BIR), which was introduced in version 4.0. BIR is a wizard-based report creator that lets you specify fields from any table throughout the system and then creates a Crystal Report that can be added to module menus or edited using the Crystal Reports designer.
With the latest enhancements, you now have an option to process the report output directly to Microsoft Word for mail-merge capabilities. Since all reporting is based on Crystal Reports, any report can be customized, previewed, printed or exported to many different formats, including text, Excel, Word and *.PDF.
Support/Training/Help System – 5 Stars
Sage MAS 90 has readily available support, training and a superb online context-sensitive Help system. The latest version also adds several on-demand training videos for program modules and functions. Three annual ClientCare support plans let you choose the service level you need. The Subscription Plan includes basic program updates for one year but does not include technical support. The Silver Plan includes unlimited telephone and e-mail support with a 24-hour guaranteed response time. The Gold Plan gives you priority access to a support analyst (one hour guaranteed response time) and discounts on classroom training sessions.
Relative Value – 5 Stars
It’s easy to see why Sage MAS 90 has such a large market share in the high-end accounting software arena. The product is practical and well engineered, from its straightforward installation to its scalable database and migration options. The broad range of modules is suitable to a wide variety of businesses. The program offers ample data import and export options to and from other popular third-party packages, and the multimedia tutorial is a nice perk for new users.
2005 Overall Rating – 5 Stars
DWD Technology Group, with offices located in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis, Indiana and Toledo, Ohio, specializes in the evaluation, selection, implementation and support of accounting and business management systems including Sage 100 ERP (formerly MAS 90/200), BusinessWorks, Sage 50 (formerly Peachtree), Sage ACT!, Sage CRM, Abila (Sage) MIP Fund Accounting and Abila (Sage) Fundraising 50. DWD strives to implement the best technology solutions for the specific needs of your business.