upgradeEnd users and of MAS 90 and MAS 200  ERp software applications from Sage Software have been asking if they should undergo the arduous process of another upgrade of their MAS 90/200 systems.  People started to get especially concerned when Sage has announced on multiple occasions the discontinuation of version 3.71 which was the last version in the ‘old’ architecture.  Currently, the discontinuation date is 12/31/10 but as in the past, it’s subject to change.  Starting with 4.0, MAS90/200 underwent a major technical overhaul in its database design and development environment.  The primary purpose was so that it can work with modern applications using Object Oriented technology, and make it easier to customize and provide some end user improvements

The current release of MAS 90 and MAS 200 is version 4.30.  The major changes that are noticeable to end users since version 3.71 are:

  • In version 4.00 a new GL was introduced.  GL Accounts expanded from 9 to 32 characters and from 3 to 10 available breaks.  The new architecture was introduced in the library master which gives a more powerful and simplified security model and allows virtually unlimited user defined fields to be added to the EXISTING tables of any module that is in the 4.x architecture (GL at this version only).  All built in reports in 4.x modules are built using Crystal Reports and thus can easily be modified by end users and consultants.  Most windows in 4.x modules that be resized and a customizable grid is used on them that allows for faster and more flexible data entry.  The new User Defined Fields (UDF’s) can easily be put on the header AND detail/grids.  Again with 4.0, this only applies to the GL module.
  • In Version 4.05, it was mostly a patch release to 4.00. It included some base enhancements to Job Cost, AP, and Payroll.  The most notable is the ability to link a Job to a Sales Order and Sales Order Invoice
  • Version 4.1 was a major release.  The Accounts Receivable, RMA and Sales Order module were moved into the 4.x architecture.
  • Version 4.2 moved the Accounts Payable module into the 4.x architecture.  It also gave us the new Business Insights Explorer and the new updated Business Insights Dashboard.  Act! and SageCRM integration was also released.
  • Version 4.3 (current) added the whole suite of Paperless Office modules to the base package that was originally up to $6,000 in extra add-ons or ‘extended solutions.’   There were also small but excellent improvements in many areas such as the ability to keep a report setup window open after printing and/or previewing a report, the ability to single click entries on the launcher, the ability to resize the Advanced Lookup Engine (ALE) windows and to add fields in from related tables.  No new modules were brought to 4.x on this release but customers actually have been most impressed, value wise, with this release since most of the new functionality is customer facing.
  • Version 4.4 (coming soon) will move Inventory, Purchasing and Bill of Materials into the new archticture.  More will be annoucned about other feature enhancements soon.

If you are an end user and MAS 90/200 owner considering an upgrade, note that moving from version 4.10 to 4.20 or 4.30  is relatively straight forward. If you own Extended Solutions or custom modifications of your MAS, then you have additional upgrade steps to consider so contact us before you upgrade. Also be certain to install all the service pack releases and patches (and there are many) to your version 4.30 install. If you do not, you are inviting trouble.  When we upgrade our clients, this is a normal part of the process.

If you are upgrading from version 3.71 – or any version 3 – to any version 4, please… please consult with us or a skilled and qualified Sage Software consultant or technician and keep in mind that an upgrade from MAS 90/200 version 3 to MAS 90/200 version 4 is more of a re-implementation of your accounting software than it is an upgrade. A good consultant/technician will be honest with you about the labor required to do an upgrade successfully, so be aware that moving to version 4 of MAS 90 or MAS 200 is significant and must be done properly if you are going to avoid significant problems.  Typically the main issues are that reports and forms written agains version 3.x installations need to be rewritten in 4.x as well as any Visual Integrator Jobs

In summary, end users of MAS 90 and MAS 200 need to know that upgrades of MAS are not quick and easy. Gone are the days 4 hours and your done, upgrades. If you want to avoid most upgrade headaches and be more secure that your upgrade will be done correctly, contact us. Rest assured if your consultant tells you they can complete an upgrade from version 3 to version 4 quickly and easily; buyer beware.  Once your modules are moved up to 4.x standards, upgrades going forward, however, should definitely be easier as most reports and imports won’t have to be re-written until version 5.0 🙂  (There has been no announcement whatsover of a 5.0, this is tongue in cheek)