EBS News – Winter 2022

Welcome

Our Winter 2022 newsletter covers all the latest news and information on technology that will help your business grow.


In this edition, we include articles on our brand new Sicon module, Sicon Courier, changes to Microsoft 365 licensing and Cloud Backup vs Removable USB/Tape Backups.

ConnectWise Manage at EBS – an Enhanced Remote Management Support Tool

In October 2021 you may have noticed logging a call with our Hardware and Technical Support Team changed.

We had previously been using Sage CRM for our Support Call logging, and whilst it worked fine internally for logging and tracking support calls, we realised that it was not providing our customers with the experience we felt they deserved, so, after much investigation the decision was made to move our call logging over to ConnectWise’s Manage solution.

Now when you log a call you will receive an email to which you can reply and have your call automatically updated. As your call progresses you should receive regular email updates, so you are kept fully informed of the status and actions taken.

The feedback from both the EBS team and our customers has been fantastic, so much so that earlier this month our Sage Support Team began using it. With collectively over 18 years of experience using Sage CRM the team are still familiarising themselves with Manage so we would like to thank you for your patience and understanding during this transitional period.

As customer satisfaction is extremely important to us, you may have noticed the addition of Smiley faces on our ‘ticket resolved’ emails (as below).

The system we have adopted is called SmileBack and it allows us to record and monitor your feedback. It is simply a matter of pressing the corresponding face to register your feedback and you can then leave a comment (optional).

Our aim is to increase feedback levels which will help us understand what we are doing right (and wrong!) so we can fine tune our systems and processes to ultimately improve the service you receive.

We hope you will help us by utilising SmileBack and we look forward to sharing the results with you in the future.

Microsoft 365 License Changes

You might not be aware, but Microsoft have announced the “New Commerce Experience” (NCE), which brings the introduction of a 1 and a 3 year term for Microsoft licensing – unfortunately this does mean that monthly subscriptions are changing.  Like all things at the moment costs are increasing, therefore Office 365 monthly will be available, but this will come at a premium cost (roughly 20% more, though this is subject to change) and will impact all Microsoft subscription licenses.

You can read more about this announcement and how Microsoft are positioning it here August 2021 announcements under “New Commerce Experience for Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, Power Platform, and Windows 365 seat-based for breadth motion”.

To add to the confusion, Microsoft are phasing in the new pricing and offering some incentives to commit to an annual license before the new pricing comes into full effect.

As of 31st March 2022 you will only have the option when setting up a new subscription or if you are renewing a monthly license to:

  • Option 1 – Commit to a monthly term
    • This offers the most flexibility out of the terms available with the ability to scale up and down or upgrade and downgrade licenses on a monthly basis. However, this does come at a premium and it is likely to see a 20% increase on current pricing
  • Option 2 – Commit to a 1 year term
    • Although this limits flexibility this does avoid any price rises on current prices or within the term
  • Option 3 – Commit to a 3 year term
    • As a result of this option not being available until March/April, limited information has been provided on it.  We envisage a further commercial incentive to commit to the 3 year term but currently pricing is unknown

It is possible to “Mix & Match” the terms for a subscription.  As an example, you can have 10 users that are a given throughout the year and put these on a 1 year committed term.  You may hire additional employees throughout the year to help with busy periods and these can be ordered on a monthly committed term, allowing you to scale up and down depending on when they may be required – however, these will be at an approximately 20% price rise on those additional users that are on that monthly term.

With this Mix & Match options, EBS are proposing that you review your Office 365 users, remove any that are not required and identify a minimum requirement for each Office 365 plan.  EBS can then quote for a 12 month commitment for the minimum requirement and provide a monthly price for the remaining.

Failure to review and commit to new licensing before the 31st March 2022 will result in all licenses moving to monthly pricing and incurring the increased charge.

For any questions please speak to your Account Manager.

Sage 200 Professional New Version 2022 R1

February sees the release of a new version of Sage 200 Professional – 2022 R1. With the end of life for Internet Explorer 11 coming in June, these are the only versions that will support the continued use of Workspaces, Bank Feeds and Invoice Payment features. We will email you about this in the coming week or two, with more information and how you will be affected.

The new version includes new web forms accessible via the Sage 200 Web Portal and new quotation functionality that many of you have been waiting for.

We have created an overview document to make it easy for you to see what’s new not just in the latest release but previous releases too. Open the document here.

Let us know if you have any questions about any of the new features.

New Sicon Module – Sicon Courier

We are excited to announce that Sicon have released a brand-new module – Sicon Courier.

Sicon Courier integrates with Sage 200 during the SOP despatch process to allow the correct courier to be selected and for despatch information to be passed automatically to that courier’s system, negating the need to manually enter this information outside of Sage. Information is then received from the courier, so that labels can be printed, and the sales order updated with the courier information.

Additionally, if you use Sicon Barcoding and Warehousing, the courier can be selected from the handheld app to smoothly allow processing of sales orders creating appropriate despatch paperwork.

Currently, integrations with the following couriers are included:

  • DPD
  • DPD Local
  • Palletways
  • Royal Mail
  • Royal Mail Click and Drop
  • TNT Express Label
  • TNT Express Shipping

It is anticipated that more couriers will be added, including International shipping, as demand dictates.

If you would like more information or a demonstration, please contact your Account Manager.

Cloud Backup vs Removable USB/Tape Backups

Backups of your systems are of the utmost importance. Historically, we have generally implemented a 2-point strategy for server backup:

  • An onsite NAS based backup which provides fast access for retrieval if, and when necessary. This remains our recommendation for point 1.
  • 5 x Daily Removable Backup (usually USB or Tapes), these are rotated daily, providing 5-day retention should a restore be required from more than 1 day ago up to a working week ago.

With the advent of Coronavirus, many staff were not (and still not in some cases) office based, so the nightly changeover of the Removable Media became an issue for many businesses. So, interest in Cloud Backups increased and indeed implementations. Cloud Backup, simply, backs up your data over the internet to a secure cloud location automatically each night, without the need for any manual intervention. Cloud Backup also provides 28 days of data retention.

Cloud Backup is now our recommended solution to replace Removable Backups (USB Drives/Tapes). This is a monthly subscription based Managed Service.  If you would like more details, please get in touch.

Making Tax Digital rules change in April 2022 – Are you ready?

From April 2022, all VAT registered businesses will be required to use MTD for VAT accounting. Previously on businesses with a turnover of £85,000 or more were required to file with HMRC. And you need to use software that’s compatible with HMRC’s Making Tax Digital for VAT programme.

Sage have provided a useful guide which can be found here.

Current versions of Sage 200 and Sage 50 are compliant with the requirements. If you have any questions, please give us a call.

Webinar Schedule

Following the great responses to our previous webinars, we are pleased to announce the schedule for the next few months, although we will likely be adding further sessions to this.

If there is anything that you would like us to showcase for you, please let Darren know by sending an email to Darren.tolley@e-b-s.co.uk.

You can see recordings of all previous presentations on our YouTube channel here and don’t forget to hit the subscribe button to get alerts when new videos are posted.

February:

  • 24th – 10.30 a.m. – Get Paid Quicker with Draycir Spindle and Credit Hound

March:

  • 10th – 10.30 a.m. – Get Real Time information from production with Sicon Shop Floor Data Capture
  • 15th – 10.30 a.m. – Sage 200 Standard overview – see what Sage’s fully cloud hosted BMS offers. We will also provide a comparison with Sage 50 and Sage 200 Professional.
  • 17th – 10.30 a.m. – Integrate your courier’s system with Sage 200 with Sicon Courier Integration for Sage 200
  • 24th – 11.00 a.m. – See how Draycir solutions provide synergy with Sage 200 providing full “Purchase To Pay” processing

April:

  • 7th – 11.00 a.m. – Get Paid Quicker with Draycir Spindle and Credit Hound for Sage 50 (also for Sage 200)
  • 12th – 10.30 a.m. – Get the latest update on Sage 200 Manufacturing
  • 27th – 11.00 a.m. – Get Web, Amazon, Ebay orders into Sage easily with Cloud Data Exchange

May:

  • 12th – 11.00 a.m. – See how Draycir’s solutions work in synergy with Sage 200 Standard

Keep an eye on your inbox for your personal invitations to the above and further events.

Register for any Draycir event and get 25% off any Draycir software for the next 60 days.

Sage 200 Report Design Service

Did you know that within your Sage Support Contract you may be entitled to 3 Free Reports directly from Sage?

The Sage 200 Report Design Team have over 15 years’ experience designing reports and layouts for Sage 200. In each calendar year, you may be eligible for 3 bespoke reports, suitable for your business requirements.

For the best experience, follow this Process:

  1. Book a Report Design Appointment
  2. Prior to the Appointment:
    • Think about how you want the report to look/feel. If there is an existing report that reflects the look print it off, annotate it, scan it in and email it to smbreportdesignservice@sage.com referencing your Account Number and Date and Time of your appointment
    • Have full details of all the information you require to appear on the report
    • Have your Sage 200 version number and your Sage Report Design version number
    • Supply any images you want on the report via email at least 24 hours before the appointment
    • If the report is to appear on pre-printed stationary, 3 examples of this must be received by the Sage Report Design Service Team, via the post, at least 24 hours prior to the appointment
  3. During the Report Design Appointment:
    • The purpose of this is determine if the required report falls within the Remit of the Report Design Service
    • Depending on the complexity of the changes required, it may be possible to complete the report during this initial call, therefore ensure you have access to Sage 200
    • If the report cannot be deployed during the initial call a follow on appointment will be scheduled.
  4. Report Delivery
    • The report will be deployed on to the server and one Sage 200 user will be granted access or instructions will be sent on how to deploy the report. The EBS Sage Support team can assist with this.
    • Once delivered, you have 5 working days to validate the design of the report/layout.
  5. Post Delivery
    • After the request is closed, if you have any questions these will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
  6. Exclusions/Limitations
    • Whilst there is a broad spectrum of reports/layouts that can be designed within the Report Design Service there are some exclusions such as Financial Statement Layouts, Stock Valuation, Allocation reports.

Full details on the Report Design Service, including any exclusions can be found here Sage 200 Report Design Service.

In addition to the above, Sage produce a Report of the Month, and have a library of additional reports available for you to download here.

If there is a report you would like applied to your Sage 200 please contact support@e-b-s.co.uk

Price Increases / Changes

We endeavour to bring you interesting and useful articles in each edition of our newsletter. However, this is not so good news.

We are advised of pricing changes and increases across many of our supported applications and products. Whilst we try and keep the effect of these to a minimum, this is beyond our control.

Many of you will be aware that there have been supply issues with most hardware devices, particularly PC, Laptops and Accessories. We are now experiencing supply issues with Servers too. And prices appear to still be increasing for hardware across the board, with HP and SonicWall recently releasing updated price lists.

After Sage froze some pricing for the past year or so, all licenses were increased by up to 5% in December. For those of you that have SQL Assurance as part of your Sage 200 annual charge, this element has increased by considerably more, as this has been now brought into line with the latest Microsoft versions. Your renewal notices will reflect these changes.

Sicon and Draycir have announced that their prices will also be increasing from April 2022.

With regards to Microsoft 365 licensing changes, please see the separate article about this in this newsletter.

If you have any queries, please contact your Account Manager.

Sicon Modules New Features and Enhancements v 21.1

Sicon have recently released version 21.1 for all of the add-on modules for Sage 200. This release includes some great new features and enhancements across the portfolio.

Some of the highlights include:

Barcoding and Warehousing

  • Limit picking to a specific zone
  • Select the Courier at the time of Despatch (requires Courier module – see separate article)
  • Pick from bin with full order quantity available

Sicon CRM

  • Quotations can now be created for prospects on the Web app
  • Attachments (such as T’s & C’s) can be added to email templates

Debtor Management

  • Auto allocate outstanding credits to selected debits within the Outstanding Payments screen.

Enhancement Pack

  • Added 10 General Dashboards that can be configured to display values/lists/bar graphs/pie charts from any tables in Sage200.
  • Add Multiple Locations to a Stock Item at one time.

MRP

  • Performance improvements.

WOP

  • Allow finished item quantity to be adjusted.

Please see below links to the full details for each module:

Barcoding & Warehousing

Construction

Contracts

CRM

Debtor Management

Distribution

Documents

Enhancement Pack

Fixed Assets

Hire

Intercompany

MRP

Projects

Service

WAP

WOP

Please contact your Account Manager if you have any questions about the new Sicon versions.

Team Member Profile

Name: Darren Tolley

Position: Account Manager

Worked at EBS: Over 3 Years

What do you love about EBS and its’ customers?

EBS is a great place to work. I love the effort that our teams put in to delivering a great service to our customers. I look after many of our Customers from an Account point of view and enjoy helping improve their systems and processes. Hopefully, I will be able to start going out and meeting face to face again soon.

What are you most proud of during your time at EBS?

I don’t have any one specific thing but seeing a solution working for any of our customers makes me proud.

What is your favourite product or service that EBS sells?

I think that the add-ons for Sage 200 from Sicon and Draycir are all fantastic. On the hardware side, I would say that the CASB solution from Censornet is high on the list.

What was the last thing that made you laugh out loud?

Matt Slack in the Pantomime at The Birmingham Hippodrome.

Who is your favourite movie character and why?

Lots of characters from Star Wars and Star Trek, but if I must pick it would be Jerry Maguire as he did what he though was right and despite many challenges, he got there through dedication.