One concern Sage Partners may have when first considering the cloud is “will it be more difficult to deploy than on a LAN and who can help me find the best configuration for my customers?”
Overall there’s a lot to recommend cloud from a speed and ease of deployment point of view. If you’re not already a cloud specialist, it comes down to picking the right cloud partner to work with. One who knows what they are doing. Here are some key points that are important to consider:
Don’t try to scrimp on cloud resources
It will come back to bite you if the performance is poor, and your customer won’t be impressed. Saving pennies on the server specification is not the way to go – quite the opposite. With sophisticated solutions like Azure, you can always ‘dial down’ the resources after installation to reduce usage and find the right performance level.
For Sage 200, you should be looking towards at least three servers - Database (DB), Domain Controller (DC) and Remote Desktop (RD) - and at least two cores on each, probably more like four, eight or 16 on the RD. Unless you are using Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD), in which case the RD won’t be there. A good cloud partner will advise you on resources suitable for your customers’ needs.
Get it right before going live
Don’t try to rush to go live – allow at the very least two weeks and better still two months of running the cloud platform with Sage installed to work through everything that needs to be tested, first by you as the Sage Partner and then by your customer for User Acceptance Testing (UAT).
Time spent during this stage will pay back dividends later on. The exception to this is if the customer has an existing server running Sage 200 and just wants it imaged in the cloud – that’s typically very easy to do and won’t require a great deal of testing. If that works, it probably all works.
Also, there will be little that cannot be run at the same time in both systems, providing your customer with an ideal UAT scenario where they can test every function for as long as it takes them to feel comfortable and confident – this takes us back to the earlier point of not trying to rush the migration.
Lean on your cloud partner for expertise
If you want to know things like “will the document scanner still work?” or “can we link Sage to the handhelds in the warehouse?” then your cloud provider should be able to help you figure out what’s needed. This could be a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or two, some local processing, or improved bandwidth somewhere in the chain.
The point here is that a successful cloud installation is a win both for you AND the cloud provider, so it’s in the interests of both parties to come up with a well-rounded, reliable and customer-pleasing solution. In this case, one size most certainly does not fit all.
The cloud provider will have done most things before, so can advise you with authority on the best way to approach difficult issues.
Sometimes people make assumptions that cause an issue - such as thinking that email cannot be set up both on the old LAN and the new cloud at the same time. It can.
Likewise, issues like synchronising document repositories and so on can usually be harmonised. The only item you don’t want to be synchronised is the Sage data itself (or old accounting software data if not Sage), that doesn’t want to happen until ‘Go Live’.
Get the cloud working for you
Easy familiar access: Clients simply use Sage 200 in the cloud as if it was installed on their own device. No staff training is required.
A gift that keeps on giving:
Is the customer moving premises? – no problem, they can get to the cloud from the old premises and the new premises at the same time.
Does the customer have a foreign owner who wants to look in? No issue, give the owner a cloud login and let them see how easy it is to connect and view.
Speed of deployment
In Paradise's experience, while it is possible to get the test environment up and running within a few hours, a successful, well-tested cloud deployment or upgrade takes between four and eight weeks. However, in a tight situation, a cloud deployment can be done in a day – could that achieved with a LAN deployment?