Should we upgrade our Sage X3 system?

Posted on

Sage X3’s latest product update – Update 9, has just been released (19th Feb). Update releases can prompt a business to consider if the software version they have in place is still as effective, or whether it is time to take the step and update to the latest version.

Inixion’s Sales Director, Greg Hackney, has written a blog which could help businesses decide whether an update is right for them.

Greg Comments:

There’s no simple or short answer to this question, although at its most basic, our advice to customers is, yes, consider an upgrade – provided you can commit to this as a project, have the bandwidth in respect of time and budget and ultimately are prepared to go through some ‘pain’.

Why?

Moving to the latest supported release brings a number of advantages:

  • The system is further ‘future proofed’ from a supported version perspective
  • The whole technology refresh – Sage X3 becomes unfettered by operating system/device/browser
  • There are a host of new features with the latest version and, although not extensive, new functionality
  • Sage are not releasing new functionality for older versions

Are Sage reducing or removing Support for my version?

We get asked this quite a lot. There is no published policy from Sage per se, although it is generally accepted that the vendor will reduce support for a version once it becomes 2 versions behind the latest release. This is the case now as Version 5 of Sage X3 has recently been placed under ‘extended support’ terms. This basically formally restricts any patches for that version to statutory requirements only, such as when the rules of Settlement Discount in the UK were updated in 2015. How long Sage will continue to offer extended support for a version is not something we can answer. Technically, Version 130 and 140 of Sage X3 (‘Versions 3 and 4’ effectively) are still ‘supported’ in this manner.

To be very clear, Version 6.x systems are still ‘fully’ supported.

What’s the latest version and the plan for new versions?

As of 19th February 2016, ‘Update 9’ is the newest version.

Version 7 was released in June 2014 but really became properly available early in 2015.

Update 8 was released in the summer of 2015.

Sage has now changed from ‘version’ to ‘update’ in its terminology and practice: incremental patches, delivering both ‘bug’ fixes and new functions are no longer available; new functionality is only being delivered in a new update. Sage has indicated that a new update will be released approximately every 6 months.

Patches are still made available for the latest updates for bug fixes and statutory changes where required.

What would we need to do to upgrade?

Firstly, we need to talk and then plan.

There’s no doubt, this is a project and should be considered as such. Assistance from Inixion will be required along the way and will be dependent on the capabilities of the customer’s internal resources. The broad, six point, upgrade plan will include:

  1. Define & get in place a new hardware environment (note sizing requirements increased)
  2. Install & check the new Sage X3 versiona) Copy the current folder to upgrade into the new Sage X3 environment
    b) Validate the folder
    c) Run data migration scripts through a sequencing monitor (will probably fail at first!)
  3. Review the application settings of the folder in the new version
  4. Check and adapt any customisation/bespoke development
  5. Carry out full testing of all processes in Sage X3 until the new version is signed off
  6. Carry out a final migration from the latest Live data at the ‘Go Live’ point

How long will the Upgrade take?

The more complex your current Sage X3 system, the longer the upgrade will take – probably. This question is actually related, broadly, to item 4 on the high level plan above – and how that is handled….

This is all sounding like hard work!

Well, to reiterate, it’s definitely a project rather than a simple patch…BUT it’s not that big and scary. Inixion has been through this process a number of times and is comfortable with the process. The good news is that all ‘standard’ Inixion modules are fully compatible with the latest releases we’ve seen to date (Version 7 & Update 8). At the time of writing, update 9 is so hot off the press that we need to run our standard checks, but don’t anticipate that we will be presented with any issues.

  • Inixion Sage X3 Enhanced Document Management, incorporating Spindle Professional
  • Inixion Human Resources Management for Sage X3
  • Inixion Sage X3 Automated Exchange Rate Update
  • Inixion Sage X3 EDI Module

All our modules are constructed and written in the Sage SAFE environment, which is exactly the same as that used for customisations and bespoke functions written for customers. So the message is, that there is a strong chance any Inixion customisations you already have will be compatible, but they will need to be tested with your data.

What about screen changes, process maps etc?

The mechanism for doing this and how it is maintained in the new versions has changed. In fact, this and the ‘administration’ is probably the biggest change to Sage X3 itself.

There’s no getting away from it, there’s work to be done in this area and this is something that should be planned for accordingly, utilising the appropriate resource from either the customer or Inixion.

So…how do we get started?

Speak to anyone at Inixion and mention you would like more information to start the process – or email Greg: greg.hackney@inixion.com.