SOURCE: Sage Software (formerly Best Software)

May 17, 2005 17:00 ET

Best Software Launches Sage Software Name at Insights 2005 Conference, Previews Wide Array of New Accounting, CRM, and Online Offerings for SMBs

Over 25 New Products, Services and Upgrades, Plus Cross-Product Integrations Demonstrated to Nearly 3,000 Conference Attendees

DALLAS, TX -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 17, 2005 -- At Insights 2005, its third annual business partner conference, Best Software, now known as Sage Software, introduced over 25 key new products, major upgrades, and services that are launching now, or will be available by the end of its fiscal year, ending September 30, for its accounting, CRM, online services and other end-to-end business management applications. All new offerings were launched under the new Sage Software name that the company is adopting.

As announced in March, Best Software is adopting the name Sage Software for consistency with its parent firm, the Sage Group plc (SGE: L). The transition began today at Insights 2005 with awareness building with the firm's business partners. Communications with its customers will begin in the next 30 days, and the full transition is targeted to be complete by March 1, 2006.

As part of the branding transition, the company will also add the Sage name to its product naming structure as major new releases occur -- several of which are being announced at Insights.

Among the key announcements are new elements of the company's growing online program: Sage Payroll Services, providing small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) with online payroll that can be run standalone or tightly integrated with MAS accounting and Abra HRMS products; and SageCRM.com, providing SMBs with configurable CRM including sales force automation, marketing automation, and customer care. Many of the new products and upgrades continue the themes of integration, technology choice, and advanced connectivity of both business processes and users, with products as diverse as Web platform versions of ACT! contact manager and SalesLogix CRM, to online banking for Peachtree 2006 accounting products, and the direct integration of many Sage Software products.

"One of Sage Software's key strengths is that we offer small and mid-sized businesses an unmatched set of business applications, providing them with a freedom of choice by delivering solutions the way they want them, in easily integrated modules," said Sage Software President and CEO Ron Verni. "Creating great products and services and constantly improving their functionality across our product portfolio keeps us ahead of our competitors and gives our clients the tools they need to continue to grow their business."

New Offerings

The following new products are being shown:

ACT! Premium for Web 2005: Coming in June, the familiar ACT! experience delivered via the convenience of the Web will provide real-time, anywhere access to centralized and secure data with no synchronization required.

Sage CRM and SageCRM.com: Sage CRM and SageCRM.com offer a configurable full CRM suite with sales force automation, marketing automation and client care automation that can be deployed as a hosted or on-premises solution. The company's market first rent-to-buy program makes Sage CRM and SageCRM.com attractive options for small and mid-sized businesses.

Sage Payroll Services: Announced today at Insights 2005, Best Software is expanding its hosted service offerings with new Sage Payroll Services for mid-market companies and organizations, including Sage Payroll Service for Abra, Sage Payroll Service for MAS, and a stand-alone payroll service for companies using any in-house accounting system.

Major New Releases

The following new products, upgrades and services are being previewed. All will be announced with naming that includes Sage:

Peachtree by Sage 2006: Available next month, the Peachtree by Sage 2006 product line will offer an enhanced feature set across the entire product line including online banking, Peachtree Bill Pay, and an internal accounting review feature, which allows small businesses to have even greater control and visibility to their business data. The Peachtree by Sage lineup for 2006 includes versions for general businesses, accountants, and manufacturers and distributors, along with two new solutions for the construction industry and nonprofits.

Sage Abra 100 HRMS: Shipping in September, a key feature of this new version (Abra 8.0) will be multiple database support, including Visual FoxPro, Microsoft Database Engine (MSDE), and Microsoft SQL Server. Customers will be able to easily migrate to another database via a simple upgrade wizard, while their user interface remains the same, providing an easy, seamless transition.

Sage BusinessWorks 50: Scheduled for availability in September, BusinessWorks 50 (version 6.0) will feature a number of improvements designed to increase efficiency for manufacturers and distributors, including the ability to copy Sales Orders into Purchase Orders, and longer parts description fields.

Sage CPA Practice Manager and Sage CPA Accounting: The CPASoftware suite of products will include the summer releases of the new version of CPAPractice Manager, featuring enhancements to its GL interface and ProSystem fx Tax link, improving the use of its integration tools, and further increasing its efficiency; the new version of CPAAccounting Manager, featuring greatly improved security and easier payroll functionality; plus two new recently announced add-on features, CPAWorkpaper Manager and Accounting Report Writer.

Sage MAS 90 and Sage MAS 200: Scheduled for availability in September, Sage MAS 90 and Sage MAS 200 (versions 4.1) will extend the enhanced user interface, and unique personalization, customization and integration capabilities of the new business framework that were previously introduced in version 4.0 into the Accounts Receivable, Sales Order, Return Merchandise Authorization, and Bank Reconciliation modules. Also scheduled for release this fall is Sage MAS 200 SQL (version 3.73), which will feature Crystal v10 support and extend the Paperless Office functionality throughout all appropriate modules.

Sage MAS 500: Scheduled for availability in September, Sage MAS 500 (version 7.0) will offer a new Business Insights Explorer module, providing enhanced business intelligence through streamlined access to key information. Extensive new warehouse management capabilities will enable customers to customize the picking and shipping workflow, and implement advanced processes such as wave picking.

Sage MIP: Launching in August, Sage MIP Fund Accounting (version 7.0), Sage MIP Fundraising 50 (Paradigm 6.0), and Sage MIP Fundraising 100 Workplace Edition (Rainbow 4.0) all offer a range of new features for nonprofits of all sizes. Sage MIP Fund Accounting will include improved cost allocation and tracking options, significant ease-of-use improvements, and major reporting enhancements. Sage MIP Fundraising 50 will feature improved reporting, e-mail management and gift processing, and Sage MIP Fundraising 100 Workplace Edition will feature a new Grant Management module.

Sage PFW 100: Scheduled for availability by the end of September, Sage PFW 100 (combining both Platinum for Windows by Best and BatchMasterPFW 5.4) will introduce several key new features and improvements to this award-winning suite of financial, distribution, and process manufacturing applications, including an expanded Context Launcher, a versatile Quick Print feature, new Formula Approval functionality, multi-currency pricing capabilities, and a Lot Recall feature for aiding compliance to safety recall legislation.

Sage Timberline Office: A new, fully integrated Document Management module is available this month that enables customers to electronically manage thousands of documents with intelligent classifications, routing abilities, powerful search capabilities, and fast retrieval speed. Scheduled for release in late summer, Sage Timberline Office 2005 will include several new customer-inspired features and enhancements across product suites including Estimating and Accounting. Also, commitment change orders, a new feature of Project Management, manages a potential change from origin through pricing, submission, acceptance and change order processing.

Sage TimeSheet Professional 9.5: Available in July, the latest release includes several enhancements and new features such as a Project Budgeting module and a Time Clock Interface with log-in and log-out capabilities for improved task management.

Timeslips by Sage 2006: Launching later this summer, Timeslips by Sage 2006 will offer new time management features and enhancements designed to improve operational efficiency. Other new features will include integration with Microsoft Excel, the ability to reprint unpaid bills, and an intuitive new report design tool that allows for easier customization. The new Smart Configure function will allow customers to further customize Timeslips by disabling unused features.

New Upgrades and Enhancements

The following upgrades and services are also being previewed. These products will begin adopting the Sage name when major new versions are released.

ACCPAC Advantage Series 5.3 for Linux: Available this month, certified compatibility with the Novell Linux Small Business Suite running on the IBM xSeries server hardware platform utilizing the IBM DB2 UDB Express Edition database.

ACCPAC ePOS, ACCPAC HR, and ACCPAC WMS upgrades: Launching later this month, the ACCPAC ePOS 5.3 point-of-sale application will provide businesses with a new customer loyalty program support feature from the point-of-sale, plus enhanced configuration options, simplified transaction flow for returns/exchanges, and faster processing speed for high-volume retail outlets; ACCPAC HR Series 6.5, available this summer, will include a more robust MSDE database engine, new Web-based Employee Self-Service (ESS) functionality, plus links to additional third-party Payroll solutions, and; ACCPAC WMS 5.0, also available this summer, will offer more modular options for building a warehouse management system in components as business needs and budgets allow, in addition to Microsoft SQL Server database compatibility.

FAS upgrades: Announced last week, FAS Construction in Progress Accounting 2.0 provides new usability features, including a "Project Snapshot" capability, improved fixed asset creation, an enhanced security system, simplified purchase order (PO) and invoice importing, and new pending and split transaction features. FAS Gov and FAS Nonprofit versions 2005.1, becoming available by the end of next month, include an expanded fund allocations feature, compatibility with FAS Construction in Progress Accounting, and updated inventory features, including a new inventory wizard.

SalesLogix Marketing Module and SalesLogix for Web: Coming in July, the enhanced Marketing module will help SMBs and small enterprises manage multi-faceted direct and e-mail marketing campaigns with new features that provide the ability to define and segment target audiences, capture and import leads, track prospects separately from customer accounts, and easily produce ROI reports to guide resource allocation and future marketing spend. In addition, scheduled for release in August, SalesLogix Web updates will provide a more scalable CRM architecture and a thin client user interface that provides Web access to more SalesLogix features.

About Sage Software (formerly Best Software)

Sage Software offers leading business management products and services that support the needs, challenges and dreams of more than 2.4 million small and mid-sized customers in North America. Its parent company, The Sage Group plc (London: SGE.L), supports 4.5 million customers worldwide. For more than 25 years, Sage Software has delivered easy-to-use, scalable and customizable applications through its portfolio of leading brands, including Abra, ACCPAC, ACT!, BusinessWorks, CPASoftware, FAS, MAS 90, MAS 200, MAS 500, MIP, Peachtree, SalesLogix, and Timberline Office, among many others. For more information, please visit the Web site at www.bestsoftware.com/moreinfo or call (866) 308-BEST.

© 2005 Best Software, Inc. All rights reserved.

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