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Sage Abra: What's the Real Story?

Published on

March 29, 2016



Brandi Clymer

Do I have to move from Sage Abra? – Yes, eventually.

Abra has not yet been retired, but the writing is on the wall and the ending to the story is pretty clear based on these three facts:

1. Sage no longer sells the Sage Abra product to new clients.

2. Sage has pricing concessions in place for Abra clients to encourage the adoption of the new Sage HRMS product.

3. Sage is no longer investing in product enhancements to Abra Suite. Development for Abra is limited to compliance requirements only.

If I don’t move from Sage Abra, what are the risks?

Abra operates on the Microsoft FoxPro Database engine. Support for that database was dropped by Microsoft in January 2015. Obviously your software has continued to run. But your firm has now moved into higher risk areas and has some constraints you need to consider. 

According to Josh McGowan of NSN Management, “Lack of support from Microsoft means they no longer test any releases of their operating systems with FoxPro.” He went on to say, “This means if you are running Windows 7 or Windows 8 for example, any patch that has been released since 1/13/2015 was not tested with FoxPro.” He suggests that you have a way to test these patches yourselves before applying them to computers where your FoxPro data is stored or accessed.

The alternative of not applying any patches creates other problems. McGowan shared, “If you don’t apply the patches, critical features related to security will not be updated. I would suggest that the first thing your clients do is develop their migration plan from the Abra FoxPro version. They are in a vulnerable situation.”

Microsoft has also announced that Windows 12 will become available in 2019. This is definitely an update you do not want to make while still using FoxPro.

When is my “drop dead date” to move?

Sage has made no end-of-life announcements. Historically, with Sage and other publishers, we find they typically continue support for the product for at least 12 months after an official end-of-life announcement. Under the assumption that their announcement comes today, you still have sufficient time to budget, evaluate the new product, and schedule a time that will work with other initiatives that may be competing for resources within your organization. However, we do anticipate many “late adopters”. This could lead to scheduling problems for implementation.

When is the best time to go live with my migration… year-end?

Not at year end, please! An implementation will take no less than 90 days depending on the modules you own. For a 12/31 go live, you would need to begin September 1 st , NOT October 1 st , because November and December basically turn out to be 3-week months with holidays extended with vacation. Additionally, both your staff and CS3 have added duties in December with year-end reporting. January, which would be your first month on the new system, is also a high demand month with W-2 processing and many other beginning year tasks. For that reason, we encourage project kick-offs no later than 9/1 for simple implementations or after February 1 st .

What are some benefits I get from Sage HRMS?

Having all your data in SQL is a primary benefit for all modules that migrate to Sage HRMS. There are many features in the HR module that have been added. The payroll module is an entirely new product with many additional features and streamlined processes. Some of the benefits include:

o SQL database platform

o Additional employee service dates

o Additional employee email addresses

o Overtime schedules in payroll

o More payroll frequencies

o Time cards are not required

o Reusable time cards

o Additional direct deposit calculations

o Better pre-check register information

o Streamlined month-end and quarter-end processing

o Easy “one off” check process

o Cleaner ACH reconciliation

o Cleaner GL structure

Is Sage HRMS my only option for migration?

No. We also offer Scissortail HCM by Kronos. Many clients have migrated to this product instead for the following reasons:

o Cloud Based Software with Anywhere, Anytime access

o Single Database - all modules leverage a single database and "contact (employee or candidate)" structure

o Fully mobile enabled

o Faster implementation time than Windows based products

o Easy user interface for high employee adoption

How much will it cost me to move?

This is NOT an upgrade, it is a migration to a new product. So the complexity is higher as well as the associated costs. The cost to migrate varies based on the following:

o Number of modules you currently own

o Number of customized payroll reports you have in place

o Additional features or modules you want to include in your migration, such as My Workforce Analyzer for ACA reporting

o Number and complexities of interfaces to other systems

o Quality of current data

Why the added cost to move?

Payroll is a completely new product. The conversion of historical data and current information must be precise to insure uninterrupted service to employees and their paychecks. Additionally, year-to-date and quarter-to-date information must be exact for your ongoing reporting to state, federal and local agencies. For these reasons we recommend two parallel payrolls after conversion from Abra payroll has occurred.

Our team will take you through a series of questions in a discovery process to determine your current set-up and can then provide you the cost for investment.

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