I spent some time on Friday with an A+++++ level client who was on version 4.30 and a lower service level (the IRD is only applicable per Sage for level 4.3.17 and up). They used payroll and had some HIRE employees which meant they needed to upgrade their payroll module to print applicable tax forms for the 2010 year.
In a perfect world the client would schedule this work a month ahead of time. But they world of payroll isn’t perfect and enhancements and “patches” are often only available “one the fly” and at the last minute during the super hectic year end season.
The client was on a version 4.3 and service update 2 version of MAS 90. That’s where the problems start. For most clients the year end updating of their payroll files is done with what’s called an IRD or Interim Release Disk. This disk only updates the payroll features needed for year end processing.
Except for some reason Sage doesn’t allow any users on 4.30 with less than service update 17 installed to us an IRD. Instead these (unlucky) users are forced into a busy season upgrade.
Sage MAS 90 or 200 220.127.116.11 – 18.104.22.168:
If you are on version 4.30 and using any version lower than 4.3.17 it appears you are forced to go with a full service update (From this point on referred to as upgrades).
Be advised that these service upgrades may often involve an extremely time consuming data conversion process. During this process you will need exclusive access to Sage MAS 90 or MAS 200.
The conversion progress bars in my experience are not of much use because during certain times they (still) sit frozen and you’ll not know if you’re dealing with large data conversion or a damaged data file (have fun explaining to your client / staff that they need to stay out of the system for two hours while you stare at a static progress bar).
Sage’s only warning is to make a full data backup. Which in my experience (and that of clients) is not much comfort when you have 15 people sitting waiting to know when to go back into their MAS 90 system after someone has kicked off what’s billed as a relatively easy update.
Going forward all service updates, product updates – or patches of any kind need to be treated as full system upgrades.
1. Only apply service and product upgrades when you have 1 to 4 hours of exclusive access where NOBODY in any part of the company will access MAS 90 or MAS 200.
2. Make a FULL data backup immediately before your upgrade — just having a backup from the prior night won’t be good enough because if your system experiences an issue then you will loose all data entry since the last backup point.
3. Keep all users out of the system for the duration of the system upgrade.
4. Only apply product and service upgrades as part of a pre-planned upgrade — never apply on a whim.