Having outgrown both Sage 50 and Act CRM, Caffe Society made a decision to move to Sage 200 and Sage CRM to support the growing business and overcome performance issues. The solutions improved reporting, providing Caffe Society with valuable data insights for faster, more informed management decisions and strategic direction.

In summary, Sage 200 and Sage CRM have enabled Caffe Society to:

  • Benefit from one centralised business management system, accessible to all who need it, when and where they need it
  • Analyse and act upon data in a single location for faster, more informed management decisions and strategic direction
  • Utilise a single software solution across different departments, with no bottlenecks for information sharing
  • Benefit from a comprehensive CRM system that provides access to everyone who has the need to know – instantly
  • Customise the solutions in line with current and future business needs
  • Easily add seats and upscale as required

The warning signs

Dennis Ferguson is Caffe Society’s IT / Marketing Manager. He explains that, before the migration to Sage 200 and Sage CRM, the company was operating Sage 50 and Act.

“The problem was that we’d out-grown both solutions,” Dennis says. “Sage 50 was becoming far too slow for us. Also, we couldn’t add any more users. The maximum it would allow was around 10 and we needed more, for example when our sales teams wanted to input orders straight onto Sage.

“It didn’t handle back-to-back orders well, either, which are a large part of our business these days. We’d out-grown Act, too. We’d customised it massively over the years, but the bigger it got the more obvious it became that it wasn’t the right software for the way we were developing as a business. We needed to start again from the ground up rather than compromise with an ageing system that we’d tagged bits onto over time.

“We were already with Xperience Group and were very happy with them. So we got in one of their sales guys to talk us through possible upgrades. He introduced us to Sage 200 and Sage CRM which appeared to be exactly what we needed.”

Finding the right fit

“We did have a look at a couple of competitor systems,” Dennis explains. “But sticking with Sage meant there was an easy upgrade path so that was one of the main drivers. Sage CRM also seemed to be very customisable. One of the problems we were having with Act was that we had to set up a separate record for each machine we sold. So, for example, when a customer ordered several machines of different sizes it became very difficult to manage with Act. Xperience figured out a way we could add an extra entity into Sage CRM called an ‘asset’ which would represent each machine and allow us to manage this kind of order seamlessly.”

The implementation took place over the summer of 2012. “We officially went live in the July,” Dennis continues. “We went live with Sage 200 first and then we phased in Sage CRM. By the time we’d signed everything off it was October.”

Enhances reporting

“To be truthful, the benefits weren’t immediately obvious – far from it!” laughs Dennis. “Our staff didn’t like it, basically because it was different and people don’t like change. Despite the obvious limitations, they felt more comfortable with the old familiar software. But, of course, more than 12 months down the line and following some excellent hands-on training from Xperience, they’d never go back to the old system; they love Sage 200 and CRM!”

The main advantages? “Probably the way we’ve customised it so we can manage several machines within a company within the ‘asset’ entity,” says Dennis. “We get much better, faster, more extensive reporting out of Sage 200 and that’s been a massive help, too. Before, any kind of reporting was painfully slow, as was searching. Both are pretty much instant now.

“We can have as many users as we want, which we couldn’t before, so it’s definitely speeded things up a lot. People are working faster and we’re able to process orders quicker. We do a lot of back-to-back ordering and have seen a marked improvement there.”

And Xperience? “Oh, Xperience have been great, especially the training and support which is very good. I call them regularly and they’ll remote in to my computer and show me there and then, or they’ll come back to me quickly. I get on with all the support guys very well. Yes, we are definitely very happy with things; the Sage software has been a massive help, enabling us to move forward and expand. It’s been more about being able to scale up, really. And, as I said above, our staff think it’s fantastic!”

About Caffe Society

Based in Sherburn-in-Elmet near Leeds, Caffe Society is one of the UK’ s leading coffee and espresso machine providers with more than 15 years in the commercial coffee market. In addition to coffee machines, the company provides related coffee shop equipment, fresh coffee, ingredients and Barista training plus catering equipment through sister company CS Catering.