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Here We Go: Before the opening address of Sage Summit

Sage Summit has begun, even if the official welcoming keynote hasn’t yet been delivered. This is a customer event, y’see, so it’s fitting that Sage started by recognizing some of its more notable ones. In other words, it was the Sage Customer Awards Program luncheon. Here, in brief, are the winners, with a few comments by me where needed.

  • MyBizCounts.com Contest Winner: INDIE PEACE, an Atlanta-based fashion design company that focuses on sustainable, eco-friendly products and manufacturing techniques. (This contest called for original video commercials and essays from people with new business ideas or young startups (two years and under), with $20,000 and a bunch of Sage software—Peachtree, ACT!, and Timeslips—as the prize. The company made a cute presentation, and has some really nice wearable designs that won’t kill the planet. Good stuff.)

  • Rookie of the Year: Coilhose Pneumatics, East Brunswick, NJ, using MAS 500; Net@Work is the Sage implementation partner. (Product costing and inter-company transactions are some of the more onerous parts of a business that deals in specialized products. Guess what Coilhouse improved with MAS 500? Net@Work is known to me as a talented integrator, so kudos to that team as well.)

  • Best Use of Customization: Metropolitan Regional Information Systems (MRIS), Rockville, MD, using Sage MAS 500; Blytheco LLC is the implementation partner. (MRIS got more than 32,000 customers to use the online bill-pay system it built this year, something that wouldn’t have been possible with its legacy accounting system. Automation is a good thing sometimes.)

  • Community Stewardship: Teach For America, New York, NY using SalesLogix; Infinity Info Systems is the implementation partner. (I’ve met with IIS before, and its founder Yacov Wrosherinsky is one of the most-recognized Sage partners there is; I’m not surprised one of his clients took an award.)

  • Best End-to-End Deployment: Curbers, Inc., Salisbury, NC, using MAS 500, FAS, and SalesLogix; Practical Software Solutions is the implementation partner. (Combining ERP and CRM throughout the enterprise makes tremendous sense for many businesses, especially those in heavy industry. Power Curbers makes, customizes, and sells machines for making sidewalks, curbs, barriers, bridges, and other concrete items—that’s about as heavy as heavy industry gets.)

  • Best Innovation Award: Entertainment Lighting Services, Inc., Sun Valley, CA, using MAS 500; Information Integration Group is the implementation partner. (ELS really needed to get enterprise software in place, and the results are telling. It reduced inventory shrinkage by half, and reduced the month-end close process from four weeks to five days—their monthly close used to take a month. Think about that.)

  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Amix Salvage & Sales Ltd. , Surrey, BC, using Accpac and SageCRM; Plus Computer Solutions is the implementation partner. (Too often, especially at the Oscars, lifetime achievement awards are a way of saying, “you’ve never won a real award, so here’s a pat on the back to thank you for hard work.” That’s not what this is; Amix has been a Sage customer for 17 years, and had its first software package installed under MS-DOS. Sage has seen Amix through booms and busts for longer than I’ve had a writing career. Clearly both companies are doing something right.)

Congratulations to all the winners. I’m hoping to track down Denis Pombriant, founder and managing principal of Beagle Research Group and one of the contest judges, to talk about what went into the award decisions.