Sage Timberline’s New Product – Next Generation

During a recent client meeting BCG was introduced to Sage‘s next generation ERP product that is intended to be the migration path for current Timberline TCO users. The reseller, an experienced Timberline dealer, along with a Sage representative gave a good presentation of the new Enterprise application as it is being called. This should quiet many of the rumors about a wholesale rewrite, which have been in the market for a while now.

Essentially Timberline is leveraging an existing Sage application for accounting coming over from the UK instead of a rewrite. It is a much more contemporary platform built on SQL and .net tools. Apparently there are already 4,000 companies using this new version though the demographic of those companies was not available as of this writing. Timberline has taken over the code base and adopted it as their own. This means there will be the original code base that exists in the UK and the one Timberline is developing for customers here in the US. The original application suite, which was not originally developed for US or construction requirements, nevertheless had many basic functions built in. Timberline is hard at work on sales/use tax and other US requirements. However, the current short-term plan for Payroll seems to be using the current TCO Payroll application and “bolting” it to the Enterprise application. Equipment and Project Management seem to be part of phase II as well.

Now, this begs the question: what of Timberline TCO? On the shelf with only life support? “Absolutely not” claims Sage and the VAR who made the presentation. No end-of-life date has been publicized and Timberline has some 30 developers still working on TCO code so there will likely continue to be feature function enhancements though maybe not as aggressively as there once was.

It is also possible that Event 1, James Coyle‘s company that developed the popular integration bridge between TCO and Meridian‘s Prolog software, will pick up an early version of Enterprise and retool the bridge to work between the new software and a version of Prolog. It is likely that Coyle and crew would want to see if Enterprise picks up over here before expending considerable resources on a fast changing product base that may or may not catch on.

This is planned for a spring release 2010. A data conversion utility is planned to help TCO customers migrate data though it did not sound like that was built yet. More on this as the story develops.