At aACE Software, we do things differently. We believe in a low-pressure, customer-driven sales process. We’re always available and happy to answer questions or discuss next steps, but we won’t chase you down if you’re not interested. Instead, we leave you in control of how little or how much you want to hear from us. Our reason for this is simple: we believe that our product speaks for itself. If you think aACE is a good fit for your business, we don’t need to overwhelm you with calls or emails to remind you that we’re here. And if aACE isn’t right for you, our hope is that you’ve learned something from evaluating our product that will ultimately benefit you in your ERP search.
The lowercase 'a' is silent, so our name is simply pronounced "ACE."
The right ERP solution can save your company hours in duplicate data entry, help prevent costly mistakes due to human error, and enable you to scale your business exponentially. But the wrong one can cost your business a small fortune, only to create headaches and bottlenecks as you contort your workflows to fit the software. And to make matters more complex, the same solution might be a dream for one company but a nightmare for another.
How do you find the best fit for your business?
We’ve created an easy-to-follow guide to help instruct business owners on the vital decision to invest in an ERP solution. With over 15 years in the industry, aACE Software has collected valuable insights that can make the difference between selecting the right solution for your business or throwing away time and money on the wrong choice. If you're the kind of business owner that likes to get things done right, this white paper is for you.
Yes. Our references are perhaps our greatest asset and we are happy to share them with a prospective client before any documents are signed. However, we respect our existing clients’ time and believe that reference checks should be used as a way of confirming one’s decision, not as a way of making it. Therefore, we provide references after we have come to an agreement with a prospective client regarding the product’s fit, the budget and timeline. Before that, you can see what our clients are saying by reading our reviews on Capterra, our client success stories, and the testimonials posted throughout the site.
We won't do business with any company that contacts our clients without our permission — and if you become our client, you can rest assured that we will protect your time just as vigilantly. For more information, see Final Proposal in our sales process below.
Purchasing and implementing aACE is a 7-step process designed to mitigate the risks associated with ERP implementations. Your commitments are tied directly to your aACE partner's deliverables, thereby increasing your confidence in tandem with your financial and business exposure.
The 7 steps to purchase and implement aACE:
1. Introductory Call:
The first goal is to evaluate whether or not your business will benefit from aACE Software via an introductory call to discuss your needs and requirements. The outcome of this call will determine whether it is appropriate to move to the next step.
2. Software Demonstration:
At this point you will have the chance to see the software in action during one or more live webinars. If you like what you see, you can schedule a one-on-one follow-up meeting with your aACE partner to explore your key areas of interest in a demo tailored to your workflows.
3. Preliminary Proposal:
The purpose of this proposal is to establish a small ballpark estimate for your software implementation. This proposal outlines the cost of the standard system based on your user count and the cost of the needs assessment. It also provides a preliminary estimate for required service based on your introductory conversations and demos.
During the Discovery phase, you learn the software while your aACE partner learns your business. Together, you and your aACE partner will examine each of your workflows to identify issues and determine what customization, if any, is required to meet your needs. The outcome is a Needs Assessment and/or a Development Plan.
Needs Assessment – This document outlines your business’ workflow requirements and can be used to evaluate the fit of any business solution. Not every project requires a Needs Assessment.
Development Plan – This document details the specific software customization needed in order for aACE to meet your requirements. It is only applicable to the aACE Enterprise Edition, as the Complete Edition is out-of-the-box subscription software. The Development Plan will form the basis of a cost estimate for the service component of the implementation.
5. Final Proposal:
The Final Proposal is based on the Needs Assessment and/or Development Plan that you and your aACE partner create collaboratively during the Discovery phase. It includes a very accurate cost estimate and timeline for the entire project. If you accept the terms of this proposal, you may be given references upon request to speak with prior to signing your contract. These references are aACE clients who have similar needs and priorities.
6. Implementation Service:
Upon your acceptance of the Final Proposal, you will be pre-billed for service blocks in 10-, 25-, or 50-hour increments. During each service block your aACE partner performs the necessary work to complete the project’s requirements as outlined in the Final Proposal. You have the opportunity to exit the entire agreement at the conclusion of each service block if you are not satisfied with the progress of your aACE implementation.
7. Licensing Fees & Go-Live:
Licensing typically accounts for 50% or more of the total costs. You will not be billed for the license until you are ready to go live, which usually occurs upon completion of the requirements outlined in the Development Plan. The go-live date is scheduled once you pay the license fee.
We strive to keep our pricing transparent and easy to understand. Our pricing is listed on our Pricing page, and depends on whether you would be going with the Complete or Enterprise Edition of aACE. Let’s look at the pricing of each version for a 10-user sample company to see how they compare. Please note that aACE user licenses are for named users, not for concurrent users.
There are three major components to the cost:
- aACE Software
- FileMaker Software
Excluding hosting, the cost of the two editions is roughly the same after three years. Which edition is right for you depends largely on whether you require customization or whether you prefer the benefits of the software-as-a-service model.
With the Enterprise Edition you are buying a license to the software. This gives you the ability to tailor the solution to your precise workflow requirements and host it according to your preferences. You will also need to purchase the requisite FileMaker Software.* The cost for the Enterprise Edition license would be a one-time purchase price of $22,500 for 10 users. Maintenance is 20% of the aACE license fee and is required for 3 years from the go-live date. It is included in the purchase price for the first year. For our 10-user sample company, the total cost of licenses, Maintenance, and FileMaker Software for the Enterprise Edition after three years is $36,540. You are responsible for the cost of hosting.
|aACE Enterprise Edition (10 Users)|
|Licensing & Maintenance||FileMaker*||Hosting|
With the Complete Edition you are subscribing to the software as a service. This gives you a comprehensive out-of-the-box solution hosted in the cloud at a lower up-front cost. At $99 per user per month, a company with 10 users would pay $990 per month for user licenses plus a $199 monthly hosting fee. The cost of FileMaker Software is included with the subscription. The hosting fee covers the cost of a dedicated server; you wouldn't be sharing space with other customers. For our 10-user sample company, the total cost of the Complete Edition subscriptions after three years is $35,640. The hosting fee is an additional $7,164.
|aACE Complete Edition (10 Users)|
Estimating Service Costs
There are a variety of service activities required for a successful ERP implementation, the principle ones being:
- Needs Assessment / Discovery
- Data Migration
- End-User Training
- IT Setup/Configuration
- Project Management
When estimating service costs, it is important to consider expenses that are largely a function of the proposed solution separately from those that are not. The cost of customization, for example, is entirely dependent on the specific software package, whereas end-user training may entail a comparatively similar cost regardless of which solution is chosen. Other work, such as data migration, may be principally a function of the system you are leaving. Do your best to compare apples-to-apples when evaluating the service requirements of alternatives.
For companies requiring customization, the rule of thumb in the industry is that development should cost less than the first year purchase price of the software. Therefore, for our 10-user sample company, the cost of customization should be no more than $22,500. If the cost of development is greater than that number, you should ask yourself whether there might be a package that meets more of your requirements out-of-the-box.
*FileMaker Software for 10 users billed annually as of 11/22/2018. Up-to-date pricing for FileMaker can be found at their website.
However, we are currently working with select clients in the EU, U.K., and Canada to flesh out the required features. We plan to expand support to these areas in the near future and to other locales after that. Check back with us soon!
Our reasoning for this is simple: aACE is an advanced ERP solution and behaves very differently depending on how it’s configured and the data it’s been populated with. A trial without accompanying training would not give prospective buyers a clear understanding of how aACE would work for their business. We’ve found that prospective clients left to explore the software on their own invariably begin asking questions, which leads to piecemeal training. For this reason our policy is to equip prospective users with the training they need to make the most of their trial period from the outset.
There is a small fee associated with the Discovery phase to cover the cost of this training. Additionally, we create a dedicated system for your team and host it free of charge for 4-8 weeks. You are under no obligation to purchase the software until you are fully satisfied that it will meet your needs.
The typical length of the process from start to finish is between three and six months. The Discovery process can usually be completed within one to two months of the start date. Implementation service, which includes everything from configuration to end-user training and data migration, can usually be completed in two to four months depending on the work required.
With the above said, the primary determining factor is the availability of your team. Customers who are able to spend more time can advance the process; customers with less availability may require more time.
For more details about the steps in the process, see "What is your sales process?" above.
These projects typically require at least 4-6 weeks between the time when an agreement is signed and the time when the Discovery phase begins. This is because ERP software implementations require large blocks of time in the early stages of the projects in order to ensure a fast, strong start.
Please note that in the ERP industry, the period between November and January is typically the busiest time of the year given the number of clients who are interested in going live on or around January 1st. It may take longer than usual to schedule work during this time of the year.
Many people wish to go live with a new ERP solution when their fiscal year begins. Very few clients, though, adopt a “shuttle launch” approach to going live (i.e. having a clean break between old and new systems) and will instead phase the software in to some extent. This will result in some level of overlap between your current system and your new one, which in our opinion makes no particular date better than another. The best time to go live with the software, therefore, is during your slowest time of the year when your staff will be able to spend the most time testing, training, and helping to ensure the overall success of the project.
Your aACE partner will work with you to structure a training agenda and schedule web-based training classes based on your specific needs. In most cases, a pre-determined focus group is trained first. The focus group then trains other users within the company while your aACE partner stands by for support. We find a "train the trainers" approach works best and is the most affordable.
Training takes place during the Discovery phase (see "What is your sales process?" above), before you accept the final proposal and purchase aACE licenses. This ensures that by the time you fully commit to implementing aACE, you are 100% confident that the software will meet your needs.
Training can be conducted onsite as well as remotely. We recommend onsite training sessions be reserved for the weeks immediately surrounding the go live date.
Your aACE partner will work closely with you to implement an aACE solution that suits your company's unique workflows. As with any business relationship, it's important to find the right fit. Here are some factors that go into choosing a partner:
Different partners bring different areas of expertise to the table. Some partners focus on non-technical aspects of the implementation (e.g. project management, training, etc.) and outsource the technical aspects to us. Some partners are experienced developers. Yet others act as business process consultants. Many partners offer some combination of those three approaches. We recommend taking into account your project's most complex requirements and likely trouble spots when selecting a partner.
The importance of a partner's location will vary based on your needs and preferences. For aACE Complete clients who only require training on the software, a partner's location likely does not matter. For aACE Enterprise clients or those who simply value face-to-face meetings, you may wish to choose a partner in close proximity to your business. Location tends to matter most when a project requires a lot of customization or a lot of end-user training. It can also be important when projects require smaller but ongoing customizations throughout the life of the solution. aACE Software has partners across the U.S. and many are happy to perform onsite visits.
aACE partners are all talented professionals with experience implementing business management solutions. Some have multiple aACE implementations under their belt while others have joined us more recently. Don't shy away from selecting a newer partner! The less experience your partner has with aACE, the more involved aACE's designers will be in your implementation. That's because for an aACE partner's first implementation, they take on more of a project management role while we work closely with them on the technical aspects of the implementation and training. There is no extra charge for our role in a new partner's first implementation.
BYOD (Bring Your Own Developer)
If you have an existing relationship with a FileMaker developer, we are happy to bring them on board as an aACE partner. The developer would be invited into our weekly partner training meetings and, as with any new partner, we would be on-hand to help throughout the implementation at no extra cost.
aACE Software has been in business for 17 years, and we believe the best is yet to come. That said, we realize that choosing a software provider always entails some risk. As a self-funded company that's thrived through two recessions, we know we're not going anywhere anytime soon. But because we want you to be as confident in aACE as we are, we've designed our product to be the backbone of your business for years to come – even in the unlikely event that we're no longer around to support it.
aACE partners are skilled professionals operating as their own business entities, separate from aACE Software. This means that even if aACE Software were to cease operations, your aACE partner will still be there to support your aACE solution with the same level of quality service you have come to expect from them. Many of our partners boast between 15 and 20 years of experience, and all of them are invested in your continued success.
With an eye toward longevity, we also chose to use FileMaker to build our product. FileMaker, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Apple, Inc., and FileMaker-based solutions like aACE can be supported by thousands of consultants across the globe.