We’ve all been there — you attend a webinar or download a whitepaper, only to spend months dodging a pushy salesperson who won’t take your lack of interest for an answer. The value of whatever information you gained is quickly outweighed by the constant intrusions into your work day.
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 capitalized A,C, and E in our name stand for accounting, customer relationship management (CRM), and enterprise resource planning (ERP). The lower case 'a' was originally the symbol for the company's founding name, Avant Garde Information Solutions. It now stands for our slogan, "Art in" – as in Art in Accounting, Art in CRM, and Art in ERP. Read our full story on our About page.
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.
The process for purchasing and implementing aACE is uniquely designed to mitigate the financial risk associated with ERP implementations. Your commitments are tied directly to deliverables, and there is no obligation to purchase or subscribe to the software until your go-live date has been scheduled.
Below is an overview of the major steps involved in the process for purchasing and implementing aACE:
The first step in the process is a fifteen to thirty minute conversation to discuss your software requirements. The primary goal for this call is to determine whether aACE is not likely to be a good fit for your business, timeline, or budget.
Assuming you like what you see during the software demo(s), the next step in the process is the discovery phase. During this phase you are provided with your own dedicated instance of the software free of charge. Your only cost during this phase is for training time. This phase allows you to “kick the tires” for anywhere between one and six months in order to build your confidence that the solution will be successful for your business. Your aACE partner is also simultaneously learning about your unique requirements during weekly or biweekly meetings.
The learnings from the discovery phase allow your aACE partner to provide you with a reasonably accurate estimate for service, including but not limited to: customization, data migration, end-user training, go-live support, and optimization.
Upon approval of the estimate, your aACE partner will bill you for required implementation service in ten to fifty hour increments. You may terminate the project penalty-free at any point if you are not satisfied with the progress of your aACE implementation.
The go-live date is the date your company begins using aACE for real transactions. Your license fee or subscription agreement is due one month prior to the go-live date. Often this delays 50% or more of a project's total cost until the end of the process.
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 On-Premise Software for 10 users billed annually as of 05/04/2020. Up-to-date pricing for FileMaker can be found at their website.
aACE licensing is all-inclusive, meaning we don't charge extra for any of our features. Each named user license includes access to all modules, apps, and integrations offered by aACE Software. Third party apps and integrations will have their own pricing structure, but those fees are neither charged nor managed by aACE Software.
Typically we do not compete for leads when the first step is a Request for Proposal or similar questionnaires, for a few reasons:
1. They require a large investment of time for an unqualified lead. We consider any prospect that hasn’t seen a demo or webinar to be unqualified.
2. For the reason above, they sometimes reward the more desperate providers.
3. They reward the providers who can say “yes” to everything. This, in our experience, often leads to poor decisions. Solutions that have 100% of what you need often have 400% of what you need and are, consequently, unusable.
Our sales process is designed to determine whether or not aACE might be a good fit for your company while keeping your risk to a minimum. Please see our "What is your sales process?" FAQ above for more information.
Each region has specific regulatory requirements, which places a heavy demand on a software package. Out of the box, aACE does not currently support international clients.
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!
Yes and no. We provide customers with unrestricted access to a dedicated instance of the solution during the Discovery phase (see “What is your sales process?”). During this phase you’ll train us on your workflows while we train you on aACE, so you can be completely confident that aACE will work for your business before you buy it. We do not provide prospective customers access to a trial version prior to the Discovery phase, but we do offer guided tours that allow us to configure the software and the data appropriately given your specific requirements.
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.
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.
The typical length of the process from start to finish is between three and six months. The Discovery process typically consists of one or two hour-long meetings per week and can usually be completed within one or two months of the start date. Depending on the size of the implementation, your aACE partner may then need an additional two weeks to complete the Development Plan.
Configuration and Customization of your aACE solution typically takes one week for every seven hours of development required. During this phase, your project's leaders will continue to meet with your aACE partner each week to test and approve new development.
Data Migration and End-User Training may take around one month. Note that we do not provide a fixed estimate for this phase, because much of the work is performed by you and your project leaders who have been attending meetings in the previous phases. Your aACE partner will be standing by ready to assist as needed, but much of the timeline for this phase is under your control.
The Go-Live takes place over a two-week period starting with the date that your staff begins using aACE for real transactions. During this phase many end-users are interacting with the system for the first time. As a courtesy, your aACE partner minimizes engagements during this time. This allows them to respond as quickly as possible should any questions arise.
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.
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.
While most work is performed remotely, many aACE partners are more than happy to perform work onsite with aACE clients when doing so makes sense. If you would like onsite visits to be a regular part of your aACE implementation and support, we suggest choosing a partner in close proximity to your business. See our Partners page for a list of options.
aACE partners are highly skilled professionals dedicated to helping your business make the most of your aACE solution. While we act as a technical resource – developing mobile apps and integrations, identifying bug fixes, creating new help documentation, etc. – our focus is on making improvements to aACE that will serve our users as a whole. Your aACE partner will work to develop a lasting relationship with you and your team that will enable them to make recommendations based on your company's unique goals and requirements, always keeping your specific workflows in mind. To learn more, visit our Partners page and contact an aACE partner today.
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.