Sage CRM 2020 R1: Planning your upgrade & changes in supported software

Sage CRM 2020 R1 is due to be released to the regions today, Monday 3rd February 2020.  Each of the Sage OpCo teams will determine when this new version will be released in their countries but you can start planning for upgrades now.
You can use the Sage CRM 2020 R1 installation package to upgrade from versions 2019 R1, 2019 R2, 2018 R3, 2018 R2, 2018 R1, 2017 R3, 2017 R2, 2017 R1
Customers on earlier versions of Sage CRM must therefore first upgrade to one of the versions listed above.
It is important to note and understand the support cycle for each version. http://help.sagecrm.com/lifecycle/  Please note there may be local agreements in place that modify this for certain instances where Sage CRM is integrated with particular accounting solutions.
We strongly advise that colleagues and partners should engage with customers on older versions of the product that are now out of support to encourage them to upgrade.
Although long-tail upgrade paths can be off-putting it is not as bad as it looks.
Moving a customer from Sage CRM 7.1 to Sage CRM 2020 R1 will open new features for the customer and give them a much better experience and so should be a highly desirable object for the customer - but it should not represent too difficult a journey.
A customer using 7.1 would need to upgrade to 7.2 via 7.1 SP1 or SP2. But once on 7.2, you can upgrade to Sage CRM 7.3 SP3 without any patch being applied and from there you can jump to Sage CRM 2017 and thence to 2020 R1.
Note: The Setup will append the _ suffix to the folders containing logs from a previous Sage CRM upgrade. This allows system administrators to maintain the complete upgrade log history. Previously the Setup kept logs for the last upgrade only, older upgrade logs were automatically overwritten.
Whatever your starting point Sage provides a series of resources to help the upgrade. These include:
  • The Sage CRM Upgrade Guide for the target version. This is contained in the System Administration Guide.
  • The Version Release notes. And if necessary the patch notes as well.
  • You will need the Software Support Guide (also known as the support matrix).
  • Database Investigation Scripts to make sure that you understand the customizations that have taken place in the system to be upgraded.
  • The appropriate "What's New Guides" to make sure you understand how the features have changed in the new version.
  • And System Specific Documentation that describes the customized behaviour of the system to be upgraded.
  • You will also need to make sure that you have the licenses you will need. You will need a trial license for the test environment and an upgrade license for the target version. That's the version to which you are upgrading.
Note:  Where Sage CRM is integrated with a Sage accounting solution (e.g. Sage 200cloud, Sage 300cloud) then please refer to the integration guides to check requirements specific for that integration.  If you are using a third-party integration then please refer to the documentation provided by the ISV.
Changes to Supported Software
As a general rule, we only support products that themselves enjoy mainstream support from their manufacturers. This means that our software inevitably changes over time.
We need to consider the changes in supported software. This affects not just the servers but also the devices that are used to access integrated Sage CRM.
There were a limited number of changes.   Support has been added for new versions of mobile operating systems. You can use Sage CRM on mobile devices running iOS 13, Android 10 and 9. For more details, see Sage CRM 2020 R1 Hardware and Software Requirements on the Sage CRM Help Center. (http://help.sagecrm.com).  Microsoft Windows 7 reached 'end of life' on January 14, 2020, so support has been dropped.
Note: The decision was taken to remove CTI from the development path and this will be discontinued in the next Sage CRM release (2020 R2).
There are two other significant changes:
Support for AWS EC2.
Sage CRM has a web-based architecture that gives customers the freedom and flexibility to choose what is best for their business and that includes implementation on cloud-based environments such as Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2). AWS EC2 provides scalable computing capacity in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud.
MS SQL Server 2017 Express is now used for demo installs.
Sage does not recommend using SQL Server Express for environments that exceed five Sage CRM users.  The Software Requirements guide will provide a list of other limitations. Please be aware that support for Microsoft SQL Server 2014 SP2, Standard or Enterprise in production environments was dropped for Sage CRM 2019 R2.  Sage Support will address only those issues that can be reproduced on a Standard or Enterprise edition of SQL Server versions listed in the Software Requirements Guide for each version. Sage CRM 2014 Express was the example database for Sage CRM 2019 R2 and implementations using this version should now be upgraded to MS SQL Server 2017 Express. 
And Lastly...
Our developers have asked that customers opt into analytics.
This is a hugely important feature for us allowing the collection of anonymised aggregated data about usage of the product.  The anonymous data can tell us which are the key features and which are less used areas. This information will help us improve the experience of the product.

I hope this is of help as you plan your upgrade.
Anonymous
  • You can start small with MailChimp.  Consider their pricing - https://mailchimp.com/pricing/  You could run an experiment with the Free plan from MailChimp.  You can work with upto 2,000 contacts synch'd from Sage CRM to MailChimp within a single audience.  And this allows you to send 10,000 emails a month.  

  • The company I work at is currently utilizing Sage CRM. They want to integrate with Mailchimp. Is this worth doing? I figure it better to start small before scaling to any kind of marketing automation tool like Hubspot. I would love to get everyone's thoughts on this.

    Thank you