Sage 200 Evolution – Online Branch Accounting vs Offline Branch Accounting

This blog article will cover The Evolution online branch accounting setup versus the offline branch accounting setup.

The Branch Accounting set up was designed to be used with a database hierarchy structure. This environment typically consists of a head office database which is linked to multiple branch databases as seen in the illustration below.

The head office can act as a transactional entity or a reporting entity or both. 

Typically, the branches setup will represent the working databases which process transactions on the ground. This information is then sent to the head office database for consolidation and reporting. Databases and users can be positioned all at one geographical site or multiple geographical sites.

There can be two ways that branch accounting is setup.

  1.  Online Branch Accounting – Head office and branches all reside on a single database. NO Synchronization monitor required to transmit data between branch and head office.
  2. Offline Branch Accounting – Head and branches each have their own databases and are setup individually on their own servers. Synchronization monitor is required to transmit data between branches and head office via an FTP site and the internet.

Offline Branch Accounting diagram

 

It is important to note that the setup caters for a two-tiered setup which consists on a head office database and branch databases. The branch databases cannot be split further into sub-branches.

 

 

Requirements

Online Branch Accounting

Offline Branch Accounting

  • Single more powerful Server hosting the central database, typically on a central server
  • Head office and each branch have their own server hardware. Hardware specs can be scaled down on server compared to an Online setup
  • Simplistic less complicated backup solution.
  • Multiple backup solutions to be considered per site/Branch
  • Less powerful workstations required
  • More powerful workstations required.
  • Reliable and fast internet connection required for workstations to operate if workstations are not on LAN.
  • Internet connection can exist intermittently and does not have to be a constant fast connection for workstations to operate.
  • RDP or similar setup required to connect workstations to the server either over local network or the internet. VPN may be a requirement depending on setup.
  • Workstations typically connected to the server over a local LAN. VPN may be required to access server from a remote location.
  • More complex printer setup
  • Easier printer setup.
  • FTP site for data transmission between branch and head office NOT required
  • FTP site for data transmission between branch and head office IS required

 

Database setup

 

Online Branch Accounting

Offline Branch Accounting

  • All setup done on a single database
  • All setup done on the server database and then deployed to each branch in the form of its own database.
  • Less time consuming than an Offline setup.
  • More time consuming than an Online setup.
  • No configured Sync Monitor required for setup.
  • Sync monitor for head office and each branch needs to be configured and setup to create the branch databases.
  • Single instance and setup of MS SQL server.
  • Each database environment will require MS SQL to be setup.
  • Typically, a limited LAN configuration or no LAN setup required.
  • Typically, LAN setup done at each branch.
  • Single installation of the Sage 200 Application on the server
  • Each branch server and workstation require a Sage 200 installation.
  • Remote access application such as RDP to be setup and configured so that each user can login to the server as a workstation
  • NO RDP application required. Typically runs on a standard LAN environment with a possible VPN setup for remote users.

 

 

Transactions

 

Once setup has been completed and done correctly, transactions on the application using both Online and Offline branch accounting will remain unchanged. Users will process transactions in the same way.

 

Users in an Online branch accounting setup must ensure that they login to the correct branch, their username and password setup here will ensure that they do not accidently login to another branch.

 

Users in an offline branch accounting environment will only be connecting to one branch server so there is no risk here of accidently logging into another branch b=database.

 

 

 

Reporting

 

Online Branch Accounting

Offline Branch Accounting

  • Data is always up to date for reporting purposes due to transactions being updated on a single database.
  • All branch and head office sync monitors will first have to run successfully in order for reporting to be up to date and accurate.
  • Custom reporting solutions are easier to manage and validate on a single database.
  • Custom reporting solutions may need to be setup on multiple databases for adequate validation.
  • No reporting delays.
  • Connectivity / internet issues may cause a delay in reporting as data is not able to synch to head office.

 

 

General Operation and Exclusions

 

Online Branch Accounting

Offline Branch Accounting

  • Active Internet connection required for users to work. Workstations in remote areas with limited internet connection is not ideal.
  • users can use the application to its full potential in an offline environment with NO internet access. Date will transmit to the server via the Synch monitor tool when the internet is available to update the head office database.
  • NOT recommended to be used in a Retail POS environment as the user typically connects to physical equipment such as a cash drawer and till slip printer.
  • Recommended for Retail POS in a branch accounting environment as workstations connect physically to POS hardware and the user has full access to the Sage 200 and retail application even without the internet.
  • Less risk of downtime due to loss of infrastructure. Servers here are usually in the cloud or in a secure location.
  • Servers and workstations here are usually physically onsite and are more prone to damage, theft and negligence.
  • ISP or infrastructure problems can be attended to quickly.
  • ISP or infrastructure problems may come with delays in resolution due to geographic location.
  •  Licenses applied to a single common database for registration.
  •  Each branch will register its own common database for registration.
    Anonymous