To our Sage Business Cloud Accounting customers in South Africa, we offer our apologies for the deep inconvenience you’ve experienced accessing our service over the last three weeks. We recognise that the length of the disruption, the fact that it occurred at month-end, and over a tax accounting period for some of you, has compounded the frustration you’ve felt.
Our priority is to provide the service you deserve
During the weekend of 16th and 17th of January, we undertook an upgrade of the underlying service infrastructure, intending to improve the performance and increase the speed of the application. On Monday, 18 January, when the service experienced difficulties, working with our data centre partner, we quickly identified that an area of the upgrade had inadvertently changed and took action to remedy it immediately.
Despite the change, some of you continued to experience difficulties accessing the system, and so we made the decision to reverse the upgrade with the aim of returning the system to the same state as before the upgrade. That reversal also failed to resolve the issue and so our team, along with our partners and suppliers, continued to investigate the infrastructure that delivers the service and the software itself to pinpoint the source of the problem.
Working systematically through the full technology stack we identified and remedied an issue within the network load balancers which was preventing the system from distributing user traffic across our service. For you, as a customer, the user experience was similar to joining a five-lane highway during a major accident. The ‘lanes’ that would usually enable customer traffic to spread across our system were closed off, causing tailbacks that you experienced as blocked access and an inability to log on to the system, or time-out messages while trying to use key functionality within the software.
We know this happened at a critical time of year for many of your businesses, so during this time, we also met with the South African Revenue Service (SARS), which confirmed that it is willing to review your applications for remission for late payment, if you were due to file a VAT return.
While we worked on resolving this issue, our team simultaneously looked at the software itself, making significant improvements to its speed and performance so it would run more efficiently across the infrastructure.
This combined effort has meant that since Friday 29 January the service has been operational and stable. Since Monday 1 February, we have served more unique queries, users and companies faster than at any time over the last four months. In order to maintain the stability and speed of the service, the dashboards remain disabled, although the functionality you would normally access via dashboards is available via the MyWorkspace page.
However, while the service is operating well for most customers, we are working in the background to iron-out issues tied to long reports that continue to impact some of you, which we know is a continued source of ongoing dissatisfaction.
Our commitment to you
We recognise that year-end is an important time for all our customers. While we concentrate on providing you with the best service possible over this period, please consider running relevant year-end reports the early and long-running reports outside of peak hours.
Longer-term we are committed to an intense infrastructure upgrade program, that will see us move to the Amazon Web Services cloud-hosting environment, now that it is available in South Africa. It will give us the scalable computing power from a world-class partner to continue to serve our customers reliably and locally. It will happen behind the scenes, so there is nothing you need to do, but we want you to know that we are investing in long term improvements to the service and have already committed extra resources to make this move.
Until that move is completed, our immediate and ongoing focus is making sure that the service remains fully functional and accessible to all our customers. If a problem does arise during this period, we are committed to updating you in a timely manner here, on Sage City. If you feel this update does not address your concerns, please send your support or product-related questions to [email protected]. If your question is not product-related, please send an email to [email protected].
Our sincerest apologies to you, once again. Rectifying and remediating this issue and regaining your confidence remains our number one priority.
EVP, Africa and Middle East