We interrupt this blog post to bring you an important message from TUG:
Are you a Sage 100 Contractor or Sage Estimating user? Have you longed to be a part of a user group community like your friends who use Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate?
Why not give TUG a try? TUG now features 100 percent Sage CRE! Yes, what was once the domain of Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate, now can be yours, too!
Thank you, TUG. And now, back to our regularly scheduled blog post.
We were pretty excited last year when we heard that TUG (originally the Timberline Users Group), was expanding to become The Users Group for Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate, Sage 100 Contractor & Sage Estimating. Granted, that’s a bit of a mouthful, but it was necessary when Sage changed the titles of Timberline and Master Builder a few years back.
“We needed to change our name too since the name ‘Timberline’ had gone away,” said Jon Banse, the current president of TUG. “By coincidence, we were able to change the our name to The Users Group without changing logos and other historical purposes.”
TUG has been around nearly as long as Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate, which launched back in 1971. It’s one of the longest running, most respected software titles in the business world. The same can be said for TUG, which has provided a user community and an advocacy platform since 1975.
Banse, a Senior Estimator with Select Construction Concepts in Iowa, has been active with TUG since they added Sage Estimating to their national conference. He was on the estimating committee for a few years before becoming a part of the TUG board about eight years ago.
Banse said Estimating has been a part of the TUG National Conference longer than Sage 100 Contractor since there’s a direct integration between Sage Estimating and Sage 300 CRE. On the other hand, Sage 100 Contractor is similar to Sage 300 CRE except it’s less complex for smaller construction businesses. But over the last few years, TUG has been in talks with Sage to add Sage 100 Contractor to its lineup.
However, because TUG is a “for users by users” community, they needed to wait until they had enough interest to bring Sage 100 Contractor into the fold.
“We needed users to be able to teach other users,” Banse said. “We saw that there was a big population of Sage 100 Contractor customers out there, and the numbers are steadily growing. A lot of people who own the product still don’t know that TUG is around, but we’re working on that.”
We made sure to let our Sage 100 Contractor customers know last year. Many wanted to know what was the difference between the TUG National Conference and Sage Summit. Banse echoed the same sentiments that the Sage CRE team told me then: If you want complete hands-on training and education, go with the TUG National Conference. If you want a combination of hands-on training, product discussion and road maps, and general business discussion and networking, go with Sage Summit.
Either way, you’ll get the benefit of learning from your peers, whether it’s the hands-on training that the TUG National Conference offers or the B2B networking that Sage Summit offers.
“You learn better from other people’s experiences,” Banse said.
We can’t agree more with that. We’re now up to three different user communities for our customers, covering our MME customers, our Grower Vertical customers, and our CRE customers. Not only have we seen our customers learn from each other, they’ve also formed lasting friendships.
Ironically, construction companies are notorious for keeping their businesses close to their vests. It’s a function in being in direct competition with other businesses to win jobs. Helping your rival business doesn’t make a whole lot of business sense in the industry. But Banse had another way of looking at it when it comes to their conference (and Sage Summit, for that matter).
“For me, most of the people who come to the National Conference or even involved are not necessarily competitors, so you feel more free to share how you do things,” he said. “Even if competitors are involved, at least when estimators are involved, making sure everyone has a good estimate is good for everyone involved. If someone low-balls the price, it doesn’t help the industry overall. If things are going well for everyone, it’s good for the whole market.”