We have just returned from Sage Summit 2015 which concluded in New Orleans on July 30, 2015. Sage Summit is Sage’s annual partner and customer conference. Like many such events it's part evangelism and part actual learning. My intent over the next several blogs is to sort the hype from reality for our customers. We’ll start with generalized impressions and then move to specific topics including Sage Live, Sage 100, Sage 300 and some third party products.
Sage Summit overall impressions:
This seems to be a rejuvenated Sage that understands it needs to worry about its customers first. It has renewed its commitment to its dealers, bookkeepers, accountants and small to mid-size businesses. Despite the love affair that most people in the computer industry have for the web, Sage realizes that today the majority of business are still continuing to run their business on premise.
They also seem to realize their “end of life” of a number of solid products was a mistake. It still doesn’t help those suffering from that action, but at least you can feel confident nothing else is on the chopping block.
Sage is dropping the words “ERP” from their vocabulary. They believe it is a negative term created by the computer industry. They don’t have a replacement term for it however which makes it difficult to discuss their former ERP products ie Sage 50, Sage 100, Sage 300 as a group of products. If this is to be a cultural change somebody needs to figure this out. You can see the keynote address at http://na.sage.com/sage-summit/videos-archived/7_28_the-sage-keynote.
Morale of the Sage employees we talked to seems better than ever. Some of that may be the result of Sage bringing back Jodi Uecker. Jodi is a well-respected industry veteran that previously led both Great Plains and Sage. That Sage brought her back shows a real commitment to getting back on track. Every successful business owner will tell you that happy motivated employees drive better products and services.
On the product and technology front Sage looks like it is starting to get it right. For years we had been hearing about “agile development” from Sage. It seemed like all words. Now it looks like we are actually seeing some results. Sage is going to a 3 releases per year of product improvements and updates for all products. Sage is also committing to supporting on premise, hybrid and full cloud deployment. Sage also introduced the first accounting system to be written from the ground up by one of the major providers of ERP software in many years. Sage Live appears to be the first product to truly take advantage of what the web has to offer. Remember Sage, Microsoft and Infor all came into existence by buying products, not by producing a new one. Sage's emphasis will be on what they term “the golden triangle”. The components of that triangle being accounting, payroll and payments. They will continue to rely on developers and partners to build out functionality. You can see the technology presentation at http://na.sage.com/sage-summit/videos-archived/7_28_running-your-business-with-sage.
So if you are a current Sage customer or thinking of becoming one, how does this affect you? The shakeup in management means Sage is back to listening to its customers. The new release schedule means that you are actually getting a value for your support dollars. The no end of life announcement means that you don’t have to worry about “upgrading/downgrading” your current system. The commitment to “on premise” means that if you are keeping your system in house your system will still be getting the attention you need. The Sage announcement of Sage Live gives you a glimpse into the future but right now only fits a very small number of businesses.
In future blogs we will look at some of the product announcements, Sage Live and some selected third party products.