A continued focus on customer experience, cloud and mobile initiatives and payments -- along with staying the branding and product course laid out over the past two years -- was the primary tone of this year’s Sage Summit user and partner event.
Sage North America chief executive Pascal Houillon and, for the first time at Summit, Sage Plc CEO Guy Berruyer addressed the large but comparatively reduced crowd of partners and some users at the Gaylord National Harbor in Maryland, just outside of Washington, D.C. The reduction in crowd -- approximately 1800 in attendance -- was primarily due to Sage’s sale of its Nonprofit, SalesLogix and ACT! groups, which was mentioned by both CEOs whose primary focus was on the company’s accomplishments over the past year and less about major product, branding, or reorganization news.
“We now have three core business units and reduced the number of barriers we have to contend with,” said Houillon. “Each time we’ve said we are going to do something, we’ve done it. In H1 we’ve grown 4 percent and our net promoter score has doubled, but we must continue to work on transforming our business. I’ve come to realize the process of climbing a mountain is similar to what we want to accomplish at Sage If we do not continue to test our limits we will not continue to grow.”
Berruyer reiterated Houillon’s messaging about delivering on previous promises and the company’s growth, also noting a few areas where the North American division can continue to grow.
“In North America our revenue growth has improved, but I take great comfort in that our net promoter score has doubled. North America is very important to Sage, this is where the software industry was created and half of our customers are in North America,” said Berruyer. “Cloud services remain very important to us, particularly connecting products in the cloud for all of our customers. We have a successful payments solution in the cloud, an area where Sage North America leads within Sage. We are also leading in North America with mobile apps and improving our subscription pricing.”
In terms of products, Sage did highlight a couple of areas in development, namely around mobility and cloud. For one, Sage 100, 300 and ERP X3 are expected to be delivered on the Microsoft Azure cloud. In addition, Sage is planning to deliver voice-enabled mobile access similar to Siri for its Fixed Assets and ERP products, which will allow for search and other control functions.
Finally, head of Sage’s Accountants Network Jennifer Warawa and executive vice president, midmarket solutions Joe Langner made note of their efforts for accountants and called out their importance in Sage’s product strategy.
“It’s clear that change in technology is accelerating, it will require a rethinking of everyone’s business model – businesses and CPA firms,” said Warawa. “Right now 29 percent of firms only talk to clients once a year…that needs to change. Solutions for accountants are in development, but it is imperative that they provide insight into financial health of a business.”