In his second Sage Summit keynote since taking the helm as CEO in 2014, Stephen Kelly promised a company future focused on “sensibly prioritizing around customers and market needs.”

But Sage isn’t just aiming to be “sensible” — Kelly and his executive committee took great pains to portray a company that is forward thinking and fast moving, one that does not intend to sit on its laurels, and intends to extend into and far beyond the cloud to serve the accounting market.

“When you are ready to move to cloud, full mobility and real-time accounting, then Sage is ready to take you there,” Kelly said in his keynote on Tuesday. “In fact, we won’t just support you, but in many cases we’re modernizing your product’s mobile interface and connecting it to the Sage Integration Cloud.”

But he went on to say that the “cloud is core to the business of the future — but it isn’t a game changer in itself. It’s just a vehicle so that everything else can be.”

Sage, Kelly said, has opened up its platforms to build a “vibrant ecosystem of independent software vendors around Sage’s core domain expertise of accounting, payroll/human capital management and payments,” with the introduction of Sage Integration Cloud.

EVP of product management Nick Goode described Sage Integration Cloud as a platform that enables customers to integrate their apps with other apps, as well as with the cloud, without writing code, performing manual updates or updating their software. It will also integrate on-premise solutions with partner apps.

As for what lies “beyond” the cloud, at Sage Summit, the buzz is all about smart technology: bots, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and everything in between.

EVP of product marketing Jennifer Warawa assisted Kelly in announcing the upcoming Sage Live and TomTom web fleet integration.

“The data from the GPS is logged as an expense in Sage Live without any human intervention whatsoever,” Warawa explained. “You have complete control and can view the data at any time. And because the data is real time, you always know the up-to-the-minute financial health of the business. But not only can you track miles, you also can track billable time … What we can see here is how Sage Live empowers business to make decisions and operate at the ‘speed of now.’”

And as for artificial intelligence, Sage has partnered with GupShup to bring the first accounting bot to the marketplace. The bot, released on Tuesday at the summit, integrates with Facebook Messenger and Slack and works similarly to Siri or Alexa, but is much more specialized and smarter in the niche area of accounting. Named Pegg, the bot views images of receipts and invoices that users can send straight from their mobile device via either messaging app. Pegg then creates reports, learning the user’s habits along the way, making all the accounting “invisible,” as developers Kriti Sharma and Beerud Sheth term it.

“There is so much more happening in the Sage labs, including looking at data sciences, predictive analytics, blockchain, big data, machine learning and innovation in technology that can make your lives easier and allow you to grow faster,” Kelly concluded.

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