Three areas will be key for small and midsized businesses, according to Sage president and chief executive officer Pascal Houillon, who shared his technology forecast for that sector during the Sage Summit 2014 keynote Tuesday in Las Vegas, and outlined how Sage’s strategy will meet those needs moving forward.

Himanshu Palsule, Sage chief technology officer and head of product strategy, delved even deeper into these three trends—the hybrid cloud, mobility and big data—as he joined Houillon on stage to address the attendees.

“Not all businesses are adopting the cloud at the same pace,” Palsule said. He showcased some of Sage’s desktop offerings with the hybrid cloud model, designed to provide flexibility to SMBs averse to the “all-or-nothing” stakes of complete cloud migration. The Sage Data Cloud, specifically, gives customers a desktop solution with the reach of the cloud.

"To Sage, purposeful innovation means technology driven by business processes, not business processes dictated by technology," stated Palsule. "It's not jamming a certain enterprise technology downmarket, and it's not enforcing a specific delivery method. It's delivering a solution that meets a need, solves a problem and offers choice."

In other cloud news, Sage also announced the general availability of Sage 300 Online and the upcoming launch of Sage ERP X3 Online.

In discussing the second trend of mobility, Palsule cited consumer behavior that will see two out of every three transactions done on mobile devices by 2017, and highlighted the company’s device-native mobile applications Sage Mobile Sales, Sage Mobile Service and Sage Mobile Payments.

New features in Sage Mobile Sales include an Amazon-like recommendation engine and, available in 2015, remote check deposit functionality via snapping a picture of the check.

The updates reflect the convergence of cloud and mobility, Palsule explained, because today “your personal cloud is everywhere.”

Equally omnipresent is the buzz on big data, which the company previously addressed with the introduction of Sage Advisor Dashboard for Partners earlier this year and is now harnessing with the debut of Sage Business Intelligence online in 2015.

Branded as Sage Intelligence Go!, the solution will bring big data to small businesses by leveraging the existing data inside Sage ERP with Excel to filter, analyze and summarize information. The solution also has the “extremely powerful” capability to bring in data from multiple external sources so that businesses can peer into sales leads or compare metrics with competitors.

While these announcements come at a critical time for the Sage brand, made visible by this year’s “reimagination” of the Summit on a large scale, and which Jennifer Warawa, vice president and general manager of Sage Accountant Solutions likened to the stars aligning, she and other Sage executives also stressed the company’s commitment to continuous development.  

“When we started this mobility journey, it was about the mission-critical problems of customers and solving them to mobility,” Palsule explained during a media briefing. “We will continue to improve and get better, and at the same time there will be innovations that will happen more rapidly. I’m happy with the speed we’ve progressed, but it’s a continuous journey.”

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