Asked his reaction to a speech by Motasim Najeeb, the new chief technology officer of Sage North America, a representative of one of the the company's largest software resellers said, "It was good. But it's quarter to midnight."

What he meant was that Sage, in his opinion, had had a lot of time to bring its technology up to date and that it didn't have much time left to remain competive. Deliver what Najeeb promised in one year, and things would be fine. But let too much slip in to 2011 and, this reseller believes, Sage will have difficulty staying competitive.

No one else gave such a dire tone to predictions. But virtually all resellers said Sage must to act quickly to stay competitive because its software is aging.

Najeeb agreed that Sage is behind the times, which was implicit in his promise that the company needs to move its software from ISAM databases to SQK, although he said ISAM will be maintained for existing customers. But new users are going to get more up-to-date products. Amd he rattled off a number of code names for projects, such as Orion, which will bring a browser interface to Accpac and the Newport project, which will turn the Timberline product into a "modern fully integrated business management suit ..."

Later, CEO Sue Swenson was asked how management can convince the channel that it can execute as promised . She pointed to a major infrastructure project that the company almost abandoned (apparently a financial application implementation), but was completed.. And she cited the work to solve problems at Sage's troubled healthcare unit.

Previously, she noted, Sage would report its North American operations "excluding healthcare:" because results were bad. But with first half ended March 31, the healthcare unit had a smaller decline in revenue than did midmarket software, a measure of progress in a troubled market.

"If we can fix healthcare, we can fix anything," she quipped. 

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