My mental response was a classic “duhh” as Hannah explained that SOTA, which became the core of Sage Software, didn’t put many dollars behind the product, and added enough new features to keep the users happy.
That conversation comes to mind every time a Wall Street analyst or another reporter suggests Microsoft has too many products, with four GL applications in its Dynamics line—AX, GP, NAV and SL. And Sage has even more applications.
Both companies got those product stables through acquisition. But the real question goes back to Hannah’s point. Do products serve user needs and make money, and does the company have the resources to develop them further?
Last month, Kirill Tatarinov, the new leader of Microsoft Business Solutions, told users there is no end point in sight for the four Dynamics products. Earlier, in a one-on-two interview (Tatarinov, Mogens Elsberg, who leads the NAV business, and me) discussed Project Green, the long-standing code name for a project to produce a single code base for the accounting applications.
“Project Green is dead,” Tatarinov said, although he noted the products will converge. But that convergence is on the front end, giving the products a similar look and feel and the ability to take advantage of Microsoft products like SharePoint, not in producing a single back-end database.
Sage seems to have had a similar revelation. For a long time, it was talking about integration, and in fact set up Jim Foster as chief technology officer in June. But he was out the door in October, along with three other top execs.
Also in June, Sage divided its products into strategic products, which will get the most marketing and R&D bucks, and value products, which, like DacEasy, will be sustained. But Sage then quickly updated a couple of value products, Timeslips and BusinessWorks, with new versions showing that value is not synonymous with leftover.
Nobody wants to repeat Microsoft’s experience in quickly killing RealWorld, which left users not in a great mood to switch to the latest and greatest product. And while it’s clear products get dropped, as Sage did with Accpac Plus, users got a lot of advance notice (and there were still people who were unhappy).
But for anyone worried about a quick end to their favorite application, remember--Sage just came out with version 15 of DacEasy after 25 years on the market.
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