At its annual summit, Sage unveiled its ambitious strategy to embrace and lead the cloud accounting market. Jeevan Thankappan reports from Chicago’s McCormick Place hotel.
Sage, which operates in 23 countries with over three million customers, offers integrated accounting, payroll/HCM and payments solutions specifically designed to power the ambitions of entrepreneurs all over the world.
At the summit, Sage spelled out its vision and strategy to transform the company to drive future sustainable growth. “Technology disruption has dictated that Sage reinvents its business to embrace the cloud,” CEO Stephen Kelly said. “We have a clear vision – to create the world’s leading cloud ecosystem for accounting, payroll, HCM and payment solutions, supporting businesses from start-up, through scale-up to enterprise.”
Sage’s strategy is underpinned by five pillars. “We want to win in the market by building market-leading cloud solutions for businesses to run on,” Kelly added. “They are Sage One, Sage Live and Sage X3 Cloud. And we promised last year, we are going to stand behind our commitment to our customers that there won’t be any forced migrations. We will continue to support their product, whether it is desktop or cloud, for as long as the customer wants to use it.” said Kelly.
However, in many cases, Sage is modernising its desktop solutions such as Sage 50, Sage 100, and Sage 200 with refreshed user interfaces and connecting the entire portfolio to the cloud.
Unlike some of the competitors that offer cloud-only products, Sage has taken a hybrid approach to its cloud strategy. “We have chosen to take a current proposition and transition into the cloud with the least disruption to users, unlike our competition, which is rewriting their products on cloud technology. We are embracing industry standards and creating the most pervasive cloud ecosystem, and this is where we leapfrog competition,” said Klaus Michael Vogelberg, Sage CTO.
For customers demanding pure cloud solutions, Sage plans to offer the Sage Live and Sage One product line. “When we’re talking ‘real-time’ , it requires a different way of accounting, based on real time processes. This is why we came up with Sage Live, built on the Salesforce platform,” added Vogelberg.
Sage Live, optimised for mobile and social, aims to help small businesses to connect their customer, accounting, payroll and finance data into one system, accessible from any device and any location. A mobile control centre lets users view data in real time, and the system’s social focus helps connect colleagues, customers, partners, suppliers and other stakeholders.
With integration becoming a keystone of cloud solutions, Sage also announced its Integration Cloud, which enables its customers and partners to integrate their apps with Sage products with ease to deliver seamless experience to the end user. “These days, we can get any new app on our phones with just one click, and we don’t even think about it. No need to write code, or do manual updates or install software. But when it comes to business software, the experience is still broken. Our Integration Cloud is a platform to quickly build and manage app-to-app integrations with the entire range of Sage products,” said.
Another highlight was the official launch of Sage’s new admin bot, Pegg, a smart assistant that allows users to track expenses via their chosen messaging app. Pegg removes complexities and enables entrepreneurs to manage finances through conversation. By digitising information at the point of capture, it takes away the pain from receipts and expenses, eradicating the need for paper and data entry.
This coincided with the news that Sage has partnered with Slack, which will act as one of the core messaging channels connected to Pegg. “With the rise of freelancing and the sharing economy, the number of small businesses is growing exponentially. Most of these business owners use messaging apps, and with Pegg, we aim to bridge the gap between these apps and work, rendering accounting invisible to the end user and making running a business as simple as sending a text. We’re incredibly excited to partner with Slack, the fastest growing enterprise messaging app. Together we share the vision that the future of the workplace is conversational, easy and fun,” said Kriti Sharma, Sage’s global director for Mobile Product Management.
Announced with a demonstration live on stage, Pegg is available now in Beta.