It was one year ago that Sage President Pascal Houillon announced major rebranding plans for the entire Sage software portfolio to an audience of bewildered partners. Now, a year later, most partners seem to be on-board with and understand the reason behind the rebranding effort and are beginning to adjust their businesses accordingly. This year, under a unified brand, Sage touted cloud, mobile, and hybrid SaaS innovations while addressing the changing software industry.
In order to compete with QuickBooks and tap into the "fewer than 9 employees" small business market, Sage launched SaaS-based entry-level accounting software Sage One this past May. Sage One allows entrepreneurs and freelancers to bring together money management, invoicing, project tracking, task assignment, messaging and reporting in a single integrated Web-based application. Being an entry-level solution, Sage One introduces the Sage brand early on in the hopes that when small businesses grow they'll choose a more robust Sage ERP solution to handle their business practices.
While the keynote announced plans to focus the company's developmental resources on key platforms, such as Sage One and Sage ERP X3, there were also some product casualties – with the most notable being Sage 500 ERP. In order to refine the Sage software product portfolio and encourage innovation, new development on products such as Sage 500, Sage Pro ERP, and Sage PFW ERP will slowly be phased out.
Even though many partner alliances already exist, it was announced at Summit that Sage doesn't have any plans to endorse a Master VAR program. The point of partner alliances is to align channel partners with larger resellers to sell a broader range of products and possibly become acquired in the future. So while these alliances benefit smaller resellers and help top VARs better their business practices, don't expect a formal endorsement from Sage anytime soon.
New Strategic Alliances
Designed to help accountants and bookkeepers gain access to technology and expertise they may not already have, the Sage Accountants Network (SAN) is bursting with new strategic alliances. Partners such as New River and Avalara are giving SAN members access to educational webcasts that are good for CPE credit, while other partners are offering discounts on their most popular products. In addition, Sage also announced that both accountants and channel partners will soon be able to take advantage of a new partner program designed to promote and sell Sage One.
Did you attend Sage Summit this year? If so, what are some of YOUR key takeaways?