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Sage Life - Is this the Future?

On the 12th of May 2015, Stephen Kelly and Marc Benioff, the respective CEO’s of Sage and Salesforce came together to announce the launch of a global partnership between the two companies.

The initial result of this partnership is Sage Life - a tool that is based on the Salesforce platform and enables small business to have easy access to all their financial and customer data in one place via multiple platforms.

“Together with Salesforce, Sage is shaping the future of small business. Small business software no longer has to represent different systems or layers of complexity – it’ll be simple, collaborative, and real time," said Stephen Kelly, CEO of Sage.

"With Sage Life, we are delivering social, mobile, cloud-based innovation, powered by real-time accounting. Now running a small business can be as easy as updating your Facebook status."

Salesforce

Given that Sage is the third biggest software company in Europe and has over three million customers in North America whilst Salesforce is the largest supplier of CRM globally this is a big step for both parties.

Having said that, the commentators have been analysing the announcement and as you would expect one of the main points repeatedly raised was around Sage being a traditional accountancy software firm. This has often been framed in a negative light as the Sage customer base is largely on premise.

Whilst I am yet to be persuaded by the evangelical cloud cult that every system should, without fail, be online, it is an interesting point given that Salesforce is 100% cloud based.

Then again (in ascending order), Sage One is online and Sage 200 Online is quite obviously in the cloud, this effectively covers a large part of the SMB market. If we look at the North American market too then Sage 300 is also available in the cloud and extremely popular. In the UK, this is less the case as Sage 300 is hosted in the States and given the American government’s enthusiasm for snooping… well, safe to say it’s not often regarded as ideal.

But I digress, the reason I ran through those particular products is to show that actually Sage is far more flexible in the cloud arena than one may suspect at first glance.

The real question though is; what are Kelly and Benioff planning in the longer term?

Given the positive nature of the wonderfully understated yet inspirational CEO’s who in turn described this partnership as "important to SMBs as the iPod was to consumers" (Kelly) and "today is by far the most exciting day ever for our platform" (Benioff) you should be safe to presume that this partnership does have legs. However, the most persuasive factor is probably simply down to their presence at the launch rather than the enjoyable verbosity.

Will Sage Life progress up the Sage portfolio? Will it help to substantially increase sales for both companies? Will the cloud cause issues? Will another company step in and buy Salesforce?

The questions may be endless, yet, the possibilities are too.

It’s an exciting future for this powerful partnership.

 

 

Michael Bulman

Sage enthusiast and Acuity advocate.