Sage swapped the Big Easy for the Windy City this year, choosing to hold its second global Summit in the US city of Chicago.
Today was a day for Sage partners, with the first day of the summit offering a sneak peak into products and company developments before the main doors open to customers on Tuesday.
In his first keynote of the week, CEO Stephen Kelly went big on the partner rhetoric, drawing on his past roles with giants like Oracle to emphasise that 'working with partners has always been in by DNA, my blood.’
Kelly emphasised how Sage aspired to become the most partner-centric organisation on the planet, pointing to the fact that the assembled Sage partners’ ambitions were the same ambitions of the accounting software firm, ambitions which could be achieved through working to gather. Kelly talked of his vision for growth, highlighting partnerships as a way to deliver, Kelly pledged to drive 45% of its worldwide revenue through partners, increasing this from 38%.
Drawing cheers from the assembled partners in the audience, Kelly announced a number of initiatives, designed to reward and celebrate Sage’s partner network. The Sage Partner Program will replace over 54 worldwide partner programs throughout 2017, while Kelly also unveiled a the first worldwide Sage CEO Circle. This will see 50 top partners be wicked away to Casta Rica in February 2017 with Kelly and the exec team.
Of course, the Summit not only affords Kelly a chance to reach out and thank partners, but also to reel off the big numbers which prove that Sage is flourishing in the market. Some numbers making the headlines included Sage’s 3 million customers across 23 countries and how 53% of all UK businesses use Sage to pay their people. However, for Kelly, its not just about celebrating Sage’s ‘fantastic heritage’, but also about moving forward and leapfrogging competitors.
However, this is a marketplace, Kelly said, that is ‘evolving at breakneck speed’, with mobile, cloud and big data changing the rules of engagement. Key pointed to the fact that 60% to 70% of software, services and technology spend will be cloud based by 2020. However, Sage wants to leverage this change, with Kelly sharing the company’s vision of being the world’s leading accounting solution, for enterprise to startup.
Although light on major product announcements – apparently a major new product will be announced by Kelly on Tuesday, a solution which will make accounting as simple as sending a text – there were some announcements which reiterated Sage’s commitment to cloud and other areas such as IoT.
Sage Live, the company’s real-time cloud accounting solution will be delivered on Salesforce Lightning. As part of an extended partnership between the two companies, the Salesforce Lightning Experience hopes to bring a reimagined consumer-like experience that is modern, efficient and smart to Sage Live. Relevant information is surfaced for each screen, streamlining processes and making workflows more intuitive.
"I’m thrilled to see Sage Live reinvent accounting for SMBs with the power and speed of Salesforce Lightning," said Adam Seligman EVP and GM of Salesforce App Cloud. "Now SMBs can move faster than ever before to run their business on the world's #1 enterprise cloud platform."
Sage also announced a partnership with TomTom Telematics, which will connect Sage Live with the Internet of Things. In an interactive live demo, Sage’s EVP of Product Marketing, Jennifer Warawa, showed how Sage Live works with connected car technology, allowing businesses with fleets of vehicles to record mileage and automate expensing and invoicing. Because it’s real-time, and built on the Salesforce platform, customers will be able to automatically view fleet data in Sage Live.
Thomas Schmidt, Managing Director at TomTom Telematics said: “We know that for businesses, keeping track of vehicle journeys has always been a notoriously difficult task. The combination of Sage Live and connected car technology is therefore a huge step forward in keeping businesses informed, efficient, and in control. With the innovation in this area moving at such pace, we know this is just the start.”