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July 26, 2016

Microsoft Office 365, Slack, Salesforce & connected cars: 5 things you may have missed at Sage Summit 2016

List: Sage wants to 'leapfrog' competitors - with new smart assistant Pegg just one of the new innovations on show.

By Ellie Burns

With the excitement of Gwyneth Paltrow and Ashton Kutcher still to come, Sage have already made a number of key announcements at its 2016 Summit in Chicago, US. Reporting from the event, CBR gives you a run down of the biggest announcements at the close of day 2.


1. Sage Cloud

A recurring word at the Sage Summit was ‘leapfrogging’, with the company wanting to stop catching up with competitors and instead accelerate past them via innovation. Following the investment of £139m on research and development during FY15, Sage CEO Stephen Kelly put the spotlight on Sage Cloud as a platfrom for all Sage products to be connected to the cloud.

Sage Cloud will allow businesses to integrate all activity across Sage products quickly and easily. It will also make it possible for Sage customers to activate integrations with partner products within a few clicks and will eliminate the need for maintenance or change due to product upgrades. 

Also announced was the Sage Marketplace, a new open, API-driven platform for Independent Software Vendors to showcase their Sage developer add-ons and apps.


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2. Sage 50 & Microsoft 365

Sage announced that it will be extending its relationship with Microsoft, integrating Sage 50 with Microsoft Office 365. In addition to this integration, Sage also announced that it is to become an Office 365 reseller and first-line support provider under the Microsoft Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) program. Sage claims to be the first ever software company to partner with the platform. 

 But what does this extended deal with Microsoft mean for customers? The Micosoft 365 integration with Sage 50 will allow customers to manage their businesses across multiple devices and locations, ensuring that data is live and up to date. Sage claims that the integration will enable customers to communicate quickly and easily, make faster, better decisions and to go paperless.

Joining the Summit via a pre-recorded video message, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said: “Together, with partners like Sage, we’re focused on empowering professionals to get more out of every moment and for small and medium businesses to grow and seize the opportunities ahead.”


3. Pegg

Sage also used the Summit as platform in which to launch Pegg, the accounting software company’s new admin bot. Pegg is a smart assistant that allows users to track expenses via messaging apps. Claiming to strip the complexities out of financial admin, Sage claims Pegg makes business ‘as simple as sending a text’, with the first-of-its-kind accounting bot tapping into the ethos of the sharing economy. 

Global Director for Mobile Product Management, Sage’s Kriti Sharma said: “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.”


4. Slack, Salesforce & connected cars

A major partnership coinciding with the launch of Pegg was the new tie-up with Slack. Slack, the cloud-based team collaboration tool, will act as a messaging channel for Pegg. 

Jason Shellen, Head of Platform at Slack said: “Slack’s mission is to make people’s working lives simpler, more pleasant and more productive. Expense reporting is time-consuming and a pain point for almost everyone, but with Pegg, the process becomes intuitive and fluid.  The idea that you can simply message your expenses to Pegg and not have to worry about the administrative hassle of saving and entering paper receipts reflects our vision for the future of work”.

A live demo by Sage’s new EVP of Product Marketing, Jennifer Warawa, put the spotlight on Sage’s partnership with TomTom Telematics. Sage Live will be integrated with TomTom Telematics and will allow businesses with fleets of vehicles to record mileage and automate expense reports. 

Another major relationship concerning Sage Live was extended partnership with Salesforce. Sage Live will harness the power of Salesforce Lightening, giving customers a consumer-like experience which will be accessible across every device.


5. Philanthropy

Sage will be expanding its corporate philanthropy initiative, pointing to its recent support and sponsorship of events like the Invicticus Games.

The Sage Foundation will focus on three core groups – military veterans, young people and women. Sage’s Chief People Officer Sandra Campopiano launched a new open grant process with a donation to an inspiring Chicago charity that seeks to inspire more women to work in the technology sector.

She awarded a $50,000 donation from Sage to Brave Initiatives, a program encouraging high school girls to see themselves as capable coders and tune them into community issues.

Sage CEO Stephen Kelly said: “It was almost impossible to tell the story of the technology revolution at Sage in one keynote. With a more connected world comes new demands on our hero business builders, and we are fired up by doing everything we can to support entrepreneurs in following their passion. 

"We are working on making concepts like the Internet of Things, machine learning, blockchain and data sciences into a reality for businesses, accountants and partners. This is way more than cloud and mobile-first. It’s designing and building technologies that truly power businesses, freeing entrepreneurs to grow and win.”


Read CBRs coverage straight from Chicago

Sage Summit: Focus on entrepreneurs as Richard Branson tries to inspire and Sage tries to enable with Slack integration and accounting bot

Sage Summit: Lightning in Chicago as Salesforce reinvents Sage Live


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