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Sage confirms Microsoft cloud deal

UK software company will push Sage 200 product through Windows Azure

By Steve Evans

Sage Microsoft cloud deal

UK software house Sage has confirmed reports that it will join forces with Microsoft to develop certain SMB ERP products on the Windows Azure cloud platform.

Following earlier reports in the Financial Times the Newcastle-based company has announced full details of the tie-up.

In a statement sent to CBR Sage said the initial focus will be on Sage 200 in the UK and Sage Murano in Spain. Development has already started and pilot deployments are expected to start within the next few months. A full release is expected in 2013. Sage 200 is the company’s financial management, customer relationship management and business intelligence software.

Sage says the deal will help its customers that are ready to move to the cloud now, and a choice of deployment methods mean those wishing to remain on-premise will be able to do so.

The cloud is an attractive option for SMBs, which make up the vast majority of Sage’s client base, as it requires less upfront costs, no investment in hardware and a more flexible approach to billing and contractual elements.

Antoine Henry, CEO Sage France, and Sage Europe’s SMB market segment leader, said: "This is great news for our SMB customers who want both the best of on-premise applications and the benefits of the web. It is also very important for Sage because it shows momentum in the delivery of our web strategy and our commitment to a consistent technology and platform strategy."

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The company has repeatedly told CBR that it has not been slow to adapt to the shift to cloud computing, with former UK CEO Paul Stobart claiming the company is, "not anti-SaaS, we’re really not. If a customer wishes to experience our technology on the web then there are a number of ways that they can do that via our partners. Every one of our suites is offered online by partners."

Stobart, who has since left Sage, then told CBR at the launch of Sage One, that "all of Sage’s core mid-market applications will be web-enabled inside of two years."

More recently, managing director for the midmarket division, Jayne Archbold, told us Sage is very active in the cloud, but is perhaps not as vocal about it as many of its rivals. "We’ve had products in the cloud for a number of years; what we’ve not done is gone out there and shouted about that," she said.

This move makes sense for Sage as it gives the company a solid platform on which to push its software through the cloud, which is where its customers are rapidly moving.

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