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May 15, 2014

Sage ERP: Our brand is a disaster

Prepare to be bombarded with product rebrands as firm targets cloud deployments.

By Joe Curtis

Accountancy software firm Sage, which has built on its business over the last decade to hold 6% of the ERP market, used its own conference to label its branding "a disaster".

Europe CEO Alvaro Ramirez said "our brand is a disaster". Ramirez, speaking at Sage ERP X3 in Lisbon, added: "We are ready to invest more and more. We need to be much better in branding.

"We proved [that we can do] this by running a campaign for the first time in our life. Brand is key for us. It’s impossible to lead the market without a strong brand."

CBR understands that Sage is also considering a rebrand of its product names to unify its wide-spanning range of solutions, which encompass finance, ERP, CRM, accounting, HR and more.

Ramirez claimed the company has close to two million support contracts in place, though ERP chief executive Christophe Letellier confirmed the company wants to expand its market share as a priority.

Gartner’s recent worldwide ERP software market update showed that in 2013 Sage enjoyed a 6% share, lagging behind leaders SAP, on 24%, and Oracle, on 12% – but beating Microsoft’s 5% stake.

Letellier said: "Our biggest challenge is to grow, is to win market share. Most importantly, it is to acquire new customers. We need to grow and find solutions to grow as fast as possible."

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The firm hopes to do this with the release of version seven of its X3 product, which will be released in June this year.

North America CTO Himanshu Palsule explained the update will be able to be run in the cloud, including on Amazon Web Services, but that it will first be rolled out as an on-premise solution.

Many of Sage’s customers – primarily SMBs – are still using on-premise software. A YouGov study last September claimed to find that just 13% of Sage business software customers accessed the solutions online, while 22% of Sage ERP users remain on-premise.

However, the message at the conference was clear that Sage ERP’s future is in the cloud.

Palsule added that Sage built the latest iteration around customer demands for more effective use of data to drive faster decision-making, making data more usable to boost productivity, and helping customers use data more intelligently to grow profits.

He said: "You don’t want an ERP that cripples you. You want an ERP that serves as a catalyst for you to grow."

Letellier said: "We are in a data-driven world," while Ramirez dismissed license models typical of on-premise deployments as "static", and suggested the future will be a "dynamic" subscription-based approach.

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