Published: July 31st, 2014

Business software vendor Sage North America is looking to expand its services to the small and medium-sized business (SMB) market with a series of strategic alliances announced this week at its annual Sage Summit conference in Las Vegas.

A key focus for Sage is building brand equity in the Canadian market said Nancy Harris, Sage North America senior vice-president and general manager, Canada. Three years ago Sage moved from a model focused on branding around product lines to focusing on Sage as the dominant brand, and Harris said they’re seeing positive signs of success. And in Canada, SMBs are a key focus for Sage.

“With more than two million small and medium-sized businesses in Canada employing more than 10 million individuals, they truly are the backbone of our economy. Sage has a strong Canadian heritage and has been supporting small and medium-sized businesses for more than 30 years,” said Harris, in a statement. “Through our strategic partnerships with some of the country’s leading brands, we are working together to provide product and service offerings and drive business conversations that will further support Canadian businesses so they can focus on growth and thrive now and into the future.”

Sage has a number of key strategic alliances in place in Canada, with companies such as Canada Post, Telus, Moneris, MaserCard, Visa and Amex. One new alliance is with Manulife Financial, which will see Manulife’s pooled retirement pension plan offering integrated with Sage’s small business accounting and payroll software. Administrators will be able to seamlessly move between Sage and Manulife systems to handle employee deductions and contributions to the plan.

With payment processor Moneris, Sage will be delivering an integrated payment solution that connects Sage accounting and ERP applications with Moneris’ debit and credit card payment processing technology, allowing SMBs to manage their payment activities through one platform.

“Recent studies indicate that Canadians prefer the convenience of paying by credit or debit, and businesses that accept credit cards can increase their revenue by up to 23 per cent,” said Harris. “However, increased payments can result in more back-end work for businesses. Sage understands these challenges, and partnering with an industry leader, such as Moneris, allows us to help simplify their payments workflow and save them time.”

Sage is also engaging with leading female entrepreneur groups Women in Biz Network and Mompreneur, and will be supportive of their work and will be an active thought leader and contributor in their social networks.

“Women in Biz Network is a very close knit community of female entrepreneurs, and our goal is to help them confidently grow their businesses in a smart, measurable and sustainable way,” said Leigh Mitchell, founder of Women in Biz Network, in a statement. “WIBN only partners with companies that share similar values. Sage has shown through its years of experience that it not only understands the challenges that female entrepreneurs face, but it actively wants to help them succeed.”