Published: July 27th, 2016

CHICAGO – “No forced migrations!” Sage CEO Stephen Kelly told that to partners. Sage Channel Chief Alan Laing said the same thing. Company EVP of Product Marketing Jennifer Warawa echoed the same statement. Canadian country leader Nancy Harris told CDN in Canada Sage will also not force any migrations.

What’s clear from the Sage Summit 2016 is that the accounting software vendor is more interested in the cloud. All of the same executives mentioned above in this blog told CDN if customers and channel partners don’t want to move they don’t have to. But when they do more to the cloud Sage wants them to know they are there for them.

If there is any indication for this cloud stance look no further than the incentives on the new Sage Partner Program. Alan Laing said Sage has introduced new channel incentives that will pay solution providers 10 per cent more margins for cloud than on premise.

If you want more proof look at Sage’s partnership last year with Salesforce and their new partnership with Microsoft to integration Office 365.

Jennifer Warawa, a Kelowna, B.C.-native, said Sage is essentially reshaping the business to get to customers and markets first. This new approach brings a new set of challenges, she said.

Previously at Sage the company employed market segments such as SMB and Mid-Market. Warawa and her team realized these terms did not resonate with customers. “We could not connect to them and how big do I need to be to find a fit in any of these markets? It was too confusing and the message did not resonate with them,” she added.

Another issue was that internally Sage was offering Sage One and Sage 50 to the same customer. Warawa said that the customer began to evaluate the company against itself along with competitors.

To that end, Sage has renamed these markets to start-up, scale-up and enterprise. With this new approach customer can see the product specific for their business and not the entire market segment and evaluate and see if it fits.

“We also are looking to relate to customers in their growth cycle rather than number of employees,” Warawa said.

There was one instance where Warawa saw a 10-person company using Salesforce and thought “that’s a big solution for a small company.” But that company told Warawa that they were looking at what they would turn into in the next 18 months and not worried so much on what they were today.

“There were not buying technology for the now but for the future and customers today are making business decisions based on ambition than the number of employees, which is old school,” she said.

One quick hit before I go. Friend of CDN Erik Moll has landed at Comparex Canada. He was unfortunately part of a set of layoffs announced two weeks ago at Microsoft Canada. CDN wishes Erik the very best.