Computer Dealer News

Sage releases its big two cloud products for entrepreneurs

Sage Channel Chief Alan Laing talks about new products and partner strategy

CHICAGO – The Canadian release of Sage Live and Sage One happened today at the Sage Summit. These two flagship products were followed by Sage Live for Accountants and Sage One Partner Edition as part of the vendor’s integrated cloud-based accounting and practice management solutions. The Sage Live for Accountants will be made available in September in Canada, while the Partner Edition will be out in 2017. The same rollout is for the U.S. market, except for Partner Edition being released this year.

Sage Live for Accountants is a single real-time source of information for entrepreneurs. The company, at the event, shifted gears with its go-to-market approach where it eliminated terms such as small business, SMB and Mid-Market to newer terms Start-ups, Scale-ups and the Enterprise.

One of the new aspects of this round of product releases is that Sage has enabled them to be use anything and anywhere for tracking, analyzing and managing financial performance and workflows on a mobile device or in the cloud.

The Sage One Partner Edition is aimed to help the channel onboard new customers to the Sage One platform in real-time. Solution providers with this product can now onboard hundreds of new clients instantly and provides them with a one-view dashboard of all its financial data. I can also prepare tax returns.

This new line up of cloud-based products is the bases of Sage’s channel growth plans. Company channel chief Alan Laing told CDN that it has aspirations of growing channels sales worldwide to 45 per cent. It currently at 30 per cent; although its much higher in Canada and some other regions across the globe.

Laing said Sage currently has 22,000 channel partners but expects that to increase through the Microsoft partner ecosystem now that they are integrating Office 365.

“The strategy is clear. We had a history where we grew through acquisition and the products were too complex, but with Sage One, Sage Live and X3 these are now global products and we can be in every country and there is no reason why we can’t grow in the channel. And, we are not stopping at 45 per cent. I would like it to be more than 50 per cent or more,” he said.

Laing added that the company is not interested nor is it investing heavily in direct selling. He admitted that more work needs to be done to support the channel partners better and be easier to work with.

Sage channel partner Robert L’Esperance, president of Montreal-based Comerex International said he agreed with the new channel program and structure along with the overall product strategy.

“Partner programs consolidation will better position us for delivering full solutions being provided to fulfill client current and future growth needs consisting of an array of Sage and partner products and services. I see the whole as beneficial to clients and partners as well as Sage,” he said.

In terms of its channel growth plans Laing said he is interested in signing up nationwide partners in each region along with local partners. The margin rate card has not been finalized yet, but Laing said those partners implementing cloud solutions will get 10 more points of margin over those who don’t.

Sage has four levels of partners: Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond. Diamond partners can reach 40 points of base margins based on sales requirements and Sage Partner Account Manager approvals.