SageLive: interesting

by admin on December 2, 2008

in General,Innovation

Duane over at Kashflow pulled the old ‘conference spying’ trick and reckons that Sage is preparing to launch SageLive, an on-demand offering possibly as early as January 8rh, 2009. If it does, then as Ben Kepes at CloudAve says:

We’ve been waiting for a really compelling on-demand accounting offering from one of the big boys…

Sage is the gorilla in the room in the UK market, until now they’re been silent about their SaaS intentions. Until now…

Duane reckons that he’s been fed the line that Sage has been developing a cloud based solution for 18 months. If so then what’s taking them so long? He also expresses surprise that Sage has done the development in house. If true that doesn’t surprise me because 18 months ago (again if true), there was nothing much around that Sage could usefully acquire, except perhaps for a bunch of programmers working on cloud computing initiatives.

Duane gives Sage credits for:

There seems to be some neat integration with Google Apps and GMail. As you’d expect there is integration with Sage-owned payment processor ProTX as well as PayPal. I wonder if they’ll knock us off our perch as the only accounting software in the world that has Certified Integration status with PayPal.

but disses them down for their approach to the product noting that:

One of the first things I try with a new accounting product is to create an invoice. I couldn’t quickly work out how to with SageLive -  it’s definitely lacking the intuitiveness of KashFlow and other web-based apps. It suffers from the same problem as all of Sages products – it’s obviously designed by people that have never run a small business. It looks really good and it sounds really good, but a scratch of the surface shows it simply doesn’t deliver the goods.

I’d expect Duane and other competitors to adopt this position but then it doesn’t surprise me. The biggest problem for incumbent software developers is their past success. They assume that what went before will carry them into the future. SAP has gotten closer than anyone else with Business ByDesign but even they fell into some self made traps. Today, ByDesign is stalled and at risk of never fulfilling its potential.

Well- what is going on at Sage Towers? I don’t know but intend finding out. I agree with Duane that:

But there are the usual problems with Sage software as mentioned above. Plus there is a lot of anti-Sage sentiment out there from small business owners (who have wasted time and money on unsuitable software) and accountants (who see Sage as a bit of a bully). All things considered, I think it can only be a good thing for us at KashFlow and the emerging SaaS industry as a whole. It shows that Sage accept that there is unsuppressable demand from business owners for web-based accounting software. Every penny they spend on marketing their new baby will help to raise the profile of all SaaS offerings.

Regardless of Sage’s marketing muscle, it has a perceptual mountain to overcome as the company that likes to give less and cling on to its walled garden approach to everything it does.

More later.

UPDATE: Sage says it will brief me soon on the story.

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Chris Tanner December 3, 2008 at 1:15 am

Excellent news. Gives the old accountants troop a good wake-up as to the real viability of off-site solutions.

I'm guessing that Duane spotted this at the recent Business Startup in London – interesting that Sage are also pushing the small end of the SME market. Lots of players in that space; Xero, Kashflow, Liquid to name a few.

I wonder if they plan to roll this out to their larger SME client base, and how well it will cope with:

- Stock control (a popular gripe with Line50)
- Integration with clients ecommerce sites (API perhaps)
- Interface with SageCRM (doubtful)
- Upgrade from clients' existing Instant/Line50 installations

Will be interested to see progress.

Jason Holden December 3, 2008 at 11:01 pm

Well at last!

I for one am glad Sage are finally entering this market place (must be honest when they did ‘what ever’ they did to Online50 I thought this day was going to be sooner), anyway it’s not because I will recommend them, small business has it hard enough without paying through the nose to Sage, but as the largest bookkeeping software provider in the UK whose name everyone knows this sends a clear signal that you ignore at your peril that online is the way forward, should only take 20 years or so for most of the accountants to catch on :-)

saas commentator January 31, 2009 at 6:45 am

Sage has disabled the sagelive service, after security problems with their software were reported to them.

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