Reading the coverage of Sage Insights from Indicee and Jim Ward plus comments from the Sage Partners’ Linked-In site I was struck by the comparison between enthusiasm garnered by Sage partners in the US and the general feeling of gloom I see in the UK. Could we be looking at two different companies that happen to be joined by a common shareholding structure? If so then it reminds me of many toxic partnerships that were little more than x-people that happened to be trading together. It happens a lot in the profession.
This 2010 edition was my first as a Sage alumnus and I came away with a feeling that not only is Sage, and its ecosystem of partners, world-class in business but also as people.
Indicee then goes on to talk about Sage’s software plus services strategy for the cloud (rolls eyes but hey, it’s better than nothing) and the more important (at least to me) discussion about where the pure play cloud products are going:
The Simply Accounting group under the stewardship of Jamie Sutherland continues to be one of the most innovative teams in the Sage family. They have followed up on the success of Billing Boss, the online invoicing tool, with a mobile payment processing solution called Payment Boss.
Baby steps but important nonetheless.
My first impressions of Sage were that we had finally found a vendor focused on the business partner and helping our company deliver great products and teaching us how to be the best service vendors. Over the years, there have been various leadership changes that had taken the blush off the rose a bit. Don’t get the wrong impression, it’s been my personal opinion, that Sage still provided business partners like us the best partner programs in the software industry, bar none.
Today, while awaiting my flight, I’m feeling like I did back in 2001. Excited, refreshed and confident. This new Sage under its current leadership has invigorated this company in North America. There’s a commitment to its product lines, and now heavily focused in the customer experience.
In the LinkedIn discussions, everyone seemed to think that while the event attracted less people, attendee quality was higher. I’d expect that to be the case. Just as important, most felt the company had done a great job communicating vision and strategy. The general sense I got was one of relief, coupled by enthusiasm in an economy partners believe is reviving.
On this side of the pond, I rarely hear such upbeat tales. If anything, a sombre mood characterizes discussions. But then maybe things are not quite as gloomy as I imagine. On Twitter this morning, Stuart Lynn says:
I bet they are. With cloud vendors attracting business left and right, and a lame duck CEO in post, Sage has a lot of work to do. But then I’d much rather see a vibrant Sage talking solutions than the diet of financial market led ‘stuff’ that has dominated my inbox the last few years. Here’s to hoping that Sage is imaginative in its choice of next CEO. We’ve already seen what a radical change in leadership can do for SAP. There is no reason to think that same sense of enthusiasm could not return to Sage. If they make the right choices.