DENVER — Is it possible to be a champion in today's economic climate? As news of bailouts, cutbacks, and layoffs fill the headlines this week, the 2008 Sage Summit here in Denver seems to insist on positivity. In fact, the business management software provider's president, Doug Meyer, took special note of this apparent contradiction, telling attendees that, although attendance at the customer conference is slightly down compared to last year, there seems to be an aura of friendliness floating through the Colorado Convention Center.
Despite depressing economic news, Tuesday's keynote presentation was all about finding triumph in tough times. Meyer told the crowd that now is the time to "look deeply at ourselves, look at our business and organizations, and find nuggets that brought us success." In times like these, Meyer, said, people are looking for reassurance in -- and trying to keep intact -- the cornerstones of their businesses, all of which Sage helps in providing: accounting, customer management, asset management, and people management. He went on to introduce a public figure who knows a thing or two about fighting for success.
Bruce Jenner, the 1976 Olympic decathlon champion, took the stage to share the riveting story behind his Olympic achievements. "Whether competing at the Olympic level or starting your own business, the journey is the same," Jenner told attendees. It all boils down to competition, he said -- most of all, competition within yourselves. In times when the future is uncertain, it's important to grasp what's important to you, he said. "Make concrete, gut-wrenching decisions about what you want," Jenner advised the audience.
In addition to Jenner's inspiring keynote, the Sage executive team announced something new to the conference this year -- the company's first-ever customer awards. Sage recognized 13 clients in the areas of best innovation, rookie of the year, best end-to-end deployment, best use of customization, community stewardship, best use of multiple Sage Software products/services, and lifetime achievement.
Denis Pombriant, founder and managing principal of CRM consultancy Beagle Research, served as a judge for the inaugural awards. Pombriant says that, in sifting through customer submissions, it became evident that Sage CRM customers often start with other Sage products before adopting the company's SageCRM, SalesLogix, or Act! by Sage. "For many, CRM is only a small part of what they do," Pombriant says. "Once companies are established with [enterprise resource planning] and accounting, they need to naturally look at CRM." And that seems to be the case with the majority of Sage customers.
Pombriant singles out one of this year's winners as a true champion: Rex Moore Electrical Contractors and Engineers of Sacramento, Calif., won a lifetime achievement award for more than 10 years with Sage products. The company is in its third generation of business and has grown organically over time, successfully tackling automation and bringing its business into the Web 2.0 world.
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