Sage's New New Global Strategy

Wouldn't it be nice to be able to access the right data when you're actually standing face-to-face with a client? Forget about the start-up delays of a laptop and fumbling with data storage, the inability to access information remotely or the dozen or so additional clicks to find the right information when it is available -- "anywhere access" is becoming crucial to business relations. Users want a fully functional "anywhere" experience -- a demand seemingly taken to heart by Sage Software, a provider of business management software, principally for small and midsize businesses.

Today, Sage announced a new global CRM strategy, promising interoperability among its pre-existing CRM solutions -- ACT!, SageCRM, and Sage SalesLogix -- under the unified heading of "Sage CRM Solutions 2010." The enhanced mobility of sales data is just one of the advantages to the new corporate strategy, according to company executives. The interoperability of the various CRM applications promoses easier migration and greater interaction between solutions -- addressing a long-standing complaint among analysts and Sage users. The approach provides a Sage customer with the option of expanding its CRM solution, with the Sage application of the customer's choosing.

It's worth noting that this isn't the company's first attempt at nailing a "global strategy" -- including an effort back in 2005. Sheryl Kingstone, director of enterprise research at Yankee Group, describes Sage's latest strategy as an "ecosystem" within which the company is not only able to sell more, but also able to invest more in its partners, now that the systems involved are interoperable. "The solution can guide the user and, if it's not perfect, [Sage is] giving them the tools to move back and forth," Kingstone says. "This helps the customer and the partner in seeing how they all play together -- which is not an easy thing with three product lines." So, one user comfortable with and fond of the ACT! solution may continue to use it, while a different employee may work in a separate -- but now integrated -- Sage application.

Sage executives say that the Sage CRM Solutions 2010 strategy seeks to address all three of the top user needs reflected by Yankee Group's 2007 Enterprise Applications and Mobility survey:

  • The need to focus on and transform applications' processes;
  • increasing the usability of those processes; and
  • the need for mobility.

With that goal in mind, the company says, the benefits of the Sage Global Strategy include:

  • increased end-user, cross-organizational productivity;
  • more Web 2.0 applications;
  • front- and back-office integration; and
  • fusion among vertical Sage applications and Web-based solutions.

With requirement-driven segmentation, businesses are able to customize their CRM needs while expanding functionality. Sage, Kingstone says, is "focusing on on-demand more, which is where it's competitive. They are able to sell more than before, when they weren't interoperable."

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