• May 19, 2008
  • By Marshall Lager, founder and managing principal, Third Idea Consulting; contributor, CRM magazine

Filling Out the Spice Rack

OXON HILLS, MD. -- The public introduction of Sue Swenson, Sage Software's new president and chief executive officer, was only the first highlight of the company's annual Insights partner conference here last week. The company had previously announced its operating results for the first half of 2008 and released a new version of Act! by Sage for Financial Professionals, and followed up at the conference with a report on its strategy roadmap and some new products from the accounting products group.

Sage CRM Solutions 2010, the company's broad strategy for the evolution of its CRM products and services, had its first progress report since being introduced in March. Among the milestones reached:

  • Embedded Sage CRM within Sage MAS 90 and 200 Extended Enterprise Suites;
  • Sage SalesLogix Mobile v5.1, granting users "anywhere access"; and
  • A new partner-hosted Act! subscription offering, allowing customers to mix perpetual and subscription licenses within a single workgroup.
[Editor's note: More information on Sage 2010 will be available in the upcoming June 2008 issue of CRM magazine, in the feature article "The Second Coming of 2.0."]

The new version of Act! by Sage for Financial Professionals, 10.0, includes insurance and annuity information tabs for expanding client profiles, a dashboard for accessing schedule and activity data in a single view, and support for Microsoft Windows Vista and Office 2007, according to the company.

"Financial advisors succeed by developing personal relationships with their clients and creating a positive experience for each," said David van Toor, senior vice president and general manager for Sage CRM Solutions North America, in a statement. "Act! for Financial Professionals helps users capture unique details about their clients so they can nurture these relationships, spend time selling only the most appropriate products and services, and help improve their clients' financial standing as well as their own."

Sage Group, Sage Software's U.K.-based parent company, reported revenues of $1.29 billion ($1,290.3 million, in British notation) for the six months ended March 31, 2008, an increase of 9 percent year-over-year, according to the company. Adjusted pre-tax profit for the period also increased 9 percent, to $278 million. Sage Software itself was steady at $500.7 million revenue, which the company attributed to the performance of Sage Healthcare Division; organic revenue growth, excluding the healthcare arm, was 5 percent. EBITA (earnings before interest, tax and net amortization) decreased to $87.8 million, from $94.1 million in the same period of the prior year. EBITA margin met the company's forecasts, meaning it decreased to 18 percent from 19 percent, reflecting the company's increased investments in customer service programs.

Related articles:

Swenson Clears the Cobwebs for Sage
Insights '08: The new CEO discusses her observations of the company, and outlines goals and aspirations for the coming year.

Sage Delivers Insight on Changes [May 2007]
Insights '07: The company's annual partner and customer convention kicks off with talk of the future, growing from recently announced structural shifts.

Sage Makes Commitments to Customers and Partners [May 2006]
Insights '06: The company reveals a score of new applications, and renews its allegiance to the channel that supports it.

Best Software Yields Sage Insights [May 2005]
Insights '05: The company announces at its annual partner conference new initiatives and a name change to signal alignment with its international brand.

Sage's New New Global Strategy
Sage Software's latest CRM shift promises one step up in mobility and another toward integration.

Former Sage CEO Goes to Corrigo
Industry heavyweight Ron Verni lands at a field service management company, with a mandate to create growth.

ACT! Enacts an Online Community
Riding the Web 2.0 wave, the Sage Software unit provides a place for users and experts to interact.

Fine-Tuning the Channel
They're not exactly employees, and they're not quite customers, but your channel partners can be equally important -- and you can't just direct them by remote control.

Customer Connection Is Sage's Flavor of the Day
Sage Summit '07: Putting recent executive shakeups in the rearview mirror, the venerable vendor dialogues about dialogue.

Sage Dismisses CEO [October 2007]
Facing challenges, the venerable midmarket vendor beheads its North American operations.

Feature: The 2007 Market Awards: Midmarket Suite CRM
Perennial entrant Sage Software is named a Leader, though with the usual analyst ding about too many product offerings in one space.

Feature: The 2007 Market Awards: Small Business Suite CRM
A midmarket and SMB staple, Sage Software is named One to Watch; its big challenge is to bring a more unified message to the market.

ACT! Steers Users to a New Dashboard
New Sage offering provides productivity and business intelligence improvements; one industry analyst suggests the new version closes the gap between contact management and SFA.

Wise Move: Sage Software Undergoes a Restructuring [May 2007]
The CRM vendor realigns its corporate foundation to create two new divisions that will better serve their customers' needs.

Sage Climbs Up Vertical Falls to Spawn
The CRM fixture will use the technology obtained to deliver a new integrated bundle aimed at financial services advisory firms, including some of the larger enterprises.

Sage Livens Up the ACT! for 2007
The venerable product line receives upgrades to improve security, Outlook integration, and user productivity; one analyst lauds the new functionality.

Sage's New Global Strategy [Oct. 2005]
Restructuring Sage's CRM delivery strategy is part of an ongoing effort to rebrand and unify Sage's SMB products.

Best Software Unveils Triple-Barrel Midmarket CRM Strategy [June 2004]
ACCPAC CRM to take on the hosted market; SalesLogix is refreshed.

Best's Road Ahead, After its ACCPAC Acquisition [March 2004]
Analysts sound off on what The Sage Group needs to focus on after completing today's acquisition.

Feature: It's All Coming 2.0gether
As 2007 ends, and 2008 looms ahead of us, patterns are beginning to emerge: The future of business may not be in the hands of the executives, but those of the customer instead. And yet, hasn't it always been that way?

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