Sage Summit - London: Top 4 Takeaways & 2 Surprises!

Having attended Sage Summit in London last week I thought it would be useful to share my key lessons learned.

1) Sage Live is Gaining Momentum
Most partners (ISV & SI’s) I spoke with were re-evaluating whether they should offer the Sage Live solution. The good news was that everyone I spoke with seemed to acknowledge the product had come a long way in recent years. No one seems to doubt that Sage are completely committed to Sage Live and its cloud first strategy.  Many Sage Live partners are also starting to understand what can be accomplished when they develop on the Salesforce platform. This rate of progress was simply unimaginable a few years ago when I was a working as a Product Manager at Sage. My perception is that many partners will wait one more year before deciding to invest in Sage Live. However, in delaying they are missing a big opportunity. At Veltig we know from first-hand experience that Sage Live is already gaining significant traction in the market today, and from our perspective the larger the Sage Live partner community that prospects have to choose from the better!

2) Sage Are Accelerating Their Rate of Innovation
Sage really are innovating and developing great partnerships with industry leaders like Salesforce, Amazon & Microsoft. At Veltig we can’t wait to get our hands on Pegg an exciting innovation that Kriti Sharma and her team are working on. For those of you who don’t know, Pegg is accounting’s first chatbot from Sage. Pegg is an automated, admin assistant that lives in your mobile and other devices. For example, if I want to ask when our next payroll is, how much cash have we on hand, or who owes me money, Pegg will be able to generate this information in real time. It was surreal experience for me personally wearing a Hololens and experience the use cases the Sage team are solving for at the event.

3. Sage Live Will Act As The Foundation
Numerous SI partners we met were concerned that Sage were not committed to Sage 50 & Sage 200 despite Sage’s numerous assurances to this effect. Several were curious to hear about our experience moving Sage 50 customers to Sage Live. We believe that a different mindset is required from the partners. Alan Laing, EVP Partners and Alliances at Sage captured this well in his partner keynote where he argued that Sage Live was the foundation with the ability to extend with best of breed apps like Stapp.io for inventory management from the Salesforce App Exchange. The key difference moving forward is that customers will have multiple ISV’s to choose from beyond the core accounting function at Sage Live. They need to pick the solution best optimized for their needs and it may not always be a Sage solution!

4. Sage Live Product Management and R&D Are Delivering at Pace
What was even more surprising from my perspective is that the pace of innovation is ramping up all the time. The addition of Wave in the next few months will really bring the product forward from a reporting, usability and analysis perspective. The first iterations of Payroll and Inventory will also be available before year end as well. All of which reflect the exciting developments being worked on.  

Finally, there were two elements that surprised me from the event:

1 . Salesforce’s Absence Was Noted
It seemed odd that Salesforce were not exhibitors at the event given Sage’s brand recognition in the UK and Ireland. Most Salesforce account executives that we work with know very little about Sage Live and its unique value proposition in the Salesforce ecosystem. Sage will gain more traction faster when the Salesforce account executive’s realize that their customers can run their entire business on the platform and the automation possibilities that go with that for CPQ and Sales Cloud.

2. Praise from Den Howlett ! 
Finally I never thought that I would see the day that Den Howlett was praising Sage! Earlier in my career Den was notorious within Sage for bashing the company (from an internal perspective).  In 2013 he wrote:

“The writing is on the wall for Sage unless it makes radical changes and takes the hit that goes with that.” 

After the recent conference the title of his article was All hail the new Sage which is quite a turnaround and one which I endorse wholeheartedly     

“Sage Summit 2017 was a refreshing affair that demonstrated a ‘new’ Sage that has been conspicuously missing in the past. There’s an awful lot to do but progress is good and customers should be encouraged.” 

Donal de Paor is the CEO of Veltig a leading Sage Live and Salesforce partner with offices in the US, UK and Ireland.

This article originally appeared on Linkedin.