Sage promises new dawn

FTSE 100 software giant Sage has promised customers that a far-reaching
restructuring of its software packages will make the company’s products more
efficient and user friendly.

In a bold move announced at its annual ‘Connections’ conference last week,
Sage revealed that it would drop the ‘Line’ branding from its products and move
to selling product suites rather than individual applications.

The group’s new packages will be known as Sage 50, Sage 200 and Sage 1000,
and will include integrated payroll, forecasting and accounting programmes.

Greg Ford, managing director of the Sage accountants division, said the
decision to make the change was based on intensive customer research which
indicated that users were demanding a more integrated product.

‘Accountants and businesses are demanding integration to drive efficiency and
create more time to provide value added services,’ Ford said.

A Sage spokesman added that the move was also made to simplify the Sage
product line and make it easier for customers to pick out the programmes that
they needed.

Dave Turner, group marketing director at Coda, said Sage’s decision to offer
a more integrated product was not a surprising one.

‘Sage has grown by acquisition since the early nineties, so there was a bit
of a technological mish-mash and confusing branding. At some point there was
going to be a review, and it is sensible to go for a more integrated product,’
Turner said.

The challenge now for Sage is to make sure that the integration of its wide
array of products goes smoothly.

The company has recently encountered problems with Sage Line 50 2007, and
will want to avoid similar hiccups as it pulls together its various applications
into suites.

The company has said that it plans to increase its budget for the switch from
around 10% of research and development investment to 25%.

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