Imagine you own a business. You have a variety of accounting and business needs that you know can be fulfilled with software solutions. You navigate to a site on the Internet. From an interactive model, you choose your country, you supply answers to questions regarding your specific business issues. The tools you need to solve your problems are presented to you, without the need for specific names for those tools. It's the layman's approach to acquiring accounting software and business solutions. "It's why I'm here," said Pascal Houillon, president and CEO of Sage North America, at the recent Sage Summit conference in Nashville, TN. Bringing the Sage brand, a household name throughout much of Europe and Africa, to the doorsteps of North American businesses is the job Houillon was tasked with when he took on his current position in January, 2011.
The traditional concept of modular solutions to fill the needs of businesses is necessary for the back end, explained Christophe Letellier, CEO of Global Sage ERP X3. The company needs to define its products internally. But where Sage is headed seems to be in the direction of a user experience that transcends that traditional concept of modular solutions. A year ago, Sage announced plans to consolidate its family of North American products under the one name, Sage, with differentiating sub-names like Sage 300, Sage ERP X3, Sage 50, and so on. In so doing, the company has set the stage for a time when users won't have to ask for a particular product name, just for the solution to fit their needs.
According to many of the people I met with from within the Sage ranks, the old days of defining accounting and business software in modules is not the solution of the future. This year's Sage Summit conference for Sage partners, those who represent the connecting link between the Sage products and the end users, embraces a focus on providing extreme value to customers: listening to the customers, determining their needs, partnering with them to bring value to their businesses. When you're working at that level with customers, the name or number of a specific product within the Sage family isn’t as important to the end users as is the solution for their businesses.
Will there be a time when a customer goes to the Sage Web site, chooses a country, and answers some questions about business needs and concerns, and is presented with solutions, without ever hearing the name of a specific Sage product? According to Houillon, Sage is poised to provide that type of seamless user experience. One name. One solution. One Sage. The future of accounting software.