The Tech Revolution: Sage Sets out the Vision for African Businesses
Sage (www.Sage.com/za), a market leader in cloud accounting software used its global Sage Summit 2016, held this week in Chicago, to outline its strong commitment to future technologies, with a focus on new and existing initiatives that power business growth.
At the world’s largest gathering of entrepreneurs and business builders, Sage CEO Stephen Kelly spoke about how Sage is levelling the playing field for entrepreneurs – and it’s just the start of the technology revolution all entrepreneurs and business builders of all sizes need to be a part of to compete and grow.
Investing in the future with the introduction of Sage Cloud
Following the investment of £139m on research and development during FY15, the Sage CEO used the keynote as a platform to set out how all Sage products will now be connected to the cloud, with new mobile, social, chatbot and the Internet of Things offerings in the pipeline for the entire portfolio.
“In a time of seismic technological change and digital invention, our smart people are using the smartest technology to reinvent and simplify business accounting,” says Anton Van Heerden (www.Twitter.com/Anton_Vheerden), EVP and Managing Director, Sage South and Southern Africa. “Our research teams are working on making concepts like the Internet of Things, machine learning, blockchain and data sciences into a reality for African businesses, accountants and partners. We are committed to helping African entrepreneurs exploit these game-changing technologies to win and grow.”
Industry firsts – leapfrogging the competition
Another highlight was the official launch of Sage’s new accounting admin bot, Pegg (http://bit.ly/2ai2v9X), a smart assistant that allows users to track expenses via their chosen messaging app - which currently boast more than 2 billion users worldwide – such as Facebook messenger and Slack.
Pegg removes the complexities and enables entrepreneurs to manage finances through conversation. By digitising information at the point of capture, it takes away the pain from receipts and expenses, eradicating the need for paper and data entry.
Pegg is available now in Beta, new users can register at HelloPegg.io.
Creating a path to the mobile future
Sage also announced that Sage One, the online payroll and accounting software, is now optimised for iOS - Apple’s mobile operating system, and that it has become part of the Apple Mobility Partner Program. The iOS-optimised versions will enable customers using iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch for day-to-day business processes to work while on the move.
Sage has worked with Apple to completely redesign user interfaces to make the most of key iOS features like 3DTouch Location Services and TouchID. Sage will continue to work on including new iOS features to enhance user experience, interactions and usability.
Full-speed ahead for Sage X3
Sage also highlighted the continued success of the Sage X3 business management solution with the launch of the new Sage X3 cloud release Update 10 and a growing ecosystem of cloud applications. Sage X3 saw its customer base grow by more than 29% globally since last year’s product update.
The new Sage X3 Update 10, available to Cloud customers further improves the solution functionality and user experience, reinforcing Sage’s commitment to help midsize enterprises regain responsiveness and agility in managing complex operations.
Empowering Accounting Professionals with the Office 365 and Sage 50
Sage also announced an extension to its existing partnership with Microsoft. As part of the extended relationship, Sage will integrate Sage 50 with Microsoft Office 365.
By integrating Sage 50 with Microsoft Office 365, Sage has enhanced the power of its business solution with greater mobility, analytics and cloud capabilities. Now customers can manage their businesses with Sage 50 and Office 365, across multiple devices and multiple locations—with confidence that their information is live and up to date.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who joined the Sage Summit via a video message, said,” Together, with partners like Sage, we’re focused on empowering professionals to get more out of every moment and for small and medium businesses to grow and seize the opportunities ahead.”
The Sage Foundation—one year on
Kelly also spoke about the success of the Sage Foundation’s ‘2+2+2’ model for philanthropy. Through this model, Sage Foundation donates: 2% of employee time each year (5 volunteer days), 2% of free cash flow and 2 of Sage’s technology products.
Sage Foundation Chairman, Ivan Epstein (www.twitter.com/IvanEpstein), and President for Sage International said: “I have seen our colleagues change lives and communities over the last year – from volunteering at The Invictus Games, to helping businesses rebuild themselves in the wake of natural disasters and assisting local communities to help them build a future for themselves and those around them.”
“We’ve all invested in our vision and the announcements show just how committed we are to what Sage Foundation can do to build on these achievements.”
Champion of Business Builders
Sage’s commitment to supporting entrepreneurs at every stage of their growth was underlined at the Summit. Kelly reiterated his criticism of ‘out of touch’ events like the World Economic Forum in Davos and announced a series of policy events around the world. “At Sage, we believe that the voices and views of Small & Medium Businesses are underrepresented in the corridors of power,” says Van Heerden.
“Sage in Africa will be working hard to get the issues Small & Medium Businesses face onto the agenda for the continent’s economic leaders and decision makers. Addressing these challenges at the highest levels could help unleash the potential of Africa’s entrepreneurial wealth creators.”