The Giant Has Woken

Sage product development

Since 1995 I have been using Sage Line 50 and all other associated software manufactured by Sage. After twenty-six years, as a Sage user, my frustration as an Accounting Practitioner with Sage, is justified. A market leader, with multiple ranges of software, as the flagship and brilliant “telephone support”, Sage has enjoyed a “privileged” position of market domination.

Of course, twenty-six years of relationship has had their ups and downs.  At times it felt like Sage, as a business, was on autopilot mode. It is also true that Sage manufactures brilliant products. However, despite putting on an “autopilot” there is no justification for taking the eye off the road from journey and destination.

As an Entrepreneur, I saw Sage was missing a key point in formulating its strategy – “Understanding customer needs”.  In reality, there are many stakeholders, some of them with different needs.  I thought about it and created a stakeholder’s map. This is how I understand it.

Internal Stakeholder

  • Product Director/Owner

External Stakeholder

  • Single users

– Small & Micro Businesses
– Employee of a business

  • Multiple Users

– Micro practice < 30 clients
– Small practice < 100 clients

– Micro practitioners < 150 clients
– Small practitioners < 250 clients
– Medium practitioners < 1000 clients
– Large practitioners

– Micro practice < 30 clients
– Small practice < 100 clients

  • Practitioners

– Medium businesses
– Large businesses

Lots of things have changed in the last twenty-six years, in particular, the technology sector and the needs of entrepreneurs. New disruptive products brought storms to inflict lasting change in the financial sector.

This is where huge frustration and disappointment was born for a committed, loyal, and dedicated Sage customer. Suddenly fire fighting started, and Sage made more mistakes in correcting the situation.

Instantly the landscapes changed and Practitioners and other users had a choice to stay or leave Sage. Many left and many of us stayed with Sage because we know the credibility and capability of Sage. We remain hopeful that one day the giant will wake up and do the right thing.

I am sure when the penny dropped, the painful process commenced at Sage, starting with the leadership.  In the past, I wrote to many Executives, including the Directors of Sage, and I also met personally with them. Perhaps the stark reality of the market expectations and Sage’s position must have been frightening hence there was no tangible change at Sage.

Then it started in 2018 with a change in leadership, and the arrival of Steve Hare (Global CEO) and Paul Struthers (Managing Director UK and Ireland). It must have been a long and painful three years of self-examination because now we can see all tangible actions.

New Era at Sage

Now Sage is focused on “real and genuine engagement” with stakeholders, yes now I can confirm that it does include me.

In the most challenging eighteen months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the engagement, deliberation, and discussion have happened. I have met personally with Steve Hare and Paul Struthers a few times.

Some of the visible actions are, for example, the acquisition of “Auto Entry and GoProposal”. Some products have been discontinued. Account Managers are constantly communicating with practitioners to provide more help and understand our needs.

I was privileged to be invited to an exclusive product launch event on Wednesday 24 November 2021 in London.  What I have witnessed is amazing!

  • “Sage for Accountants” has arrived. It is designed to help Accountants.
  • Suddenly Sage is talking my language. This is proof that Sage is listening.
  • Finally, the “Giant” has woken up.
  • Let’s wait for the roar!