Sage Rolls Out New SMB Partner Program for SaaS Solution
Sage North America has opened a new partner program for Sage One, the company’s cloud-based ERP and CRM business services for SMBs, to compensate partners (and users) for referrals of the SaaS solution that result in subscriptions.
This past May, Sage signaled an intention to go after the SMB market with the Sage One service aimed at small businesses of up to nine employees. The idea is to urge SMBs to leverage mobile devices and cloud technology to more efficiently and cost-effectively manage their businesses.
“Mobile and cloud computing have become driving forces for efficiency among small and midsized businesses,” said Pascal Houillon, Sage North America chief executive.
What’s in it for partners? The company didn’t say how much it will pay for customer referrals. Only a few months ago Sage got into it with partners who didn’t appreciate the company altering its compensation from a legacy model to a recurring revenue format. Now Sage’s strategy appears geared toward stirring up SMB business rather than arming partners to help reach and expand the market. Will it work? There are a lot of examples out there that point to SMBs preferring local, trusted advisers over anyone else.
Still, to build its SMB market, Sage is pre-announcing upgrade plans for Sage One, including integration with online payments, ability to import transactions directly from users’ bank accounts, time and expense tracking and reporting tools, and a new mobile application to help user manage off-site business activities. The company will roll out the product updates over the course of the next 12 months.
The goal is to help SMBs simplify and organize their business processes, said Connie Certusi, Sage executive vice president, Small-Business Accounting, and to stir up new SMB business through existing Sage One users.
“Entrepreneurs were closely involved in the initial development of Sage One, and now, as Sage One users, they’re helping us identify the next great opportunities,” said Certusi. “As we add to Sage One, our focus will remain on providing a solution that is easy to use and one that simplifies the life of a small business owner.”
Houillon articulated what he called Sage’s “three-pronged approach” to the cloud for SMBs:
- The Sage One solution
- New hybrid cloud technology in which Sage will work closely with Microsoft, using its Azure platform, such as building on Sage Construction Anywhere, launched in North America this past May. Sage is working on Azure-based Sage 300 ERP with plans to ship Sage 300 ERP 2012 this quarter.
- The next generation of Sage ERP X3, a fully web-enabled ERP platform for the mid-market, planned for delivery in North America next year. Sage ERP X3 version 6.5, which offers integration with Sage SalesLogix and various connected services, will ship in October with subscription-based pricing.
We’ll be watching to see how Sage does in opening the SMB market, working a subscription-based model and paying referrals to partners and users for new business.