NEW ORLEANS: Sage will not force customers to adopt cloud products, despite the company's software-as-a-service offerings, according to chief executive Stephen Kelly, who also branded enterprise resource planning (ERP) "outdated".
Kelly said at the Sage Summit 2015 in New Orleans that the company will support its customers' desires to use Sage with on-premise IT, while also helping them to migrate accounting systems to the cloud should they wish.
"The following words are not in the Sage vocabulary: end-of-life [and] forced migration. These are painful words that cause business disruption and needless cost," he said.
"Sage will not force you to migrate. You will decide when to migrate, and we will be there to help you. It's all about you controlling the pace of migration that works for your business."
Kelly said that 85 percent of small and medium businesses (SMBs) run accountancy systems and keep data on-premise, and need to be supported with the way they deploy IT systems.
He does not want to follow the ‘cloud first' example of other technology companies in the ERP space, such as NetSuite or SAP, but wants to focus on a customer's technology needs and strategy, whether that involves cloud or not.
"One of the biggest catalysts of change is technology disruption. What this means for you, what this means for us, is that we're absolutely happy for you to run your business from your own offices, with your own data in your offices," he said.
"We're equally happy for you to run your own businesses from your office, but unleash the power of mobility for viewing information on the go. And we're really happy to see you run your business completely in the cloud."
ERP is irrelevant
Addressing an audience of SMEs and Sage users, Kelly also said that the company considers ERP an outdated term for today's businesses and one that Sage will abandon.
"We will no longer use the word or the term ‘ERP' to describe any of our products," he said.
"We believe ERP is a 25-year-old industry term characterised by cost overrun, and in some cases business ruin, which has been imposed on you to the benefit of others."
He explained that ERP has a long history of being associated with invasive, disruptive IT initiatives carried out by the likes of SAP and Oracle at the expense of business users, without offering any value in return for adoption.
"To the finance directors of the world, ERP stands for expense, pain, regret. Sage is calling this out, demanding a better way for you to stay in control. As your champion we will no longer label things that are irrelevant to your business," he added.
Kelly touted a strategy in which Sage will create products and services in its core areas of accounting, payroll and payments to support what its customers need technology to do, such as enable mobile access to accounting systems and the ability to work remotely.
Sage's strategy appears to oppose those of other technology firms, such as SAP's decision to support cloud products first then support on-premise systems.
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