Business software vendor Sage wants to increase its presence locally and is actively encouraging partners to collaborate to meet customers’ need for integration across its product range.
In New Zealand for the launch of Act by Sage 2008 (the tenth release of the software), US-based global vice president of product management and marketing Larry Ritter and Australia/New Zealand managing director Mike Lorge say there is an increasing demand for integration across its suite.
“We’re putting a lot of effort into having a more substantial local presence,” says Lorge, although he declined to give details on potential expansion.
“We’re increasing the frequency of interaction with the partner community here and in Australia, to ensure we keep them informed and cultivate relationships.”
Lorge says Act users often require a basic sales automation product initially, but need a fuller, more sophisticated system as their company grows. This often means bringing ERP and CRM systems together.
“We have that integration capability and we encourage relationships among our partners to look at opportunities to migrate their customers as the need arises.”
Partner collaboration will be a focus of Sage’s annual conference for Australian and New Zealand partners near Sydney in November, he says.
Sage has experienced strong growth in this country in the past 12 to 24 months across the ERP and CRM markets, both in terms of software sales and partner activity, Lorge says.
“We have an ongoing programme of signing up new partners in CRM and ERP. From a CRM perspective growth has been solid, because of the strategy Sage has of freedom of choice and by growth in the market for CRM overall.”
A dashboard in the latest release of Act is among its hottest features, says Ritter. The graphical user interface lets users monitor customer activity and opportunities in a single view, or separately.
“We wanted to do something big in the area of visibility. The dashboard isn’t a new concept, but it’s new in terms of being included in Act,” Lorge says.
Ritter says the ability to complete faster data entry is also a key improvement. This is achieved by allowing information editing while in a list view.
Security has also been enhanced to meet the needs of users of the premium edition of Act, he says.