I would like to start by suggesting that this is a purely speculative post and expresses only my own opinion. Please draw your own conclusions.
I’ve spoken to a lot of people since the keynote and there are some big concerns about moving the focus from the individual product brands to emphasize focus on the core Sage brand. Nothing has been firmly announced yet but the speculation is that the new branding will see product names go away to be replaced by numbers with product type designations – much like the Sage UK and European product naming.
Is this a bad thing? I realize that there are some very strong brand names in the Sage portfolio – Act!, Peachtree, MAS, Accpac, Saleslogix, etc. and there are a large number of customers using each of these products that recognize the current name.
But… are they invested emotionally with the product name? I’m not so sure. The names are used as placeholders – “my Act! system”, “enter it into Peachtree”, “get the reports from MAS” (or “Accpac”), etc. In general, we don’t see people jumping up on couches professing love for Peachtree like Tom Cruise famously did about Katie Holmes.
In fact, in many ways, shifting the focus to the Sage brand instead of individual products allows the customers, the channel and Sage to develop a clean, consistent image of the brand that allow more of a family feeling to spread for the suite of products – as opposed to loyalty to any specific products. This is a huge advantage for all involved.
Think about Apple for a moment. Apple puts out an iPad and you expect a certain amount of quality and pizzazz from the product before you even speak to a sales person or read a brochure or pick up the device. It helps me as a customer identify what I should expect and it helps Apple engineers understand that same message.
Yes – there may be some pain during the transition and, I suspect, that some folks will be still calling their software by the old, individual product name for years to come but overall I think this is a brilliant and long overdue by Sage.
Sitting in the CRM Super Session at Sage Summit 2011 – lots of great things coming down the pipe for all the Sage CRM solutions – Act!, SageCRM and Saleslogix. I don’t hide the fact that I’m biased towards SageCRM so, to me, that’s the stuff that seems the most exciting.
Newly minted leader of the group, Dan Wilzoch, really has a handle on the group and the direction that Sage, the channel partners and the customers need to go. Not too surprising since Dan has been around Sage for over a decade and in a leadership role in the Sage CRM group for four of those (maybe five?). I’ve had a few personal interactions with Dan and am impressed with his deep knowledge of what it takes to make customers happy.
All in all, I’m really pleased as a Sage partner to hear and see the strategy and clear pronouncement of direction for the CRM group – it shows a clear understanding of the market and where technology and customers are going. Expect some more specific announcements this week on the CRM Roadmap.
The conference got off to a great start with a rockin’ video featuring Sage Irvine team members lip synching to “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (not sure if that’s the official title).
Pascal Houillon, the new CEO for Sage North America delivered a solid presentation. He got some good laughs and proceeded to outline some strategy changes – mostly on how Sage is starting down the road of shifting focus on the Sage brand and away from the individual products such as MAS, Accpac, Peachtree, ACT!, Saleslogix, etc.
Individually these brands are solid and well-known but the challenge that they present is the customer is not connected to Sage as a group of products. The core problem here is that customers that could benefit from other Sage products don’t identify those products as sister or brother products to what they own. This means that the sales process starts from step one with each new product.
The idea of shifting away from long-established product brands is bold. There will be some pain (ok … maybe a lot of pain) for partners and Sage itself as they establish this brand but, personally, I think it makes a lot of sense and will make it easier for customers to feel comfortable with the Sage family of products.
In the long-run, this should make all of our lives easier.
Not a lot of details were provided. Pascal and his team may still be working some of it. I’m guessing we will see and hear some things soon over the coming weeks and months.
Comment below if you have specific questions.
We have asked Sage Summit exhibitors to provide their answers to a set of 8 questions in order to help us all learn a bit more about them. The goal of these questions is to help Summit attendees to identify exhibitors that they might want to visit prior to the show. If you would like to participate (even if you aren’t integrated with Sage CRM), please reply in the comments below or tweet me at @AzambaInc.
While Team Knowledge is a relatively new (2 weeks as of today) Sage Development partner, they have been providing Call Scripting for competitive CRM solutions for 6 years. They have deployments across the world, scaling up to over 3,000 seats.
They are getting involved with SageCRM as they see a great opportunity. [Editor's note: you bet there is!]
1) Who are you and what does your organization do?
My name is Joe Cassidy, I am Managing Director of Team Knowledge Limited. Team Knowledge is an ISV [Ed: Independent Software Vendor] specializing in CRM add-on functionality; we have been working with CRM solutions for the past 6 years. Read more