NATIONAL HARBOR, MD. – Business software vendor Sage North America has been a popular target for competitors looking to poach partners not satisfied with the pace of their cloud strategy, but the vendor says they’re not losing partners – and their own cloud strategy is taking off.
NetSuite is one competitor that has claimed poaching success against Sage. But speaking at Sage Summit, the vendor’s annual partner and customer conference, Joe Langer, executive vice-president and general manager of Sage North America’s midmarket business, said there’s been no notable departures.
“I can’t really recall any significant partners leaving Sage at all,” said Langer. “Generally, our partners are looking to better serve the needs of their clients. Sage is actively going to the cloud, and other vendors are as well.”
Partners may be adding to their line cards, said Langer, but they’re not dropping Sage.
Sage has been adding cloud-based editions of its offerings available on a subscription across its product suite, as well as cloud connectors or connected services that can allow Sage customers to add additional cloud-based services, whether from Sage or from third-party ISVs and developers.
For example, Sage 100, 300 and 500 ERP are currently available with the option of either on-premises traditionally licensed or a hosted subscription model on Microsoft Azure, with available Microsoft Office 365 integration.
“Partners are finding clients are asking for cloud options. They may not buy it, but they’re asking for it. They may have that box in the RFP and ticking it allows us to present,” said Langer. “Once they see the solutions, it’s really the value of the solutions they judge.”
Cloud is clearly the future, though. Langer said today nearly every Sage midmarket offering is available by subscription, and going forward all new development will be available on subscription, perhaps even exclusively.
For partners, a separate compensation model has been created for subscription sales, outside of Sage’s normal partner structure. Partners receive a percentage of subscription revenue for life, as long as they remain a qualified partner and the client remains customer. The partner cut is higher in the first year, and the percentage they get goes up as they sign more subscription clients.
“The economics are a little different,” said Langer, although he noted Sage is currently reviewing partner compensation across the board with an eye toward simplification.
Right now, Langer said the big opportunity for partners in Canada is around Sage 300 Cloud, as customer interest in cloud-based solutions begins to build.
“Canada is a great market opportunity for us that we have a leadership position in, and we’ll continue to accelerate in that space,” said Langer.
Earlier this year Sage added business growth managers to work with each partner to develop strategies for new business and growth, in addition to the day-to-day partner account managers that work with each partner. The growth managers utilize Sage’s Partner Advisor tool, which provides partners with insight into opportunity for cross-sell with existing clients and new clients that could be targeted. Langer said the system is already seeing results.