Page 2 of 2
Sage's expansive product line has always been a challenge for the company. Along with stretching R&D resources, Houillon noted that many channel partners still think of themselves as "Accpac resellers" or "MAS 90" resellers, "instead of recognizing ourselves as 'Sage,'" he said.
To build up the Sage brand, the company earlier this year rebranded some of its products. Peachtree Accounting software, for example, became Sage 50 while the MAS 90 ERP applications became Sage 100. Accpac became Sage 300 and MAS 500 ERP became Sage 500. Those changes angered some resellers who had longtime investments in the old brand names.
The plan to phase out Sage 500 in five years was the only product for which Sage executives provided a specific end-of-life time line. Sage will eventually migrate Sage 500 customers to Sage ERP X3, said Joe Langner, executive vice president of midmarket solutions. But various Sage executives cited Sage Pro ERP, Sage PFW ERP, Sage BusinessVision Accounting and Sage BusinessWorks Accounting as products most likely to be phased out.
"We are stepping up the rate of innovation. But to achieve that we have to heavily invest in some areas while starting to minimize investments in others," Palsule said in his keynote. "But we'll ensure that those products that we will be ramping investments down on will have a very clearly communicated road map for all of you to migrate your customers. We have a lot of work in front of us and none of this is going to be easy."
Houillon also addressed the issue of the subscription pricing option Sage North America introduced earlier this year, a move that also upset some channel partners who say they cannot make money on the subscription pricing.
The CEO said two-thirds of Sage's customers are not on any maintenance or support plan and the subscription option is one way to bring them back. "Subscription pricing is one way we are responding," he said. "In the long run, subscription[s] will change our whole way of thinking about products."
Houillon elicited some laughter from the audience by saying that "many partners" had provided "significant feedback" on the subscription move.