Sage Overhauls Product Line Management

Sage Software is restructuring its small and midsize business units into new divisions that focus on the vendor's business management applications and vertical market solutions. Taylor Macdonald, executive vice president of Sage's channel and sales operations, will also be responsible for setting the company's overall strategic direction.

Sage may not have the visibility of Oracle, Microsoft and SAP, but its ERP and CRM applications are popular among small and midsize businesses and the solution providers that serve them. Sage CEO Ron Verni says the reorganization should eliminate organizational hurdles channel partners might have run into serving small and midsize customers.

Today, Sage's main divisions split its products into those generally sold through retail channels for small businesses, such as Peachtree and Act, and software sold for midsize customers, including ERP products like Sage MAS 90 ERP and CRM software like SalesLogix. Verni says those divisions created boundaries that made it difficult for customers to upgrade from one product set to another as they grew.

The current corporate structure also created hurdles for resellers, Verni says. For example, the vendor's Peachtree Quantum accounting application should be sold through VARs, but was largely restricted to retail channels because it was under the control of the small business division. It also created boundaries between ERP software and other back-office applications and front-office software like CRM applications, according to the CEO.

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"That made it hard for partners to sell a complete solution," Verni says.

The new Business Management Division will pull Sage's accounting, ERP and CRM applications and related businesses into a single organization to serve small and midsize customers and the resellers that work with them. That division will be managed by Nina Smith, currently Sage's chief marketing officer. The new Industry and Specialized Solutions Division will offer software for vertical markets, such as Sage's Timberline applications for the construction industry. Doug Meyer, who now oversees the small business division, will manage that new organization.

The vendor's health-care software and payments solutions divisions will remain unchanged. Verni says the basic new structure will be in place by June 1, with the reorganization completed by the end of the company's fiscal year Sept. 30.

While Macdonald will continue to oversee Sage's channel efforts, he will take on the additional duties of charting the company's overall strategy, Verni says. And Jim Foster, currently head of the midmarket business unit, will be elevated to company chief technology officer.