Sage Launches Public Cloud Edition Of Its X3 ERP Application Set

Sage is going cloud.

Sage took the wraps off Sage X3 in the cloud this week, a cloud version of the company's flagship ERP applications targeted toward midmarket customers. While Sage already offers X3 for on-premise deployments and hosting in private clouds, the new application will run on Amazon Web Services as a public cloud service.

Atlanta-based Sage also unveiled a new channel program for ISV partners, replacing disparate agreements with individual ISV partners based on geography and product, The vendor is also working on a significant overhaul of its Global Partner Program with a targeted launch date in October.

[Related: SAP To Start PartnerEdge Channel Program Overhaul Next Month ]

Sponsored post

The unveilings, coming at this week's Sage Summit conference in New Orleans, follow a series of management changes at Sage North America this year. In January, Pascal Houillon, president and CEO of Sage North America, left the company and Stephen Kelly, global CEO of parent company Sage Group, has been acting president of Sage North America.

Joe Langner, the midmarket general manager who at a high level oversaw the vendor's channel operations, left in January. In April, the company hired former Symantec executive Rich Spring as chief revenue officer.

Sage North America has had a mixed relationship with its channel partners in recent years. Some of the company's moves during that time have upset partners, including rebranding or discontinuing some product lines, implementing more challenging channel program requirements, and introducing a subscription price option that some partners complained reduced their profit margins. That's led some solution providers to partner with Sage competitors like NetSuite and Microsoft.

The management changes have led to improved relations with the vendor's channel partners, said Alex Solomon, co-president of New York-based Net@Work, one of Sage's largest partners, in an interview. He acknowledged that vendor-partner relations in recent years have been up and down, "but right now it's the best relationship we've ever had," he said.

"Now they're making good technology decisions, good business decisions," he said.

The new Sage X3 cloud applications, running on Amazon Web Services, will be available July 31 starting in North America, followed by rollouts in Europe and Asia. The staged rollout is planned to accommodate information privacy and compliance requirements in specific countries, said Jean Huy, global vice president of product marketing, in an interview.

Sage X3 for the cloud, like the on-premise edition, is targeted toward midsize companies with about 100 to 500 employees and annual revenue greater than $10 million. Huy said the cloud edition offers quicker adoption, lower costs, and more flexibility and simplicity for businesses, especially those with multi-site operations and subsidiaries.

"Operations is where X3 really shines," Huy said, adding that manufacturing, distribution and business services are market segments in which Sage expects many customers for the cloud application set.

The X3 cloud suite includes core financial and business applications including account and financial management, purchasing, sales management, customer service, manufacturing management and inventory management. Also available are business reporting and analytics tools. The applications can be accessed from mobile devices through Web browsers and Sage provides development tools for building mobility extensions.

While the application set has a multitenant architecture, customers will have dedicated data management and storage, according to Huy. Customization options include application configuration, user interface personalization and completion of business logic.

Huy pointed to a Forrester Research forecast that by next year, 23 percent of IT organizations making an ERP buying decision will consider cloud first. He also acknowledged that Sage is entering the cloud market after such competitors as NetSuite and Epicor. "We're not the first, but we intend to be the best," Huy said.

Today Sage partners sell X3 for on-premise implementation and some larger partners, including Net@Work, host the application set for customers.

Huy said the Sage X3 cloud edition will provide smaller partners with the opportunity to sell the cloud service and perform value-added services, including application implementation and customization, training, and maintenance and support.

"They welcome this as a way to do what they do best, and that's service their customers," Huy said. "The front line of customer service is the partners."

Sage is charging monthly subscription prices, billed annually. Prices per application range from $90 to $945 per month, plus $198 per user per month. Partners that sell the service earn a percentage commission, based on their partner tier, on subscription sales and renewals.

"We rely on the channel a lot and our customer satisfaction and loyalty relies on the engagement of our partners," Huy said.