Reggie Fernandes, Director - Gulf Operations, Sage Software Middle East

Commonly used accounting software Sage Peachtree becomes Sage 50 as software-supply firm revamps products 

IN AN EFFORT to strengthen its brand, the global supplier of accounting software solutions Sage has embarked on a major re-branding campaign, by renaming majority of its products.

According to Reggie Fernandes, the company’s director of Gulf operations based in Dubai, the rebranding drive began in May this year and the full switch to new product names is scheduled for November 2012.

Commonly used accounting software Sage Peachtree and Sage Simply Accounting is set to become Sage 50. The other new mappings include Sage ERP Accpac which has now become Sage 300 ERP, while Sage ERPX3 remains the same.

“During an earlier period, all of our products used to be known by their individual product names. However, we have now decided to align all of our products under the strong ‘Sage’ branding,” Fernandes explains.

Products’ sophistication
In an interview with Accountant Middle East, the executive said the products have also been upgraded, and the numbering of the branded portfolio, which comes in sequence of Sage 50, Sage 100, Sage 300, Sage 500 reflects the products’ increasing sophistication and superiority.

“To date, we now have over 1,000 customers utilising the Sage 300 ERP software. Aside from this, Sage also offers a fully integrated product that allows customers a complete 360 degree view of the business. Our products highlight the significance of the integration between ERP and CRM, which adds tremendous value to the customers. These clients include small companies as well as large corporations like banks and hospitals. We also have manufacturing companies that use this product. The upgraded versions have been rebranded and new features added to help make accounting much easier,” added Fernandes.

“We were known by our products to a larger extent, but now we want to be identified by the Sage brand name. This is a process that has been taking place for the last year, and we are working towards becoming the strongest and leading market contenders.”
“Sage’s accounting solutions are designed for SME’s, as well as large corporations and they go far beyond accounting, providing an array of business management tools that offer instant access to key information, helping in HR and controlling profitability easier than ever.”

Staying competitive
The new Sage 50 (Formerly Sage Peachtree) which is mostly used by small entrepreneurs promises to provide businesses and accountants with customisable access to critical information including billing, payments and other important transactions, thereby helping small businesses to stay competitive in an ever-evolving business landscape.

“When the global financial crisis hit, we obviously knew most of our clients would be adversely affected since most of the entrepreneurs had not experienced recession in their lifetime,” Fernandes explains, adding “Therefore we decided to launch a campaign in 2009 that would at least help to cushion and minimise the effects of the crisis on our clients’ businesses.”

“We visited our channel partners and retailers based in 10 countries in the Gulf region, where we carried out a study that focused on the challenges they faced in their operations. The five major hurdles they were encountering included difficulties in collecting funds from customers, sustaining their businesses during the tough times and retention of their key customers during the downtime.”

After Sage spoke to many of their customers, the company found out about how these businesses were largely encountering difficulties during the crisis period, particularly across debt collection. The company then developed and provided a unique collection management system that saw debt collection improve by 20 to 30 per cent.

“It was the same case we found about customer reporting, which made them find it difficult to retain their clients. Here, we developed a CRM tool to educate them more about what they needed to do in order to have a sustained effect in their clients’ mind,” he says, adding, “If you are not in the mind of your customer you’ll lose out.”

People want more for less
Fernandes particularly identified Bahrain, where “the report-back from our clients has been the most positive, and although there have been intermittent political trouble there, Sage’s business has grown almost doubled since we started running these campaigns.”

“Sage is a firm believer that when markets are down, innovation is the key. History has also shown that all entrepreneurs who have revamped or have been innovative during the downtime emerged as market leaders during recovery time,” he added.

In today’s corporate world, people want more for less. Businesses have become cautious in their spending, even if it’s towards a key investment, the management feels it’s an unnecessary expense. So we have to create more value at a less cost. Accountants have the responsibility to create that value.

Eventually, the £2.24 billion company’s strategy is to move from a house of product names co-branded with Sage to a strong branded house, emphasising Sage.