Archive for April, 2013


Christophe Letellier

Christophe Letellier

 

Christophe Letellier, CEO – Sage ERP X3

On my way back from a great Sage ERP X3 Global Convention in Berlin last week, I was wondering what makes an ERP solution the right one for mid-market customers. During the whole week, we’ve presented and demonstrated Sage ERP X3 at length: the solution today, with its breadth and depth of functionality and exciting customer testimonials, as well as the future of Sage ERP X3 with its totally new user experience that will increase return on investment. We have shared all this with our employees and partners. Of course, excitement was high and a good product is an important part of a good solution, but it’s not enough.

My take from last week in Berlin is that the community makes the difference. I’m not speaking about size or numbers but about commitment and collaboration. What showed strongly last week is the ability and the willingness of Sage and its partners to collaborate, share and work together for the benefit of our clients. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to paint a picture of a perfect world, but what I describe is the reality of what I’ve witnessed. I received so much feedback from our partners, and no matter where they came from, they all mentioned the fact that probably the best part of our Convention was the opportunity to engage transparently with Sage and the other partners.

I’ve always believed that the split between “direct” and “indirect” was a figment of the past. What counts now is gathering the skills and competencies that will make our customers more successful. Good sense says that it’s better to have a small slice of a big cake than a big slice of a small one. In business it’s not small or big, in fact, it’s “deal” or “no deal”. Sharing value makes sense when you have won! I think that together with our partners, we’ve got that mentality. Winning means giving our prospects and customers the confidence that they will have the solution they need to succeed, putting together the winning team that will fully address their needs.

This is what I’ve seen in Berlin: a great collaborative spirit. I know that our customers and prospects, who joined us on the last day, felt the same.

Even if this was a great outcome from our Sage ERP X3 Global Convention, it is not new to us. From day one we always have favored a selective approach when recruiting our partners. We could easily have 2-3 times more partners if we wanted, but the level of commitment and engagement behind Sage ERP X3 has always been the priority. Looking back, I’m happy we made this decision. Only committed partners can be open and mature enough to work as part as a community. Only the ones who are engaging their own business behind Sage ERP X3 can understand and accept that they will be stronger collaborating rather than working in isolation.

What’s true for our partners is also true for Sage. In all regions we have developed very collaborative models that leverage both the strength of our community and give our customers the choice to contract with who they want in order to access the best skills and competencies. We’ll keep developing this model; it’s not a dual model, but a hybrid model. At the end of the day, mid-market companies have the last say and they will tell us if we are right!

Gerhard Hartman

Gerhard Hartman

By Gerhard Hartman, Head of the Africa Division at Sage VIP

The Sage VIP African Partner Conference, held last week in Pretoria, was a resounding success and a first for the Africa Division. The business partners attending the conference represented 12 African countries. At the conference we build relationships, shared key product developments for the year ahead and provided business advice.

In his opening address, Anton van Heerden, the Managing Director of Sage VIP, thanked business partners for their contribution and support to growing the business in Africa. The group has experienced a 40% growth in their African operations the last year and currently 22% of the company’s new business is based in Africa.

Sandra Swanepoel, Sales director, said in her keynote address: “Investing in technology and research is important for growing the business in Africa. Other contributing factors to our recent success in Africa are: quality of training, providing the right resources and a willingness to cater for localisation.”

Ina du Plessis, Research and Development director said legislation in the different African countries still remains a challenge for the customisation of solutions.

Karen Schmikl, Liquid Payroll Product manager, spoke about the road ahead for online solutions in Africa and the planned release of Liquid into Africa. Liquid is an online payroll software solution for the small-to-medium sized business and is fully supported through telephone and email.

Another highlight of the conference was the Gala Dinner – a true celebration of Sage VIP’s success in Africa. The top three African business partners, with the highest figures in software sales for 2012, were also announced. Omni Africa was the winner and Quantum Solution and Infosys Consult, came in second and third place respectively. Our client base into Africa has increased tremendously in the last year and these partners’ contribution has been invaluable. The African partner conference will definitely become an annual event.

Sage Evolution goes Mobile

With mobility now the cornerstone for operating a cutting-edge business, Sage Evolution Mobile is the perfect tool to stay ahead of the competition. Now with an innovative suite of mobile applications, this homegrown ERP solution gives your sales force the ability to extend your business borders by transacting anywhere, anytime.

Available on Apple’s App Store and soon for Android too, Sage Evolution Mobile allows sales executives and management to view customised dashboards and real time information on customer history, inventory, expenses and other key business information. The ability to check item quantities and prices with quick searches allows users to create in-the-moment quotes and orders with discounts – this means deals can be negotiated and closed in one meeting. Customers can accept terms by signing on the tablet and an e-mail confirmation follows.

If more detailed quotes or proposals are required, Sage Evolution’s Quote on Air is the perfect solution: it combines desktop software with that of a cloud-based portal. Users can create custom quote templates that are automatically uploaded to the Quote on Air web space allowing the sales team to log into the portal and use the templates to produce professional and standardised quotes and proposals. Customers can accept their quotes online with immediate notification to the sales executive.

Sage Evolution’s mobile applications are the only mobile sales tools that offer online/offline modes, allowing the programs to operate even when users are out of 3G range and still ensure an automated and seamless integration back into Sage Evolution ERP.

Jeremy Waterman

Jeremy Waterman

A New ‘Customer Day’ is Introduced for 2013

Sage will be holding its third annual Sage ERP X3 Global Convention from 8-11 April 2013, in Berlin, Germany. The event will host Sage ERP X3 partners and internal teams for its duration and for the first time will also welcome Sage ERP X3 customers from around the world for the final day of the Convention.

The Marussia F1 Team, a customer and partner of Sage, will be attending the Convention, exhibiting its Show Car and sharing how it has put Sage ERP X3 at the heart of its operations, linking every part of its business for the first time.

During the Convention participants will hear from members of the Sage Executive Committee including Guy Berruyer, Chief Executive, Klaus Michael Vogelberg, Group Chief Technology Officer, and Christophe Letellier, CEO, Mid-Market Europe and CEO, Sage ERP X3. Jeremy Waterman, Managing Director for Sage ERP Africa & Middle East will give an update on the implementation of Sage ERP X3 in Sub-Saharan Africa. He will be joined by Keith Fenner, senior vice president for sales at Sage ERP Africa, who will share some interesting case studies. A great representation of more than 25 Sage Solution Providers from the Sage ERP Africa territory will be attending

Christophe Letellier, commented, “Our customers are at the heart of everything we do and this year we wanted to give them the opportunity to experience the dynamism of the global Sage ERP X3 community and participate in our Convention. There will be a specific event track for customers which will allow for networking, learning and meeting partners and members of our global network. Our partners are an integral part of our success in increasing our business globally and the aim of the Convention is to bring together Sage ERP X3 sales teams and partners so that we can better serve our customers and provide a forum to drive knowledge sharing and growth.

Preactor and Tema Business Systems are confirmed Gold sponsors of the Convention and Ortems are Silver sponsors.

Mike Novels , Chairman and Managing Director, Preactor said, “Being a lead sponsor of the Sage ERP X3 Global Convention 2013 in Berlin is an excellent opportunity for Preactor to promote its partnership with Sage, showcase our innovative solutions to a global audience and network with some of the leading figures in the ERP community. And this year, we anticipate some more good news to be announced about our Sage partnership at the Convention! As in 2012 we expect the Convention to be very dynamic, with a big emphasis on knowledge sharing and relationship building and we look forward to actively participating.”

Batcha Noordin, VP Business Development at Tema Business Systems said: “Our business model is exclusively focused on Sage ERP X3 partners worldwide.  As such, TBS is an active exhibitor at various Sage events throughout the world. However the Sage ERP X3 Global Convention is definitely the most important event having all the active players of the Sage ERP X3 community under the same roof for a few days. This year, Tema Business Systems is a gold sponsor and that reflects our continued commitment towards the Sage ERP X3 ecosystem to whom we provide a value added service ranging from pre-sales support to a dedicated 24/7 helpdesk. We are very much looking forward to connecting with Sage ERP X3 community members again.”

For more information on the Sage ERP X3 Global Convention, go to http://www.sageerpx3.com/gsc

Gerhard Hartman

Gerhard Hartman

Blog by Gerhard Hartman, Head of the Africa Division at Sage VIP

This year’s annual Sage VIP African Alliance Partner Conference is taking place from 11-12 April at Lombardy Hotel in Pretoria. The conference serves as an ideal platform for not only building relationships with our African alliance partners across 12 African countries, but also to share key product developments and assist them with operational challenges.

An opening address from the Managing Director of Sage VIP Africa, Anton van Heerden, will kick the event into gear on Thursday, 11 April 2013.

Ina du Plessis, Research and Development Director, will address the exciting roadmap that is planned for the launch of various Sage VIP products into Africa and Sandra Swanepoel, Sales director, will deliver a keynote about the organisation’s strategic focus for the future.

A highlight of the conference will be the announcement of Sage VIP’s top three African alliance partners for 2012. Our client base into Africa has increased tremendously in the last year and these partners’ contribution has been invaluable.

Sage VIP’s comprehensive partnership program is part of their winning recipe for increasing the footprint into Africa.  Establishing a partnership that works, is however a two-way street. Our partners need to take the first step in certifying themselves through Sage VIP’s training programmes.  It then becomes our responsibility to monitor their growth and development and to aid them as far as we can.  Being able to offer the best possible service to the end-user includes the offering of training to the client, local support and the implementation of a service level agreement.  We provide our partners with regular insightful information, in addition to a monthly webinar where we discuss any issues that may have arisen.

During our recent customer road shows with partners in Nigeria, Ghana, Zambia and Zimbabwe it was once again clear that companies in Africa want to ensure profitability by streamlining their business processes with automated HR and payroll software, which enable them to, for example, email payslips and manage overtime and leave by means of an automated process.

There is still an enormous scope of growth and within the next year Sage VIP’s client base in the rest of Africa will definitely increase. The greatest driving force behind our products remains the ability to offer a service that is compliant to the country’s specific statutory requirements.  Clients want the assurance that their payroll and HR system is compliant with legislation and that their tax documentation is on target.

The African Alliance Conference is the premier event of the year for Sage VIP and its partners. It promises to be highly informative and will provide a great deal of insight into the year ahead.

For more information visit:  www.sagevippayroll.com

Ansie Snyders, Head of the Department for Training and Seminars at Sage VIP

Ansie Snyders

Ansie Snyders

Sage VIP has announced the launch of an e-learning option to its already comprehensive package of training solutions. E-learning is an online solution that enables a user to complete the outcomes of a specific learning program in their own time and pace.

It made business sense to develop an online training solution which is innovative and aligned with world-class technology. According to a 2012 Internet Access in South Africa study, conducted by World Wide Worx, the South African Internet user base had grown from 6,8-million in 2010 to 8,5-million at the end of 2011. World Wide Worx also forecasted in the same study that the strong growth would continue during 2012, and the Internet user base would pass the 10-million mark by the end of that year. Further to this point, the way in which we interact with technology every day is changing and it influences all aspects of our lives, including the way we learn.

E-learning is a cost-effective solution, saving on class fees and travel costs. However, it still requires a commitment from the learner in terms of time and actual completion of the course. The online assessment is an added benefit to Sage VIP’s e-learning solution and at completion of the course; students will receive a certificate of competence.

Furthermore, because this is online training you will need access to a computer with internet connectivity. Once you have registered for the e-learning workshop, a login name and password provided by Sage VIP, will allow you access to the specific workshop.  To be able to complete the course, you will also need Adobe v4.0.1.

Although the training is done online, it will still be practical, interactive and use real-life examples. Sage VIP’s e-learning tools will include online reading material and limited use of video, basically guiding a learner through the relevant screens of the payroll module. There will also be interesting exercises to test the understanding of specific topics and the learner will receive supporting documents for reference purposes.

In conclusion, Sage VIP’s e-learning will make the subject matter come alive in a way that textbooks and the classroom cannot.

Saul Symanowitz (Divisional Manager: Sage Pastel BEE123) , Hon. Rob Davies (Minister: Department of Trade and Industry), Thulani Fakude (Business Development Executive: Sage Pastel BEE123)

Saul Symanowitz (Divisional Manager: Sage Pastel BEE123) , Hon. Rob Davies (Minister: Department of Trade and Industry), Thulani Fakude (Business Development Executive: Sage Pastel BEE123)

Sage Pastel, has donated R7.5 million of software, training and other support interventions to the newly formed Black Management Forum (BMF) SMME Programme.

Launched this week by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies, the BMF is extending its support for the development and empowerment of black businesses in the SME sector.

“With a 70% first-year failure rate amongst local start-ups, small business owners need as much support as possible,” said Saul Symanowitz, head of Sage Pastel’s BEE123 division. “Foundational business systems and basic business knowledge are not always part of an entrepreneur’s skill set and the Sage Pastel business toolkit will go a long way to providing that support.”

Sage Pastel will contribute to the BMF SMME Programme by donating 500 toolkits to participating small businesses.  This business support system, which is dubbed the BMF SMME Business Bundle, covers the key areas of accounting, legal, human resources, BEE and marketing. The retail price of the toolkit would be prohibitive for most small businesses.

Sage Pastel has been the leading developer of business and accounting software for small, medium and growing businesses for over 23 years and acknowledges the importance of this sector in building the local economy.  “This donation is part of our on going support for small businesses in South Africa. SMEs play a vital role in economic growth and employment creation. It is essential to ensure that businesses operating in this sector are viable and sustainable in the long term.” comments Symanowitz.

Minister Davies stated that his department supports the development of strong and productive enterprises, endorsing President Jacob Zuma’s position of the need to develop black industrialists. He also indicated the importance of encouraging symbiotic relations between small and big business, and using BEE codes to ensure small business development and the growth and expansion of a healthy SMME sector.