Tag Archive: business


By Himanshu Palsule: Sage Chief Technology Officer and Head of Product Strategy,

Himanshu Palsule

Himanshu Palsule

There are two distinct global trends shaping the technology landscape. Although the Internet has disrupted the value chain and workflow, as we know it today, it has created immeasurable opportunity and is shaping customer requirements.  Choice and flexibility top the list of most users today.  We no longer have a classic business model within a structured workday.  Customers are often remote and disconnected, thus demanding access anywhere, any time and on any device.

This has lead to a significant transformation strategy for the Sage group, if not the entire technology industry. It has also accelerated innovation and brought about a new way of thinking.  We get accounting and we get ERP. The challenge we set for ourselves was to understand our customers even better and what they wanted going forward.

Taking complexity out was a key requirement.  A testament to the new way of doing business was our customers asking us to stop doing things.  There is clearly a case of feature fatigue and despite having asked for the numerous features, customers now want simplicity.  Whether this is a result of a slowing economy or global complexity is unclear, but customers want simpler workflows and we will give it to them.

In Sage we have brought together a team of product design and experience professionals hailing from companies such as Google and AOL.  We didn’t need this level of innovation in design before, but the world has changed and we do now.

Tasked with bringing the required innovation, consistency and simplicity to all Sage products, the team spent four months interviewing hundreds of CEOs and it was clear that it was time for a change. There were two obvious trends: mobility and cloud computing, both of which have already had a positive impact on our current product roadmap.

In North America smartphone usage went from 49% to 77% and the same trend exists in South Africa with 75% of companies in South Africa using smartphones.  From a cloud computing perspective, IT budgets went from 10% to 24% in 2012. This not only shows a distinct shift, it is also proof that we have indeed entered a cloud-first culture.

In going forward, all Sage products will be built with a mobile and cloud strategy in mind.   This is not a trend with an end in sight; it is a new way of life. There are industry-wide predictions that by the end of this year, there could be more smartphones on the planet than humans, and that by 2016 there could be 10 billion smartphones.   We cannot underestimate the impact of mobility, nor can we see it as a technology.  The simple truth is that technology is just an enabler to a connected, simpler way of life.

Parity Software celebrates three decades of business success by being awarded the Sage National Solutions Provider for the year 2012.  This is the highest recognition awarded by Sage for excellence in development, sales and technical expertise.

The award was given at the Sage Insights 2013 conference, held from 7-10 February. This annual conference serves as a platform for players in the industry to network with the purpose of providing some insight into 2013 and what to expect in terms of trends and product developments in the fields of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Business Intelligence (BI).

“We are extremely pleased by the fact that after 30 years in business we continue to receive the highest industry accolades and that we still provide top quality business solutions for Sage and other business partners.” said Parity’s managing director Warren Williams.

Parity Software also received recognition for Highest Sage ERP X3 Sales, Best Performer of Sage CRM and for achieving Premier Status as a Sage ERP Africa Solutions Provider.

Headquartered in Johannesburg, with branches in Cape Town and Durban, Parity Software provides and supports Sage CRM, Sage ERP X3, Business Intelligence solutions, as well as third party products including Cashbook, AP Recon, Parity Report Server and Debit Clearing, within a wide range of commercial and industrial enterprises worldwide.

“Our focus continues to centre on the provision of best in class business solutions that cater for the expanding and ever-changing needs of modern businesses, using our proven methodology that has advanced over the past 30 years, together with excellent staff” said Williams.

Parity Software operates in a wide range of business sectors including finance, manufacturing, distribution, agriculture, automotive and hospitality.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank our partners and customers who have supported Parity over the last year and previously, since the synergy we have with them has allowed Parity to receive this acknowledgment,” concludes Williams.

The annual budget speech delivered by the Minister of Finance is often viewed with a healthy dose of foreboding by payroll administrators across the country. Sage Pastel Payroll and Sage VIP, regarded as experts in the field of HR and Payroll, will collaborate and embark on a countrywide roadshow during March and April 2013 at various venues throughout South Africa to provide guidance and support to payroll and tax practitioners and financial personnel. The seminar will be presented by Rob Cooper, a payroll tax expert at Sage VIP and part of the Sage South Africa.

“The seminar is regarded by many as a definitive guide to the changes in payroll and tax legislation and we endeavour to present it in a practical and interactive manner that does not focus on the legal aspects alone. The presentation will also aim at communicating future trends that can impact on payroll and HR officers,” said Cooper.

Topics to be covered at the Payroll and Tax Seminar will include:

  • A comprehensive review of the 2013/14 Budget Speech
  • Proposed changes and new legislation in Tax Administration
  • Possible impact of changes on businesses
  • How to be compliant with the legislation and remain one step ahead as a Company

Attendees will also take home a comprehensive, yet practical workbook for later reference.

Dates and Venues:

1, 20, 27 March: Sage Conferencing (Woodmead, Gauteng)

4, 12 March, 15 April: Emperors Palace (Boksburg, Gauteng)

5 March: Quest Conference Centre Vanderbijlpark

6 March: Windmill Casino (Bloemfontein)

7 March: CSIR Gauteng (Pretoria Gauteng)

8 March: Silverstar Casino (Krugersdorp)

11 March &16 April: Centurion Lake (Centurion Gauteng)

13 March & 9 April: Gateway Hotel (Umhlanga)

14 March: Grand West Casino (Goodwood, Cape Town)

15 March & 10 April: Sanlam Head Office (Cape Town)

18 March: NMMU (Port Elizabeth)

19 March: Garden Court Hotel (East London)

11 April: Golden Valley Casino (Worcester)

19 April: Meropa Casino (Polokwane)

22 April: Emnotweni (Nelspruit)

For more info, email: info_seminars@sage.com

Proudly brought to you by Sage Seminars
Powered by Sage Pastel & Sage VIP

By Jeremy Waterman, the Managing Director of Sage ERP

Jeremy Waterman

Jeremy Waterman

The Sage Insights 2013 Conference was a resounding success and a true celebration of the mobile revolution and the challenges it poses for Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM).  More than 250 Sage ERP Africa’s business partners attended, which included 32 partners from East and West Africa.

The opening address focused on the mobile revolution and the challenges it holds for software vendors. It is not really the concept of mobility that is revolutionary, but more the reality of the delivery mechanism that has undergone an evolution.

Himanshu Palsule, Chief Technology Officer and Head of Product Strategy at Sage Group said in his keynote address that in going forward all Sage products will be built with a mobile and cloud strategy in mind. This is not a trend with an end in sight; it is a new way of life.

Benoit Gruber, Vice President of Product and Alliances Sage ERP X3, Product Marketing Europe and Sage mid-market, spoke about the road ahead for Sage ERP X3 and the planned release for version 7.0. This new technology update will make native thin client access to Sage ERP X3 a reality from any device, desktop or mobile.

Sean Mooney, the Head of Research and Development at Sage CRM assured partners that Sage CRM will remain at the heart of integrated business.

A strategic sales summary was delivered by Keith Fenner, Senior Vice President for Sales at Sage ERP Africa. He spoke about the Group’s extraordinary year and said that the success of Sage ERP x3 in Africa continued with triple growth digit growth in 2012. It is an ideal fit for many of the larger companies in Africa.

Another highlight of the conference was the announcement of Parity Software as the winner of the Sage National Solution Provider award for 2012. This is the highest recognition awarded by Sage for excellence in development, sales and technical expertise.

Parity’s managing director, Warren Williams said they are extremely pleased by the fact that after 30 years in business they continue to receive the highest industry accolades and that they still plan to provide top quality business solutions for Sage and other business partners.

Sage VIP’s latest generation product offering, called VIP People is now officially available to all South African companies, particularly for the enterprise market and offers a turnkey integrated payroll, HR and Employee Self Service Solution. “It is powerful, simple, flexible, feature-rich and highly customisable. The solution caters for diverse and often quite complex payroll and HR challenges faced by South African organisations, especially those with a large number of employees,” says Anton van Heerden, Managing Director of Sage VIP (previously known as Softline VIP).

Anton Van Heerden

Anton Van Heerden

Anton continues: “VIP People places the organisation on the forefront of yet another development. Innovation is one of the core values at Sage VIP and therefore we continuously develop software that is fresh, forward thinking and in line with world-class standards. The new offering combines state of the art technology with VIP’s existing, well developed infrastructure. It also effectively incorporates the Group’s extensive experience in the HR and payroll industry, ensuring that companies are legislatively compliant, while keeping focus on business efficiency and value. VIP People is the result of years of interaction with our clients, learning how they operate and incorporating best practices and procedures.”

Van Heerden says, “VIP People is one of the biggest research and development projects the company has invested in for the last five years. Development of the product was completed in August 2011. Systems were then sold into a controlled environment to a small number of companies, ensuring everything runs smoothly before the formal launch of the product.”

The first company that bought VIP People was King Price Insurance. Basil Song, financial director, says: “King Price Insurance embraces innovation and is proud to be the first live customer on VIP People.  We like the fact that the software is scalable, can grow and expand as our requirements change. Secondly, the software is extremely easy to use, I was put in a position where I had to submit Equity reports on short notice and, with VIP’s prompt assistance, was able to submit on time with ease. As expected, VIP lived up to its reputation as being a world class service company.”

Existing customers of VIP’s Payroll offerings will have the choice to continue with their existing software or to buy the latest offering, with full support from Sage VIP resources. The roll-out into Africa is scheduled for 2014.

Some interesting facts about VIP People:

  • Developed in .Net and runs on a MS SQL Server.
  • The real-time design that VIP’s products are known for, is also an integral part of the People system.
  • It employs a friendly and familiar user interface with the ability to customise the working space for each user as they prefer.
  • The payslip can keep track of, and manage details of external payments for example garnishees, bond payments, revenue services, etc.
  • It creates remuneration structures containing all the payroll definitions applicable to a specific individual or group of employees, which streamline processes.
  • Company management is also streamlined. For example, VIP People can create unlimited companies per database and employees’ pay periods can be viewed for two years in advance.
  • Customers can regularly receive all the latest statutory updates ensuring full legal compliance with minimal effort.
  • The reports allow for complex calculations and further manipulation.
  • Multiple Medical aid providers with their various options can be created.
  • The employees’ leave transactions can be viewed on an actual calendar and leave set-up is done according to company specific guidelines.
  • It is built on an extremely secure design which employs best practice principles to ensure maximum security and control.

For more information, visit www.vippayroll.co.za.

By Sandra Swanepoel, Director Sage VIP

Sandra Swanepoel

Sandra Swanepoel

Companies consider replacing their payroll and HR systems from time to time. The reasons may vary, ranging from questions about the technology and problems with service, through to group decisions, mergers or features that lack in current applications. The ten most reasons why Companies, that have been using Sage VIP for many years, continue with our product, are mainly the following:

  1. At Sage VIP CIDCustomer Intimacy Discipline’ means that we deliver world class customer service. This can be attributed to the fact that we invest in customer service training, which uplifts and measures our employee performance on an on-going basis. It is addictive and clients that experience it want more, which explains why 99.39% of our users recommend Sage VIP as the payroll and HR solution of choice.
  2. The biggest cost facing companies is their human resource costs that need to be managed effectively. Sage VIP’s software is designed in such a way that you can manage your ROI per employee or per department with optimum accuracy. The data is available online, in real time at the click of a button which underscores informed decision-making.
  3. How much do you need to know when you want to be a Payroll or HR consultant? At Sage VIP a graduate is given classroom product training for four months, which is followed by supervised practical sessions with the assistance of specialists. Some may consider it to be a bit of an over kill but when you work at Sage VIP you realise just how much a customer depends on your expertise, it can never be underestimated.
  4. Feature rich software sounds so yesterday, yet you cannot invest in anything less than that if you need software that is flexible. It is essentially an investment in the future of your business and if your payroll and HR system cannot cater for the requirements you never thought would happen, it will cost you dearly in the long run.
  5. Legislation is a must for all payroll and HR applications, and often I hear companies say that every payroll calculates tax; but how quickly are legislative changes made available, and does it include all the legislation? Catering for legislative changes means doing it across multifaceted environments and countries, accurately and comprehensively.
  6. Sage VIP walked away with the Deloitte best company to work for award for the third year running in 2012. It means that our employees are challenged and content, which directly translates into longstanding client relationships that are built on integrity.
  7. The infrastructure that Sage VIP offer provides support to companies in remote parts of the country with fully functional offices in Pretoria, Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London, Bloemfontein, Gaborone, Windhoek and Nairobi. It is a key consideration that companies, who are planning to expand their operations across South Africa and Africa, should heed.
  8. Sage VIP’s operational systems such as its national call centre and CRM products are state of the art.  Some may question the value of these systems but it saves time and underpins flawless customer service that will help you solve your query quickly and efficiently.
  9. Innovation is a core value at Sage VIP that defines software that is fresh and up-to-date. We invest in technology solutions so that our clients never need to reinvest in new software.  One of our customers has been with Sage VIP for 23 years, which is unheard of in the industry, yet part of the package at Sage VIP.
  10. Sage VIP has ample resources available that companies can utilise. If you are looking for a payroll and HR administrator that is well acquainted with Sage VIP’s products you can rest assured that there are many expert people available and looking for opportunities.

Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom. The Sage Group, the leading global provider of business management software to small and medium sized companies, today announced the formation of a Technology Advisory Group.

The group, consisting of external, prominent technology industry leaders and internal experts will act as a sounding board for the company and as a source of independent thinking on a wide range of technology issues. Meeting four times a year, the group will act as a collaborative body, keeping abreast of developments in the wider technology sector.

Joining Sage Chief Executive, Guy Berruyer; Chief Technology Officer, Klaus Michael Vogelberg; and Chief Marketing Officer, Amanda Jobbins, on the Technology Advisory Group will be:

  • Rajat Taneja, EVP and CTO of Electronic Arts, the gaming organisation, and
    previously CVP for Microsoft’s e-commerce, online services and SMB
    offerings, who will act as Chair
  • Alex Gounares, CEO of Concurix Corporation, and previously the CTO of
    AOL and Microsoft’s Online Services Division; and
  • Pierre Samec, EVP and CTO of The TriZetto Group and previously EVP and
    CTO of Expedia, Inc.

Guy Berruyer commented, “The formation of this group provides a powerful combination of independent, external perspective and internal expertise. The group’s knowledge, vision and foresight will support our technology strategy and our internal talent to ensure that we capture the opportunities that technology presents. I am delighted to welcome Rajat, Alex, and Pierre to the Sage community and look forward to the valuable input they will be able to bring to our business.”

Rajat Taneja commented, “I am truly delighted to be joining Sage’s Technology Advisory Group. Sage has a great technology strategy and I am confident that as a collective body we will bring a wide range of experience and perspectives from across the technology sector that will really add value to the organisation.”

By Keith Fenner, Senior Vice President of Sales for Africa at SAGE ERP Africa.

Keith Fenner

Keith Fenner

This years’ annual Sage Insights 2013 Conference is taking place from 7-10 February at Misty Hills in Johannesburg and brings together local and international Sage staff, solution providers and third party developers.  The conference serves as a platform for players in the industry to network with the purpose of providing some insight into 2013 and what to expect in terms of trends and product developments in the fields of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Business Intelligence (BI).

An opening address from Managing Director of Sage ERP Africa, Jeremy Waterman, will kick the event into gear on Thursday, 7 February 2013.

Himanshu Palsule, Chief Technology Officer and Head of Product Strategy at Sage Group will address the roadmap that is planned for the launch of Sage 300 ERP, formerly known as Sage ERP Accpac, which is in line with Sage Group’s directive to consolidate its brand name globally.

Keynotes will be delivered by Sean Mooney, the Head of Research and Development at Sage Group, on developments that are expected for Sage CRM in addition to Benoit Gruber, Vice President of Product and Alliances Sage ERPX3, Product Marketing Europe and Sage mid-market, speaking on the road ahead for Sage ERP X3.

The launch of Sage ERP X3 Version 7 is also one of the big announcements scheduled for Sage Insights 2013.  This new technology update will make native thin client access to Sage ERP X3 a reality from any device, desktop or mobile.

For more information visit:  www.sageerp.co.za

By Keith Fenner, Senior Vice President of Sales for Africa at Sage ERP Africa.

Keith Fenner

Keith Fenner

The continued pursuit of mobility will fuel the uptake of Cloud solutions and requests for software on a subscription basis in 2013.

The sales of our solutions in the cloud have doubled in the last year, and I believe it is mostly attributable to the decline in bandwidth costs.  This trend has underscored the uptake of cloud in the last year.  A cloud solution can be tailored to meet the needs and pockets of the user, which makes it adaptable to suit the needs of the organisation.

A trend that will certainly continue to stamp its presence into 2013 is the demand for connected services, especially around service, sales and stock.  The days of spending hours to compile data and to debug excel formulas, are numbered.  Clients want to know what their key performance indicators (KPIs) are at the touch of a button and with a host of cloud enabled Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions you literally need an internet connection and a laptop, tablet, PC or smart phone to review your performance.  Slick and easy to use is the name of the game and that is why the uptake of applications for mobility has mushroomed.

Many vendors with modern architecture have easily adapted to the new challenges of mobility, but not all software is architected to allow for a rapid response to changing market conditions and that is something that the industry will need to work on in 2013.

Mobility will continue to gain traction well into 2013, in addition to the uptake of solutions in the cloud from both a consumer and enterprise point of view.  Devices, applications and social media are revolutionising the way that we communicate and it will have far-reaching effects on the South African IT industry going forward.

By Anja Hartman, HR Director for Softline VIP, part of the Sage Group Plc.

Anja Hartman-Weitz

Anja Hartman-Weitz

People are at the top of the agenda in many a company with the war for talent intensifying in many business sectors.  It is therefore crucial for the Human Resources (HR) department to recognise the value that it brings in terms of helping the business to compete in finding the right talent.

The future of HR however depends on its business presence.  You need to have the mindset of a business role-player first and then an HR professional to understand the contribution that HR can make to the bigger picture.  It boils down to how well you really know your business and who your clients are, may it be employees, line managers, Exco members, external clients or even investors.  Ask yourself the following questions, to establish whether you understand your business:

  • What are the top three priorities and concerns of your business leaders?
  • Who is your biggest client and why do they use your service or product?
  • Which product/service is the most profitable, and why?
  • What emerging technology trends can influence your business?
  • What socio-economic or political trends might be disruptive to your industry?
  • What is the company’s operating margin?
  • What was the revenue and profit for the previous financial year?

If you are familiar with the needs of the business, your HR practices will reflect that knowledge. The answers to the above questions can help the HR practitioner to achieve business objectives through informed HR desicions.

There are many ways in which HR practices can support business performance.  The principles and philosophies that you implement as an HR professional affect the workplace, the value chain, the company’s value proposition as well as the technology that the company uses.  The people represent the company’s image and its ability to adequately deliver its service or product and it is ultimately your responsibility to shape that image and to align it with the business needs.

The broader HR mandate far exceeds the mere administration of HR technology and policies alone.  The focus has shifted towards the management of talent which includes recruitment, training and development, performance management, talent assessment and succession planning.  As far as the organisation is concerned, HR practices will shape the business structure, rewards, internal communication and process design.

It is crucial that the organisation’s HR strategy underscores that of the business.  HR goals need to be consistent with that of the company’s and need to be designed to make the business strategy happen.  Likewise, HR also needs buy-in from management to mobilise its strategy.

It is therefore necessary to focus on building relationships of trust.  To make an impact in the business the HR professional needs to be confident, have a commercial point of view, be able to speak candidly and influence others. A positive investment in their own personal growth will help any HR professional in this regard.

The key elements to focus on are to create a business presence, to learn the language of your business and to continue with an HR mindset. The ultimate goal is to empower your people and to focus on business results as these are lifelines that keep your business alive.