Tag Archive: Sage


The Sage Insights 2014 conference provided inspiration to everybody part of the Sage ERP ecosystem. The annual conference was held at Champagne Sports Resort in the Drakensberg and attended by more than 250 Sage ERP Africa business partners, which included many partners from Southern, East and West Africa as well as the Middle East.

In his opening address, Jeremy Waterman, Managing Director of Sage ERP Africa and the Middle East said: “The key to being a successful business player in the ERP sector is realising the existence of major disruptive trends and ensuring solutions adapt accordingly. Whether you are business owner, software developer, or a sales person, disruptive technologies, such as cloud, mobile and connected services are a reality and applying its principles will make you one step ahead of the competition. You need to find a way to be disruptive or you will be disrupted.”

Waterman noted that 2013 had been a very busy year during which Sage had rebranded from Softline and established itself as the brand leader in the supply of effective business solutions to small and medium size businesses throughout the African continent. Their presence in East Africa is on the increase and they have established a significant foothold in West Africa with the opening of a Sage office in Lagos, Nigeria. Further to this, Sage ERP Africa has also assumed the management of the Middle East region during 2013.

Himanshu Palsule, Chief Technology Officer at Sage North America, focused his keynote address on the impact of mobility and cloud as disruptive forces in the market today, and how the Sage 300 ERP business was leveraging these as an opportunity in developing the product roadmap. “Our markets are transforming, the web and mobility have disrupted the value chain and we need to react responsibly to the disruption by investing in purposeful innovation. We need to give customers flexibility and choice and therefore our roadmap for the future will include a total reimagining of the product, focusing not only on mobility and cloud but also modernising the user interface for an improved customer experience. Sage ERP 300 has been chosen as one of the select small to medium business (SMB) products worldwide that Sage is investing in to effectively position it as a competitive force in the cloud.”

In the keynote delivered by Amanda Jobbins, Chief Marketing Officer for Sage, highlights of Sage’s Global Brand strategy, were shared. “At Sage we are on a new and exciting journey with the development of our brand in the minds of customers. We want to ensure consistency in our visual identity and ensure that customers recognise us a global leader and a partner that will give them the freedom and confidence to succeed.”

Keynotes were also delivered by Christophe Vanackere, Director of international operations at Sage ERP X3, on the seven exciting new strategies for Sage ERP X3 V7 to be released June 2014 and Tom Nolan, Head of Sage CRM, focused on the road ahead for Sage CRM and the integration with Sage 300 ERP as well as Sage ERP X3.

A strategic sales summary was delivered by Keith Fenner, Senior Vice President for Sales at Sage ERP Africa and Middle East. “Our excellent growth figures show that as a company we are disruptive and contribute in building the economy in Africa by being innovation partners for businesses. In going forward and ensuring that we keep a customer for life, it will be important to accelerate disruption by ensuring the development of relevant and modern solutions.”

Waterman concludes: “Sage Insights 2014 was the most exciting conference in many years because it focussed on what was actually being delivered now. The conference in 2013 defined the way forward for our three core products – Sage 300 ERP, Sage ERP X3 and Sage CRM in terms of meeting the challenges of cloud and mobility. This year it was all about the actual execution of these strategies. There are particularly exciting times lying ahead for us, our business partners and Industry Solution Vendors (ISV’s) as we work together to deliver disruptive solutions to the customer. The conference was an excellent opportunity for us to network, share information and very importantly, have some fun.”

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.

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.”

Softline, a provider of business management software to small and medium sized companies, today announced that after months of planning they will be rebranding and will be referred to as Sage  South Africa, effective immediately. Softline is the holding company for prominent South African software products such as Pastel Accounting and Payroll, VIP Payroll, Sage 300 ERP (Accpac) and Sage ERP X3. Softline joined the Sage Group plc in 2003 after delisting from the JSE and is the central team of the Africa, Australia, Middle East and Asia (AAMEA) region, a grouping of territories headed by Softline co-founder and CEO of Sage AAMEA Ivan Epstein.

The Sage Group plc, a FTSE 100 company, is a leading global provider of business management software to SMEs with over 6.5 million customers in 24 countries. Epstein attributes the rebranding in South Africa to the alignment with Softline’s parent company, The Sage Group plc. in the continued pursuit of a global brand. “Softline has been part of The Sage Group plc for many years and over this time we have continued to grow in prominence.  To move forward we believe that it is now time to leverage the global power of The Sage Group and align ourselves fully with the brand.”

Softline was founded in 1988 by Ivan Epstein, Alan Osrin and soon after joined by Steven Cohen. The company was established in the formative years of the business software industry in South Africa, and soon became a leader in the provision of business software and services to SMEs.  The move to Sage will bring about name changes across all of the divisions including Sage VIP (formerly Softline VIP), Sage ERP Africa (formerly Softline ACCPAC), Sage Pastel (formerly Softline Pastel) and Sage Netcash (formerly Softline Netcash) as well as the newest edition to the stable, Sage Alchemex (formerly Alchemex).  “Our current and future customers will continue to enjoy the benefits of our locally and globally developed products that they have come to know and trust, whilst this alignment creates further opportunities to leverage global insights and collaboration.”

Epstein says that while the company’s branding will change, it is business as usual for Sage South Africa. “Our continued vision in South Africa, and globally, is to be recognised as the most valuable supporter of small and medium sized companies, by creating greater freedom for them to succeed,” says Epstein. “This vision supports the path of providing local expertise and leadership combined with global learnings and experience of Sage.”

Sage Business Index by Softline shows local confidence in business prospects remain stable, but confidence in SA economic prospects dips

8th November 2012, Johannesburg: Softline, part of the Sage Group PLC, today released the results of The Sage Business Index – Local and International Business Insights.

The Index is a global measure of confidence across small and medium sized businesses. Nearly 11,000 small and medium sized companies in 15 countries across Europe, North America, Brazil, South Africa and Asia responded to the survey. The Index shows that whilst there is a general decline in confidence in global and local economies, businesses remain cautiously optimistic in their own growth prospects.

In South Africa, confidence in both individual business prospects and the outlook for the global economy remain largely unchanged, down slightly from March 2012 (Index scores: 64.44 to 64.19 and 44.71 to 44.54 respectively). Confidence in South Africa’s own economic prospects has fallen slightly further from 46.11 in March 2012 to 43.03 in September 2012.

South African Index Scores* September 2012 March 2012 September 2011
Global economic confidence 44.54 44.71 45.92
SA’s Country economic confidence 43.03 46.11 44.10
Own business confidence SA 64.19 64.44 62.58

(Below 50 is decline/less confident above 50 is improvement/more confident, 50 is no different)*

The research, which included 1 879 South African small to medium size businesses, was carried out by Populus, a UK based opinion and research consultancy firm.

Economic confidence – local concerns in line with macro-economic trends

All countries, with the exception of Brazil, registered an index score below 50 showing that respondents generally feel that the global economy is continuing to decline. Unsurprisingly, the Eurozone countries feel the most negative, with fears of a “double dip” recession having risen sharply.

In South Africa, businesses surveyed are feeling less confident about the prospects for the local economy, with the index declining from 46.11 to 43.03 over the past 6 months. This, however, is in sharp contrast with how they feel about their own business prospects which scored positively at 64.19.

Commenting at the official results presentation in Johannesburg today, Ivan Epstein, CEO (and co-founder) of Softline and Sage AAMEA (Asia, Australia, Middle East and Africa) said, “Looking at the results against an international backdrop, South Africa scored the second highest index rating of all the countries polled in terms of individual business confidence. Entrepreneurial spirit and business culture is identified by businesses as one of the most important aspects for doing business successfully in South Africa. This endorses my strong belief that South Africa is a fertile environment for successful entrepreneurs and small businesses.”

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Business performance and challenges – revenues maintained, cost challenges

There are some positive signs in the global survey with 63 percent of respondents saying that over the past 6 months revenue has either increased or held steady whilst 82 percent have either increased or maintained employee numbers.

South Africa achieved a similar score with 65 percent of businesses polled showing either steady or increasing revenue and 84 percent of businesses either increasing or maintaining employee numbers.

Rob Wilkie, CFO of Softline and Sage AAMEA commented that “72 percent of South African businesses said that they have adapted to the challenges of the current economic climate. The agility and resilience of businesses in South Africa is testament to a strong entrepreneurial business culture and strength of South Africa as a place to do business”.

Increasing costs are the number one concern of businesses surveyed in South Africa. Wilkie commented that “this was expected given that CPI is on an upward trend with the main drivers being food prices, fuel and electricity. In addition, an inevitable consequence of the recent high wage increases seen in the mining and transport sectors is going to be higher inflation, particularly when decoupled from increased productivity”.

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Government – businesses call on government to do more

All countries participating in the global survey feel that their governments don’t provide sufficient support for business, with the exception of Singapore where 54% of respondents indicated that their Government provides adequate support.

In South Africa businesses are calling for skills development and education (46%), the reduction of bureaucracy and legislation (40%), a reduction in business tax (34%) and currency stability (28%).  Wilkie commented, “in order to enhance its competitiveness, government must address the quality of primary education, particularly in view of a very high unemployment rate. Over-regulation and red tape is a further obstacle, specifically firing and hiring practices, wage determination, public sector tender procedures and enforcement of contracts”.

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Investment for growth – future prospects

In considering the year ahead, 29 percent of South African businesses surveyed said they were looking to diversify into new markets, 28 percent would invest further in marketing and sales within their existing markets and 27 percent would invest in skills development and training.

According to Epstein, “economic and political reforms in Africa have resulted in an improved business environment and offer an attractive opportunity for South African businesses to diversify and expand across their border.”

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In conclusion Epstein said, “ We’ve seen evidence in this research report and others, that small and medium sized business in South Africa require more focused attention from our leaders. The future of the South African economy, and most importantly, the ability to create employment in this country will be dependent the stimulation of more businesses that are sustainable over the long term. Private business and Government have a pivotal role to play in the economic growth and development of small business in South Africa.”

To view the full article, please visit http://businessindex.sage.com/

For more, please follow Softline on Twitter http://twitter.com/SageGroupZA

By Keith Fenner, Senior Vice President of Sales for Africa at Softline Accpac, part of the Sage Group plc.

Keith Fenner

Keith Fenner

Labour issues recently made headlines as one of the major challenges facing the South African mining landscape.  Rising labour costs as well as increasing electricity costs are just some of the obstacles facing the sector.

Many operators in the industry are currently focusing their efforts internally to stabilise the business, with a very strong emphasis on cost.  Effective cost management can however create opportunities for growth when armed with tried and tested business processes and a business software solution such as Sage ERP X3.

During 2011 Deloitte embarked on a partnership with Sage ERP X3 that was aimed at the delivery of a cost efficient Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution to its Mining Shared Services Division.  Sage ERP X3 effectively forms part of a Deloitte service delivery model that allows mining companies to co-source and/or outsource transactional and knowledge processes and take advantage of the cost benefits offered by consolidating and streamlining back office processes.  Deloitte’s mining industry expertise coupled with Sage ERP X3’s sector specific software capabilities are the two core ingredients to a winning recipe.

Organisations within the mining sector utilise ERP solutions for a diverse number of reasons.  Smaller companies may only utilise an ERP solution to manage its finance and purchasing, whereas bigger operators need to structure their business solutions around a more complex collection of needs.  A scalable ERP solution is therefore essential to adapt to the business’ needs however they may expand or change.

Sage ERP X3 was designed with the mid-to-upper end business in mind, which makes it a great match for the mining industry, among others.  The ERP solution excels at streamlining all operating and processing aspects of single or multiple business operations.

The product is essentially a complete web-based integrated management suite that covers all operational needs in terms of production management, distribution, logistics, asset maintenance, finance and human resources.  It is a multi-legislative, multi-lingual and multi-currency solution that can be seamlessly integrated on both a national and international level.

One of Deloitte’s first major clients recently went live on Sage ERP X3 with a further three mines showing satisfactory results being very comfortable with the product.  Sage ERP X3 does not come with the hefty price tag that some of its bigger counterparts presents, which makes it the ideal solution in a tough economy.

Cost of ownership is a focal point and with that in mind Deloitte introduced a software finance plan option, to stagger the initial implementation cost.  The return on investment makes the implementation of a Deloitte Mining Shared Services offering well worth it. The package comprises of an ERP solution, financial co-and outsourcing services in addition to information technology outsourcing services.

The ability of Deloitte’s Mining Shared Services Division to drive the back office productivity levels of its clients, delivers tangible results.  It is not just a system, but a comprehensive solution that leverages the industry expertise provided by Deloitte and the robust applications delivered through Sage ERP X3.

By Gerhard Hartman, Head of the Africa Division at Softline VIP, part of the Sage Group plc.

Gerhard Hartman

Gerhard Hartman

The African continent has enjoyed its best growth decade on record and is currently one of the world’s fastest growing regions, with six of the ten fastest growing economies in the world. It therefore makes business sense for South African firms to look at expanding into Africa and opening branches in other parts of the continent.

Companies expanding into Africa either need to send South African staff into these countries as expatriates or need to open an operating entity in that country that comprises of local staff members. Either way, companies face challenges in expanding into Africa, especially in setting up their auditing, taxation, accounting and payroll systems that are accurate and compliant with the local legislation of that African country.

In response to this trend, and in an attempt to aid local companies with their expansion plans into Africa, Sage VIP Payroll has partnered with BDO Audit – Advisory and Tax services – and Sage Pastel Evaluation to provide local companies with everything they may need to enter a new country of operation, with confidence.

One of Sage VIP Payroll’s main strategic goals is focused around expansion into Africa with the company currently being operational in 24 African countries. The VIP Payroll Africa Division holds offices in Gaborone, Windhoek and Nairobi; with active alliance partnerships in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Nigeria, Ghana, DRC, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Angola, Mozambique and Rwanda.

Companies in Africa are starting to realise the importance of automation and how VIP Payroll can help them make more informed decisions, creating more efficient environments for company growth and return on investment. Salaries continue to be one of the biggest expenses in any organisation while the market for employment is becoming more competitive, making HR an essential part of any company’s strategic advantage. VIP Payroll provides an integrated solution for any size business to manage salary payments and HR strategies effectively. The system enables statutory compliance with authorities in African countries and local support is provided through alliance partners in the country of operation.

BDO has a large amount of experience servicing multi-national companies from across the globe. The organisation aids companies to build a country specific business model for operations in Africa. BDO also has contacts and alliance partners in every country in Africa, except Somalia, making it the best business to partner with when expanding into Africa. BDO’s three phase process includes advising companies on the implications of doing business in another African country, implementation of licensing, permits, registrations and applications in that country, and setting up compliance and business controls for payroll, auditing and accounting.

Common mistakes that companies make when expanding into Africa include not having sufficient knowledge of the country and a lack of operational planning. Preparation is essential as is a solid understanding of the local tax laws and company legislation. Companies also need to educate themselves on the foreign exchange regime, economic environment, legal system and the foreign company processes in each country.  This is where BDO is able to aid companies with relevant information that will adequately prepare them for their new venture.

Pastel Evolution has been operational in Africa since 2001 and has offices in South Africa and Kenya. The organisation has over 2500 corporate customers in Africa and over 70 business partners on the continent, as well as 15 project implementation consultants and 50 call centre support staff. Pastel Evolution empowers business management through finance, inventory management, relationship management, payroll and business intelligence. These systems streamline business processes and enable employees to make informed decisions.

Many companies make the mistake of purchasing systems for accounting, HR, payroll and auditing to be used in their new African venture, that do not offer the in-country support that is needed to implement the software, nor is it compliant with the local legislation.

VIP, BDO and Pastel have a support base of local partners that are more than able to provide tried and tested advice in addition to on-site support to African businesses. All VIP, BDO and Pastel software is customised to comply with local legislation, which effectively takes the hassle out of setting up branches in other countries.

Hard Facts about Africa

  • The 1 billion people that live on the African continent comprises 14% of the global population, half of which are under the age of 35 and nearly half live in cities.
  • The African economy of $1,6-trillion is expected to grow to 2,6-trillion by 2020.
  • Since 2009, Angola, Nigeria, Ghana, Zambia and DRC have been top investment destinations.
  • In 2012 Ghana is expected to show the strongest GDP growth, with Nigeria in fourth position.
  • New investment destinations also include Equatorial Guinea, Guinea, Madagascar, Gabon, Cameroon, Mozambique, Liberia and the Congo.
  • The main sectors for investment in Africa include mining, construction, property development, retail, supplier services to the oil, gas and mobile telephone industries, ICT, security, agriculture, tourism and hospitality.

Doesn’t it make absolute sense to invest in Africa?

On August 23, 2012 a contingent from Sage Alchemex, developers of Sage Intelligence Reporting software, returned to South Africa from Sage Summit 2012, Sage North America’s annual partner and end-user conference, last week. This year, Sage Summit was held at the Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee, from August 11 to 17. Sage Intelligence was showcased extensively, with seven Sage Alchemex team members in attendance running a total of 32 Intelligence learning sessions over 6 days and manning a busy Sage Intelligence tradeshow booth which allowed demonstrations to groups of 10 and more at a time.

 

Sage Summit attendees congregating around the Sage Intelligence booth.

Sage Intelligence Reporting is a business intelligence module for a number of Sage ERP and accounting products, which promises richer insight into a business. Using the familiar Microsoft® Excel® interface, it enables more robust reporting and easier access to Sage ERP and accounting data, providing affordable, intuitive business intelligence for small to medium businesses.

Sage Summit 2012 saw the attendance of Sage Alchemex, not as an OEM partner, but as a Sage-owned subsidiary. Alchemex was acquired by Softline, a member of The Sage Group plc, effective October 1, 2011. Charles Teversham, Sage Alchemex MD, says that attending Sage Summit 2012 as part of the Sage Group was “the culmination of a number of exciting developments over the last few years and the launch pad for several exciting initiatives which will take us into the future”.

Sage Summit provided the platform for the launch of these initiatives by the Sage Alchemex team, including:

The Report Designer Add-In for Sage ERP 100 Intelligence Reporting

An addition to the existing Report Designer module, a report layout generator which allows for easy-to-use drag-and-drop financial report design, the Report Designer Add-In presents an alternative method of report design to empower Sage 100 ERP Intelligence Reporting users to take full control of all design aspects of their reporting layouts. It provides drag-and-drop Excel financial formulas which communicate with a new In-Memory processing engine promising excellent performance, maximum control and greatly enhanced flexibility. It promises to provide business partners and consultants in particular with the flexibility they need to create bespoke reports for customers.

Free Report Templates

The vision of Sage Alchemex to fuel a proliferation of report templates, beyond the standard report templates that ship with the Sage Intelligence module, was shared at Sage Summit 2012 and a platform for sharing additional report templates was launched. Report writers can use these templates as a basis for quickly and easily providing customized reports, and thereby added value, for their customers. A number of free report templates were launched on the Free Report Templates Group on the BI Community for use with the Intelligence Reporting module.  Sage Intelligence partners or customers can help themselves to these templates or post reports themselves for sharing amongst the Sage Intelligence community.

 

Stephen Coull, Sage Alchemex Sales Director, says “Sage Summit gives us the opportunity to connect with Sage colleagues, partners and customers and show them the power of Sage Intelligence. This was our fifth year at Sage Summit, but our first as a member of the Sage family, and our product continues to be well-received. Apart from all the focused activity around showing and teaching the product, the Sage Alchemex team heard overwhelming feedback from partners and customers about how much they had seen added to the product in the last year and how they were really excited about the future of the product following the ‘road ahead’ sessions where the new in-memory Add-in grabbed the most attention. Many Sage ERP 100 delegates stated that this provides a good reason to move off FRx to the Sage Intelligence solution.”

Teversham says, “Our longstanding and very successful partnerships with Softline Pastel and Softline VIP entrenched the use of ‘BI in Excel’ in South Africa via Pastel’s Business Intelligence Centre and VIP Payroll’s Business Intelligence Manager during the last six to seven years. An OEM agreement signed with Sage North America in November 2009 set us up to proliferate the use of our software globally. Then in 2011 we were acquired by Softline, providing us with the opportunity to, together with Sage, address the burgeoning need for business intelligence in their small and mid-sized customer base worldwide. Given the feedback from Sage Summit, and the positive response to our initiatives, Sage Intelligence is poised to become the business intelligence tool of choice for SMMEs world-wide”.

Ivan Epstein CEO (and co-founder) of Softline and Sage AAMEA (Asia, Australia, Middle East and Africa) shares some of his insights into the results of the Sage Business Index, which has been conducted for the first time in South Africa to provide unique insights into the South African SMME business landscape for start-up’s, small businesses, medium enterprises and entrepreneurs.

Ivan Epstein

Ivan Epstein

Here are some interesting snippets:


“It is apparent from the research that South African small to mid-sized businesses are more confident about their own businesses prospects than the prospects for the South African or the global economy.”

“Given the economic conditions in which South African businesses are operating, it is encouraging to see positive elements coming out of this research. Small businesses are less concerned by macro factors such as the global economy and are more focussed on getting on with business. For them it is about making their businesses work.”

“Even amidst a tougher economic climate, businesses are recognising the continued importance of investment into their businesses as this will continue to drive the growth and success of SME’s.”

Read more about the Sage Business Index and find more resources, reports and results:

Sage Business Index: Overview of Results Launched

Sage Business Index: South Africa Infographic

DOWNLOAD THE FULL PDF REPORT: Sage Business Index Report 26 September 2011
(2.3MB – please be patient whilst this PDF document loads in a new tab once you have clicked the link)

Click here to view full sized Infographic

Sage Business Index South Africa Infographic.jpeg