Sage ERP X3 V6 Launch Notes

I just sat in on the Sage ERP X3 v6 launch which was simulcast over the web from Paris. Update: Sage have posted the complete video of the Sage ERP X3 launch online.

Sage ERP X3 was acquired by Sage in 2005. Prior to branding as Sage ERP X3 it was known as Adonix. They claim 2,700+ users — probably mostly overseas (As I’m in Glastonbury CT that would be non – USA customers – though I believe there are a several in the USA) and 150 partners. The US launch of V6 is scheduled for Q2 2010.

The overall theme of the launch today was that Sage ERP X3 is easy, simple, fast to implement, users like it.  Sage indicates that in competitive selling situations they  win about 1/3 of the time ( I’m unsure if that means globally or only in a region — it was hard to tell from responses because I was remotely connected and couldn’t see which Sage person answered).

Sage ERP X3 is one of two ERP accounting products  Sage has designated as a global offering. That means it’s intended to be used in all regions where Sage operates. The other ERP is Sage Accpac.

According to Sage they sell Sage ERP X3 50% direct and 50% through VARS. Sage further said that as of now they have no rules of engagement (????) for when to sell direct and when to sell through a VAR. This seemed really odd for me and a recipe for conflict.

DISCLOSURE: I am a Sage Business Partner at Schulz Consulting LLC. Since 1986 I’ve specialized in Sage MAS90 and MAS200 accounting software.  While I am not a Sage employee, I do derive most of my income from consulting on Sage MAS 90/200. Therefore I’m not independent in my views of Sage or their competitors. Though I believe this summary is a fair portrayal of what was discussed (sprinkled with my personal thoughts) I recommend you form your own conclusions based on your own research. What follows are my raw notes and observations of the Sage ERP X3 launch event and follow-up press conference. I welcome you to use these observations together with (but not in place of) your own good judgment and research.

Himanshu Palsule, Executive VP, Product Strategy/Marketing, Sage Business Solutions, followed up to clarify that he sees sales of ERP X3 as channel driven in the USA. He thinks that initially Sage will have to be involved in the North American sales process  if only to make sure the implementation goes well (Note: This sounds a lot like how Sage MAS500 started too).

According to Himanshu’s talk Sage ERP X3 is filling a space at Sage for customers requiring globalization with muli-company processes. This includes the need to be multi-lingual, international currency support, tax law needs, etc.

There are some new technologies built into (or around) Sage ERP X3. One of them is the SAFE X3 (Sage Application Framework for the Enterprise) platform can support a variety of databases and operating systems enabling customers to move to Sage easily and without massive investment as they will not need to switch all of their supporting systems

I asked during the Q&A whether there are other Sage products  sold direct (aside from the low end stuff) and was not able to get an answer. (I believe that qualifies as a no.)  Another hint that Sage doesn’t do a lot of direct selling on their larger products is the lack of any type of policy as to who sells the deal (direct vs VAR) — or at least if they have a policy they aren’t sharing it (and a few people asked about it).

The product will run on Oracle or Microsoft SQL and both companies had managers that appeared on stage to thank Sage for their partnership and give a little more background on their products. There’s no planned support for open sourced databases like MySQL (Sage says this could be added in the future but would have to be based on customer demand).

Himanshu Palsule addressed the question of when to sell Sage Accpac VS Sage ERP X3 (the two global accounting offerings) with a somewhat general reply. He said that the more complex deals are Sage ERP X3 candidates while the other smaller deals are Sage Accpac.

Sage does not see a demand for Sage ERP X3 in the cloud as of today. Some business partners are doing cloud hosting (I’m assuming meaning hosting it on a server and providing some type of remote access). It doesn’t seem like Sage ERP X3 is designed to be a true SaaS where you’d have multiple different customers logging into one code based product.

Curiously Sage declines to share any goals for sales or market share. I’m sure they have them.  On this webcast they declined to name any. The closest they got was when one of the Sage people mentioned they seem to win 1/3 of deals.

I asked Sage whether they’d be globally adopting Sage ERP X3 internally since I’d just sat through nearly two hours of discussion about how fast and easy the implementation was. Sage ducked the question saying “I don’t think that was on the announcement agenda today”….  and promptly ended the press conference while inviting journalists downstairs for drinks. I’ll take that as a no answer.

I asked Sage what their target market was as defined by a customer’s  # of employees. They gave a somewhat vague-ish answer at first of 20 to 20,000 but seemed to finally narrow it down to a range of 100 to 2,000 employees. It’s worth reviewing figures from Sage’s own 2009 annual report that shows the size of their current customer base (as listed below).

Only 17% of current customers are 25-500 employees. My take-away is that based on their own figures this (100 to 2,000 employees) market is not one that Sage knows exceptionally well — though I’m sure they’d like to play here.

Upper mid-market: 3% of our customer base – < 5,000 employees
Lower mid-market: 17% of our customer base – 500
Entry-level: 80% of our customer base – 25

They announced integration with Netvibes who is a desktop information delivery service specializing in creating custom web based desktops where you can add widgets to display snippets of information. Sage Enterprise Webtop  is a widget capable of taking data from Sage ERP X3 and pulling it onto the Netvibes desktop.

Nothing said about remote access via platforms like iPhone, Android or BlackBerry.

Sage will be (or has) developing an international team for consistent marketing and support of Sage ERP X3.

Two channel partners were mentioned at the outset (though I know there are more). Blytheco was one. The other was Datel (sp?). A representative from Logica (a global consulting firm) was brought on stage to explain their reasons for choosing Sage ERP X3 as a product to represent. Among other reasons Logica seemed eager to take on smaller clients as well as happy that Sage ERP X3 is going to be sold at least partly through a channel. UPDATE: Bob Scott (http://www.bobscottsinsights.com) notes this link which displays the current North American Sage ERP X3 Partners .

There was a very limited demo – all of it centered around the Netvibes widget capabilities.

Update 3-31-2010: Datel, a UK Sage ERP X3 partner, have just updated their web site with the news that since the October 2009 introduction and January 2010 launch event of ERP X3 that they’ve sold the first package. While the wording is a bit unclear as to whether this is the first sale only for Datel or whether it’s the first sale at all since the October 2009 launch event.

Datel achieves the first Sage ERP X3 sale following UK launch
Following the launch in October 2009 of Sage ERP X3 by Sage to the UK market, Sage’s largest UK Business Partner Datel is pleased to announce that they have achieved the first sale. Sage ERP X3 is an international, highly scalable business management solution deployed in 38 countries around the world and is the ideal platform for growing global organisations to improve business processes and increase efficiency.

Since the product launch Datel has refocused some of their key software specialists into a Sage ERP X3 Division. The team have spent the time since the release building understanding of the product to be ready for the first implementation.

Datel is now pleased to confirm that the first order has been placed with Sage and they are due to begin the client’s implementation in the coming weeks.

David Preston, Managing Director at Sage reseller Datel, is delighted to have made the first Sage ERP X3 sale, “Datel were very excited about the release of Sage ERP X3 and its potential for businesses looking for a truly scalable and easy to deploy enterprise system. We have made sure that the Datel teams are prepared for the release and our experience of working with Sage products for over 20 years stands us in good stead to successfully implement this new product.”

Link: Sage ERP X3

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Comments

  1. Sage (at least in North America) has been implementing SAP for at least 2 or 3 years now. It’s not up and running though.

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