Definition

Sage Group plc

Contributor(s): Diann Daniel

Sage Group plc is a global enterprise software vendor. Its portfolio of business software includes accounting, ERP, payroll, customer relationship management (CRM) and human capital management (HCM). While the Sage software target market has traditionally been small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), the company also serves enterprises.

Sage headquarters are in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. According to Sage, the company has more than 6 million customers worldwide as of 2017, with the majority of these in Europe, and employees in 23 countries covering the United Kingdom and Ireland, mainland Europe, North America, South Africa, Australia, Asia, and Brazil.

Sage company history

Sage was founded in 1981 by David Goldman, Paul Muller and Graham Wylie in Newcastle upon Tyne. Goldman wanted to automate print estimating and basic accounting for his own business, at the start of the personal computing era. Sage was listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1989, and in 1991, Sage entered the U.S. market.

Stephen Kelly became CEO in 2014.

The origins of Sage software  are in accounting and payroll software but the company has grown through business expansion and an aggressive acquisition strategy. For example, in 2017 Sage acquired Intacct, a San Jose-based SaaS vendor of core financial management software for midsize companies, and Farsail, a UK-based SaaS HCM vendor. Both represent moves to expand Sage's cloud software presence, a key focus for the company.

Sage software products -- on-premises and cloud

Sage is largely known as a financial accounting vendor focused on SMBs across a number of verticals, although the company offers software for enterprises as well. The products are segmented according to company size, with the general categories being entrepreneurs and startups; small businesses; and medium-sized through to large enterprises. Further segmentation also incorporates industry-specific requirements.

The main category of Sage software is core financials and accounting software. A second focus area is HR software (including HCM and payroll). A third is payments and banking, with Sage primarily employing third-party software that works within the Sage software ecosystem.

The majority of Sage's users have the on-premises software, according to the company, with the main product franchises being Sage 50, accounting software for smaller companies; and Sage 200 for SMBs that are growing, developing more complex business processes and need more in-depth functionality, such as storing merchandise in multiple warehouses.

However, with the company making aggressive moves to gain market share in the cloud software category, Sage also offers cloud products such as Sage One, SaaS accounting business software for small business; Sage Live and Sage Intacct, core financials; and Sage X3, ERP suited for manufacturing companies.

In the cloud HR category, Sage offers Sage People, formerly Fairsail. Payroll products are localized by currencies and other regional needs.

Industries Sage software targets

Sage software has a number of products that are tailored according to industry-specific requirements. It serves the chemical industry, construction and real estate, manufacturing, wholesale distribution, food and beverage, and nonprofit organizations. For example, in the construction and real estate category, it has Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate, Sage 100 Contractor and Sage Estimating, and the manufacturing products include Sage 100c, Sage 300c and Sage X3.

Sage revenue and market share

According to the 2016 Sage annual report, the company attained organic revenue growth of 6.1% in the fiscal year, with software subscriptions growing by 32.3%. Sage One paying subscriptions increased by 81%, to 313,000 subscriptions, and X3 had a 25% increase of paying customers, with revenue growth of 18%.

Although Sage does not explicitly refer to itself as an ERP company, products such as X3 and Sage 300c put it in direct competition with ERP companies, such as NetSuite, and in 2014 Gartner's ERP market share report noted it was the third-largest supplier of ERP software worldwide.

This was last updated in September 2017

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I have been a Sage reseller for 30 years. My experience is generally very positive. I am proud to represent their Sage 100 product and have many happy clients.
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