Sage is to extend its products across Africa

Anton van Heerden, Executive Vice-President and Managing Director, Sage South & Southern Africa (Source LinkedIn)
Anton van Heerden, Executive Vice-President and Managing Director, Sage South & Southern Africa

At the Sage Summit tour in South Africa Sage has announced its plans for the growth of its cloud solutions across the continent. It is extending the reach of its portfolio of solutions across the continent. Its intention is to bring its finance, payroll and ERP solutions to a wider audience and help businesses grow.

According to Anton van Heerden, Managing Director and Executive Vice-President, Africa & Middle East, Sage: “Sage’s vision is to empower entrepreneurs and business owners to spend less time on admin and more time on what they love doing. We see our customers as the heroes that build the region’s economy and we are giving them the tools and technologies they need to be successful.”

Top billing to Salesforce

Sage will make its business and accounting app on the Salesforce App Cloud available in South Africa later this year. Built using the Salesforce Lightning user interface (UI), it enables Salesforce customers to extend their CRM application to support their wider business requirements, especially finance.

Whether Sage will launch the product in time for Salesforce Essentials in Johannesburg on March 16 seems unlikely. This does appear to be the only major Salesforce event of the year in the country.

Extending Sage One

Sage are extending the internationalisation of Sage One Payroll to Kenya by the end of March and Nigeria by July. For small businesses Sage One offers a complete accounting and payroll solution. Sage One is already available in several countries across Africa including South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

While the GDP of Nigeria fell in 2016 due to the fall in oil prices, the economy is still growing. In 2013 it had more than 37 million small businesses (less than 200 employees) that provided a significant proportion of the economy. Nigeria is the 23rd largest economy in the world (Source World Bank) and a solid opportunity for Sage to grow its user base.

Kenya is another booming economy in Africa with GDP forecast to grow by 6% in 2017. It has a dynamic private sector and one that Sage should find receptive to its solutions. The recent drought across the country is a major threat to that growth as it becomes a major issue.

Sage is also extended support for Sage One invoiceing across sub Saharan africa by the end of April. This cloud-based solution allows small businesses to track quotes and invoices through their life cycles. It allows a business owner to raise a quote and see whether it is accepted. Invoices are also tracked and customers can use the secure Pay Now service through Sage Pay, ensuring rapid payment of invoices. The solution supports i-Pay, Bank EFT, credit cards, Master Pass or even a cash payment using certain retail outlets that support SCODE.

Sage X3 and others

Sage X3 version 11.0.2 is now generally available. The cloud-based ERP solution has had recent success in South Africa with Mentis and UPP. There is a new rapid implementation methodology available called Sage X3 Fast Start. Sage will hope to persuade more companies to adopt its flagship ERP solution. The new version has added project management features and automated bank statements. It also includes a new production scheduler and the Sage X3 Salesforce CRM connector announced last year. These enhancements should make it attractive to the services market as well as its traditional manufacturing market.

Sage also demonstrated Pegg, its chat bot that integrates to Sage 100. Though whether users in South Africa can take advantage of this on localised software is not known.

Conclusion

The Sage Summits will continue in other locations around the world. While the single event held last year was larger than the individual events it is holding this year there are advantages to this new approach. Local news relevant to Africa gets a louder voice than it did at the event in Chicago last year. This is often a problem for multi-national software providers running single events as localised news is lost.

Sage is gaining a market share across Africa that will be hard to dislodge. It offers a complete range of solutions to the SME market. It is also one of the few companies that seems to be targeting Africa. A continent that has the potential to grow substantially in economic terms over the next few years.

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