Sage TransformAt Transform 2022, Sage has finally announced a foreign language version of its Sage Intacct financial management solution. The first language is French. The company also revealed some other product investments it has made over the last year. Enterprise Times spoke to Dan Miller, EVP of Sage Intacct, about the news and got a better understanding.

Miller commented: “Over the past year, we have continued to deliver on our commitment to evolve our products and services, making improvements to workflow and connecting processes for our customers across business functions.”

“We are constantly striving to meet our new and existing customers’ needs through innovative solutions that help them make their businesses more efficient and focus on what matters most – reaching their full growth potential.”

What are the workflow and connecting processes?

Dan Miller, EVP of Product for Sage Intacct
Dan Miller, EVP of Product for Sage Intacct

“There’s a whole series of improvements that we’re making in workflow across multiple processes. There’s the work that we’re doing in the AP automation workflow. We’re connecting workflows for product-based businesses with the introduction of Sage Intact Manufacturing into the US, a solution for distributors and (discrete) manufacturers. We are also making improvements in the workflow between our planning solution and Intacct financials.

“There is our introduction of statistical accounts capabilities into planning. That allows people to plan against non-financial drivers of their business, such as leads, occupancy in a hotel, or the number of kids served in a non-profit. Whatever those metrics are that they use to accomplish their objectives and their mission. They can plan against those and then bring that back into the analytics we provide, allowing them to measure how they perform throughout the year.”

Language expansion

The launch of the French language version of Sage Intacct is significant. Also, Sage has rearchitected the platform using the Sage digital network to ensure that other solutions can take advantage and make extending the support to other languages easier. As Miller noted during our conversation: “It’s really part of a larger strategy for us to move in tax financials into continental Europe.”

Sage Intacct, the French version, will be available by the end of the calendar year. The company now has its complete mid-market suite ready for the French market. Sage People was already available in France, and Sage Intacct now has the foreign language option. As Miller put it, “the product will be in the language of the choice of the user.” It also has the localisations such as the French chart of accounts and other statutory requirements.

France is the first non-English-speaking European country it has launched into; more will follow. The timeline for that Miller would not be drawn on. Recently Sage South Africa launched Intacct into Namibia, Botswana and Mauritius. Will the French language version be available there?

Miller replied, “Not initially. We want to make sure we’re achieving our objectives in one region first. But that’s definitely on the horizon.”

What about other languages?

Miller answered: “We’re working on French first, and then we’ll expand into Spanish, German, and Canadian French.”

With the potential for a Spanish language version, Enterprise Times asked Miller about its importance in the US market.

“We found that it’s for the kind of products that we offer. It’s more important in the product movement space, so in distribution and manufacturing. That’s because of the kind of users that are going to be using the system. When you’re talking to an organisation’s finance team, it’s less likely to be cross border unless it’s a larger multinational organisation.

“But you start getting into some of the operational processes in a distributor, and there are staff using the system in the warehouse, on the shop floor, etc., that may have English as a second Language and still be in the US. Or they could be across the border in Mexico. So we’re looking at making sure that we solve for that capability, and actually, the manufacturing solution we offered is already multilingual.”

Sage Manufacturing in the US

The launch of Sage Intacct Manufacturing in the US did not come as a surprise. The product was first launched in France in March and is still in the early adopter phase. It will be available for early adopters, but a final general availability is still flexible, though Sage hopes it will be mid-2023. Still, Miller acknowledges that this could slip. The reason for this cautious approach it’s the methodology of its early adopter program.

Miller explained: “Early adopter test means that it’s available, production ready. However, we want to ensure that we are using the first customers, 10 to 50, that go through the implementation process. We learn from the experience of doing that,  the sales process, the implementation process, and the support process, and we make sure we’re ready for scale. We’re at that stage today. We’re onboarding customers that are live using it in production now.”

Sage intends to target net new customers with the product, as it does in Europe, and it will be interesting to see the first customer stories emerge, whether in France, the UK or the US. The approach in the US seems more organised than in the UK, as Miller revealed that the company would go to market with both a direct and indirect approach.

Miller added: “We are working with a small direct team to get it off the ground and for indirect, we have a lot of expertise in Sage’s ecosystem in distribution and manufacturing. We have identified, I believe, six partners that are part of the initial group that will be taking this to market.”

Other highlights from Transform

Sage also announced the latest product updates from its strong partnership with Microsoft. This included the integration with Microsoft Teams that was first signposted in July.

Miller also shared, “We’re building more ease of use into the product and ease of learning to onboard users easily. That’s a big deal. One of the biggest reasons this is important right now is the level of churn within companies. We’ve recognised that’s a problem that customers need to solve.

“We’re building more of the training content directly into the product and designing it around an onboarding process so they can access it. I was talking to the CFO of a company last night about how that was a big need that he had. I was able to tell him, hey, great. We have that.

“We’ve made significant enhancements to our planning product. To make it easier to use for the finance team, we’ve crossed the 1000 customer mark within just a couple of years. It was 50 when we hit general availability in 2019. The real strength of that continues to be the level of integration.

“We announced a couple of key integration capabilities that we’ve added. I talked about one of them with the statistical accounts key piece earlier; the other is a grid entry capability that’s designed for the finance team. The form-based user experience we have for creating models and working with the system is great for the collaboration tools we’ve built into that system. Grid entry provides a faster, easier way to work with it for the finance team when they’re doing a review and making mass edits.

“Our Sage Intacct payroll is now generally available for US customers; ADP powers it. We’re continuing to extend the depth of integration that the product has into the system, which customers already tell us they love.

“We’ve launched SaaS intelligence for software companies, which is a real-time dashboard for SaaS metrics with a lot of flexibility built into that.”

Sage Intacct Construction continues to power up

Miller also spoke about Sage Intacct Construction, saying:

“There is a lot of momentum around construction. Sage Intacct construction has accelerated its market growth with many customer success stories. The focus of the construction solution has expanded rapidly over the last six months with a number of new capabilities that we’ve launched. 

“We wanted to talk about this at the conference because it’s pulling the whole story together with construction payroll, estimating, real estate and property management, and field service capabilities. All of those are part of the core solutions that we now offer to construction firms. We’re continuing to build out the network of solutions that we have through partners for that ecosystem.”

Enterprise Times: What does this mean

Besides the technical difficulties at Transform for the virtual attendees, this was a conference with a lot of product information. Sage is finally delivering on its potential for Sage Intacct. Sage Intacct Manufacturing is starting to appear in the US. Whilst it is not on the same platform as Intacct, it can integrate into any financial management solution if there is demand.

The modular approach is sensible as it leaves Sage Intacct to continue as a powerful financial management solution, extended by Sage Planning and Budgeting, third-party products and potentially more modules in the future.

The launch of Sage Intacct in a foreign language also shows that it intends to attack non-English speaking markets with its solutions. Despite the retrenchment of Sage in recent years to its core markets, the expansion of Sage Intacct into Southern Africa shows that its future strategy will rely more on partners in other countries. Once it has completed the translations to Spanish and Portuguese, it will be interesting to see whether it renews interest in South America, but that is likely to be years away.

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