#1: Pegg is becoming a game changer
Originally announced at Sage Summit 2016, Summit 2017 brought Pegg and AI to the forefront of Sage’s ongoing strategy with the announcement of multiple enhancements to its Pegg “chatbot” platform. Showcased in a long and in-depth demo of the platform by Kriti Sharma, Sage’s Global Vice President for Bots and Artificial Intelligence, Pegg has all of us here at Kissinger pretty excited!
Pegg is a virtual assistant which allows Sage One and Sage 50 users to enter transactions and retrieve information from their Sage One data using chat applications like Facebook chat, Skype, and Slack.
Sage chief executive Stephen Kelly says Pegg removes the complexities from accounting software and enables entrepreneurs to manage finances through conversation.
“By digitizing information at the point of capture, it takes away the pain from receipts and expenses, eradicating the need for paper and data entry,” he says.
The demo included demonstrations of practice management tasks which would be typical of accounting professionals, including details of upcoming filing deadlines, tasks due this week, and unpaid client invoices. Sharma shared that the company’s bot efforts will be initially targeted at the company’s cloud and cloud-connected product lines – Sage One, Sage Live, and Sage 200c. (Sage 200c is a relatively new product group used in Sage’s securities filings to describe the Sage-hosted versions of Sage’s major lower mid-market products – Sage 50c, Sage 100c, and Sage 300c.)
“Pegg hides the complexities of accounting and lets entrepreneurs manage finances through conversation, making the process as simple as writing a text,”
#2 The Future of 100c is bright
Sage has a clear, long-term vision for itself and the Sage 100/100c platform and never was this more evident than at Sage Summit 2017.
Sage shared a look at the enhancements they are planning for their Sage 100 and Sage 100c product lines through version 2018.
While the features and timelines Sage shared should be considered tentative until they are actually shipped, the advanced look provides an idea as to the new enhancements planned for the Sage 100 and Sage 100c roadmap of future releases.
The dividing line between the Sage 100 line and the Sage 100c line is that most feature enhancements seem poised to be added to the Sage 100c product line while Sage 100 gains mostly compliance updates over time.
#3: Sage’s Shifting focus to Startups and Entrepreneurs
One of the more notable shifts from Sage was their added focus to the startup and entrepreneur market. A point that global product marketing vice president, Jennifer Warawa, mentioned numerous times over the course of the three day event.
“We’ve done a shift in how we talk about the market. We used to talk about small and medium businesses (SMBs), mid-market and enterprise. Now we talk about start-ups, scale-ups and enterprise. This is what really resonates with the market and helps them identify with the solutions we have,” she said.
“The company that becomes the business technology provider in its early days has the opportunity to provide the technology for the entire life of their business,” she said. “You can build a pool of customers you can migrate to larger solutions.”
#4: Cloud is here
Keeping in line with Sage’s inaugural UK Summit event, Sage reaffirmed that cloud solutions are a fundamental part of its product portfolio. A crusade that started nearly two years ago with a product initially branded as Sage Impact.
The newest addition to this is Sage Accountant Cloud which was unveiled in April. Sage Accountant Cloud is a connected platform that brings together a portfolio of cloud applications to provide accountants tools to manage their practice and their clients using real time information. “It is the most comprehensive, connected cloud ecosystem for accountants,” Sage CEO Stephen Kelly told accountants and resellers during the Sage Summit UK partner day keynote.
When it arrives in the autumn, the package will include Sage One-compatible systems for final accounts, corporation tax – and routines to file quarterly updates and (both) end of year submissions for Making Tax Digital. It will also provide a practice overview of all these systems, incorporating data from Sage 50c Accounts clients, bankfeeds and external accounting systems including Xero.
#5: George Foreman has still got it.
At a glance, George might seem like an odd pick to be a keynote speaker for Sage Summit. But when seen in context, suddenly his rags to riches story fits perfectly with Sage’s theme for the event: Embracing entrepreneurs.
Foreman, who now lives in Texas, not only is an entrepreneur, but also has his own television show, “Better Late than Never.” As Summit’s keynote speaker, he discussed his career in the ring and how he had come a long way since his troubled childhood and overcame many adversities. Foreman told the more than 5,000 attending the summit, “There is never a day that goes by when you don’t have to fight for something.”
He continued, “However, never stop fighting and … if you go down, always pick yourself up and be ready to go another round,” he said.
As to why Sage had Foreman as its keynote speaker, Nancy Harris, Sage’s executive vice president for North America, said entrepreneurism, including Foreman’s story “is about grit, passion and determination, and having the will to pick yourself back up when you fall.”
“George Foreman exemplifies this in his experience as a boxing champion and in his business life,” she said. “He has inspired many to believe anything is possible and that is the stage we are setting for the business builders attending Sage Summit USA.”