Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sage launches on-demand offering targeted at micro businesses

Dennis Howlett got an early look at SageLive, Sage Software's new software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering. According to Howlett, the system is being targeted at very small businesses:
These services are aimed at micro businesses where the user count is most likely to be a single user plus the accountant. The typical customer will be a lifestyle business that might be selling goods or services and may not keep any books today.

Sage is opting for a soft launch with SageLive, the brand which Billing (a free service) and Cash (paid for) will occupy. As of tomorrow, the company will be in open beta and eliciting feedback.

Pricing is in the range of £10 per user per month, which at today's exchange rate would be about $15.

It's not clear from Dennis's post whether the system will be offered outside of the UK. Nevertheless, it will be an interesting case study on several levels. First, whether so-called micro-businesses can be induced into taking a SaaS approach to accounting. Many of these businesses scarcely keep any books at all. They just turn over a pile of expense receipts and bank statements to their accountant. Will they be willing to turn over nearly $300 a year to Sage to automate the process?

Secondly, as Dennis points out, can a traditional software vendor such as Sage make the transition to the on-demand world? Dennis is not entirely convinced, but read his whole post for more details.

Update: Read Dennis's second post, outlining the architecture, functionality, and mobility features of SageLive.

Update, Dec. 18. David Turner offers an alternative approach to financial systems SaaS. His CODA 2go application is built on top of's platform. He writes, "It’s cut years off our time to market and given us the freedom to focus on application development, which is what we do best. It also gets us quickly past any security concerns that users might have, by using a hosting service and infrastructure with an outstanding record over many years."

Related posts
Sage layoff in North America

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In the UK, it's the micro-businesses that have been the early adopters of SaaS accounting. Our customer base at KashFlow is exactly those people.

It's not a question of whether the micro-businesses will accept SaaS. It's a question of whether Sage get the offering right.

They can afford to cut their own throats on the pricing side of things. But I doubt they'll be able to move quick enough to keep up the with demands of the market and continually improve their software in the way that we at KashFlow do, as well as the smaller competitiors.