Sage Summit 2016: We are seriously committed to our partners. Like, seriously

Sage Summit 2016 got underway in Chicago this morning, with the first day dedicated to the company's ecosystem of partners.

In the opening keynote - led by Alan Laing, Sage EVP of Partners & Alliance and CEO Stephen Kelly - one thing was made abundantly clear: Sage is seriously serious about partners. And when I say seriously, I mean seriously.

It was a phrase repeated on several occasions as Alan and Stephen - after a quick pep-talk from Superbowl winning coach Mike Ditka - set about wooing the hundreds of partner companies in the audience.

Alan kicked things off, emphasising how "Sage is truly serious about partners" and focused on offering "unrivaled partnering opportunities for businesses" by building "the best partner network in the industry." He went on to say: "The Sage partner ecosystem is something we're very proud of and want to build with you. We produce great products, but we need you to take those products to your chosen markets."

Alan then handed over to Stephen who continued the charm offensive: "If there's one thing that you can take away from this week, I hope it is that we at Sage are serious and committed to you, our partners. We're a partner-centric organisation and you know that we've always been a partner-centric organisation"

"We all share the same ambitions; to delight our customers and grow our businesses and we can't achieve our ambitions without each other. Your success is our success"

He spoke about putting partners "in control of their businesses" and putting them "front and centre," starting with this new partner day to give them the chance to "hear directly from us about our direction, our strategy, our product roadmaps and our technology roadmaps before anyone else."

This clear partner-focused message was supported by the announcement of a number of new initiatives to build on Sage's partner strategy. The primary news is the development of the Sage Partner Program, which merges 54 previously separate systems into one central platform to provide "less duplication, less fragmentation, less confusion."

Also announced were: The Sage Marketplace, providing ISVs with access to an open ecosystem to showcase developer add-ons; the Sage Partner Community, enabling partners to communicate with each other get access to content and services and a Reward Program, where top partners will be invited to join the Sage executive team for an exclusive strategy session.

Be sure to follow our Sage Summit live blog for more news and updates from the event throughout the week.