Sage has announced that it is hooking up with Microsoft to take its enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools into the cloud.
The first step will be to develop Sage 200 for the Windows Azure platform in the UK, with development already having begun, and the finished solution planned to come to market in 2013. A number of pilot sites will go live in the coming months.
The company notes that the cloud version of Sage 200 will automate all aspects of subscription lifecycle and system management, and be capable of interacting with tens of thousands of users, and be able to handle thousands of customer instances.
Sage's SMB customers will naturally gain the benefits of the cloud in terms of flexibility and cost effectiveness.
Antoine Henry, CEO of Sage France, and Sage Europe's SMB market segment leader, commented: "This is great news for our SMB customers who want both the best of on-premise applications and the benefits of the web. It is also very important for Sage because it shows momentum in the delivery of our web strategy and our commitment to a consistent technology and platform strategy."
He added: "A diverse eco-system requires more standards and the alliance provides this plus a direct way to engage with a whole range of Microsoft products. A fully featured platform as a service (PaaS) approach allows us to speed up development of domain specific customer applications, boost productivity, accelerate time to market and reduce duplication.
"It shows how we are collaborating across our business to deploy resources and expertise efficiently to solve the common challenges that our customers face."