Sage is one of the biggest companies in the world, processing over a billion payslips globally every year, used by 56 per cent of companies in Spain to post taxes and by 53 per cent of UK businesses to pay their employees.
But it has been affected by the so-called 'digital revolution' as much as any other company and - according to CEO Stephen Kelly at the Sage Summit 2016 opening keynote - transformation has been essential.
After waxing lyrical about the company's commitment to its partners, Stephen moved on to talking about the industry in general, saying: "The marketplace is evolving at breakneck speed, accelerated my mobile, social, big data and cloud. Customers are buying services, not servers. They're looking to use SaaS to replace older systems.
"By 2020, 60-70 per cent of all software services and technology spend will be cloud based. Technology disruption has dictated that sage reinvents its business to embrace and lead the cloud.
"The cloud has not just disrupted our market, not just disrupted Sage, it's disrupted everything. Our existing customers want cloud and our prospective customers want cloud.
"The market for cloud services next year alone will increase by a factor of 10 and the cloud has commoditised some elements of the traditional value chain, so we need to help you find ways to differentiate and take advantage of the growth opportunities presented by cloud. We have to be really focused and specialised."
By focusing on the cloud, Sage has enabled its technology to reach more businesses and industries than ever before, helped by its "no forced migrations" approach that customers appear to be responding to.
Underpinning this transformation, Stephen explained, has been five strategic pillars:
- Winning in the market: "Building market leading cloud accounting solutions for businesses," supplemented by the best marketing, building the best brand and providing the best customer experience.
- Customers for life: "Fundamental to the Sage DNA" through not forcing migrations and supporting products both on the desktop and in the cloud.
- Revolutionise business: "We're not interested in catching up, it's all about leapfrogging. Building the most innovative, brilliant, easy to use accounting payment solutios on the planet," with technologies such as IoT, machine learning, data sciences and blockchain.
- Capacity for growth: "It's all about simplifying our systems and being easier to do business with, making it easier to operate with partners."
- One Sage: "Work as one. We see you as part of the One Sage team. This will allow us to execute with a new rigour around the world"
And this cloud-first approach will not be disappearing any time soon, as Sage's vision of creating "the world's leading cloud accounting ecosystem" continues to develop.
We're likely going to hear more about this throughout the week, so check back for updates or have a look at our Sage Summit live blog.
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