Friday, 4 November 2011

Different Strokes

I have recently blogged on SageOne's new Cloud based accounting solution for small businesses

It's sassy, good looking and great value. But what is startling is that it so, so, so different from the clumping old-style products that Sage has in its main, mature portfolio. This is not intended as criticism as accounting is like that. It's just that small business people who can't afford to employ professional accountants in their business have been crying out out for a logical, easy to use way of running their business that takes less time, does what they need without the requirement for thought and looks good enough to produce invoices, payslips and reports all in one.

SageOne is up against some companies who came from the Cloud, like, who knew no better than to design a new product with Cloud in mind. They showed that different thinking can innovate new solutions to old problems and make life easier and it doesn't have to cost the earth.

Sage has done something very bold. It basically said to itself that it had two ways to go - one was to try and include all the things it was known for in a Cloud version of its current software or the other was to design something new, ground up, purpose made for the Cloud and directly in the face of the Cloud newbies.

And here's SageOne. It is so different that it makes you wonder if it's from the same company.

Then take the approach of some of the industry behemoths. OK, so I'm picking on Microsoft again. In the face of the competition from Google, Microsoft has decreed, so that it can maintain revenues at current levels, that what Cloud users actually want is Cloud versions of the old Office stuff. In fact all of us want a hybrid of client based products we have today, a hosted email server and a SharePoint server that sits and gathers dust. Let's not forget Lync as you get a single user licence for that bundled in which is actually useful.

This is basically shoehorning the old world into the new and offers precious little new features or benefits and certainly offers a really stagnant cost justification.

The approach by SageOne in contrast is innovative, bold and absolutely into the sweetspot of what SMBs want. They had the choice of trying dictate how we should use the Cloud or embracing it. They chose the latter and it's great.

For Microsoft, well it's hard to think they will lose the enterprise hold they have. But down in SMB land, I think they are at great risk. The innovators are in town and they have our attention.

What's best about all this is that Sage is British. It is great to see a UK based software company leading the way in understanding the future. Those West Coast boys had better watch out. 

No comments: