Sage change raises confusion fears

Sage change raises confusion fears

A reseller is claiming Sage's decision to rebrand and consolidate its various accounting software products in Australia could cause major disruptions across its channel and customer bases.

Last week, the accounting vendor announced it would withdraw its Line 50 and Line 100 offerings from the local market in favour of the Evolution product acquired through Softline.

One reseller, who has been asked to move across to the new Evolution product, said the costs of the software changeover in terms of training, support and re-skilling could be horrendous.

"I am concerned about the distribution of whatever product it is - it needs to establish a bit of longevity about it," Renown managing director, Colin Walker, said. "Sage UK has become a company that wants to expand by acquisition and not by development."

He said a couple of new Sage Line 100 customers had already expressed concerns about their investment in the product. A further problem was brand confusion caused by the company's use of several distributors, he said.

Currently, the new product could possibly be sold as Pastel Evolution, Elev8 Evolution or Sybiz Evolution.

However, newly appointed Sage Australia boss and head of its subsidiary company Handisoft, Alan Osrin, said reseller and customer concerns would be taken into account as part of the ongoing strategy and streamlining of the new brand.

"The likes of SAP, Oracle and Microsoft are always acquiring," he said. "So I'd say the [acquisition] strategy has been very good because each is able to maintain a dominant market position."

Sage acquired South African company, Softline, last year.

Softline had operated several subsidiaries in Australia, including Micropay in Sydney, Adelaide-based Sybiz and Handisoft. Prior to its acquisition of Softline, Sage had also purchased Accpac from Computer Associates as well as business software producer, Sales Logix.

As part of plans to build up its market presence locally, Sage will open a Sydney office in January.

The office will be used to run a whole new Sage branding campaign, Osrin said.

Strategies included introducing offerings of accounting, payroll and CRM which will incorporate all the business units currently under the Sage umbrella, he said.

The new Sage office will be located in the Sydney suburb of Chatswood and staffed by current employees from within the Sage group. The company will also maintain the current Handisoft office in Perth, which will continue to be overseen by Osrin.

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