Sage drops Line in favour of Evolution

Accounting software vendor, Sage, is withdrawing its two most popular product lines from the Australian market.

The UK-based company is replacing its Line 50 and Line 100 with the Evolution product from recently acquired Softline.

Sage acquired the South African-based Softline earlier this year and took control of a significant group of companies that has increased its Australian market share. These include Handysoft, Sybiz, Micropay and Pastel Accounting.

Softline-Pastel director, Jeff Lewis, said Sage would continue to support its Line 50 and Line 100 products for the next 18 months.

He said Evolution was fully Australianised, had 3000 international customers and significant features including in-built customer relationship management (CRM). The new Sage-Pastel range is made up of three products - Xpress, Partner and the flagship Evolution.

An estimated 8000 Line 50 and Line 100 users in Australia are being offered migration paths to the new range. Costs are included for an estimated 70 per cent of users that have Sage Cover.

The shake-up has also seen Sage open an Australian office in Perth and add two new distributors to service its network of 50 resellers.

Existing wholesaler, Perth-based Sage Distribution Australia, will be joined by Pastel and Sybiz as distributors of the new Sage-Pastel product range, according to Softline-Pastel's Lewis.

This would not cause conflict as all three worked different market segments, he said.

"It's a good opportunity for resellers and customers as well as us," Sage Distribution Australia managing director, John Marshall, said.

His company is to rename itself Elev8 in its new role as an independent distributor. Users would be offered incentives to upgrade between November and March 2005 as part of the new product rollout.

One Sage reseller told ARN he was concerned about the decision. In particular, he was doubtful the new product would be ready for the market, and said his existing Line 50 customers were very happy.

He said customers were shocked when informed about the changes.

It is understood that Line 50 and Line 100 will not be sold in Australia from January 1.