Recently, PAC had the opportunity to listen to Aaron Harris, Sage's CTO, and former CTO and SVP, Head of Engineering and Technology at Sage Intacct. Harris is on a mission to make people’s decision-making more efficient and smarter through applications and interactions on the Sage Business Cloud Network (SBCN) by leveraging AI/ML, integrations, tools, but also through stronger relationships. Sage will establish links between moving parts on the Sage Business Cloud through data analytics, microservices and Sage Business Cloud Network to foster stronger and smarter relationships between users, suppliers, and other stakeholders for more intelligent workflows and a more resilient Sage Service Fabric.
Through this approach, Sage strives to be a true digital transformation partner for customers and partners, and to “elevate the work of humans”. Additionally, to expand Sage's company integration, making it better capable of providing a unified story to its customers and to evolve Sage Business Cloud into Sage's "North Star".
Sage Business Cloud consists of a suite of cloud-based and cloud-connected accountancy, payroll, and HR products (e.g., Sage Business Cloud Accounting, Sage Intacct, Sage 50cloud, Sage X3, and Sage People) aimed at SMBs and self-employed entrepreneurs. It already has significant traction in the UK and US markets – for example, the company estimates that 25 % of the UK’s VAT tax returns have been processed through Sage.
According to Harris, innovation was never an issue at Sage, but what it lacked was a story-telling ability and the resources to be a real digital transformation partner to its customers. The company hopes to strengthen its position through the Sage Business Cloud.
The provider is investing in creating a digital environment that interlinks and fosters closer relationships within the platform between customers, suppliers, employees, accountants, regulatory bodies, organizations and financial institutions. Artificial intelligence will play a key role in learning from the combined activity, environment and users across the network, improving anything from document capture, forecasts, fraud prevention, benchmarking, categorization and recommendations.
Sage is still polishing out some rough edges as it seeks to recruit more suppliers and develop technologies and new features to integrate supplier participation in the network more efficiently.
In this fully connected digital environment, Sage applies a personal approach to privacy and data ownership centered on the rights and choices of individuals through the use of a master user identity that unites each user’s various authentication methods, personal data and levels of secure access. Non-Sage customers also have ownership rights to any data they share with Sage. For example, a job candidate selected through a career portal powered by Sage Business Cloud creates a profile to house their employee data, payslips, etc. They can reuse this data for their own purposes, such as future job applications or proof of earnings to apply for a mortgage.
It is key for Sage to add new partners to boost relationships between partners and customers, strengthening the network’s learning capability. This can only be done by identifying data, micro-services, and applications, which with the embedded AI, can connect all moving pieces of the system, adding greater value and predictability to a member’s supply chain.
As to third-party benefits, PAC believes that as the SBCN grows, non-Sage customers can still extract significant value. A few examples include access to a wide ecosystem of industry partners, access to application add-ons, and other integrations (e.g., Slack), adopt and reap benefits of Sage Business Cloud applications based on network community feedback, document automation, fewer transaction clicks, direct messaging, and more.
It is exciting to see Sage working to elevate the end-user experience and reimagine how people interact with technology, allowing users to recover time and focus on higher-value tasks through the Sage Business Cloud Network and Sage Business Cloud Digital Environment.