The most effective businesses have broken down the barrier between the front and back office, getting stuff done more quickly, at a greater profit and with less risk.
That’s why at Sage we are very passionate about Sage Live, because it was built with this in mind.
With Sage Live we built in social, real time and mobile technologies, taking the data they ingest and feeding it into one of the most advanced accounting engines we’ve ever produced. But we also built it knowing we would have to throw some of these features away a few years down the line.
Let me explain what I mean. Disruptive technology makes the software age fast, and in the cloud, it ages even faster. The way we all do business has changed at a rapid pace over the last ten years, and that pace looks like it will only accelerate.
The way we came up with Sage Live was an example: Sage’s CEO, Stephen Kelly, set the challenge to come up with a next-generation accounting proposition in a month from idea to concept, and then in six months onboard the first beta customers to the product we call Sage Live.
This wouldn’t have been possible without the Salesforce 1 technology platform and the team behind it: a working partnership that went from 0-60 in the same timeframe.
In this sort of environment, companies everywhere will be changing how they do things, and having enterprise software that isn’t up to the job simply won’t do. We put Sage Live together in the expectation that technology changes will necessitate us swapping, chopping and changing features to meet new requirements.
Internet of Things
For example, I expect the Internet of Things to have a huge impact, and one of the most immediate could well be the capturing of data at source and level of process automation through smart technologies.
What if, instead of doing our expenses each month, submitting receipts, recording to ledger and all of the associated paperwork and workflows, all of that data was captured at source? Every fuel bill, every train ticket, every coffee with a client, claimed from the till or mobile phone or counter it came from?
One of the key tenets of what we’re doing with Sage Live – and, indeed, what we do with the rest of Sage – is develop with the customer. It’s all very well me telling you about an exciting change, but it has to be a reality for our customers, and it has to be fixed in a way that suits them.
Striking the balance between quick adaptation, the needs of users and a usable product is a tricky task – and one that we have embraced whole heartedly. Feature bloat, evolutionary dead ends and messy, disorganised evolutions are all risks, and all hurdles we intend wholeheartedly to avoid. The key to all of this is a planned, ordered change around a core set of principles and components. We know we’re going to have to adapt what we have created: planning to do this – and figuring out how to do it – has been a central task for the Sage Live teams.