CHICAGO – In amongst the hoopla of Sage Summit, Sage made a personnel announcement which will have implications for the Canadian market and channel. At her request, Nancy Harris, who has been EVP, Managing Director of Canada since 2015, is moving back to the U.S. She will take up an Atlanta-based EVP role with responsibility for Construction and Real Estate, Accountants, and Partner Programs for all of North America. Unspecified personal reasons were cited as the reason for Harris’ request.
Harris’ impending move has been known at Sage for several days, and some Canadian partners were informed earlier this week in meetings with Harris at Sage Summit. Harris told ChannelBuzz that Sage delayed making the announcement public for several days because Harris’ replacement was still in his old role – at another company.
Harris’ replacement is Paul Struthers, who is presently Vice President and General Manager for Amdocs in Canada. Struthers is a Canadian with a BBA from York University, who has had a multiplicity of progressively more senior role at Amdocs since 2001. He is currently based in Toronto, but will move to Sage’s Canadian operations centre in Richmond, B.C. He is slated to take up his new role on August 22.
Amdocs, somewhat like Sage, does a majority of its business direct, but does have a channel and a channel program. Sage’s channel in Canada does more of its business than in other major English speaking markets, in large part because Sage 300, their core mid-market offering in North America, was a Canadian company, ACCPAC, before its acquisition. Sage has recently taken steps which should drive up its other channel business in Canada.
“Sage Live rolled out first in the U.K. and U.S., and the company wanted to iterate fully in those markets first,” Harris said. “It has now been fully localized in Canada.” Harris sees Sage Live as a strong and growing partner opportunity in Canada.
“We have already seen some channel partners building practices around the Salesforce platform in preparation for this rolling out live in Canada,” Harris said.
Two other new Sage products are coming to Canada. Sage Live for Accountants, which was just released in the U.S. this week, is scheduled to be available in Canada in September. Sage One Partner Edition is scheduled to be available at some point in 2017. Sage One, the new cloud product introduced last year for smaller businesses, has not really been a reseller or accountant channel offering in Canada at all up to now, as it has been sold direct and at retail. That will now change with this product.
The Sage Partner Program, which was announced late last year, is now rolling out in some geos – but not Canada, not yet. The delay here is that even though Sage is committed to fully integrating all its products and geos into one partner program – down from 54 last year – the back end infrastructures have still not been integrated. They are now down to 23 separate ones! Canadian participation here has been promised for 2017.
“Under the new program, all programmatic elements will all be done through one portal,” Harris said. “For partners operating in multiple geos with multiple products, it means they will just have to do things one time, which has not been the case. MDF funds before were all regional. There will also be a partner enablement toolkit, regional certification capabilities, and increased investments.”
Harris said that, as planned, Sage Canada has successfully recruited new distribution and channel partners into their ecosystem this year to sell Sage X3, the new enterprise product.
“This includes different type of partners than Sage has traditionally worked with,” she said.
Likely the most colourful announcement Sage made at the Summit this year, a new accounting bot called Pegg, also has a channel angle, Harris said. Pegg acts as a smart assistant lets users track expenses and manage finances through messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and Slack.
“Pegg is a technology advancement that partners can use as a sales tool,” Harris said.