Salesforce Strikes Deal with Sage, Disses Takeover Talk

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Sage, the third-largest software company in Europe, becomes a big international fish in the Salesforce application pool, which has been in the rumor-news cycle lately as a potential takeover target by Microsoft and SAP, brushed that topic aside and made some other news May 12: It announced a new partnership with Sage, a growing UK-based business software provider for small and medium-size firms.

Sage, the third-largest software provider in Europe (Germany’s Software AG and France’s Dassault Systemes are Nos. 1 and 2) has moved its Web portal and associated services to the Salesforce1 platform and will become available as Sage Life for Salesforce users later in Q2 2015. This adds a pretty big international fish into the Salesforce application pond.

Sage Life’s cloud services enable small companies to combine their accounting, payroll, customer, and finance data into one system and make it all accessible from any device at any time for correctly credentialed users.

Sage Services Available on Any Device

benioffsquareSage Life is customizable for individual businesses and verticals and can be used on any device, including desktop PCs, smartphones, smart watches, and tablets.

With its mobile control center, employees can view data in real time. With its social networking-type news stream, Sage Life enables conversations and file-sharing between colleagues, customers, partners, suppliers, and other stakeholders.

Sage is acutely focused on the small to medium-size business market — from one-person businesses up to those with 500 employees, which it considers “lower-medium-range” size firms.

“Most of them (small and medium-size businesses) still run (accounting processes) in batch,” Stephen Kelly, CEO of Sage said at a lunchtime press conference. “There’s been very little innovation in accounting since the Middle Ages. Really — going back to about the 15th century, it was all about journals and memoranda, and everything was done in batch.”

Sage is a FTSE 100 company with 13,000 employees in 23 countries.

About Those M&A Rumors …

Now for an update on those M&A rumors. Bloomberg News reported May 5 through anonymous sources that Microsoft was evaluating an acquisition offer for Salesforce after another unidentified potential buyer approached the San Francisco-based cloud CRM provider. Salesforce held talks with the unnamed potential buyer as recently as April and is now working with a pair of investment banks to decide how it will respond to any overtures, Bloomberg said.

Salesforce, though its annual revenue has surpassed $5 billion and is one of the most successful and influential cloud business service providers in the world, nonetheless has yet to make a profit in 16 years of business.

“I can’t comment on the M&A rumors, of course,” Benioff said. “That’s the nature of M&A rumors, and this is the first time we’ve been in the M&A rumor cycle — we’ve been swept up into that. That’s the reality of where we are right now.

“I’m just focused on what I’ve always been focused on since Day 1. We were the fastest software company to reach $5 billion in revenue, and, if I have anything to say about it – and this is my dream – we’ll be the fastest software company to $10 billion, and with a new model.”

Originally published on eWeek.

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