Sage's UK boss Alan Laing has promised that the firm's long-awaited partner programme will be ready in the UK in October, admitting it has faced some delays as the company works to get it right.
The British firm has been talking about its new partner programme for a long time, Laing said, but said it would finally be ready in the UK before the end of the year.
"I know we have been talking about this for two years, but I am delighted to announce the Sage partner programme will finally launch in the UK, fully ready to go to market, in October of this year," he told partners at the Sage Summit in London this morning. "It's been a huge piece of work for us."
During his keynote, he reiterated the company's partner focus.
"No ifs, no buts - we truly love partners," he declared. "When I talk about partners, I mean our resellers, our accountants, our book keepers, our systems integrators, our alliance partners and our developers. I will say it again: we love and need all our partners. You are woven into every page of the Sage story. You're central to what we do today and what we are going to do tomorrow. You're a critical part of our business."
Later on in a media Q&A, Laing told CRN that the programme's rollout had faced some delays.
"The Sage partner programme is a complete revamp of how we go to market with partners," he said. "It's about simplifying the experience and creating assets to help the partners become more competitive so they can [reach] the marketplace. We intend to drive our partners to be incentivised to find new business and to find new customers. That's part of our strategy and we are adopting that internally and externally. Everything we are doing internally we are doing with partners too.
"The reason [the partner programme] has been delayed - Stephen announced it and I announced it more than a year ago - is that we needed to build our internal systems so our partners can work with us more effectively and get the results they are expecting. The platform will be ready for partners in October, maybe earlier."
During the Sage Summit, the firm insisted it is keeping up with emerging technology and demoed its new artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot Peg, which it claims is the first voice-controlled AI accountancy-based assistant.
The firm also reiterated its commitment to cloud, which its head of partner channel Michael Dejongh told CRN would be reflected in the new-look partner programme. He said the traditional Bronze, Silver, and Gold-based programme would see top-tier partners better incentivised to sell cloud-based offerings.
"We strongly believe that the adoption of cloud by 2020 means everyone will be focused on it," he said. "We want to encourage partners to get there quickly and therefore we are going to give them more financial incentives towards the cloud stack."
When questioned if financial rewards alone are enough to lure partners into the cloud, he added: "Don't get me wrong, revenue split is extremely important, but you're absolutely right, it's about the knowledge share as well.
"One of the main pillars for us is to build knowledge so when they go into the cloud, they know what they are doing. We are going to give partners some really cool tools to help them do that. The transition from on-premise to subscription revenue and the move away from perpetual licensing is not something the balance sheet would tolerate from one day to the next. You have to transition and we will help them on that journey."
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