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Chicago

Whizzing off to ‘The Windy City!’

The world’s largest event for small and medium businesses

Chicago, Illinois. A city of innovation. A city that brought you the mobile phone, the vacuum cleaner, the world’s first skyscraper and the first Ferris wheel.

From July 25-28, Sage will be bringing their own brand of inventiveness and dynamism to this American metropolis. They will be hosting their 2016 Sage Summit here, and as a Sage Business Partner we are proud to say that we have been invited to share this experience with them!

More than 20,000 people will be convening at McCormick Place (pictured right), and will be provided with the tools to help drive their customer’s businesses forward by receiving visionary insights from Sage professionals and other industry experts, and forging valuable relationships.

Chicago - McCormick Place

  • 300+ informative sessions dedicated to Sage solutions
  • Guest speakers include Richard Branson, Gwyneth Paltrow and the CEO of Sage
  • Largest gathering of SMEs in the world
  • Endless networking opportunities
  • In-depth education
  • Interactive training
  • Tech innovations

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Our Sales Director, Richard Torr (pictured) will be attending the event, and as a Sage Business Partner we will be particularly interested to hear about developments within the portfolio of Sage products and future plans. Amongst the key sessions will be an opportunity to explore the current status of the market and perspectives on how Sage integrates its solutions. There will also be a keynote address focusing on the future of the accounting profession, subsequent panel discussions and case studies highlighting the need to respond to industry changes, and how Sage will be executing this transformation.

 

We are keen to pass this knowledge on to existing and prospective end users, and us such we will be posting regular updates throughout the summit at the bottom of this page. Keep an eye out here for lots of useful insights that will help you define your business evolution!

 

 

Day One

The world’s largest gathering of entrepreneurs descended on the bright lights of Chicago yesterday, and what a first day it was!

Set against a backdrop of towering skyscrapers and the beautiful, shimmering Lake Michigan, more than two thousand Sage Business Partners (including our Sales Director, Richard Torr) listened to senior Sage professionals and other industry experts passionately deliver their vision for the future, and how the world’s third-largest ERP software company aims to evolve in tandem with our ever-changing technological landscape.

Here are some of the key insights he had taken away from North America’s largest convention centre by the end of the day…..

  • Cloud solutions are key and demand for cloud-based connectivity is increasing ten-fold annually.
  • 60%-70% of the technology, software and services industry will be cloud-based by 2020, and Sage’s mission is not to merely ‘keep up’ with this exciting new transition in technology, but to be the world’s leading provider of cloud accounting solutions. According to Stephen Kelly (Sage CEO) “‘it’s about leap-frogging…building the most innovative, brilliant, easy-to-use accounting payment solutions on the planet”.
  • Sage wants ‘customers for life’ and there will not be any forced migrations (i.e. moving customers from the on-premise version to cloud. Customers will be given the options and Sage will remain fully committed to supporting all variants (Desktop, Hybrid and Cloud).
  • Technology is more than doubling every two years
  • 83% of CEOs rely on customer feedback to guide business decisions

Day Two

Sage Summit_Richard Branson

Another busy day at Sage Summit 2016, as the lights go out across Chicago!

The A-Listers rolled into town as Stephen Kelly, CEO welcomed the likes of Richard Branson to the stage, an innovator celebrated worldwide for his achievements in technology.

There were more exciting announcements in relation to Sage’s ongoing evolution. Kelly, and other senior Sage professionals such as Santiago Solanas (CMO) explained how a £150M investment into Research & Development has enabled the ERP software company to ‘change 500 years of accounting’.

Kelly suggested that ‘there is no company that integrates payroll, time and billing, general ledger, CRM the way we do’. Solanas added that, after a dormant period, ‘we are using technology to be disruptive again’.

On Day One, Sage focused on how they will be adapting to the new era of cloud-based technology. Today, the audience were given an insight into a smart assistant, a first-of-its-kind accounting bot, which will enable users to track expenses and manage finances through messaging apps.

There are also new charity initiatives – a recent sponsor of Invictus Games, Sage’s philanthropic strategy will centre around supporting military veterans, young people and women.

 

“You can take on Goliaths if you offer a quality product and differentiate yourself”.

(Richard Branson)

 

Day Three

Day Three of Sage Summit 2016 is over, and after centring the agenda around their own advancements in cloud and mobile application technology, Sage broadened the focus to a wider spectrum of business as the roll call of A-Listers continued in the so-called ‘windy city’.

Following on from Stephen Kelly’s (Sage CEO) interview with Richard Branson yesterday, recognisable faces from the world of entertainment that are themselves leaving noticeable footprints in the arena of business, took centre stage.

Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow was in Chicago to tell the assembled audience about how she set up her successful lifestyle publication, branded Goop. Actress and singer Zooey Deschanel joined Paltrow at the convention centre to present her story in making her mark on the online community with HelloGiggles.

Other high-profile key note speakers included Robert Herjavec (well-known for his regular appearances on Canada’s version of Dragon’s Den), retired mixed martial artist-turned businessman Brian Stann, and author Barry Moltz.

Meanwhile, more attention was devoted in the morning to the Sage Foundation, a project that has seen the ERP software giant heavily involved with the Invictus Games, and its ongoing support of military veterans.

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“Make a personal connection with your audience. It’s powerful, gives you a sense of purpose”.

(Gwynteth Paltrow – Oscar-winning actress and entrepreneur)

 

Day Four

Sage Summit 2016 is over after four extremely insightful, and at times inspiring days at McCormick Place, Chicago.

Businessmen came from all four corners of the globe, and will return home having received more than a glimpse into the future strategy of Sage, in addition to motivational talks from iconic entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson. By this time next year, when thousands more will convene at the 2017 Summit, we hope they will have used this experience to drive their own businesses forward.

On the fourth and final day, actor Ashton Kutcher was the last in the line of revered VIPs invited to speak. He and Yancey Strickler (CEO of Kickstarter) conversed with Santiago Solanas (CMO of Sage) in front of a packed conference hall, where the focus was on how start-ups can transform into powerful enterprises by scaling up – a process well supported by Sage’s portfolio of flexible ERP solutions.

The message was simple: the mission statement needs to be created by senior management, but the details of delivery and execution should be a company-wide collaboration and regular updates of the journey should be made. ‘Communication is key and all people need to be on the same page’.

Solanas suggested the four successful accelerators for scale-up should be: capital, people, partners and technology, and “execution and pragmatism are what get you to the next level of business”.

To summarize what we have heard about Sage’s ongoing evolution, it is fair to say that Stephen Kelly (CEO) is a true visionary, having joined only two years ago. He is already promising to transform their strategy as Sage make their transition into a ‘cloud’ company. At the same time his commitment to existing customers remains steadfast, as he looks to protect the install base by not forcing migrations.

Ultimately though, the vision is to simplify many aspects of the ERP software giant as far as possible.

 

“I learned by failing a lot along the way”.

 

“I saw how technology was going to be in all parts of our lives, so that’s why I invested in it”.

(Ashton Kutcher – actor and tech investor)

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