It’s been almost a year since Sage and Salesforce announced their Global Strategic Partnership, answering the question “Now what?” for Salesforce accounting integrations in the wake of the highly criticized cancellation of QuickBooks with the CRM giant. Launching Sage Live on the Salesforce AppExchange was a bold move for Sage, which has been trying to redefine its software-as-a-service (SaaS) strategy to compete with QuickBooks Online and Xero in the U.S. Many had counted them out, but it now appears that Sage Live has answered with a vengeance.
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Sage Live is actually built on the Salesforce platform. It is innate for Salesforce users and is a true SaaS solution with full mobile optimization. What I like about Sage Live is that it is cloud accounting that is native to Salesforce but is also social, scalable, and a true global solution that offers multi-currency, multi-language, and multi-company features.
Who Is Sage Live Great For?
Sage Live is a good solution for businesses that need integrated access and have multiple data sets. It offers a much-needed entrance into cloud computing, helping SMBs with a single unified source. But who is a truly good fit for Sage Live?
- Apple users
- Salesforce users
- Services industry
- Fast-growing organizations
- 1 – 200 employee companies
- Technology and automation enthusiasts
- Multi-office businesses
- Companies that are outgrowing QuickBooks Online or Xero
- Global organizations that require multi-language and/or multi-currency
Sage and Apple also have a partnership, which you can see helps further define their new product strategy. Sage is aligning its product with Apple’s device design, not only with tablets and smart phones but with the Apple watch as well. An Android solution is in development and should be available in the later part of 2016, but the users who love Sage Live the most are either Apple or Salesforce users.
Sage Live is built on the Salesforce App Cloud, giving users access to thousands of third-party apps through integrations and APIs in real-time. Given the coverage and reputation of AppExchange, it’s a good platform to gain exposure for a cloud application. Salesforce has about 150,000 businesses living and breathing in their app on a daily basis. Salesforce really becomes the nucleus of an organization, and due to its price point, most organizations are going to be well-funded or growing out of the “small business” category into SMB territory. Sage positioned itself nicely on this one, as they are sure to pick up many larger organizations that simply have outgrown other cloud accounting solutions.
The user interface (UI) and integration with Salesforce data is the greatest strength of this product. When looking at which fields pull and push data with Salesforce, it is really easier to look at which ones don’t rather than all those that do.
How Sage Live is Different
There are a few key components of the Sage Live product that differentiate it from other cloud accounting solutions on the market.
- Mobile Optimization. A user can perform virtually every single action, and have most of the features, on the mobile app that they can on desktop, with the exception of printing checks and timesheets. Apple Watch is also integrated for the highly connected.
- Multi–Dimensional General Ledger. In a traditional accounting system there is one structure for making reports that is tied to the chart of accounts. In Sage Live, it is personalized and gives a granular level of access for truly customizable reports. They aren’t changing the structure of the chart of accounts, but by adding tags, Sage Live just gets more granular in tracking KPIs for better business intelligence.
- Dashboards and scorecards display, in real-time, KPIs that are beautifully designed and provide easy navigation. The dashboards can be set up to show best customers by sales or customers by salesperson. These are the type of KPIs and data that a full-fledged CRM system would deliver.
- Social. Sage Live incorporates the Salesforce Chatter solution into the product so that a social component is available for users. It makes seeing updates or notes on a client, invoice, or payment quick and easy, as well as creating a sense of community in a financial application.
- Expense Management. The mobile app is set up to sync with the device camera so a user can capture the receipt and assign it directly to a client, and journal the items without needing to purchase third-party software.
Sage Live is really embracing the cloud revolution, where everything and everyone is connected, an eco-system built for customer success. When it comes to security, because it’s built on the Salesforce App Cloud, you’re getting all of the application-level security along with infrastructure-level security that Salesforce delivers.
Sage Live is helping small to medium sized businesses retire spreadsheet apps and islands of data that are expensive to operate and own when you take into account the labor costs, security costs, and lost opportunities involved in using and housing all that information.
What Sage Live Is Not
Sage Live is NOT the online version of Sage50, Peachtree, Sage100, or any one of their previous accounting software solutions. It is a NEW online system rather than a cloud answer for a desktop product. It is not Android-compatible and it does not have an inventory management module (but it does integrate with many apps that are available on the AppExchange).
Sage Live’s pricing model may be a problem for price-sensitive small business owners, as the standard SaaS model that would traditionally include up to 5 users for less than $20 a month is more like $15 to $35 per month per user on Sage Live, depending on the type of user and plan. There are 3 plans available:
- Essentials — one company
- Standard — up to 10 companies
- Premium — up to 100 companies
You do not have to be a Salesforce user to have Sage Live, and even if you aren’t, you still get the Chatter functionality and dashboards.
This is a product to watch. Sage is pretty set on making this a solution that can really compete with the other top providers out there, and is proactive with new releases on a monthly basis with enhanced features/functionality. Now remember, just because Intuit and Salesforce went their separate ways, it doesn’t mean you can’t integrate your QuickBooks products with the CRM platform. Sage Live is the native option, but here is a link to another article we did on the best third-party integrators for QuickBooks and Xero with your Salesforce solution. When you think of where technology is going and the Internet of Things (IoT), as well as staying socially connected, it appears Sage is headed in the right direction.