Denver Colorado—Where’s the snow and the cold weather? All I see is snow capped mountains and snow fences near the highway to remind me that I’m at least a month too early. That and about forty degrees, it’s seventy here, bright, sunny and beautiful so I am not complaining.
Really though, what a nice city. The big bright sky and the building facades give an impression of the WPA and the 1930s—not a bad thing at all. And did I mention friendly people? I am from the east coast and confused but no matter, I am at the Sage Summit, an appropriately named customer meeting in this city. It looks like Sage has pulled out all the stops to make this an event to compare with Dreamforce and OpenWorld—seems like all the shows are all trying to say something positive about their companies’ success and their optimism for the future. Given the state of the economy and the stuck financial sector I hope this isn’t something that will look out of step in the months ahead. I choose to be optimistic regardless.
Sage has decked out the Colorado Convention Center for the occasion its customers are taking courses from a catalog that’s as thick as something I remember from university days and vendors are hosting sessions and the trade show floor looks big and well attended.
Customer Award Program
I love awards, especially those that focus on technology achievements in business. This year Sage inaugurated an awards program to recognize excellence in numerous categories among its partners and their customers. Awards like this are a chance to make everyman a hero and to focus attention on the good work that gets done in the SMB market, often without notice by the outside world. When you consider that small business is the engine of growth in America and probably everywhere the sun shines, you might think there would be greater attention paid. In the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that I played a small part in judging the entries and they were pretty interesting.
As you no doubt know, Sage produces multiple lines of accounting and ERP applications as well as several CRM applications that help SMB’s to compete in the marketplace against larger rivals. What makes Sage unique is that they sell everything through a reseller channel. Other guys employ direct and indirect channels and deal with managing conflict but Sage said “thanks but no thanks” to that a long time ago and made a commitment to make the channel work and they have.
As a result, when we talk about ERP and CRM vendors many of us skip over Sage simply because they are the exception. That lack of attention doesn’t seem to hurt them though and it almost gives Sage a kind of stealth quality that the company and its resellers have perfected in the sales process.
But back to the awards. Sage developed a bunch of categories and picked some of the leading resellers and their solutions for us to judge. I have to say that for many categories it was hard, there were several high quality implementations that could be winners. That’s the down side of this kind of thing, you can only pick one, or as we did you score them on their merits. So here’s what the judges came up with and this is cribbed from the press release:
Best Innovation Awards
- R.S. Quality Products, Inc., Allentown, PA, the Accounting Solutions-Small Business winner, using Peachtree by Sage, and ACT! by Sage;
- Bazaar & Novelty Ltd., Vancouver, B.C., Canada, the Accounting Solutions-Mid-Market winner, using Sage Accpac ERP and SageCRM (Sage Accpac Extended Enterprise Suite);
- Delta Dental of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, OK, the CRM Solutions winner, using Sage SalesLogix;
- Broadband Specialists, Inc., Balch Springs, TX, the Construction and Real Estate Solutions winner, using Sage Timberline Office, and;
- Rogue Valley Council of Governments, Central Point, OR, the Nonprofit Solutions winner, using Sage MIP Fund Accounting.
Rookie of the Year
- Hotels Unlimited, Inc., East Windsor, NJ, a Sage MAS 500 ERP customer.
Best End-to-End Deployment
- Trinity Manufacturing, Inc., Hamlet, NC, using Sage MAS 500 ERP, Sage Abra HRMS, Sage SalesLogix, and Sage FAS.
Best Use of Customization
- Metrolina Greenhouses, Inc., Huntersville, NC, a Sage MAS 500 ERP client.
- Louisiana Economic Development Department, Baton Rouge, LA, using SageCRM, and;
- Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta, Atlanta, GA, using Sage MIP Fund Accounting.
Best Use of Multiple Sage Products/Services
- Cory McFarlane, LLC [formerly Aspirant Development], Tallahassee, FL, using Sage Timberline Office, SageCRM, and Sage Abra HRMS.
Lifetime Achievement Award
- Experient, Inc., Twinsburg, OH, using Sage MAS 90 ERP and Sage SalesLogix, and;
- Rex Moore Electrical Contractors and Engineers, Sacramento, CA, using Sage Timberline Office.
I hope you have a chance to check these winners out at the Sage website. One of the things that really impressed me, especially with the lifetime achievement winners is how the companies grew at least in part because they had appropriate software to help owners manage their businesses.
Congratulations to everyone.