Sage sells ACT and SalesLogix CRM to Swiftpage

Sage sells ACT and SalesLogix CRM to Swiftpage

Summary: As part of a move away from non-core activities, accounts specialist Sage has disposed of two of its CRM products.


Accounting software firm Sage is selling its Sage ACT and SalesLogix CRM businesses to email marketing company Swiftpage as part of a strategy of rationalisation of its software portfolio.

Sage CEO Guy Berruyer said the disposal of the products was part of its plan to focus on growth areas of the business.

"The sale of these non-core products is consistent with our strategy of focusing our business to accelerate growth and demonstrates significant progress in streamlining the portfolio, allowing regional management to focus on the considerable growth opportunities within their core markets," Berruyer said in a statement on Friday.

Sage said it had received an aggregate figure of $101.2m for the sales to various companies of seven of its products, of which ACT and SalesLogix form part.

ACT and SalesLogix were acquired by Sage when it bought Interact Commerce for $260m in 2001.


PAC UK principal software analyst Philip Carnelley said Sage had halved the value of those products — or worse — in the 11 or so years since their acquisition and that was without counting inflation. "You wouldn't call that a spectacular success," he said.

Carnelley said Sage had announced an evaluation of the whole portfolio a few months ago, in which the company's core functions were identified as accounting and payroll.

"They were going through this massive portfolio that they've got, to decide what they're going to invest in... and what to get rid of" — Philip Carnelley, PAC UK

"They were going through this massive portfolio that they've got, to decide what they're going to invest in, what to run effectively as a mature business line, and what to get rid of," he said.

"They didn't include CRM in this list of things that were core. They obviously decided that CRM is something they're not very good at or compete in very effectively," Carnelley said.

"When they bought ACT, everybody had a copy on their PC but it never really survived the transition to online products," he added.

"You've got things like Microsoft Dynamics CRM, you've obviously got and a whole raft of cheap and cheerful things all running in the cloud, and ACT is looking very long in the tooth.

"Basically, they've said 'that's not for us anymore. We're going to stick to our knitting'."

Carnelley said he thought users of the former Sage software should not lose out. "In some ways it's nice that they've given [the products] over to a specialist who will nurture and develop [the software]," he said.

Swiftpage said the acquisition represents an expansion of its operations and it is acquiring the people and assets in these two business units globally so it has a structure in place already supporting international customers.

About 250 people from the two businesses would be moving over to Swiftpage as part of this acquisition.

Sage said it was also selling its Sage Nonprofit Solutions product suite, which is also managed from North America.

Topic: Enterprise Software

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  • Not an easy challenge for Swiftpage, but well done Sage!

    Sage has kept its core CRM SageCRM and sold off two that had little focus and were not growing. CRM is an attractive space to get into as a growing market with many success stories and likely that Swiftpage saw this as attractive. But here they have bought a legacy on network contact management product in ACT (not CRM and certainly not cloud) and Saleslogix a solution that when cloud based will raise some data sovereignty issues with UK firms now having to consider if they want their data help under USA data laws in moving out from the umbrella under Sage a British firm. Add to this a non CRM experienced firm having to take on a new sector, new staff and a totally new market where other vendors will undoubtedly take advantage of the customer confusion and concern.

    Ian Moyse
  • Questions asked....

    Sage Softwares unwillingness to develop the Sage ACT product to keep up with other products who are cloud based have been its downfall. Swiftpage's biggest challenge is not going to be which direction they take the product. It is going to be what measures they take to get the ,now former SAGE UK employees, who supported the ACT software on board. Being one of them, the news announced yesterday was not great or welcomed and many Users will feel the same. Other vendors will fully take advantage of this situation. The UK user base is made up by trust and security gained from Sage UK reputation and i would not be suprised if they look elsewhere because of this move.
    Marc Thornton
  • Functionality, technology, experience

    It seems that the Sage announcement will have a big impact. It underlines the fact that the products being used by many companies have really not been a focus, and have been lacking investment for too long. As Ian suggests, the data protection issue is certainly something to think about, although that can be fairly easily remedied by ensuring that data is held in data centres on UK soil.

    For employees like Marc, I have the greatest sympathy and I keep my fingers crossed that things turn out alright. I also couldn't agree more with him that users will look around for other solutions. Perhaps the revelations made by Sage about the true state of their products will be a prod. Equally, I hope many of them are happy with the potential for new investment (although I'll believe that when I see it).

    Good luck to the employees, users and the products which take on a life of their own.

    Phil Ayres
  • Most ACT! users are very happy to move away from Sage

    This is my take, as a 25 year veteran of ACT!, on the sale:
  • Up in the Air

    SWP was probably least likely candidate I thought would make this purchase. This could be a hit or miss depending on their plans. If they've listen to what VARs have been saying.. then they should be back on top soon.

    Keeping SageCRM was probably because SWP didn't want it. Out of the 3 its the worse designed and needs the most technical work. Written on an old 32-bit classic ASP back-end its only a matter of time where it because a bottleneck and needs to be re-written.

    In addition.... if I was Sage... I'd sell the entire Accpac suite. I would not be too sure that no news is good news for SageCRM.
    Levar Berry
  • Questions asked...from a former Sage ACT a "Swiftie"....

    An update from my previous post:

    After the initial (over)reaction from myself and a few others to this sale, demonstrated in my previous post, a storm has settled and we are now seeing the benefits of the sale as inducted "Swifties" (This is the name that Swiftpage employees have labelled themselves over the pond).

    After meeting John Ochsle and Bob Ogdon we all cant help but be impressed with the enthusiasm to develop the ACT product. This will undoubtdly benefit the product and ideas that we pinged around the Sage Office for years are actually in motion, not giving anything away of course.(Plus Bob and John have supplied us with a foosball table in the office....think thats Swiftpage1 - Sage 0....)

    From our clients and business partner point of view, i have been suprised at the initial optimism for the future of the product. After years of saying "The product wont do this" or "Act cant do that", We are now in a position where the product will be developed, in my opinion for the better, which i feel ACT has desperatley needed (Think thats now Swiftpage 2- Sage 0...)

    Sage described Act last year as a "Sunset Product" which really should have raised alot more eyebrows between us Sage Act employees at the time, but the future of ACT looks alot brighter, a brighter Swiftpage orange (Excuse the sunset themed pun i was going for there) and i must stress that my arm was not twisted into writting another post based on my previous comment.... well.... only a llittle WE HAVE A FOOSBALL TABLE....
    Marc Thornton