Sage finally makes the leap into SaaS

Sage One is first Sage accounts suite built from the ground for the cloud

Sage One is first Sage accounts suite built from the ground for the cloud

Sage has released its first software-as-a-service (SaaS) application, Sage One, an accounting tool for small business owners and sole traders.

The Newcastle-based company has been relatively slow to address the SaaS market and although it offers hosted versions of some of its applications, Sage One is the first system it has built from the ground up to operate in the cloud.

"[Sage One] is important to us because it represents a fundamental building block in our emerging web strategy," chief executive of Sage in Northern Europe, Paul Stobart, said at the application's launch.

The technology - which has been built using the Ruby on Rails open-source web application framework - comes in three forms: Sage One Cashbook, Sage One Accounts and Sage One Accountant Edition.

Sage One Cashbook is a basic system for cash-based businesses to manage their customers and suppliers, and to record banking and other transactions.

Sage One Accounts is a more comprehensive system that allows businesses to create invoices, calculate and submit VAT returns online and provide views of business performance.

As the technology is web-based, there are no installation charges or upfront costs, with the Cashbook version costing £5 per month and Sage One Accounts costing £10 per month.

Sage One represents Sage's first significant foray into software as a service

Sage One represents Sage's first significant foray into software as a service
(Screenshot: Sage)

"We're lowering the threshold for customers to step up the rigour and professionalism of their business," Sage Online chief executive Simon Black said.

Sage One also allows businesses to provide their accountants with access to their accounts using Sage One Accountant Edition. In turn, accountancy firms can then put all their clients using Sage One into their account list in the software.

Members of Sage Accountants' Club will be able to use Accountants Edition free of charge as part of their membership subscription, while non-members will pay £250 per year.

Sage also provides 24-hour support for Sage One customers via web, email or phone - something the company believes makes Sage One stand out against its competitors.

The technology works on most modern browsers as well as mobile browsers - such as those on the Apple iPhone and iPad, BlackBerry and Android devices.

Sage plans to deliver two upgrades for Sage One in 2011, which will come as part of the monthly subscription fee, with similar SaaS applications for CRM, HR and payroll to follow in the near future.

The company has moved a number of applications for bigger businesses, such as SalesLogix and Sage 1000, to the cloud and plans to move more over the next one to two years.

"There's a huge amount of activity going on as regards our burgeoning web strategy," Stobart said.

Speaking to silicon.com in October 2010, Stobart, who was then CEO of Sage UK and Ireland, admitted the company had been relatively quiet in cloud computing but that silence didn't mean work wasn't taking place to develop the technology.

"We're in a really good place to take advantage of the movement to the cloud. The reality is we're deadly serious about the cloud," he said.

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