Sage targets e-business opportunity

4 Dec 2002

Software vendor Sage Ireland is looking to e-business solutions to drive its next wave of growth.

The company, which announced sparkling annual results yesterday — sales rising over 30pc to €16.7m and pre-tax profits increasing by 11pc to €2.8m for the year ended 30 September 2002 — is to broaden its product offering in early 2003. As well as the core accounting and payroll products, it is introducing two new web development and e-business solutions.

The first of these, Sage Website Builder, is a website development toolkit that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can use to build and maintain their own websites.

It is fully hosted by Sage at its hosting facility in the US. The second product, Web Trader, also due for launch in the spring, will offer a transactional capability. It will come in two versions, Web Trader and Web Trader Professional — the latter offering business-to-business (B2B) as well as business-to-consumer capability.

Pricing has yet to be announced, but is expected to range from less than €500 for a hosted website, to around €3,000 for fully integrated B2B solution.

Both products will be fully integrated with Sage’s back office accounting and payroll software and are intended to appeal to Sage’s large installed base of users.
Managing director Liam Mullaney (pictured) felt there were still good opportunities to sell e-business software to Ireland’s SMEs.
“It’s never too late for a good product. We reckon that over 40pc of businesses have websites, but research we’ve done suggests that although they were built, they aren’t maintained because they were developed by companies that have since gone bust and so they don’t have access to the technical people to maintain the site. Very few SMEs have a web shop,” he said.

Sage has over 46,000 customers in Ireland, 23,000 of whom have annual support contracts.

The company recently extended its Citywest office by 11,000 sq ft at a cost of €1m and has 160 employees compared with just eight three years ago.

By Brian Skelly