Dublin defeated 10 European cities to land 300-job Sage investment, says CMO (video)

4 Dec 2015

Sage chief marketing officer Santiago Solanas

Ten cities were considered for Sage’s 300-job European customer business centre but there was only one clear winner – Dublin – says the chief marketing officer of Sage, Santiago Solanas.

Sage already employs 250 people in Ireland and the new customer business centre will add a further 300 people over the next 18 months.

“The centre will be a new way of delivering customer experience with less friction for our customers,” Solanas explains.

“The idea is that we will make the interaction with Sage much easier through the strategy of customer business centres. The one in Dublin will serve all of Europe and we expect it to grow in the next 18 months.

“The reason we chose Dublin is access to talent and education. It is a city that attracts digital and talent. Its multilingual skills and communications infrastructure is second-to-none.

“There were 11 cities considered and we chose Dublin above all of them.”

Sage advice about the future of money

Through the leadership of group CEO Stephen Kelly, Sage has metamorphosed from being a traditional vendor of accounting and payroll software to being a leader in the cloud movement.

As a result, Sage is now a software and services giant that is moving at a faster, more agile pace into the cloud and the digital transformation of business.

For example, the company has created new cloud solutions like Sage Live at a blistering development pace in collaboration with Salesforce.

‘The cloud in itself means nothing if it doesn’t add value to a customer’

Solanas lead the rollout of Sage’s brand across Europe, which was integral to the take-up of the new cloud portfolio.

Prior to Sage, Solanas spent 20 years in IT and software across the globe in sales, marketing and management roles at IBM, Microsoft and Oracle.

“We are taking all the right steps to become a much more cloud-enabled company and bring the cloud to our customers in a much easier way.

“The cloud in itself means nothing if it doesn’t add value to a customer. We listen to our customers first, find out what they need from our solutions and bring that to them in a simple way.”

I notice that Solanas is wearing an Apple Watch – replete with a Sage green-coloured band – and he says that all formats of technology are part of the Sage future.

“You need to use technology where it makes sense. With Sage Live, we use multi-formats of technology to interact with different user types in different ways.”

Pointing to the Apple Watch, he continues: “If you are a business owner you may want to receive an alert if there is an issue with working capital, for example, for the next few weeks. You will want to know this as soon as possible and this could be in the form of an alert on your Watch and it may be possible to do something from your Watch, like call in extra funding or extend a credit line with your bank. Typically banks can give you an answer in three minutes 70pc of the time. So before you have your coffee and leave your house you can have awareness of an issue and have done something about it using the right form factor.

“Now, trying to put financial information through an Apple Watch may not be the smartest thing to do, but we also try to improve the user experience on the personal computer that an accountant might use and make that available in different form factors.

“It is very important to know your customer very well and use different formats and tools in different ways.”

The golden triangle

Far removed from being the legacy player it once was, Sage today is a different beast.

“It’s a golden triangle,” says Solanas. “It’s accounting, payroll and payments. What you need to run your business is what we are about.”


John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years