Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Sage's Winning Formula

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Sage's Winning Formula

Article excerpt

IT STARTED with a piece of software designed by a Newcastle University student, and surged ahead by creating book-keeping software for early Amstrad computers.

Now Sage is the North East's best-known software company, with six million customers and more than 13,000 staff in 24 countries. It's the only tech company in the FTSE 100 index, and even sponsors a Formula One team.

Marussia F1 Team is a big client for the company's enterprise services product Sage ERPX3, and displays its branding on the car itself.

"I'm a bit of a petrol head, and I always get a proud feeling when I see the Sage brand there", said Stuart Lynn, chief technology and information officer at Sage UK and Ireland.

Sage is a major software employer in the region. Its base in Newcastle's Great Park is home to 1,300 staff, and is still the company's global headquarters.

"We're proud of our North East heritage," said Lynn. "It all started here in 1981 with three guys, and since then we've grown massively but organically.

"The needs of a small business today are dramatically different to what they were 30 years ago, but we keep changing our business as business needs change."

Among these changes was the 2011 launch of Sage One, cloud-based accounts and payroll service for small businesses and start-ups.

"We're pushing hard into cloud," said Lynn. "What we've managed to do through the years is help small businesses with their compliance needs.

"They're looking for solutions that save them time and give them accurate information. A small business's passion isn't to run accounts and payroll, so we try to help them so they can spend time doing what they love."

Sage operates on a federated business model, which sees each international operation build for its own customer base.

"It helps us to keep close to our customers and respond very quickly to their business needs. …

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