The more things change, the more they stay the same

I have had the privilege of representing Sage and our product, Sage Intelligence, at the last eight Sage Summit events (well, not all were called Sage Summit, and some were known as Sage Insights, but that’s a different story all together) which have  taken me to many amazing cities across the US – from Nashville to Denver, Atlanta to Washington DC, back to Nashville, back to Washington DC, then on to Las Vegas, and most recently, to New Orleans.

Now for those of you who don’t know the Sage Intelligence team, we are 65 people in total, focussed 100 percent on delivering an amazing, integrated customer experience using Sage Intelligence Reporting for those who have reporting frustrations. We are also the guys and girls who have strange accents (well, according to our North American friends and colleagues), and the majority of our team work out of the beautiful city of Durban, on the east coast of South Africa. What this translates into is a 16 – 17 hour long-haul flight to reach the US mainland when heading to a Sage Summit, as well as operating across multiple time zones (we are 9 hours ahead of Los Angeles, and 6 hours ahead of New York).

Stephen Coull Blog Image _ The more things change, the more they stay the same

All that said, we wouldn’t have it any other way, and consider ourselves incredibly privileged to work for such an amazing company that provides us with these opportunities to connect face to face with customers, business partners, and colleagues, to hear about the challenges around reporting and gaining insight into data.

The amazing take away for me from this most recent Sage Summit held in New Orleans (which was the most incredible event that Sage has ever put together in my opinion, and was the biggest business conference for SME’s ever staged) was that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

What I mean by this statement is that even with the rapid change in technology that is aimed at providing solutions to simplify and remove the complexity for our customers running their businesses, some business challenges remain entrenched in the daily grind of running a business. I speak here very specifically of reporting, which is what the majority of my discussions revolved around at Sage Summit, and what remains one of the main pain points for customers today. Another fact is that Excel still remains the top application for sharing, presenting, and analyzing data. This point is validated by our recent survey conducted with Sage customers around reporting, and I have shared a few of the findings below:

  • 71 percent of Sage customers experience challenges in customizing their reports
  • 72 percent of Sage customers export data into Excel
  • 49 percent of Sage customers experience challenges in creating reports

So, with all the advancements in technology around mobility and the Internet of Things, some very core challenges remain around reporting and the correct use of Excel for this critical function. Read here for some amazing insight on the relevance of Excel for reporting: 27 Microsoft Excel Experts Predict The Future of Excel in Business Intelligence. 

Sage Intelligence Reporting embraces these challenges and offers a viable solution by pulling real-time data from your Sage Accounting or Business Management Solutions products, and delivering it in Excel templates that you can easily view and/or customize. This eases the pain of a reporting frustration that often burdens the business user.