An SA developer at a Global Accountants’ conference

I’d heard the stories of long, grueling days on your feet, and the tales of facing customers and business partners who posed immediate, challenging questions. Sage Summit was a stark contrast to the developer days spent in front of my PC, facing issues that take a while to reach a specific point. This is the account of an SA developer at a Global Accountants’ conference. This is my story.

Sage Summit Matt

Attending this large, client-facing conference made me quite nervous, largely due to my naturally introverted, software engineer personality. It’s no surprise then by how wide-eyed I was left on the first day. Summit kicked off with a bang on the Monday, or at least it felt like a fairly big bang, with around 5000 business partners, big screens at the keynote, and the main hall quickly taking its impressive, final form. Little did we Virgin Summiteers know, the bang would get significantly more explosive as the conference quickly progressed.

The second day saw the opening of the main conference. With attendance numbers tripling to 15 thousand, the reality of the massive scale of the conference started to take effect. Tuesday was also the first day that stands opened. On Monday, we’d ensured that our demo environments, videos and hardware were all ready and set, and on Tuesday, we truly realised the value of the preparation we had put in! It would be a long day ahead, where even 5-minute toilet breaks and a meal-guzzling lunch break had to be squeezed in. The next two days were similarly busy, but provided a fantastic experience, valuable feedback, as well as the opportunity to forge some good relationships.

Some of the feedback and my general observations were as follows:

  • Sage Intelligence has a huge number of fans in its desktop customers.
  • Sage customers who don’t have access to Sage Intelligence Reporting will go to great lengths to use it for their product.
  • Sage customers and potential customers love the look and functionality of our cloud product. They either want to know when it’s launching for their product, or if we are planning to integrate with any non-Sage accounting products (which we’re not, because Sage is the best).
  • People are amazed to see how far we have come in the last couple of years, especially with the small, tight-knit development team that we have!
  • People love Microsoft Excel. I’d heard this before, but until Summit, where I spent some time on the ground with customers, I’d never understood just how true it is.
  • Sage has some fantastic people. Getting more time to meet and interact with my colleagues from around the globe, especially the technical guys, was an amazing opportunity.
  • The Sage focus of promoting ourselves as a “Tech company” is both highly evident, and in my own opinion, taking giant steps in the right direction. The Dev and Innovation Zone at Summit was testament to this, as well as seeing the presence of Microsoft, Amazon, Cloud Elements and Salesforce at the conference.
  • Ashton Kutcher is not the character he played on “That 70’s show”. I found his comments and responses in the keynote exceptionally well thought out. I’d suggest that you check out the recording if you missed it.

Meeting and dealing with customers directly was profoundly rewarding and enriching for me, and it is something I’d like for every developer on my team to experience one day. In summary, I’d like to thank Sage for the opportunity. Thank you Sage Intelligence for the fantastic product that has been forged over the years, and thank you to the hard work and relationships that have gotten us to where we are today!