The Sage Visions and Sage Connect 2013 Conferences
I’ve just returned from attending first the Sage Visions 2013 conference in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and then a couple of weeks later the Sage Connect 2013 conference in Sydney Australia. In this blog posting I thought I’d provide a few highlights from these conferences and a few points of interest from my trips.
Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City is a city of 9 million people and 5.5 million motorbikes. There aren’t many traffic lights and traffic tends to be a continuous stream of motorcycles. Crossing the street is an adventure, since traffic never stops and there are never any breaks in the traffic. You have to just start crossing the street walking slowly and steadily, then all the motorbikes just flow around you. This is a bit un-nerving at first, but by the time you are ready to leave, you start to get used to it.
It’s interesting to visit all the historical sites that were famous from the Vietnam war like the Presidential Palace, the CIA headquarters (now an apartment building) and the Chu Chi Tunnel Complex. Generally Ho Chi Minh City is quite in-expensive to visit and has some interesting attractions, it is a very vibrant and bustling city that feels it is moving in the right direction. They are building a subway system that is half finished and are starting to build a bullet train from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi.
Below is a picture of yours truly with Ho Chi Minh in front of city hall.
I’ve visited Sydney a few times now, so I find it a relaxing place to visit since I know my way around and I’ve already seen most of the tourist attractions. The Connect conference was held in the InterContinental Hotel which is about a block from the Circular Quay and the Sydney Opera House. Sydney has some great restaurants and things to do. I like jogging along the seawall past the Royal Botanical Gardens and swimming in the Andrew Charlton Pool.
Below is a picture I took out of a helicopter on a tour of the harbor.
In both conferences we presented the current roadmap for Sage 300 ERP. As always with forward looking slides, they are subject to change. The dates in this version are for North America. The release of the various cloud products varies a bit from region to region. For instance in Australia they have had Sage Inventory Advisor for over a year and are just introducing Sage Payment Processing.
The roadmap shows the four main streams that we are working on, namely the Sage 300 ERP core product, the forthcoming Sage 300 Online 1.0, all the connected services and then the Sage 300 Online 2.0.
As we are moving to operate more as a cloud company, we will introducing features into the market quicker. For the Sage 300 Online we will be deploying new features into the cloud as they are ready. Then bundling them up for product updates to release for on premise customers. The arrows for the product updates are just meant to be frequent rather than commitments to specific dates.
Lots of Feedback
As always, it’s great to get lots of feedback on the product from all the partners and customers. I always bring this all back to the R&D and Product Management teams in Vancouver. But remember, everyone can provide feedback at any time using our feedback website at: https://www11.v1ideas.com/Sage300ERP/Accpac. At this site you can see all the suggestions we implemented and those we plan to implement. You can also vote on the suggestions and see which suggestions are getting the most votes.
Both R&D and Product Management watch this list and choose items to implement from the top of the list. So the best way to get changes implemented is to enter them here and get your friends to vote for them.
It was fun demo’ing our various cloud products including Sage 300 Online, Sage Mobile Sales, Sage Billing and Payments and Sage Mobile Service. I only managed to demo one of these at each conference, but they were all well received. The main question being when they would be available in these regions.
There was a lot of interest in Sage 300 Online since a lot of customers are looking for ways to avoid managing their own servers, especially in regions that can be hit by typhoons and other natural disasters. Having someone else install new versions and update data for you is also a big draw. Fortunately there are Microsoft Azure data centers in Singapore, Sydney, Hong Kong and Melbourne to serve these markets.
At the Sage Visions conference the top awards were taken by Thai business partners as growth in Thailand has been on an upswing after a period of suffering the global economic slump, political problems and a major flood. Then the other South Eastern Asian countries are a bit of a mixed bag with some doing ok and some still suffering.
In Australia, they are suffering a bit from a high Australian dollar, but the housing and construction industries seem to be well into a recovery. Partners appear to have had a good year and are hopeful that the global economic downturn is behind them. Their growth is currently running at 2.6% and interest rates seem lower than previously. Their big worry is what is happening in China and what demand will be for their natural resources.
Attending international Sage conferences is always fun. I enjoy meeting up with all the partners in a region and meeting with a number of customers. Providing new information on Sage 300 and getting feedback on the various concerns in these regions. Plus the great opportunity to play corporate tourist and see some parts of the world that I wouldn’t otherwise get a chance to visit (otherwise known as playing in the Amazing Race, Corporate Edition).