Sage Software officially launched its new CRM suite, Sage CRM, on Tuesday at its third annual business-partner conference Insights 2005.
According to the company, Sage CRM is a Web-based customer relationship management solution targeted at SMBs (small and midsize businesses) and is available both as an on-demand and an on-premises solution.
Sage Software, based in Dallas, Texas, and formerly known as Best Software, is trumpeting its new release as the first CRM solution that follows what it calls a "rent-to-own" model.
Sage Software provides an investment-protection guarantee so that businesses, particularly SMBs with their typically limited IT resources, the ability to get their feet wet with CRM solutions without being required to commit either to a full-scale implementation or to long-term subscriptions.
With the rent-to-own program, Sage Software promises to refund a given customer as much as 50 percent of the customers hosted-subscription costs should that customer decide to move to a client-server CRM suite solution during its first year of hosted CRM service.
"Salesforce.com would have businesses believe hosted software means no software. Thats a clever way of saying they offer no choice," said Jim Foster, executive vice president of Sage Softwares midmarket division.
According to Foster, businesses seeking a front-office solution want both choice and long-term investment protection; therefore, he says, Sage CRM is an ideal solution that straddles these needs.
"Were making the decision process even easier with our unique rent-to-own program. Businesses who are at the crossroads of deciding to implement a hosted or traditional on-premises CRM strategy now have choice," Foster said.
In conjunction with its Sage CRM product, Sage Software offers its customers integration with Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes and a wide range of relational database options, including Sybase, Oracle, IBMs DB2 and Microsofts MS SQL.
In addition, Sage Software provides its customers locally based service and support options and bi-directional integration with back-office accounting applications.
For his part, Denis Pombriant, CRM industry analyst and managing partner of Massachusetts-based Beagle Research Group, said that while he is not a fan of Sage Softwares rent-to-own business model, Sage Software, unlike other CRM providers that sell directly to the user, funnels all of its CRM offerings through its channel partners.
"Its a shrewd move to keep [Sage Softwares] channel partners engaged with their end customers to participate and make revenue by offering these solutions," Pombriant said.
"The fact that this news was published today from this conference may be for general distribution, but its a way for [Sage Software] to communicate to its channel partners, too."