CEO Guy Berruyer zorgt ervoor dat hij blijft opvallen met SAGE, UK’s grootste software bedrijf en wereldwijd opgenomen in de top 10 bedrijfssoftware leveranciers. Hoewel Berruyer alweer enkele jaren CEO van het softwarebedrijf is, viel hij toentertijd al op door de Noordamerikaanse Zorg branche vaarwel te zeggen; een branche die al geruime tijd bekritiseerd werd door analisten, investeerders en media. Nu valt hij weer op, door – heel verrassend – afscheid te nemen van de bekende SAGE CRM producten, ACT en SalesLogix. Beide producten zijn recent verkocht aan Swiftpage, een emailmarketing onderneming en SAGE partner van het jaar 2012).

Sage paid $260m for Interact Commerce, the ACT and SalesLogix owner, back in 2001, but is getting rather less than $100m back (precise figures were not released): it could fairly be said that its venture into CRM has not been a great success. Since the CRM products were acquired, the world has moved on – in particular, embracing the Cloud. Sage’s online version of the once-ubiquitous ACT contact management system was not a great success, and its Cloud version of SalesLogix was never rated as highly as newer SaaS products – overshadowed by the mighty Salesforce.com and Microsoft’s Dynamics CRM, in particular. Sage does have other CRM products still in its portfolio.

At the same time – clearing the decks, it seems – Sage announced it is also disposing of another US business line, Sage Nonprofit Solutions, which sells systems for charities, to PE firm Accel-KKR; and it has sold a clutch of minor product lines in France and Spain to Argos Soditic. Incidentally, and slightly confusingly, both Accel-KKR and Sage are also investors in Swiftpage.

At last years’ investor strategy meeting, Berruyer and CFO Paul Harrison explained how they were re-evaluating Sage’s sprawling portfolio, built over the years and described by one commentator asresembling the periodic table of chemical elements.

The approach was to identify core and non-core business lines, in terms of fit with Sage’s core functions – described as accounting, payroll, ERP and related products (and it seems CRM is outside that core, in Sage’s worldview – something that might surprise its competitors) and in terms of value creation potential. They would then receive investment in R&D and marketing in three tiers of priority:  “invest” for those of high potential; “sunset” for those of low potential; and “harvest” for those in the middle.