Sage releases its latest CRM system, Sage 200

Accounting software specialist Sage has expanded its business automation software portfolio with the launch of a customer relationship management system, Sage 200.

Accounting software specialist Sage has expanded its business automation software portfolio with the launch of a customer relationship management system, Sage 200.

The software should cater for Sage's traditional customer base, the small to medium enterprise, said David Pinches, Sage head of product management. Pinches defines a typical client as a multi-department firm turning over around £50m.

The launch coincides with the unveiling of a new version of SAP. With both companies moving to the middle market, analysts predict there may not be the demand to sustain them.

Whereas SAP is approaching the market from a high end enterprise level, Sage claims its product is more grounded. "You are always more likely to succeed in the mid range market when building from the bottom up," says Pinches.

Sage's CRM system is being built on the foundation of its MMS financials module. Pinches argued that upgrading from this basis is a lot easier and more practical than trying to shrink down an enterprise level system. Adding CRM functions to the core financial product is a logical upgrade that can easily be implemented to cover all the business processes in an organisation, he claimed.

However, experts and existing mid-market firms are sceptical about the prospects of firms moving into the area.

Sage's ambitious expansion plans could face challenges, warned Clive Longbottom, service director at research company Quocirca. "They are moving into a volatile market, with hazards like aggressive mergers and acquisitions to be wary of.

If that was not bad enough, there is Microsoft to think about too."

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