Interview with the new chief of Sage in Central Europe For Sage, the future of the cloud is analytical
Since November last year, Christoph Stoica has served as Managing Director for Central Europe at Sage, which specializes in the mid-sized company. In an interview with cloud computing insiders, he gave a report on his plans for the coming years.
Concern prevails among German small and medium-sized companies. In her new study “Opportunities and Challenges for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises,” Sage around the world examines how small and medium-sized businesses assess their future prospects for the next 12 months in light of the ongoing effects of the pandemic and associated economic and social challenges. At the end of November 2021, more than 13,000 companies in 11 countries were surveyed.
Key Finding: At the time of the survey, decision-makers in German SMEs had much less confidence in the current success of their company than SMEs in other countries. These expectations became more difficult when the Ukraine war broke out. German companies are now assessing their current situation as very bad, as current figures from the ifo institute show: the ifo business climate index in March fell from 98.5 points in February to 90.8 points.
At first glance, this could be a typical case of the “German Anxiety”. German companies always have more concerns than English-speaking countries, for example, as evidenced by initial discussions about cloud computing. Unbelievable, mid-size business expert Christoph Stoica (45) has been Sage’s general manager for Central Europe since November 2021.
(Photo: Sage GmbH)
The macroeconomic environment makes him a cause for concern: “I am thinking above all about rising energy costs, inflation, supply chain problems that are likely to get worse, and global geopolitical uncertainties. Moreover, faltering sales markets, as before, the effects of the pandemic, Which has not yet been completely overcome, gives us justified reason to be pessimistic about the future. In this regard, I will not talk about the “German concern”. There are real challenges now. Companies must act with caution.
However, do not panic. German companies should not allow themselves to be intimidated. There are also positive things to report. Digital transformation has accelerated dramatically in the past two years. “Companies that have taken extensive adaptation measures during a pandemic are more crisis-resistant and resilient, and therefore likely better able to deal with future challenges,” Stoica says.
Data analytics as a central component of digital transformation
In the context of digital transformation, he sees the field of data analysis as particularly important. Stoica: “Companies already using company-wide data analytics have reported huge increases in sales. Many other companies have been able to reduce their costs significantly – and the added value that comprehensive and targeted data analysis provides to businesses seems clear.”
Data analytics is a central topic for Sage as an ERP provider, not least because users are becoming increasingly networked and thus generating more and more data. This potential data should be used – the keyword “data is the new oil”. The topics of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are becoming an increasing focus. “We at Sage keep a close eye on the topic of data analytics. Technologies like this are sure to be of great interest to IT systems in the future. Very few data-driven insights are used in the areas of personnel management and performance in the future,” says Sage. present time”.
For Stoica, there is no doubt that a new way of dealing with data is necessary – especially since its quantitative growth is still cautiously described as exponential. “The increasing interdependence of companies, especially along the supply chain or when it comes to technologies like the Internet of Things, is generating massive amounts of data. We are only at the beginning of a profitable evaluation of the ERP area. I am pinning my hopes on artificial intelligence and machine learning in this regard. It will save us Technologies like these are certainly new insights when evaluating data, and will also, in particular, be an important aid in dealing profitably with the massive volume of data.”
The cloud train stops in the middle class
Against this background, the direction in which German medium-sized companies are moving is the right one. Many digital solutions have been introduced during the pandemic, you just need to consider collaboration platforms to integrate employees who are working from home. “The digital transformation of businesses will continue,” says the Central European President. “In the past two years, a lot of positive experience has been gained, and companies will continue to drive their transformation accordingly.”
This is especially evident in the desire to use other cloud solutions. Yes, the cloud will be increasingly accepted as a core technology, for example for the collaboration of employees who are increasingly mobile and therefore not static in the on-site office. Stoica: “We expect an increased openness to cloud technologies. Analysts forecasts tell us that within two years, cloud-based approaches will have an advantage in terms of ERP and human resource management. Of course, one should not forget about those users who want to continue to run their solutions on premises. work.” There are several of these in Germany, according to Stoica.
HR management has reached the cloud
Sage has had a clear strategic focus on cloud-based solutions and SaaS for a few years. Stoica intends to continue focusing on expanding the cloud business. Users should be able to get the most out of financial, accounting, human resources (HR) and payroll solutions: “In HR, I see that we have reached our goal in terms of focusing on the cloud,” says the managing director, referring to Sage HR. , which is a cloud-native HR platform that the company launched in early April. The system includes modules Sage HR Basis, Leave and Absence Management, Performance Management, Staff Deployment and Shift Planning, Time Recording, Expense and Cost Recording as well as Staffing. “With Sage HR, we complement our suite of cloud-native HR solutions for small and medium-sized businesses,” says Stoica.
Focus on international ERP system
When it comes to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), the company is also working on a new cloud-native solution. Solutions such as Sage 50 Connected or Sage 100 Connected are traditional on-premises systems with the ability to integrate cloud-based add-ons and industry solutions. Additionally, users can use Sage 100 in a hosted version. This was followed in the fall of 2021 by the launch of Sage ERP, a cloud-native ERP platform with which small and medium-sized businesses can seamlessly scale their corporate IT. “In late 2022, early 2023, we expect to launch a completely new cloud-native ERP solution for small and medium businesses,” says Stoica.
The issue of internationalization should play an important role in the design of the new solution. Sage is a British company, “but it has a great tradition in Germany,” says Stoica. “Over many years, we have developed a deep understanding of medium-sized companies and their special requirements in this country, such as the fact that many companies have a strong focus on the manufacturing and processing sectors. These are industries that are broadly regulated and tightly regulated. It is essential to take in this local color in consideration in our product range. At the same time, Sage of course has a global position. And this correlates with tremendous innovation power, because in an international group of companies, resources can be used more widely and innovations can be initiated more quickly.”