Sage is a multinational software company headquartered in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, in the north of England. It is the third largest global supplier of enterprise software, behind Oracle and SAP, and the largest supplier to small businesses. We caught up with Juha Harkonen, VP Ecosystem and Marketplace Strategy, to find out more about Sage’s approach. 

How long have you had a digital marketplace and what was the main business driver for setting it up?

The partner marketplaces have evolved over time. They started as static listings catalogues and have now evolved to integrated full service transactional marketplaces with licensing, provisioning, and billing capabilities. At the heart of these marketplaces is a catalogue of offerings that extend the capabilities and value of our core accounting solutions. These can be brought to our customers through segment and geographically curated store fronts, through in product experiences, our sales teams or through our value-added resellers. The main drivers for marketplaces are the transformation of customer buying patterns, ambition to grow, and the need to drive efficiencies.

What impact has the marketplace had on traditional sales?

What is traditional sales? A customer talking to a seller, testing product, and submitting a purchase order? This sales model has not gone away, but it is just now facilitated through a digital commercial platform. Also, especially small and medium sized customers, increasingly do discovery online and make product decisions without consulting sellers, which is reflective of the consumerization of B2B buying. This is where the digital marketplaces can connect with and serve higher volumes of customers, delivering greater value to our customers and drive more economic opportunity for our value adding partner ecosystem. Customers have the ability consolidate purchases, get a better control over their software estates, and potentially benefit from volume discounting.  

How does the marketplace tie in with your partner program structure, goals, and partner development funds?

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