Post-Brexit software support required for SMEs

By Rebekah Tunstead | 23 November 2018

Small businesses are still struggling to figure out the implications of Brexit and will have a “desperate need for support”, says Pamela Novoa Ralli Sage’s vice president, product.

“We fundamentally believe that Brexit will have an impact on our customers, probably much bigger than the impact something like GDPR had. GDPR, we spoke about it internally for years before it hit, then in the last six months we had customers desperately pulling us saying, ‘I don’t know what this means, can you help,’” says Ralli.

“I would expect Brexit to have a similar but much bigger effect. We have been talking about it for so long that businesses, especially small businesses that just don’t have the time to figure it out. So, a few months before they actually do something they are going to be in desperate need for support, and that is what Sage is hoping to achieve to be able to support them, the same way we were able to support them with GDPR.”

According to the longitudinal small business survey published this year, and conducted by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, two-thirds of SME employers either didn’t believe that Brexit would have an impact on their business, or they didn’t know what it would be.

The survey goes on to state that only 42% of SME employers said they felt prepared for the consequences of Brexit.

Speaking about how Sage plans to defend its market share after a year of changes to senior leadership, as well as revenue growth being below expectations for the first half of 2018, Ralli says there is a need to treat fintechs and new entrants as partners.

“We cannot completely say we are going to defend against them, because actually many of the fintechs bring applications that are incredibly useful.”

“I truly believe that the race for fintechs will be won by whoever is able to own that ecosystem. I believe we are still probably a good twelve months if not eighteen months before we see someone taking the lead on that.

“My background is banking, and I moved into Sage. I think the fundamental difference of working outside a regulated environment is that you can afford to open up your platform and enhance it with fintech.”

This comes after Sage published it’s 2018 year results in which they announced an investment of £60m in the movement of their customers to cloud.  

“The plan is to very much focus on cloud, and going after that we are still investing in the Sage business cloud project strategy that was announced last year. I think internally from a product perspective and a product strategy, the strategy hasn’t changed. If anything we are accelerating, so we can see some of those benefits earlier than expected,” says Ralli.

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