Sage has started shipments of Sage 50 HR 2007, its latest attempt to open a new front in the business software marketplace. John Stokdyk reports.
As previously reported on our sister site AccountingWEB, the £250 HR application fits into the Sage 50 family of products for small businesses and integrates with Sage Payroll 2007 so that employee payroll records can be exported to the HR admin system.
The new software includes the following elements:
To protect employee confidentiality, Sage designed the program to cater for individual user accounts with different access rights.
Several years ago, Sage tried and failed to establish an HR application. But Jo Ray, managing director of Sage’s small business division, indicated that the decision to return to this sector was based on market research highlighting the difficulties smaller businesses had complying with employment legislation. In addition to the new program, Sage has been operating an HR and health & safety advice line for nearly two years.
In response to a series of Heartbeat customer surveys, a majority of users said they recorded and managed their HR data manually or with Excel, and indicated that they might be interested in a software replacement for these manual processes.
“Sage 50 HR offers powerful functionality whilst being very easy to use so it’s perfect for businesses that handle their human resources function in-house or even those without a specialist human resources function,” Ray said.
Sage 50 HR starts from £250 for a single licence and is available directly from the company’s online store, or via resellers such as London-based CentrePoint Software. CentrePoint’s Richard Compton said in Sage’s product press release that the HR application had generated more pre-release interest than any other product and that it provided a viable alternative for companies who were being quoted thousands of pounds for programs to handle HR functions.
While Sage 50 HR is designed for smaller businesses, Sage also acquired Snowdrop earlier this year to cater for mid-market organisations. With demand slowing for new accounting software, several financial software suppliers have moved into the HR sector, including COA, which bought Grampian Software in 2005. The same year, IRIS introduced its HR Manager program, which now forms part of its IRIS Business Suite and more recently it merged with CS Group, which supplies the mid-range Chorus HR suite.