Points of View

Fairsail Adds the HR Navigation to Sage’s X3 ERP Platform

Jun 29, 2016

Overcoming legacy is a key concern for many CIOs in today’s business environment, especially when it comes to ERP systems. The image of large on premise server rooms is still a reality in these organizations mired in legacy, with the ability to operate on a scalable cloud platform still a dream. This problem gets even more complex for mid-market organizations as options for effective cloud based ERP platforms aimed at this end of the market been few and far between. 


This is where Sage aimed its go to market with the launch of a public cloud version of its flagship X3 platform in July 2015. This iteration of the platform, hosted on Amazon Web Services, provides mid-size (100-500 employee) organizations with a flexible and cost effective ERP option. The suite includes core financial and business applications: account and financial management, purchasing, sales management, customer service, manufacturing management and inventory management.


One key area that the platform didn’t cover however was HR. With many mid-size organizations still operating HR off of spreadsheets, the potential market for a cloud based ERP with integrated HR functionality was plain to see. In response Sage acquired a 20.7% stake in U.K. based HR platform provider Fairsail in May this year for $10 million. Fairsail is now the HR platform of choice for the Sage X3.


As part of the deal Sage is “walking the talk” and rolling out Fairsail across its 13,000 employees. This implementation will be the largest one Fairsail has undertaken and falls outside of the company’s target size. However, with its proven track record of rapid integration, reportedly about four times quicker than SuccessFactors, it looks set to be completed soon.


So, flipping the tables, what does this partnership mean for Fairsail?


Well, Fairsail needed capital and channels to further its entry into the U.S. market and expand the functionality of the platform. The $10 million from Sage will go a long way in providing Fairsail with an effective marketing campaign in the U.S. and countries outside of the U.K., and as it continues to extend embedded automation within the platform.


On the face of it, this appears to be a mutually beneficial partnership. The true challenge will be for Sage to firstly effectively integrate Fairsail within the X3 suite and secondly sell this to its existing X3 users. On the second point however there shouldn’t be much concern, given the gap in the market.