by Jerod Johnson | March 05, 2024

3 Key Takeaways from Sage Transform 2024
Key Takeaways from Sage Transform 2024

Now that I've recovered from the redeye from Las Vegas to Raleigh-Durham, I think it's time to cover my key takeaways from Sage Transform. As sponsors and Sage Technology Partners, CData got the opportunity to engage directly with Sage "colleagues" (the tag Sage employees were given for the event), with other Sage partners, and, most importantly, Sage customers. I'm regularly impressed by the accommodations made at Sage Transform, from the padded carpets in sponsor booths (so important) to the quality of the food and beverages available during meals and networking gatherings.

Creature comforts aside, below you'll find my big takeways from the event.

1. Microsoft Excel is here to stay

At our booth, we asked Sage customers which reporting platforms they wanted to connect with Sage data. Far and away the most popular answer was Microsoft Excel, which is honestly not a huge surprise at a conference where the vast majority of attendees are accountants (or at least accounting adjacent).

Sage booth

Between its history (Excel was released in 1985!) and the advancements made in usability and access, accountants continue to use Excel to create custom reports, perform analytics, and even keep historical copies of their accounting books. With Excel for the web, accountants can take advantage of cloud computing and storage, generating a single Excel workbook that multiple users can view (and edit) instead of having multiple workbooks hosted on multiple machines.

With CData Connect Cloud, organizations can work with live Sage Intacct data directly in Excel (desktop or on the web). See it in action, building an expense report here:

2. Sustainability and environmental impact are growing in importance

One of Sage CEO Steve Hare’s major talking points in his opening keynote was the drive towards organizational sustainability efforts and the growing acknowledgement of an organization's environmental impact. Thanks to the Sage Foundation, attendees had the chance to contribute to habitat restoration at Red Rocks State Park and could even help assemble 500 solar car kits on-site to donate to Communities in Schools Nevada.

Commercially, Sage has released Sage Earth, a carbon accounting platform designed to encourage (and help) small business measure carbon emissions, including those of their suppliers. The platform is built to give organizations the opportunity to work towards net zero emissions in their operations and supply chain.

3. Domain-specific artificial intelligence (AI) is the next step

Large language models (LLMs) began as massive collections of all information. The LLMs used to power generative AI like ChatGPT have historically been filled with data of all types. With such a wide variety of data, these platforms can answer just about any question, but the responses can occasionally be inaccurate, if not completely wrong, particularly for very specific domains.

Sage is working to build an accounting specific LLM that combines more than 40 years of domain expertise with powerful AWS computing to launch Sage Copilot next year. This domain-specific AI will help users unlock "the potential for continuous accounting, assurance, and insights." Real-time data analyzed based on a huge repository of data will let organizations continuously measure expenses, profits, cash flow and more. Businesses can rest easy knowing where their data is coming from and going and get actionable information from their data and processes to improve performance.

So, what?

  • Every data user will continue to use the tools that they know and love, as they should. With the CData connectivity platform, they can connect to the data they need in their preferred tools.
  • Consider the social and market value of adding sustainability efforts to your organization's portfolio.
  • As you engage in AI-driven initiatives, seek out domain specific platforms to help meet your specific needs.

If you aren't a part of the CData Community, join today to continue (or start!) your data journey. Check out CData Connect Cloud to connect to your Sage Intacct data from your preferred tools and applications and make the most of your accounting efforts.

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