Meet the New Sage Simply Accounting GM Nancy Harris!

It’s been a great first week at the Richmond Campus.  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed meeting everyone and am delving right into the business at hand.  First and foremost, my mission is to seek first to understand the business.
As I have not had the opportunity to meet as many people as I’d like, I thought I’d spend this first blog entry giving you a little bit of background on me—both professionally and personally.

As far as my work experience is concerned, I have worked in large companies and in smaller, startup companies during my 25 years in the software industry.  While with larger companies, such as BMC Software, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work and hold leadership positions in a variety of capacities and different functions within the company, which later enabled me to become a General Manager and Chief Operating Officer.
While at BMC, I started out in product marketing and product management and then was promoted to the position of development manager.   In that capacity, I had responsibility for a team of software developers, quality assurance engineers and technical support representatives.  The ability to see the organization and learn the business from different perspectives was invaluable.
Most recently, I was Chief Operating Officer of a startup software company and had responsibility for client services, marketing, product management and product development.  The market we served was the emergency management services market, which was a very tight-knit community, and it taught me a great deal about the importance of referral networks and word-of-mouth business.
My Attraction to the Sage Simply Accounting Role
First of all, it was exciting to me to consider being a part of a business that has been so successful both before Sage and then as part of Sage.  It’s a tremendous opportunity to be able to go to work for a product line that is No. 1 in market share in its space.
That being said, I also saw opportunity to expand and grow the business in new and exciting ways.  For example, Sage’s connected services strategy and the opportunity to expand the Simply portfolio with valuable offerings for our customers such as payment services and direct deposit is exciting to me.
In addition, having worked in several companies with SaaS-based offerings, I see the opportunity in delivering new cloud-based solutions to the market.  As we all know, cloud-based computing is where the market is going, and I’m a firm believer in giving customers choices in terms of how they purchase and use a product—be it installed and one-time fee based or hosted and subscription based.  I see these areas as growth opportunities for the business.
 
Critical Success Factors/Early Learnings
I believe there are a number of CSFs for the Simply business, and one is our need to listen to our partners and our customers such that we build the right features into our products and that we prioritize the right updates and fixes in our products.  It is important that we listen to key stakeholders, so we meet our customers’ needs and the needs of the market.
Another key critical success factor is the partner network and the vital role that the SAN members play not only as a major conduit to new business for Simply but also in advising us and keeping us in touch with the market and our buyers. 
I’ve had the opportunity to learn about our partner network in the last couple of months, and I’ve witnessed the strength and commitment of the members to our mutual success.  I believe it is vital to preserve that sense of community and expand upon it.
Finally, we need to embrace and execute well on the re-branding initiative.  Having a dominant global Sage brand will lead to stronger brand recognition with a well-recognized brand promise, which will help all of us compete more effectively in the marketplace. 

That being said, it is important that we invest in making the transition a smooth one and that we preserve and build on the strengths of the Sage Simply brand – not lose them – for example, many of you have indicated that we must continue to enforce that Sage Simply is ‘Canadian’ made and supported – we will continue to make that message clear.  This is our strategy worldwide…to be local and stress that within country.

A Bit About Me Personally
I am not a stranger to the area.  When I was with a previous software company, I worked close with a team of software developers, quality assurance engineers and technical support representatives here in Richmond and frequently remarked during that 5-year period of traveling to the area that I would love to someday live in BC.  On certain days, it still amazes me that I’ve realized that dream!

As far as hobbies and interests go, I’m an avid runner.  I’ve run 4 marathons and about a dozen half marathons, including the Vancouver half marathon.  I’m an outdoors enthusiast in general, too, and am very excited about all of great outdoor venues here in Vancouver.  I also enjoy volunteer work with non-profit organizations.

I am excited about working with each of you to build upon a tremendously strong business that you helped create.  I look forward to our journey together and always will welcome your feedback along the way.

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