Sometimes so-called “back office” facts are fun. The word “server” can be used to denote a computer programme, a physical computer and also a software/hardware system. The term server comes from the late 14th Century noun “serve”, but has only been used in common computer parlance since roughly 1992. And finally, 1 in 3 people in the UK are paid from a server running Sage payroll software.

Sage Group as you may know is a supplier of business software to 6.3 million businesses worldwide. The company was founded in 1981 founded by two local entrepreneurs in the English city of Newcastle and today 6.2 million companies around the world use Sage products and services across 100 countries.

The company experienced a real surge of growth when Sir Alan Sugar brought out the first UK desktop PC. As such, the firm is fond of tagging significant technology shifts as “strategic growth enablers” (well, they are accountants after all) and so cloud computing has logically reared its head as the next IT paradigm to embrace.

News this week is bubbling of the firm strengthening its portfolio of online business solutions with the UK launch of Sage CRM Cloud, a service which is powered by Rackspace’s hybrid hosting technology RackConnect. But what is CRM from the cloud anyway?

CRM in the cloud embodies the concept of being able to choose how, when and where firms manage critical customer information. But why is any of this important?

Factor 1

Sage is an accountancy/financial software firm at heart; hence attention to tiny detail will have been key for them. The fact that it has trusted a cloud player like Rackspace to virtualise one of their service offerings (and potentially risk their customer reputation at a wide level) speaks volumes on the safety and security of the cloud — a subject which many firms still find their major cloud stumbling block.

Factor 2

Sage is capable of “managing every aspect of customer interactions” and “transforming levels of accessibility, information management and customer insight” from the Rackspace cloud. OK so how many times have we heard tales of customers fearing “loss of data control in the cloud” so far? This was a Sage press release not a Rackspace one, so clearly the customer here is happy.

“Sage has been innovative in its approach to building and offering an on-demand CRM solution. The company has drawn heavily on its experience, knowledge and core competencies, all combined with a clever market foresight and the recognition of a need to provide for elasticity in its own services layer. The result for the company is a clear direction and online portfolio that gives its customers the flexibility to deploy their technology in a way that can help deliver optimum results over time,” said Nigel Beighton, international VP of technology at Rackspace Hosting.

And the thought for the day is… next time you hear an American complain that we just don’t have customer service or customer relationship management in the UK, you can point them to Sage’s cloudy CRM cook-off.