Sage this week acquired UK-based cloud HR developer Fairsail for an undisclosed sum.
Sage has been working with Fairsail over the past year to link the Salesforce.com-based online HR system with its expanding Sage Live cloud suite. Sage took a minority holding as part of that process and decided to up its stake now that the combined Sage People offering has gone live commercially.
Fairsail is a self-service HR application that includes facilities for booking holidays and managing absence, goal-setting and employee appraisals along with HR reporting and analysis tools. By combining Fairsail with Sage Live’s accounting and payroll functions, Sage claimed to have fulfilled its “golden triangle vision” to offer an end-to-end human capital management system in the cloud.
CEO Stephen Kelly certainly knows what he’s getting with the acquisition of the £10m-turnover HR software house, as he served as a Fairsail director before he joined Sage.
Fairsail CEO Adam Hale shares Kelly’s ambition “to be the global leader for HCM and people solutions in the mid-market”, and added: “The combination of Fairsail with Sage turbocharges that goal.”
The Fairsail acquisition brings back memories of the feelgood days around the millennium when Sage went around snapping up specialist UK business software developers to feed its need for continuous growth.
For all of Hale’s big talk, he might look back to the fate of some of his predecessors. In 2000-01, Sage acquired Snowdrop and KCS to signal its first big push into mid-market HR applications. Both companies probably did better under the Sage banner than they woud have done independently, but the combined entity has hardly taken the HR market by storm.
In the more immediate future, Fairsail will bring several thousand organisations using Salesforce and Fairsail into the orbit for Sage Live, the company’s big play to establish itself as a serious contender in online accounting.
Fairsail users, meanile, will be curious to see whether Sage leaves Fairsail’s occasionally confusing interface as it is, or works towards a more unified look and feel across the Sage Live stable.