Accountancy software house Sage Group Plc has launched a UK version of the Telemagic sales automation and marketing software from its December acquisition Remote Control International Inc (CI No 2,204). Sage’s technical director, Graham Wylie, describes Telemagic as a contact management tool. Based on the Nantucket Inc – now Computer Associates International Inc Clipper language, […]
Accountancy software house Sage Group Plc has launched a UK version of the Telemagic sales automation and marketing software from its December acquisition Remote Control International Inc (CI No 2,204). Sage’s technical director, Graham Wylie, describes Telemagic as a contact management tool. Based on the Nantucket Inc – now Computer Associates International Inc Clipper language, it supports a dBase database, which enables users to build an address book of contact details and customer histories. These can be called up on-screen, while Telemagic automatically dials a customer’s telephone number, using a Hayes-compatible modem or analogue line. Furthermore, the software can be used to prompt customers to call their contacts back at pre-planned dates and times. It will also instantly release productivity statistics as well as generate standard and unique letters, labels and envelopes, facsimiles and reports based on information contained in the system. Telemagic is targeted at salespeople, secretaries, accounts, purchasing staff and public relations departments, or, according to Wylie, anyone that has regular contact with other people. The US personal computer version is available now through Sage’s network of 17,000 dealers and half dozen distributors, including Frontline Distribution Ltd and Merisel UK Ltd, which have their own dealer base. Some minor adjustments have been made to the US original to suit the UK market, such as changes to the date format, and the use of post codes rather than zip codes. In the US, Telemagic also runs on Apple Computer Inc’s Macintosh, IBM Corp’s AS/400 and System 38, and under Santa Cruz Operation Inc’s Xenix version of Unix. But Sage intends to release a customised UK version in June this year, running under MS-DOS.
There are several reasons for the delay. First, Sage had to negotiate with Remote’s sole UK distributor, Prospects for Business Ltd, to take over distribution rights. Second, it spent UKP35,000 on research and development both to create a user interface with a Sage look and feel, and to integrate Telemagic seamlessly with either Sage Sterling +2 or version 5 accountancy software. As a result, users will be able to place orders directly from Telemagic into the order processing sections of Sterling Financial Controller as well as update customer lists. The new product is currently in beta testing. A Windows version will be released in the US in September, and in the UK by the end of the year. A network version of Telemagic integrated with Sterling +2, running on any NetBIOS system, including Novell Inc’s NetWare, 3Com Corp’s 3Net, and Sage’s own MainLan, will also be available by September, while lap-top and notebook versions should be around by the end of the year. A single user package will cost UKP300, while multi-user releases will range from UKP600 for up to three users to 10,000 for an unlimited number. But Wylie reckons that Sage will have to sell only approximately 1,000 copies of Telemagic in the UK to recoup the investment that it made in Remote. The San Diego, California-based company, which was set up only six years ago, already generates $500,000 a month from Telemagic, the equivalent of about $6m per annum. Moreover, it also has agreements with Northern Telecom Ltd and AT&T Co in the US, which mean that, when someone calls a Telemagic user, their phone number will be compared with information held in the database, and the data will come up on the Telemagic user’s computer screen. While Wylie would ideally like to see something similar in the UK, he said it would take a few years to implement because of the Data Protection Act and the problems surrounding civil rights.