Developing The Developer Portal (Sagely)

Remember the days when innovation was developed in-house? With teams in a lab, at banks of computers or with focus groups? OK, that’s not ALL in the past, but these days, technology moves fast, and firms must move even faster to stay on the cusp of change and to keep consumers engaged. The rise of the developer portal has influenced and spurred input from independent software vendors (ISVs). One firm that has actively joined the fray is Sage, the payments, payroll and accounting tech firm that’s been revamping its own developer portal approach.

In an interview with PYMNTS’ Karen Webster, Joseph Smutz, director of product integration at Sage, stated that the new focus on the developer portal — along with an attendant emphasis on ISVs and software developers — took shape against a payments landscape where “the timing was perfect for Sage to revamp our portal into a more modern and scalable API solution amid the growing number of developer portals in the tech industry.”

For Sage, Smutz continued, the process has been one where the firm is building out its developer portal “on what we already have … We’ve been consolidating some legacy offerings and building in new products.” And, of course, he continued, there is a larger-scale push in the security realm for EMV. “It made sense,” he said, to create “a new developer portal where an existing ISV who wants to add new functionality or a developer searching for an API can discover Sage and explore the new, compelling offerings we deliver.”

Developer portals and APIs become increasingly important as ISVs vigorously seek to embed payments into their solutions. It’s no longer “good enough” to solve for a business or merchant problem; payment acceptance is now a critical part of ISV offerings. Though, Webster pointed out, that what ISVs want is the ability to make a seamless connection without having to understand all the ins and outs of payments. They’re in search of a partner who can make the process simple and effective.

What Smutz emphasized, however, is Sage’s value as a developer resource. “The benefits of development portals”, said Smutz, “lie, in part, with the integration between disparate corporate functions, in what may be thought of as a ‘bundle’ … a one-stop shop … That’s our proposition. We provide payroll and accounting services, in addition to payments, and offer APIs that can be linked to each.”

The focus for now, explained Smutz, is where Sage has an advantage and ISOs and ISVs have a well-developed channel: nonprofits and educational entities. Smutz believes that the intersection of mobile payments and accounting services may be particularly appealing for these groups.

Another vertical that holds promise, he says, is health care, which is marked by the need for automation in everything from prescriptions to recurring billing.

For Sage, the focus is on the developer who feels that he or she needs more than just payments and sees the benefit of a platform that possesses the ability to integrate payments into accounting and payroll.

“We are a global company that can touch on everything a SMB needs, including ancillary offerings that can run the gamut from accounting software to invoice presentation,” he explained.

As for the Sage developer portal itself? It is now live with a community of over 2,500 developers, said Smutz, with roughly 30 active developers working on projects that can span weeks to months. A year from now, Smutz said a “home-run” figure exists in his head, but 250 integrations does not seem farfetched.



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