Archives For April 2011

I’m new to SugarCRM, coming over in the iExtensions acquisition from iEnterprises, Inc. to become Sugar’s VP of Product Strategy, Collaboration Services. With all the recent announcements, I think it’s important to provide more details on the benefits of the acquisition that brought me to Sugar and what it means to the Sugar community, including both customers and partners. Here’s a brief summary of what Sugar has acquired:

1. iExtensions CRM: This is the leading Lotus Notes-based CRM product. It’s similar to SugarCRM in features and functions but it operates entirely inside IBM Lotus Notes. Although iEnterprises will continue to provide level-one support for iExtensions, it’s now owned and developed by SugarCRM. If you use iExtensions you’ll be pleased to know that Sugar is committing much deeper resources to the ongoing development of iExtensions CRM and you will see great product enhancements in the near future.

2. Lotus Notes Connector (plugin): The Sugar plugin for Lotus Notes has been licensed by Sugar from iEnterprises: both iEnterprises and Sugar will share ongoing development efforts. The plugin allows you to use SugarCRM from inside your Lotus Notes in-box and calendar. Its features are very similar to the Outlook plugin but it provides better enterprise mass-deployment options than the Outlook connector. If you use Lotus Notes, you’ll find this plugin a very useful add-on.

3. Offline Mobile Client: A new mobile client for BlackBerry, iPad, and iPhone is the second technology licensed from iEnterprises. This new mobile technology provides support for BlackBerry and iPad in the Sugar 6.2 release and will greatly extend the features and benefits offered by Sugar’s existing mobile technology. Perhaps the most important of these is the capability to pre-load data and work in offline mode. In offline mode, users can access account data stored locally on their mobile device, allowing them to be productive on airplanes and in areas with bad or non-existent cellular network connections. Both iEnterprises and Sugar will continue developing this technology, expanding it to Android and other platforms in the future.

Strategically, this all means that Sugar will now have deeper integration into IBM technology, thus facilitating greater adoption in the enterprise. In addition, the offline mobile client for tablets and smartphones will strengthen Sugar’s leadership in mobile CRM.

What does this mean if you’re an iExtensions CRM customer? The short answer is that Sugar will continue iExtensions development, bringing additional resources to bear to make iExtensions better than ever.

If you’re a SugarCRM customer, you’ll immediately see deeper integration into IBM technologies. In addition, the top-notch offline mobile client will allow your teams to be more productive wherever they are.

SugarCRM partners will also see tangible benefits. The new integration with IBM technologies will open doors to enterprise customers, thus allowing partners to extend their business more effectively to the high end of the marketplace. In addition, the new mobile technology will allow partners to compete on a differentiated level with SugarCRM.

What else does the future hold? It’s likely that we will innovate hybrid Lotus Notes/SugarCRM offerings and mobile technologies that have never before been seen in the marketplace, thus allowing Sugar to continue playing a leadership role in the CRM space while benefitting the entire Sugar community.

Thank You!
John Carini
VP of Product Strategy, Collaboration Services
SugarCRM
Jcarini@sugarcrm.com
+1 408.454.6930 – Office

SugarCon 2011 (#scon11) is here and it is the place to be.  If you couldn’t make the annual pilgrimage to San Francisco, I’d like to share with you the ideas and direction the Sugar team is discussing this week with our fantastic community of users, customers and partners.  This series of blog posts over the week of SugarCon will give you insight into the ideas shaping our product roadmap, community focus and the direction we are taking the SugarCRM business.

If there is one thing that has become abundantly clear past year, getting business done as we know it today is going through a transformational, “once in a generation” shift.  Powered by open source software and brought to the forefront of our daily lives by social collaboration tools like Twitter and Facebook, we are living through, right now, profound changes in the way companies and customers interact with each other.

We call this the social business, an “always on” dialogue taking place with and around a company using every social collaboration tool imaginable from social network providers like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Xing, Yelp, IBM LotusLive and more.  This social dialogue about your business covers every topic possible.  Your new customers are comparing notes with other customers.  Your prospects are asking existing customers why they should buy from you and not your competitor.  Your employees are discussing with customers on how to improve your business.  And of course, your customers are letting you know in no uncertain terms what they think of you and your business.

Paul Greenberg, a luminary in the world of customer relationship management and the author of CRM At the Speed of Light, describes the impact of this very public and very transparent dialogue as putting the customer finally in full control of their relationship with you, their vendor of choice.  Remember, you no longer control the customer experience.  Your customers control the customer experience.  The Internet is their stage and everybody is their audience.  Social collaboration tools make social business happen.

With the evolution of the social business, we at SugarCRM clearly see a massive opportunity in front of us to put the focus of the social business on building productive, meaningful relationships that help your customers solve their business problems.  Communication and trust are the foundation of a relationship.

Social collaboration tools deliver the communication part of that foundation.  But how do you build that trust?  That will be the focus of the next article in this blog series.