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The last couple of weeks have seen SugarCRM’s Chief Product Officer Lila Tretikov getting her due. First came accolades from the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, the world’s top honors for female entrepreneurs, executives, and the organizations they run. Over 1700 entries were submitted this year; Lila took Bronze honors as Female Executive of the Year. The awards are selected by a group of more than 200 business executives from around the world; the full list of winners can be found here.

A week after the Stevies were released, Lila was one of the executives profiled by the USA Today in an article called “Women band together, make inroads into tech.”  The article discusses the presence and role of female engineers in Silicon Valley, and includes statistics about the percentage of women majoring in computer science and engineering fields. The article quotes Lila and offers insight into her background.

With SugarCon landing in New York this year, it was only fitting that we landed founder and former CEO of Travelocity.com, Terry Jones, as one of our keynote speakers. Drawing from his experience as chairman of Kayak.com and former CIO at airline tech pioneer Sabre, Jones will explain how leadership, innovation, and an openness to technology were crucial in revolutionizing the travel industry.

A graduate of Denison University in Granville, Ohio, Jones entered the travel industry in 1971 as a travel agent with Vega Travel in Chicago. He later served five years as a vice president of Travel Advisors, a company specializing in business travel to Eastern Europe and the USSR, with offices in Chicago and Moscow.

Currently, Jones is the managing principal and co-founder of Essential Ideas, a consulting firm he co-counded that helps organizations transition to the digital economy. He serves as Chairman of the Board of Kayak.com, and is on the boards of Smart Destinations, Inc., Luxury Link and Rearden Commerce. He is a special venture partner with General Catalyst Partners of Boston. Jones also is Chairman of the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival and serves on the national Information Technology committee of the Boy Scouts of America.

Hear from an innovator with a proven record of business transformation. Register now for big savings on our largest conference to date. Early-bird pricing ends December 31st. We look forward to seeing you in New York City!

By Dax Farhang, Director of Product Marketing

Two weeks ago, we announced some feature enhancements to Sugar that would make their debut in qualifying Sugar On-Demand instances and then become available to Sugar On-Site customers in a comprehensive release in mid-2013. This staggered approach to introducing new features generated feedback from a few customers, which gives us a chance to explain our thinking here.

In short, we’re changing our process for pushing out new features because customers are asking for it.  On-Demand customers prefer regular updates, pushed out automatically. With this updated release model, SugarCRM will be able to make new enhancements available as quickly as possible with no effort from On-Demand customers.

Our On-Site customers have a different set of requirements. Since they’re maintaining their own instances, IT teams require time from to implement new versions. Unlike On-Demand customers, they simply can’t upgrade frequently and often prefer to stay on a particular version for an extended period of time. These companies will now benefit by being able to plan on 1 or 2 feature upgrades a year to take advantage of all the latest Sugar innovations

As always, we take pride in giving our customers choice and control over their deployment models and are excited that we’re able to further optimize each option by meeting the specific needs of each customer type.

Some may think that CRM is a tool used primarily by companies that lean toward high technology – and that means IT-oriented companies.  The reality is that all companies these days are leaning on high technology to become more efficient and to gain an edge in sales – and so, CRM is becoming a tool in the arsenals of companies in industries that might surprise technology chauvinists.

For an example, look no farther than KRAMSKI, a German stamping and insert/outsert molding manufacturer with a global client base that includes Delphi, Bosch and Lear and plants in Asia and North America. The company needed to introduce greater uniformity, transparency, and efficiency into its sales process. It was no longer enough to rely on on Excel spreadsheets to track leads, inquiries, and opportunities; these limited tools gave KRAMSKI executives little visibility into the sales pipeline.

Working with MyCRM Gmbh (SugarCRM’s November Partner of the Month)  MyCRM GmbH to improve sales monitoring and transparency and increase customer satisfaction, KRAMSKI’s new Sugar-based solution allows sales teams to now forecast a full nine months in advance rather than three — a 200 percent improvement. Sugar also accelerated decision making while reducing quote approval time by 20 percent for domestic customers and 25 percent for international customers.

MyCRM designed and implemented the solution and conducted user training. MyCRM also integrated Sugar with IBM Lotus Notes Groupware. In addition to improving sales monitoring processes and increasing the forecasting range, the MyCRM Sugar implementation:

  • Reduced quote approval time by 20 percent for domestic clients and 25 percent for international clients
  • Enabled KRAMSKI to optimize production resources
  • Improved opportunity management and quote generation
  • Standardized sale reporting across all company locations

For more information on KRAMSKI’s success with Sugar, visit the case study.

 One of the classic arguments around SaaS and Cloud-based CRM is the issue of who owns the customer data. This is an artifact of the difficulty some had in making the mental leap between data you own (in the legal sense that you are the owner) and data you have (on-site, in your own machines, managed by your company) early in the SaaS era. But there are real concerns about data possession – for example, can you easily retrieve your data in a usable format from a cloud-based vendor? And is this kind of built-in difficulty something the vendor is doing as a way to lock its customers in by making it painful for the customer to take possession of their own data?

Bob Greenlees, director of operations at Shuttlecloud, a cloud data portability platform, wrote about this topic on the website CloudTweaks this week, and briefly discusses CRM vendors, touching on Salesforce, SugarCRM, and Insightly. When it comes to data, Sugar fares well:

“The export process in particular is very easy to use in order to import data into another tool or store it locally. While there are options for high degrees of customization with SugarCRM, additional modifications are not necessary for customers who want to move services. This type of data portability allows customers to focus on features, and not vendor lock-in, when considering a CRM tool.”

Expecting CRM customers to trust you to house their data and then making it available only in difficult to use formats is a bit tacky. It’s done for the vendor’s benefit, not for the customer – and thus, it’s the very antithesis of the idea of building customer relationships. SugarCRM’s take on this is that the data is your own and you should be free to use it as you fit – to integrate it with other applications, to draw from it through customizations and personalizations of your choosing, or to migrate it to another CRM application if you should so choose.

It’s your data – don’t allow people that you’re paying to store it make it harder to use. Think of this like you’d think of a bank, and your data is your money. Would you use a bank that would only allow you to close out you account by giving you your money in nickels?

 

Starting in late November, qualifying Sugar On-Demand instances will be treated to a set of enhancements that makes Sugar even more effective and easier to use.

Chief among these is an enhanced, next-generation Customer Self-Service Portal. A new user experience makes the portal easier to use and more efficient for customers seeking answers rapidly and managing inquiries across the enterprise. Notes and attachments can be appended to support cases, and Sugar has added configuration options for a more tailored portal experience.Syncing is no longer necessary thanks to faster updates with support for real-time changes. The new Customer Self-Service Portal is available exclusively in Sugar Enterprise and Sugar Ultimate editions.

Other enhancements will make it easier for customer-facing to do their jobs. Instead of manually transferring information from Sugar to a separate document, the new PDF Manager gives you the ability to create printable business documents directly from any Sugar module. You can download or email that document from within Sugar, and templates allow you to quickly put that data into a clear and coherent format. The manager includes templates for quotes and invoices, and an HTML editor allows custom templates to be created quickly and easily.

When it comes to scheduling, Sugar never stops trying to enhance this key aspect of CRM. Now, you can schedule recurring meetings and calls from the Calls, Meetings, and Calendar modules, and it’s now possible to search by accounts for contacts and leads.

These features will be made available to Sugar On-Site customers in a comprehensive release currently planned for mid-2013.

To learn more about the updates, see the release notes available from the Sugar Documentation page. A list of issues and requests addressed by these enhancements can be found in the Bug Tracker.

SugarCRM’s third quarter was yet another strong one. The company added 650 new customer companies and continued to grow its momentum in the enterprise market. Annual recurring revenue growth sustained its pace, coming in at more than 45 percent year-over-year, and SugarCRM notched its 12th consecutive quarter of year-over-year billings growth, with a 23 percent increase in the third quarter of 2012.

“As global demand increases for enterprise-wide CRM systems that equip all customer-facing professionals with the insight they need to drive deeper, more relevant customer engagement, SugarCRM is well positioned to carry on its global expansion,” said Larry Augustin, CEO of SugarCRM.

The company’s list of highlights for the quarter is a long one:

SugarCRM has been garnering a lot of press attention recently. Here are the headlines (with a brief summary) of the three stories that received the most attention last week…

ZDNet: SugarCRM CEO hints at IPO for 2013

Rachel King, who also did a profile Q&A with CEO Larry Augustin in October, discusses a possible public offering from SugarCRM in 2013 noting, “If SugarCRM plays its cards right, then an IPO within the next year seems reasonable. After all, tech companies focusing on the enterprise customer base appear to be hot commodities in the financial markets right now.”

Pulse2: SugarCRM Plans to Go Public Next Year

Pulse2

Amit Chowdhry briefly recaps the interview Larry Augustin gave to Bloomberg hinting at plans for a possible IPO in 2013.

eWeek: Resellers Discovering They Have Place in Cloud Software Sales Channel

Last week, Larry Augustine was a panelist at the Cloud Channel Summit, held at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. Robert Mullins of eWeek found that resellers are discovering they have a place in the cloud application market, and Larry had a chance to talk about SugarCRM’s strong channel program.