Archives For CRM

We’re bringing the top Sugar highlights from the Twitterverse right here to the Sugar blog every Friday. Hear what Sugar fans tweeted this week! For more, join the conversation and follow us @sugarcrm

Bruce Zimmerman tweeted, “Just demo’d @sugarcrm Super sweet product! Lovin the Sugar High :-) #crm”

Donna Sokolsky Burke tweeted, “Congrats @acquia @sugarcrm: 2013 OnDemand 100 Top Private Companies http://shar.es/lrpRG  via @alwayson”

Nigel Gasper tweeted, “@sugarcrm’s #Sugar 7 skips the lipstick, gets a full body makeover and looks more beautiful than ever http://t.co/c7Rp5jO2qt

Atcore Systems tweeted, “Save the date: @sugarcrm will be taking #SugarCon 2014 back to the West Coast! #LoveSanFran ow.ly/i/1XOmw”

Carla tweeted, “#SugarCRM #gartner360 great presentation @sugarcrm. Loved the user focus.”

Lisette tweeted, “Great customer names here MT @sugarcrm: See why major industry brands select SugarCRM for Sales Force Automation: http://bit.ly/151L5dL

Have a Sweet Friday!

Best,

Anshu Agarwal

VP of Marketing

Everywhere you look, individuals, businesses and even television networks are “going green.” The shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources like solar and wind power is becoming big business. SugarCRM customer Sofos is one such company doing good for the environment and its customers by promoting the shift to renewable energy.

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While Sofos was well established, with more than 700 clients – it was becoming difficult to track and manage the more than 3,000 prospects in its rapidly growing pipeline. And while Sofos sells modern, green technology, it was relying on manual and time-wasting processes and tools like spreadsheets for managing its sales. So, it was wasting time and employee energy, while also missing out on the ability to deliver the level of coordinated sales management required by sales management and C-level managers.

Sofos knew it needed a change. From the solutions considered, the company was most impressed by Sugar’s flexibility and user experience. Sofos engaged SugarCRM Partner ICE Consultants and in just four months, ICE Consultants had Sugar up and running for Sofos, complete with various customizations to fit Sofos’ unique business needs.

Sofos quickly began seeing numerous benefits from using Sugar. Benefits include:

  • Streamlining its two-year sales cycle–reducing the number of stages from 30 to just 14
  • Reducing monthly reporting time from three days to 60 minutes
  • Increasing closed-won opportunities by 6 percent in the past six months
  • Improving opportunity management and increasing pipeline visibility

Check out the case study here for more detail.

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We’re flying at 40,000 feet above the central California corridor on our way from Silicon Valley down to San Diego for what we expect to be an awesome Gartner Customer 360 Summit that kicks off tomorrow, May 1.

Understand. Engage. Deliver: Earning Customers for Life – that’s the theme of this year’s summit.  We’re really excited to be participating this year as a platinum sponsor. Gartner360CRMIt will be two-and-a-half intensive days chock-full of analyst presentations, workshops and peer interaction, giving business and IT leaders a complete view of the customer across the organization and across every touchpoint in every medium. Understanding what customers want, need and expect — and having the right people, processes, cultures and technologies in place to respond in real time — will be critical to every organization’s success, according to Gartner.

We agree completely. Our mantra is Every Customer. Every User. Every Time.

That’s the message we’re spreading, as a sponsor of this year’s Customer 360 Summit.  SugarCRM focuses its SFA messaging on empowering every sales user to be more effective every time they engage 1-to-1 with every customer. Sugar focuses on the point of interaction between a customer and sales professional. We enable sales professionals to have the knowledge and tools necessary to understand their accounts and prospects as individuals, identify what really matters and when it matters, and drive value and a superior experience every time they engage with their accounts.

We’ve planned multiple meetings with Gartner analysts, customers, partners and prospects over the next few days. Today, we hit the ground running attending the afternoon pre-event CRM Boot Camp.

Stay tuned as we’ll be sharing insights, perspectives and things we learned at this year’s exciting Gartner Customer 360 Summit.

Best,

Jay Mejia

Director of Communications

Sweet Tweets of the Week

anshua —  April 26, 2013 — Leave a comment

Get the latest buzz on all things Sugar! Join us here on the Sugar blog every Friday as we recap weekly highlights from the Twittersphere. Here are just a handful of tweets that caught our eye this week. Follow us on Twitter @sugarcrm and join the conversation!

Jason Levine tweeted, “Breakfast with @SugarCRM & Oosis – preview of #social integration in SugarCRM 7 is impressive. #SocialBiz”

https://twitter.com/jasonjLevine/status/327306613176295424

BrainSell tweeted, “Demoing @sugarcrm and @contivio #telephony integration, love the reactions from propects. Lots of ooos and ahhs”

https://twitter.com/BrainSell/status/326746486304043009

John Mertic tweeted, “Nice recap of #SugarCon by the gang over at @SugarOutfitters https://www.sugaroutfitters.com/blog/sugarcon-2013-our-highlights …. Thanks to @eggsurplus and @chadhutchins!”

https://twitter.com/jmertic/status/327238055931047938

Jacqi Levy tweeted, “Nice video from #ibmpartners @SugarCRM on how to go to market effectively with IBM http://bit.ly/11hHlhW

https://twitter.com/jacqilevy/status/326739704437428224

Mike Gee tweeted, “Thanks to @sugarcrm #Sugar 7 dashboard is now even more involved with what’s going on in your world pic.twitter.com/0xSM80tjly”

https://twitter.com/EnableITmike/status/326423414850080769

Going to Gartner Customer 360 Summit in San Diego next week, May 1-3rd? Find us at the event that’s all about creating a great customer experience.

–Visit Booth 106 to meet the Sugar team and see the latest, coolest CRM technology that is redefining the way companies interact with the people who choose to do business with them. Every Customer. Every User. Every Time. Gartner Summit

–Attend Sugar CEO Larry Augustin’s session, “SugarCRM: Death, Taxes, & Sales Forecasts: Transforming CRM for Real Users” on May 2nd from 11am-12pm. Find out how:

Traditionally accepted claims of CRM ROI – better forecasting visibility, better internal controls – are a testament to why the promise of CRM has fallen short. Even with today’s ease of deployment, CRM is still synonymous with low usage and the burden of mandatory forecasting. In this session, attendees will learn how to move away from the corporate-led CRM agenda and focus on the needs of real CRM constituents: the customer and the customer-facing user.

Learn more about Gartner 360 here. See you in San Diego!

Gartner Customer 360 Summit delivers complete coverage of the new strategies and technologies that are enabling organizations to better understand and engage their customers, build loyalty and grow the business.

This must-attend CRM event brings together senior business, marketing and IT leaders to focus on creating a strategic, unifying vision for customer engagement and experience management.

I was sitting in a talk today here at the PHP NE Conference, where the presenter Fabrice Bernhard was setting the story on why it’s time to migrate that decade old PHP4 app into one leveraging a modern framework like Symfony. His key focus was the “how” to do that migration from a legacy and homegrown application structure, advocating away from the traditional methodology of a side-by-side rewrite, leaning more towards the concept of “progressive migration”, where you replace individual components over time. The former approach tends to be hampered by the additional labor of maintain two systems with no easy transition from the old system to the new. But the more important thing is that progressive migration gives a better sense of progress, giving a better sense of control in the transition

Case in point, is the story of FoxMeyer Drugs’ and their failed SAP implementation from the mid 90s. It’s an interesting tale to read, and one that’s all too common; people buying into a technology direction without thinking about the pieces and processes that can make it successful. Look at the big fails along the way, which hampered their success.

  • Communication between the warehouse staff and executives was non-existent. The warehouse staff didn’t see how they fit into the big picture, and fought against the implementation at every turn.
  • Poor scoping on performance requirements. The system implemented was drastically slower than the previous one, and had no way to deal with growth.
  • Not having the right people in place to execute the project, including leaning on a consulting firm with little experience and high turnover
  • Big change in scope and focus of the project part way thru, which caused huge cost overruns.
  • But most of all, the blind arrogance of pushing thru an aggressive timetable without room for the setbacks and adjustments that happen along the way.

So what’s the lesson here? Here are a few things I think are important to consider in any large-scale project…

  • Every user in the proposed system is a stakeholder in the implementation. Enterprise applications traditionally have been designed with management’s needs in mind, putting the end-user’s needs after that. Efficiency with technology is gained by empower users and removing barriers, and this must be accomplished with any new system rollout.
  • Keep iterations small and deliver often. This enables the organization to realize benefits along the way, enabling you to measure results and react easily. This also enables you to pivot the project along the way to deal with business need changes.
  • Good leadership is a project’s greatest asset. I was reading an article recently around why innovation fails in organizations, and the general theme was that poor leadership and short staffing ( both in headcount and skill abilities ) causes more projects to fail than anything else.

So if you are looking to implement a new technology in you organization, whether it be CRM, ERP, or something else, remember one thing: successful implementations are a healthy combination of technology and people; without both successes are difficult to achieve.

Building a company is fun.  I still remember sitting at my kitchen table with some friends and kicking around ideas on how to change the world by putting CRM on the desktop of everybody who ever works with a customer.  Then we took the plunge, quit our day jobs and focused every ounce of energy on starting a new kind of software company with nothing but a few laptops and the conviction that we could do it.  Exciting times.  Fast forward nine years and now SugarCRM is a global company with over 400 employees and hundreds of business partners helping our customers build better relationships with their customers.  Even more exciting times.

But translating a vision into a real business comes with its own challenges. It’s sounds like a simple recipe at a high level.  Step 1: Define your goals and objectives.  Step 2: Hire the right people to make it all happen. Step 3: Align those people around simple, yet effective processes to get the job done.  Now for the secret sauce.  Add in a dash of the right technology at the right point to accelerate the pace.

Voila!  Instant success!  Yeah, right.

Getting that perfect mix of operational execution is the challenge that all first time entrepreneurs as well as seasoned executives are faced with every day.  Am I building something people want to buy? How do I find great people?  How much process is too much process?  What do I automate first?

Here is what I see as the fatal flaw in that recipe I just outlined. I talked about adding in technology last after you have built your strategy, teams and processes.  That’s what most companies do today.  They graft on technology to manual processes in the hope that technology will help them accelerate a specific process, like distributing leads from marketing to salespeople or sending out invoices to customers.  But putting roller skates on your dog in order to speed up the nightly walks won’t necessarily work out the way you might have hoped.

A few months back Capgemini and MIT released a report called The Digital Advantage: How digital leaders outperform their peers in every industry that describes how successful companies today are putting digital technology, from software to smartphones, at the beginning of their business planning, rather than at the end.  These companies recognize the power of digital technology in solving old, complex problems in new, simple ways.  By building strategies and processes from the ground up around digital technology, companies will outperform those that don’t.  Little did I know that SugarCRM has been part of the “digitrati” from the beginning.

This is where IT typically fails for a company.  What happens too often is that a company that wasn’t built around a digital mindset gets stuck on the change management problem.  People are creatures of habit.  They are adverse to change.  How often have you heard, “But that’s not the way we’ve done it before!”  Deploying technology to accelerate a process not designed for today’s modern, digital business is not necessarily the right idea.  Even worse, designing a process that simplifies your employees’ lives and ignores today’s modern, digital customer is even worse.

For instance, should you deploy an invoicing solution that automatically puts invoices in the post?  After all, stuffing envelopes is a pain for your finance department.  Or should you rather set up a billing solution that allows your customers to set up automatic payment by credit card.  Which is better?

Another example.  Should you get your sales people to move their customer spreadsheets out of MS Excel up to Google Drive for easier sharing?  Or should you deploy a CRM solution that allows your sales department, service department and customers to collaborate together on answering the customer’s questions together?

And this is when the IT department becomes so often the enemy in the business instead of the strategic accelerator that the CEO envisioned.  Putting lipstick on a pig and automating old processes one step at a time can easily frustrate everybody, from your employees to your customers.

It’s time to rethink how you approach technology in your business.  Your employees want it, your customers are demanding it.

With all the news of Google’s continual purging of self determined ‘dead weight’ services such as Google Reader this week, I was brought back to thinking of a blog post I read late last year on the Web we’ve lost. Along came the natural response of the Web we gained, but the underlying tone was the same; the cost of innovation is a “natural selection” of sorts which sends what was once popular and cutting edge the way of the dodo.

Let’s look at the SaaS market. It’s starting to reach that sophomore phase where the solutions are becoming more mature and dependable, and people are flocking in droves to “the cloud” to get away from the headaches of dealing with self-hosted and self-managed solutions. While simplifying the road to implementing technology in an organization is a definite plus, it comes at a cost; you are putting control in someone else’s hands. Here’s the list of questions that immediately come to mind when I help determine if it’s best to leverage a SaaS service or not…

  • Where is this “cloud” at? Yes this question does seem a bit odd, but this is probably one of the most overlooked concerns. Is down the street from me, a few hundred miles away, or on an entire other continent? This can make huge impacts on performance and reliability.
  • Who has access to the SaaS application and data? What data encryption and protection policies are in place? Does the facility and application comply with some of the better privacy and security measures? Can I apply my policies cleanly to it? And it’s not just a matter of avoiding the “Mom and Pop” cloud providers; even the big guys have had their struggles.
  • Am I OK with loosing control of my upgrade cycle? SaaS based applications generally have a pretty fluid upgrade cycle, which is great for consumers wanting the “latest and greatest”, but a 5,000 person organization needing to retrain their entire team every 30 days can mean lots of lost productivity.
  • Can I get my data out of “the cloud”? What if SaaS doesn’t work out that great for your team; can you easily move out and not loose the data you’ve built up?

Let’s bring Google Reader here into full focus and run it thru this gauntlet. We know Google is good about keeping your data realitively close to you, having data centers in most regions of the world. They have recently added two-pass authentication, making your data even more secure. While there has been one major upgrade to Google Reader in the years I’ve been using it, by and large it’s a pretty constant experience. And via Google Takeout, you can get all your data out whenever you like. Seems like a winner.

But there’s one question that hasn’t been addressed which is…

  • Will I be OK if the service goes away entirely? Or, am I so wed to the SaaS application that if I lose it, I lose my business.

This concept is really now starting to hit the forefront, especially with apps that have built upon Google Reader. You have no choice on the matter; the app you know and love will be gone. And it won’t be the last one either.

You at the business level need to make sure you are comfortable with the tradeoffs that come with this territory. SaaS is changing the landscape of technology in new and exciting ways, but just like the “paperless office” it’s not the full answer either.

Do you have an opinion on where you see open source software going in the next year and beyond? Then share your thoughts and predictions with SugarCRM and the rest of the collaborators in our annual “Future of Open Source” survey.

Analyst firm (and my former employer) 451 Research is a collaborator again this year, along with Revolution Analytics, Red Hat, Hortonworks, and several other open-source software firms. If you work for an open source provider, or are a decision-maker deploying open source – take the survey today.

The survey is open until March 28th; results will be announced during a live webinar on April 17.

Here’s a slideshare preso around last year’s findings:

Today at CeBIT in Hannover, germany, the members of the OpenSocial Foundation announced a new initiative to define, design and releas

opensocial

e a new social applications toolkit. SugarCRM is a member of the foundation, established in 2008, which also includes IBM, Jive Software and consultancy the DachisGroup.

The Foundation’s initiative is aimed at “streamlining and simplifying the approach to tightly integrated collaboration across social applications for both enterprises and consumers.” As more and more business and consumer applications become more collaborative, and touch social media in more diverse and innovative ways – the Foundation is taking a leading position in building an open toolkit to help organizations and developers of all types to embrace and create modern socially enabled solutions.

SugarCRM CTO and co-founder Clint Oram remarked on the initiative:

“There is no better implementation of an open standard than through an open source project. By committing to both an evolution of the specification and the surrounding open source projects incorporating the latest developments in HTML5, modern browser technologies and JavaScript libraries like node.js and jQuery, the OpenSocial Foundation is responding to the demands of its community.”

To learn more about the OpenSocial Foundation or to participate in the definition of the next generation of open social technology standards, please contact the foundation at president@opensocial.org.