Archives For Mobile

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Welcome to our roundup of customer relationship management (CRM) industry news from across the web. This week’s roundup will focus on mobile and its impact on the customer experience. We’re hunting the ‘net for the latest and greatest, and bringing them to you here, in one convenient weekly post.

Leveraging Mobile to Increase Customer Engagement
“Even when well-planned email campaigns are structured around richly sourced CRM intelligence, they can only achieve limited customer engagement if they’re carried out as conventional one-way interactions.” – Jose Santa Ana

Jose puts into perspective the current state of CRM and highlights how many CRM systems in place today were created for the customer of 10 years ago. He offers some food for thought when considering mobile and fostering two-way conversations when interacting with your customers.
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Mobile: The New Heart Of Digital Customer Experience
Michael Hinshaw introduces the four initial and critical steps to follow when considering the mobile customer journey.

“The question isn’t whether or not mobile is important; it’s how ready you are to deliver the mobile experiences your customers demand.” – Michael Hinshaw
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Digital Ad Spend Quickly Shifting To Mobile: Are You Ready
By 2014, mobile internet usage should overtake desktop internet usage (source). eMarketer reports the opportunity of advertising to the global smartphone audience as its surpassed the 1.75 billion user mark in 2014. “The opportunity for tapping into this vast, highly-engaged consumer base is so huge it’s impossible to ignore.” – Lionel White
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Got ideas for other great articles we should include in future CRM Roundup posts? Let us know in the comments below!

I had a great talk this week with the always enlightening Esteban Kolsky. I was briefing him about Sugar’s latest and greatest,101007_curve_sign and our evolving messaging, and he brought up a really nice point: SugarCRM acts as a “change agent” inside our customer companies.

So, what does this mean?

To explain, let’s assume that the majority of organizations out there have constant goals: acquiring customers, supporting customers, retaining customers, driving revenue, controlling costs, etc.  However, the path to those goals changes constantly. Macro-level trends, such as the economy, the explosion of social as a channel, the emergence of mobile as a preferred communication channel, etc. affect how your organization reaches its goals. On a more micro-level, executive management changes, enhancements to internal processes, reactions to customer demands, etc. also force change inside your organization.

The question becomes, then, how do we remain focused on our goals and work towards meeting them – without being either bewildered or bogged down amidst such rapid change at all levels? Many organizations rely on internal “change agents” to help see the proverbial curve in the upcoming road. These individuals are visionaries and usually go above and beyond in helping companies adapt to changes.

But – can a change agent be a thing, and not a person?

Esteban and I outlined how SugarCRM has been a change agent for a lot of our customers. Their goals, as stated above, were constant and solid. But the method for attaining them became more and more difficult. However, rather than get “stuck” trying to achieve their sales, marketing and support goals, many were able to adapt because their CRM technology was forward thinking, “future proof,” or in other words ultimately flexible.

Now, other products might offer “modern” CRM tools (think: social, mobile, cloud) – but very few offer the strategic advantage of being so deeply flexible and channel-agnostic that companies can adapt to the changing tide BEFORE the vendor releases packaged features to address these issues. Our customers, in a lot of areas, are adapting faster than our roadmap – because that’s the luxury deploying Sugar affords them.

And when you combine that flexibility with the kind of strong TCO Sugar provides – the combination makes Sugar an even more attractive change agent. Sure, many products can be customized or altered to fit changing needs, but at what cost? And on whose terms? Adapting to change is one thing, doing so in a strategic and cost-effective manner is another.

So, when thinking about deploying or upgrading your CRM, think about the state of change. And think about how you can adapt to changes with the tools you have, or are thinking to deploy. Again, goals stay the same, the path constantly changes. Is your CRM going to be a change agent seeing the curves far ahead in the road, or a road block on the path to CRM success?

Editor’s Note: As we get closer to SugarCon, we wanted to introduce all of the contestants to this year’s App Throwdown, sponsored by SugarOutfitters. Over the next 2 weeks, we’ll have interviews from each of them on what they are showing for the Throwdown, helping you learn a bit more about it.

Bio ( Yours and the Organization you are representing ):

Blake Robertson is an avid member of the SugarCRM Developer community.   Blake Robertson started developing SugarCRM addons for the needs of his company Alertus Technologies for which Blake is the CTO and cofounder.  When he’s not developing next generation mass notification hardware/software, he enjoys working on open source projects. Most notably, he maintains YAAI an open source telephony integration between SugarCRM and Asterisk. Blake presented YAAI at the 2012 SugarCon AppThrowdown.  Since then, it’s become SugarCRM’s most widely deployed Telephony integration.

Callinize integrates your phone system and your CRM revolutionizing the way you’ll make and take calls.  Know exactly who’s calling before you pick up the phone.  Make calls without typing in digits and leave call notes without having to first search for the contact.  Where most CTI solutions are designed for Call Centers, Callinize is designed for SMBs.  Features such as our google chat inspired call note taker and smartphone apps bring the power of a call center to everyone..

What are you presenting at the App Throwdown?

I’m going to be presenting the most exciting and novel features of Callinize.

How often do you receive a call and have NO idea who it is? We all have. Callinize solves this problem. Callinize is an app that connects to your company’s CRM, pulls important customer information, and displays this information for all incoming calls on your mobile phone. During the call you can launch into our app that displays more actionable information and the ability to save notes.

What about your application do you feel brings something unique or different to the Sugar ecosystem? 

It’s the first CRM Telephony integration which works on a mobile phone.   CRM Telephony integrations have been primarily utilized by “Call Centers” or forward thinking companies that want to improve company productivity.  One of the biggest limitations of traditional telephony integrations is you had to be tethered to your desk / in front of your computer.  People just don’t work that way anymore! We’ve traded being tethered to our desk to being tethered to our mobile phone. Fortunately, the power of a call center now fits in the convenience of your pocket.

What is the biggest takeaway you hope the audience takes away from your presentation?

I hope that next time they get a call on their mobile phone and don’t recognize the number they’ll think of Callinize.  We bring the abundance of information in your CRM to your finger tips wherever you are.

And for those struggling to get CRM adoption throughout their company… if you provide your employees with tools like Callinize which take the chore out of getting information into and out of the system, your adoption will happen much more naturally.

What is the most exciting aspect of being a part of the Sugar App Throwdown?

Last year I presented yaai, the open source telephony integration, which is the foundation of Callinize.  The AppThrowdown really launched yaai’s userbase which in turn has attracted a community of developers from around the world.  Most notably, I met Callinize’s co founder, Patrick Hogan, right after my presentation at sugarcon.  We’ve been working together ever since and we wouldn’t be in this years AppThrowdown if it wasn’t for him. Looking forward to meeting other people to collaborate with and launching Callinize!

Looking at the other App Throwdown submissions, which one looks the most interesting and why?

I’m definitely interested in the harvest integration the campaign improvements!  Campaigns continue to be a pain point in my company.  It’s too hard for a sales person to use.

“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” said Charles Caleb Colton in 1820.  So we’re delighted to see that Salesforce.com is copying our Mobile, Social and Open messages to give some substance to their latest Cloudforce events.  It is nice to see that after we started promoting these capabilities more than a year ago, Salesforce.com is following our lead.

So why is the 800 lb. gorilla in the CRM industry doing this?  Are they running out of creative positioning ideas?  Is there more to this than meets the eye?

We compete and win against Salesforce.com everyday and from where I sit, it seems obvious that Salesforce.com is concerned that SugarCRM’s flexible, intuitive and open CRM platform gives customers a better Global, Mobile and Social CRM solution.  They are so concerned that they are unable to compete with Sugar’s flexibility or price that they resort to publishing a list of “considerations” for prospects who are evaluating SugarCRM. A list of considerations that is nothing more than a smokescreen of “FUD”: Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt.

Thank you Salesforce.com.  We are grateful that you are confirming that SugarCRM is the best alternative to Salesforce.com for customers who are looking for a cost effective, flexible, intuitive and truly open solution.  A solution that raises the bar and sets a new standard in mobile CRM and a Social CRM solution where companies get to collaborate with their customers, not provide behind the firewall chatter.

Or in the words of a customer: “Salesforce.com has really evolved.  They offer all the warmth of Oracle and the flexibility of SAP.  Which is why we choose SugarCRM, a flexible, intuitive and open solution that adapts to our business needs.”

So if you are in the market for a new CRM solution and you would like to consider all the facts when choosing the right CRM solution for your organization, please read this overview of SugarCRM.  We’ve included an answer to all the “considerations” Salesforce.com recommends you ask us.  And as a bonus, we added a list of legitimate questions you should ask Salesforce.com.

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

I have always told prospects that it pays to deploy and open, flexible CRM solution…

Now, for businesses in Singapore it really PAYS!

The country has a long history of fostering the creation of well-run small businesses. The latest installment of Singapore’s benevolent attitude towards growing local businesses: SugarCRM is now listed as a certified solution under iSPRINT (Packaged Solutions).

So – what does this mean?

Simply put – any Singapore business that deploys SugarCRM is eligible for a credit of up to 50 percent of the qualifying costs, capped at S$10,000 of an initial subscription of a listed solution. So, that means deploying a best-in-class CRM system at half the cost. That is, seriously, pretty darn cool.

Imagine adding the ability to better manage your contacts, opportunities, activities etc. across your sales, marketing and support teams. Imagine having access to a full reporting suite to guide your business and gain predictability. Imagine empowering sales and support agents with their critical data on the go with mobile CRM access. Imagine identifying, converting and delighting more customers with social CRM tools.

Oh yeah, and all that comes at half the normal cost.

To take advantage of this insanely awesome offer – contact SugarCRM APAC partner iZeno today.

Two of the biggest trends in CRM over the past couple of years have been mobile access and the addition of social media channels. While these technology trends were developing, more and more small and midsize companies around the world were discovering that thanks to open source and the cloud – they could now afford to add the benefits of CRM to their businesses.

Now, all of these technology and business trends are converging in the latest release of Sugar 6. The latest and greatest from the people that pioneered “CRM Made Simple” are at it again, this time adding Global, Mobile and Social capabilities to Sugar 6.

On the global front, 13 new language packs make it easier than ever for companies around the world to get up and running quickly with a best in class CRM system. Sugar will continue to add these fully supported language and currency translations – which no longer require downloading and installing or updating. Just select your language and currency from the drop down list at startup – and you’re good to go!

More and more workers are looking to gain access to data and do their jobs more effectively while away from the office. SugarCRM has answered this call with a new Sugar Mobile application for the iPhone. This native application captures the sleek look and feel of iPhone resident applications, and is fully integrated with the iPhone features. This means you can click to call, and log that call in Sugar in seconds. Click on an address to jump to the google map of that location. With Sugar Mobile – all of your data and connections are just a click away at all times.

Social media is a hot topic, and adding social channels to your CRM system can give you an edge in the market. With the latest edition of Sugar 6, you can quickly check the Twitter streams of contacts and accounts with the new Twitter Connector. And a new integration with social collaboration vendor Qontext makes it easier to collaborate in real time with co-workers and customers in a cool new social media friendly manner.

So there you have it – new Global, Mobile and Social tools – right inside the most intuitive, flexible and open CRM system on the planet.

Check out these new features for yourself by grabbing your own Free Trial of Sugar 6 today.

It is a common scenario – you have hours to kill on a cross-country flight. it is the perfect time to update and view some iof your most pressing opportunities, contacts and accounts in your CRM system. There’s just one problem – the plane has no wifi, and you are using an on-demand version of SugarCRM.

The issue of excellent, customized mobile and offline access has been solved by SugarCRM partner RhoLogic (a division of Logic Appeal) has developed its new RhoLogic Mobile for Sugar – a cross-platform mobile CRM extension that offers users offline access to their SugarCRM data.

The RhoLogic product works in a cloud-based manner. This means that users do not need to worry about running the technology on any hardware apart from the devices themselves. For now, RhoLogic for Sugar is available at the AppStore for iPhones and at the Android Apps Marketplace. Again, this is a cross platform tool – so firms do not have to decide on only one device for all users in order to power a company-wide mobile CRM strategy.

The offline access through the Sync server is really cool. It uses a lite local database to maintain a large data set on the use’s’ device – but does not take forever to load up. Not yet enjoying the power of Sugar 6?  That’s OK – as the RhoLogic for Sugar works with Sugar 5.5 as well.

To boot, users of Sugar’s existing Mobile Studio capabilities to streamline or customize mobile views into Sugar already know how to use RhoLogic for Sugar. The tool uses the same interface – and all Mobile Studio commands are replicated through RhoLogic – so users can quickly, easily and instantly crate and deploy mobile customizations to their Sugar deployment.

The product is available today – check out the RhoLogic web site for more info.