Archives For Sharepoint

SugarCRM is participating in the BoxWorks conference this week in San Francisco, the Imageannual event for collaboration and cloud file storage provider Box. During CEO Aaron Levie’s keynote – he cited some impressive growth numbers for the company. Box now has 180,000 companies using its offerings, with about 20 million individuals in that mix.

20 million. Think about that.

A lot of very successful business software providers, and I mean BIG companies with billions in revenue, only serve about 3-5 million users, tops.

Why is that?

The answer, in my opinion, is that tradition business software providers – the old guard of CRM, ERP, etc. – have typically been either too inflexible, too expensive, or a combination of both, which restricts the amount of employees in a company that can actually use the software.

Think about it. If you really map out a customer-facing process in a CRM usage scenario, for example, there are all kinds of potential touch points internally that get locked out of a typical CRM deployment. Product experts, fulfillment personnel, receptionists…anyone who might either interact with a customer, or have information that can help enhance the customer experience. But instead, CRM deployments are usually limited to quota carrying sales reps, managers, and support agents – in short, a limited set.

I believe Box is painting a picture of how businesses should be looking at technology and how they empower their employees to do their jobs better, and in turn serve customer better. And Box is showing how technology providers should be looking at their business models in fresh new angles. For users, Box’s technology both promotes collaboration and is super simple to use. On the business side, Box used freemium and openness to quickly get entrenched inside the largest and smallest companies – it did not rely only on expensive and inefficient enterprise sales models. Box’s technology quickly and easily proved its value to the USER, and management’s buy-in naturally followed.

We are in a new era of user empowerment in business software in my opinion. Powered by the convergence of consumer technology experiences, evolved distribution and business models, and an overall approach (hopefully) that favors getting the software into the hands of users versus simply “selling the expensive seat license” to decision-makers. The future is bright, and Box is proving that the right technology, with the right approach to distribution, can lead to great things…

NetworkWorld’s Alan Shimel recently published his list of the 10 most successful open source projects of 2012, and SugarCRM is there on the list. Sugar earned kudos for its integrations with Sharepoint, Lotus Notes, Gmail, Yahoo Mail and Outlook, but beyond that, Shimel writes, SugarCRM has“emerged from Salesforce’s shadow and become a CRM power in its own right. With lots of ways to consume Sugar, there is a model and a price point for just about everyone. While continuing to innovate, Sugar has found its place.”

Of course, in order to find that place, SugarCRM’s had to focus on more than just being an open-source alternative. SugarCRM had to focus on addressing the top problem of its users better than the competition: enabling the entire organization to effectively engage with customers, and making every connection and call drive value for each customer. Recognizing the need for an organization-wide customer engagement platformgives Sugar’s internal team and those of its resellers partners direction to use the flexibility that the application’s open source heritage provides.

The others on the NetworkWorld list – Hadoop, MongoDB, OpenStack, Pentaho, PostgreSQL, Joomla, WordPress, DotNetNuke and Audacity – have also been keen observers of the business needs of their customers. To see the full list, visit Shimel’s slideshare deck outlining his 10 open source success stories.