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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 ):

Endeavor:  Sugar’s only CPQ (Configure Price Quote) Partner.  We help companies sell more products and services by making the quote to order process fast, easy and accurate.  Formed in 2000 and located in Dallas Texas.

Sean Myers:  CoFounder & CEO

Vince Puente:  Sales Executive

What are you presenting at the App Throwdown?

Endeavor is presenting a CPQ process highlighting Mobility, Integration and Cloud.  In order to compete and win, sales people must respond quickly in all areas of the sales cycle.  With EndeavorCPQ, Sugar customers can be assured that their sales people and partners will deliver perfect quotes, no matter how complex, within 5 minutes of getting the request.   Because EndeavorCPQ is integrated with Sugar, Opportunities are updated and Forecasting is on demand and accurate.

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

Endeavor is the only CPQ company that has a direct integration with Sugar.  With its cloud based offerings and mobile delivery, Sugar customers can now provide all sales agents, resellers and partners a quoting portal that they need to sell more stuff.

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

EndeavorCPQ will help you Sell More Stuff by becoming easier to do business with.

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

The opportunity to compete with other vendors to demonstrate what is possible with Sugar to drive more business value.  Also, the format of the Throwdown fosters a fun environment at the end of a great week.

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

Colosa – EndeavorCPQ automates the quote to order process for companies producing significant ROI with revenue and productivity gains.  Colosa has two Process Management products that we can’t wait to learn more about and we envision working with them.

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 )

Epicom is one of Sugar’s leading North American gold partners and is located in Austin, TX. We focus on complex Sugar deployments, customizations, and integrations. I joined Epicom as a software engineer in 2011 and in January 2013 assumed my current role of Customer Advocate where I reach out to our current customers and keep them informed on best practices, perform training opportunities, help solve minor issues and offer solutions to client specific business issues.

What are you presenting at the App Throwdown?

I am presenting Epicom’s solution for integrating SugarCRM with FedEx.

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

Epicom’s FedEx application allows Sugar users to maintain a handle on high volume shipping issues, in terms of product tracking, expenses and customer service.

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

As I tell all the customers I work with, the main takeaway in dealing with Sugar is that no matter what issue you are having; YES! There is a solution with Sugar no matter what you are doing.  In this case, you can see how easy it is to now track packages and customer orders with Sugar.

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

I am very excited to see how I perform in a speaking engagement after spending 17 years as a computer nerd behind a keyboard.  I’ll either have an entertaining couple of minutes describing the FedEx application or I’ll freeze up, curl up in a ball and ask for my mother.  Either way, it should be very interesting.

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

I’m looking forward to seeing Colosa’s ProcessMaker.  I’m always on the lookout for quality third party tools to help my customers.

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 ):

Brian Reale is the Co-founder and CEO of Colosa.  Prior to founding Colosa in 2000, Brian co-founded Unete Telecomunicaciones (www.unete.bo), a long distance voice and data carrier in South America that Mr. Reale founded in 1997 and sold in 2000 to IFX Networks.   Brian also co-founded the company Spotless in 2006, an entertainment technology company where Mr. Reale continues as an outside Director.

Brian graduated magna cum laude from Duke University in 1993 and was awarded a Fulbright scholarship in linguistics in Ecuador in 1994.

Colosa is the developer of ProcessMaker, a leading open source Workflow and BPM software suite that makes it simple for companies to automate form-based approval driven processes and interconnect existing company systems. Colosa is headquartered in New York and has a partner network spread across 30 countries and on five continents. Hundreds of commercial customers including several Fortune 100 companies rely on ProcessMaker to run their processes. ProcessMaker is available in 17 different languages and our open source version has been downloaded over 500,000 times.

What are you presenting at the App Throwdown?

At SugarCon 2013 we will be introducing Colosa’s latest solution, ProcessMaker – SugarCRM Edition.  For the SugarCRM Edition of our ProcessMaker Business Process Management software, we rebuilt our software from the ground up as a SugarCRM loadable module.   This new product functions entirely in SugarCRM and consists of a full BPMN 2.0 process designer and an ultrafast workflow engine.  It will allow companies to visually design their workflows that force users to get approvals for certain types of actions such as giving a price discount or changing a contract template.  It can also be applied to complex lead assignment and routing.

At the throwdown, we will create a workflow in less than a minute by dragging and dropping icons onto the canvas.  We will then execute the workflow by routing the request from one user to the next in order to get an approval.

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

BPM + CRM is a very powerful combination, and it makes SugarCRM significantly more competitive for large enterprise applications.   Large SugarCRM enterprise customers often have a requirement where they need to ensure that users perform a process the same way every time or they want to require users to get certain types of approvals before performing certain actions in SugarCRM   Imagine a scenario where a client wants a sales person to get a manager’s approval anytime the sales person wants to close an opportunity with a discount of greater than 15%.  Today, there is no way in SugarCRM to enforce this type of approval process.  With the addition of the ProcessMaker BPM Module we can now visually create this process, automatically route the record to a manager when discount > 15% and then lock the record from certain edits until it is approved by the manager. This is just one example of  the power of BPM when added to CRM.

Now just think of SugarCRM partners and customers today that are building major platforms such as Call Centers, Automotive Management Applications, Medical Records Management Systems, E-Government platforms and more on SugarCRM.  All of these applications today require lots of programming of complex workflow rules and logic hooks.  With a visual BPM designer and workflow engine inside Sugar, this work becomes orders of magnitude easier.

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

The ProcessMaker BPM designer and engine that we are offering for SugarCRM opens up a world of new Enterprise opportunities for SugarCRM.  With ProcessMaker SugarCRM now has a full BPMN designer and engine which puts SugarCRM ahead of other CRMs that have historically beat Sugar when it comes to better process power such as Pegasystems, BPMOnline, and SalesForce – all of which have BPM engines and designers in their products.

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

SugarCRM is riding a great wave of success these days.  You’ve got some great top leadership, lots of momentum, and lots of buzz.  The Throwdownn is a way for us to both help generate more excitement and be part of the excitement.  We are specifically interested in showing that with our application SugarCRM can pick up more and bigger wins in enterprise applications.

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

I like Callinize from  Alertus Technologies because it looked easy to understand and certainly seems to be useful for sales people that spend a lot of time on the road and on their cellphones.

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 ):

W-Systems is a SugarCRM Gold Partner covering the metro New York market space.    We have a strong development practice and enjoy the freedom offered to us to create solutions for our customers using the SugarCRM open source toolkit.  We have subject matter expertise in Financial Services, Real Estate, Publishing, Professional Services and Manufacturing industries.

Christian Wettre is the president of W-Systems and will be presenting the solution with Ionut Tonita who is a lead developer.

What are you presenting at the App Throwdown?

We are presenting a module for SugarCRM that allows any user to quickly communicate unique or templated messages to selections of Contacts, Leads or Targets.  We automate the creation of fully trackable email campaigns in SugarCRM.

Our solution makes sending a mass communication message as easy as sending an individual email.  Our application works in the background to do all the work of setting up a campaign, organizing target lists, creating tracking URL’s, saving email templates and queuing up email.

The user gets a full email marketing package with delivery and interaction tracking that is easy to use and requires minimal training.

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

Our application for Sugar extends out powerful communication capabilities to every Sugar user where otherwise marketing campaign execution has required the skills of trained marketers.   We take a fairly complex workflow in SugarCRM and simplify it to the extreme.   We open up email campaign management to the general user population without the need for third party toolsets.

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

We hope that the audience will see that a partner and professional developer can take the SugarCRM package and add new functionality that fits seamlessly into the platform.  This is the promise of SugarCRM and it is the reward to those who invest in it.

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

The exposure to a large audience is rewarding.  We all take pride in what we are doing and is exciting to present it to the community and to our peers.  A little friendly competition and idea sharing is motivating to all of us.

Most of our solutions are only known by ourselves and to our customers. It is fun to showcase our work to a broader audience.. We look forward to receive feedback and critique.  With an open ecosystem such as SugarCRM we are looking to contribute our ideas and code to the community.  Sharing is good for the SugarCRM product, customers and partners.

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

We are admirers of Epicom’s work.  They put out very elegant solutions for SugarCRM so we look forward to seeing their FedEx integration. Blake Robertson’s Callinize application looks like a universally useful mobile application that I would like to use myself.

scon13We are thrilled to announce the participants for this year’s Sugar App Throwdown, taking place at SugarCon 2013 in New York on April 10th. We had dozens of submissions come in across our VAR and ISV partner network, along with several coming from many third party developers and longtime community members. Narrowing it down to 6 contestants in the end wasn’t easy, but we think the final list is definitely an impressive one.

Without further ado, here’s this year’s participants:

We are really excited to see such a diverse group of contestants this year. Look to hear more about them in the coming weeks leading up to SugarCon, as we will be publishing interviews we are doing with them. And if you haven’t signed up for SugarCon 2013 yet, do so now to see this along with some of the best and brightest minds in CRM and technology alongside top vendors and partners.

We have just published the agenda and speakers list for SugarCon ’13 - and it is literally PACKED with sessions and keynotes from CRM thought leaders, awesome customer stories, and lots of Sugar tips and tricks.

With seven tracks covering everything from sales, marketing and support excellence – to the tech trends affecting CRM and your business in general – SugarCon 13 offers something for everyone.

Highlights of the agenda include:

  • More than six hours of keynote presentations from leaders in CRM, including Larry Augustin, CEO of SugarCRM, Terry Jones, founder and former CEO of Travelocity.com, author of CRM at the Speed of Light Paul Greenberg of The 56 Group, LLC, and partners IBM, Pardot, and VMware.
  • Top research findings and best practices in CRM from industry analysts representing leading research firms. Subject matter experts include Gartner Research Director Patrick Stakenas; Forrester Research Vice President Bill Band; Esteban Kolsky, principal and founder of ThinkJar; Brent Leary, partner, CRM Essentials; Jesus Hoyos of Solvis Consulting and JesusHoyos.com, LLC; and Jim Dickie, managing partner, CSO Insights.
  • More than 70 customer and solution innovation breakout sessions highlighting CRM implementation best practices and detailed case studies. Key customers from the United States, Europe, and Latin America include EMIS, uShip, Harper, Inc., Cogburn Law, Bray International, Hillel, the Lindner Group, Tollpost Globe AS, Mitsubishi Brazil, Despegar.com, MacAllister (CAT) Rentals, the Irish Local Gov’t Management Agency, and USAFact.
  • Live solution demonstrations of Sugar Mobile and Sugar 7 – SugarCRM’s next generation CRM platform.
  • Expert-led best practices discussions, innovative platform case studies, and hands-on workshops on the latest SugarCRM platform.
  • App Throwdown, which is an event on April 10th to showcase the most innovative solutions across the Sugar ecosystem live on stage, where the audience can choose their favorite. This year’s contestants include: Nepo Systems, W-Systems Corp., Epicom, Colosa, and Altertus Technologies.
  • Hands-on customer training at a discounted price.
  • More than 30 leading companies will be exhibiting in the SugarCon 2013 Expo Hall. Major sponsors include IBM, Pardot, VMware, Riva, NextPrinciples and DocuSign.
  • Nightly networking events across New York, including the Tuesday, April 9 Evening Gala to be held at the 230 Fifth Ave Rooftop Garden and Penthouse Lounge.
SugarCon’s theme this year is “CRM for Everyone.” Join us to see and hear first-hand how to leverage the latest cloud, social, and mobile technologies so they can make individual users enterprise-wide more effective at engaging 1:1 with customers or prospects.
Register for SugarCon 13 HERE.

With social CRM a well-established concept, increasing numbers of businesses are looking at social media as a source of customer information, a tool for collaboration on new product ideas and a source for sales leads. But getting to those goals means first listening to what is said in social media – and how do you do that?

To get started, we suggest attending the session “Smarter Social Monitoring with SugarCRM” at SugarCon 2013. The presenter is SugarCRM’s own Simon Chapman, who’s been eyeing this space for several years and, at the same time, paying attention to the ways that a good CRM application can help you pay attention to your customers.

Simon promises to share ways to use LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to drive greater value from your CRM efforts. We decided to give you a sneak peek at the contents of his session with a few questions:

SugarCRM: LinkedIn is a natural tool for networking – around jobs, around knowledge within groups, etc. But how can salespeople use it in generating or qualifying leads?

Simon: LinkedIn is all about who you know and who they know – that’s the key. By using LinkedIn to effectively mine your network, sales professionals can potentially get introductions or get connected with the key influencers. Qualifying people is even better with LinkedIn in that not only can you put a face to a name, you can also see whether they’re the right person you need to be speaking to or whether someone in their network would be more beneficial to speak with. The average well-connected LinkedIn user has at least 750,000 people in their network, as a first-, second- or third-degree connection. Just think of how many leads could be generated by mining your LinkedIn network better?

SugarCRM: How do you get information from social networks into your CRM customer records – and how does Sugar do this better than other CRM applications?

Simon: Sugar allows you to automatically search for social network information without the need to keep two or three windows open at once. On an account level, maybe you want to do business with a particular company but don’t know who you potentially know. With Sugar, you can embed this information on the account or opportunity level, and by just knowing what the company name is, drill down into the connections you could potentially make. Because all of these elements can be embedded quickly and easily into all aspects of the system, Sugar’s strength is exactly that – its flexibility.

SugarCRM: Brand reputation is a scary idea for businesses, now that customers own the conversation. What can businesses do to protect themselves – especially when things are going awry?

Simon: Sugar can take information from Twitter, for example, and allow not only lead generation activities from when someone simply sends you a tweet, but also to instantly respond to someone who has an issue – protecting brand reputation. This is important as marketing managers or social media monitors will be keen to make sure that any issue or negative statement isn’t allowed to proliferate. Sugar can put that information directly on the homepage, rolling in the latest Tweets or Facebook posts with the ability to instantly respond.

SugarCRM: Some salespeople – and business leaders, in general – are leery of social media; what do you say to motivate them to go from doubt and fear to results?

Simon: This is a question that’s often asked when we speak to potential customers and existing customers alike. Our view is that it’s better to be informed than not, and embracing social media, developing relationships and managing messaging, good and bad, helps to create brand and company awareness. Developing clear messaging and setting clear targets on what you want to get out of each target social media network, as well changing that messaging to match the types of people that frequent that network, is something that I would personally recommend. Aimless communication may be viewed negatively rather than clearly outlining your social media strategy with carefully-worded messaging.

SugarCRM: Are there sales talents that social media replaces, or is it a case where social media amplifies sales talents?

Simon: Social media can only amplify sales ability. It’s all about communication and managing that communication, that stage presence, well online. Twitter forces you to think in clever ways about how to get your message into a set number of characters and sometimes this can be beneficial – get the most important words in there first. Social media can also provide that reach which you may not get from your existing networks. Maybe someone finds your tweet and thinks that you’re someone they can do business with and decides to follow you.

See Simon’s session at SugarCon 2013 April 9 at 1 p.m. For more details on the SugarCon agenda, visit the event page.

Every year, Paul Greenberg compiles his Watch List, which collects the companies Paul thinks will have the biggest impact that year. Paul’s criteria include:

  1. A breakout product
  2. Seizing thought leadership in some related area
  3. Market impact
  4. The company’s sheer size and continued long term existence guarantees them impact pretty much regardless of who they are and how well they do.
  5. A major initiative that will change the way the market works.
  6. Continued really good performance year over year with an expectation that they will be seen and recognized for that in 2012
  7. Fabulous customer achievements but to the level of setting an industry standard
  8. Impact in a particular distinguishable geographic market
  9. Faith that they will do something worthy of public recognition (that’s the subjective part).
  10. All of the above
  11. Other things he didn’t mention

Essentially, Paul has outlined the characteristics of a heavy-hitter or a game-changer in the CRM space (and he’s provided himself with room for a bit of interpretation, too).

Each year, he increases the rigor for selecting the Watchlist; this year he worked to get questionnaire submissions from vendors that would inform his choices, and that questionnaire was not insignificant in size.

Those criteria and that rigor are the reason we at SugarCRM are pleased to report that we’re CRM Watchlist winners (as we were in 2012). It’s not just that Paul likes us as people – Paul likes a lot of people in the CRM industry, and the feeling is largely mutual, but not everyone’s a Watchlist winner. He likes what we’re doing, and he spells out what we need to do in the future.

One of the more incisive observations he makes is that even as SugarCRM takes aim on attracting larger customers, it’s building its messaging around the idea of the user first – or, as Paul phrases it, taking aim on a market of one. “How do you appeal to a company needing thousands of seats when your target is the individual user without being lost in a morass of homogenous faces?” Paul asks.

We have plans for doing this – and our customers are already showing us concrete examples of how helping the individual user get the most from CRM maximizes the value of CRM for the entire organization.

Some of our customers will be sharing those examples at SugarCon in April – and event that will also show how we’re taking the “user-first” concept to new levels in upcoming releases that are more social, more mobile and more powerful in their ability to make front-line users’ jobs easier and more productive.

We couldn’t be more pleased that Paul selected us for the Watchlist – and we’re equally pleased that Paul will deliver the SugarCon keynote address on April 9. He’ll be the first in a long series of important CRM thinkers, analysts and observers who are coming to the show to speak or conduct sessions – a Watchlist of CRM influencers, if you will.

Thanks to Paul for his kind words and his challenge to Sugar for 2013. We’re looking forward to living up to his expectations – and those of our customers – and to making the list again in 2014!

Back Camera

If you were at SugarCon 2012 last spring, you’ll remember one of the exciting new events we added to the schedule, the inaugural Sugar App Throwdown. It pitted six of the most interesting and innovative applications in the Sugar ecosystem today against each other in front of the SugarCon audience of customers, partners, and prospects. All of the participants – participants, judges and hosts – are pictured above. It was a huge success and a crowd favorite, so we’re bringing it back with us to the 2013 event in New York in April as well, and we are looking for a new group of apps to be a part of it.

Last year, six partners shared their apps – Alertus, Contactually, Epicom, EasyAsk, NextPrinciples and ActivePrime. They presented their applications in a fast, freewheeling session.

We are looking for that killer application, that beautiful mix of the Sugar platform with an emerging business tool, or even how you took Sugar to the next level to showcase the flexibility of the platform. We want the best of the best again here, all for the chance to get your application in front of the largest CRM-focused conference crowd in history. If you think you have what it takes, submit your idea to us today.

–John Mertic

There is something wrong with the CRM marketplace today.  Frankly, it’s getting left behind in the face of social networks.  The focus today is on social networks.  If that’s where the customers are, then eventually that’s where the business will be.  What does that mean for CRM?  Let’s first look at the world of today’s relationship management applications.

CRM is Vastly Under Penetrated

Facebook has 800 million users today. That means 800 million people (1/10thof the world’s population) are using Facebook to manage their personal relationships.  150 million business professionals use LinkedIn to manage their business relationships.  That’s a lot of people.

However, do you know how many people are using CRM tools to manage their customer relationships?  About 15 million total across all applications.  That means if you combine all of the users across SugarCRM, Salesforce.com, Oracle, SAP, Act! and all the others, you have only 15 million sales, marketing and customer service professionals interacting and collaborating with their customers with CRM applications.  Compared to 150 million on LinkedIn alone.  Hmm, something is wrong here.

And here’s the simple truth of it.  After 20 years as a software category, CRM solutions are mostly a reporting tool for management at large, enterprise companies.  Smaller companies have mostly avoided CRM apps because they have been too expensive, too complex and not helpful for the average user.

How Big Should the CRM Market Be?

So if Facebook has 800 million users, LinkedIn has 150 million users and CRM as an application category has only 20 million, how many people should be using CRM today?  That’s actually pretty easy answer to find.  Look at what they are using now.  Email.

Research reports show that there are three billion email users in the world today and 25% of all email usage is in the corporate setting.  That means 750 million people globally are using the most basic of collaboration technology (i.e. email) at work to share ideas, communicate status, and ask for help and much, much more.

Now let’s say half of those workers are customer facing.  This is just a swag as that number is going to be different across different industries.  For instance, the manufacturing industry probably has something more like 10% of its workforce interacting with customers.  Whereas the financial services industry has a percentage likely closer to 100%.  But let’s just take a simple number, 50% of all corporate email users, as interacting with customers over email.  That means 375 million people globally are using email today to solve customers’ problems when they could (should?) be using a CRM application.

The challenge for the CRM industry is to turn 360 million people who rely on email (and spreadsheets) to work with their customers into CRM users.  Fanatic CRM users.   Loyal CRM users.  The kind of customers every company wants.

And that’s what SugarCRM is focused on.  Growing the CRM marketplace by 25x.  Turning a stagnant, under penetrated market into the fastest growing software market segment.  Turning 15 million users into 375 million users.

The Solution is “CRM Made Simple”

How will we create 360 million new users? As is usually the case with big problems, the answer is simple but will take a lot of work.  At SugarCRM, we are focused on delivering simple, easy-to-use CRM solutions that help users first and management second.  We are delivering this solution through a worldwide network of local value added resellers who know you and know your business.  Along the way, we will create a partnership with you (the best kind of customer/vendor relationship there is) by being completely open, transparent and trustworthy in how we solve your CRM problems.  We will earn your business every day and in return, we simply ask that you spread the SugarCRM word to your colleagues and friends.  That’s CRM made simple.

Yeah, it’s a big goal.  It might even be audacious.  But that’s why we do what we do.  We’re here to create successful customers and have some fun at it.

–Clint