Archives For SugarCRM

CRM as a concept has been around for decades. The technology has changed with the times, and we have learned valuablel&l lessons from the successes and failures of past deployments. Today for example, cloud-based and mobile software developments have sped the time to deploy CRM, and lowered the cost to entry. On the user front, more intuitive, user-focused tools have made CRM initiatives increasingly more successful.

But it doesn’t stop there. There are many ways SugarCRM users can benefit from the lessons learned from previous CRM adopters.

Want to learn more about pitfalls to avoid with your CRM initiative? Are you in the SF bay area? Then join SugarCRM and Gold Partner Faye Business Systems for a live lunch-and-learn session at SugarCRM headquarters in Cupertino on Tuesday July 30.

We will talk about some common reasons for CRM failures, and how to avoid them in creating customized, cost-effective CRM your users will love.

We hope you can join us. Register today HERE as space is limited!

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?

GetSatisfaction for SugarCRM is the July 2013 SugarCRM App of the Month. This plugin is about more than simply putting more data into your CRM. It is about integrating these special customer and potential customer interactions into the company’s systems and business processes. See for yourself at the live demo on the SugarCRM Community Webinar on July 17th at 11am EDT. To learn more about the GetSatisfaction SugarCRM plugin, you may contact DRI directly.

Name, title and brief bio?

Mitch Lieberman, Managing Partner DRI, USA

Mitch has successfully helped businesses of all sizes to understand the importance of technology and culture; it is about balance. The focus needs to remain on the problem, appropriate solutions, and getting jobs done. Mitch takes a modern, unique, but practical view of customer strategy, process improvement, and technology optimization achieved by creating tight alignment between business strategy, goals and objectives.

His own personal balance is that of a practical view on today, as well as, a strong belief on where we are headed, and how this applies to many different types of businesses, cultures, and geographies.

When you designed and built this app, what problems were you looking to solve for SugarCRM users and how does the GetSatisfaction plugin solve those problems?

Communities should be used to bridge the gap from social media conversation to digital interactions with a purpose. Today many organizations are trying to figure out how to leverage social conversations and these new connections to deliver a better customer experience. Customer communities are great way to accomplish this goal. As much as we would like to do it, taking the online conversations people are having about your company in Facebook and Twitter and dumping them into a CRM system without a considered process, just does not provide a whole lot of value. As you have learned with forums, your customers really do want to connect with you and while the basics have not changed, customers expect more as does your business.

What unique or interesting ways does the GetSatisfaction plugin make it easy for users to use?

Users do not think about the fact that it is being used, it feels like a natural extension to SugarCRM and the CRM process. Does a user think about the Internet connection when they log into the application? It just works and makes their lives easier. In this case, the user of the plug-in itself is the business and not only does it bridge the gap, technically, among service, sales and marketing it brings the organization to together to discuss more important topics like customer experience and customer satisfaction.

What attracted you to being a part of the SugarCRM ecosystem?

I have been a part of the SugarCRM ecosystem longer than most; I have been part of the system (same login to SugarCRM.com ) for over 9 years. DRI has been a gold partner since 2005. I have taken a few breaks, but I keep coming back!

Are there any other apps you’d like to mention that you have either used or been involved with in the SugarCRM ecosystem?

We are actually seeing a lot of traction, in different regions with Act-On.

For someone who wants to create their own SugarCRM apps, what resources would you recommend that helped you?

Build the business case and bounce that off of business users. Technology is the easy part, once the business case is understood.

What is your vision for the GetSatisfaction plugin? What can we expect to see from DRI in the future?

A customer community allows you to collect and analyze data, derive insights about your customers that will then allow you to provide them with relevant, appropriate information at key points along the journey. Today’s forums, or customer communities, can be strongly linked to social networks in order to maximize insight, streamline campaigns, and drive organizational shift to bring your company into the social age. What you can expect from DRI is to focus on the whole customer experience, not just the sale, not just service, nor marketing – but how all the pieces connect, relate and solve the bigger questions of loyalty and satisfaction.

A few things got me thinking this morning about how we at SugarCRM define ourselves, and how we fit in the broader market in general. Yesterday analyst and all around instigator Esteban Kolsky made some interesting points in scrutinizing a leading analyst firm’s increasingly broad definition of what vendors fit into the CRM landscape.

In my days an an analyst I covered call center tools, sales automation software, marketing and demand generation technology, analytics, e-commerce and even ERP – all in the name of “customer facing/touching technology.” And these are, in all fairness, all part of a customer acquisition or retention strategy.

But while some companies offer a lot of these components (and I am sure a few might argue they offer them all) – no single PRODUCT covers all of these bases in a seamless and unified manner. They just don’t.

And this is a good thing. More and more, consumers of these technology components are taking a “best of breed” approach, in order to get the best features, benefits and the most attractive return on invested dollars. On the vendor side, a diverse market of providers fosters innovation and healthy competition that benefits the customer.

So, where does SugarCRM fit in? Well, for one we believe in the best of breed approach to CRM and the adjacent technologies that support a successful CRM initiative. For example, we work with lots of great demand generation providers like Act-On, Hubspot and Marketo to enable seamless lead flow into our core CRM system. Second, all we focus on is that “core CRM” and not infrastructure or business intelligence or other technology. In a world where M&A and other drivers has made nearly every CRM player also a seller of other IT stuff – we remain the CRM specialists. These may be valuable tools (and lucrative to sell) but they are not our focus.

Our focus, then, is what I’ve been calling the “Nexus of Engagement:” that point where an internal person/employee/user, etc. interacts with a customer/lead/partner, etc. (Akin to what I talked about a while back in bringing the “R” back into CRM.) We are the system that supports the user in delivering the right information, at the right time. We help sales, marketing and support professionals see the “next best step” in a process, or the best person to interact with next. We are the home base, as it were – supporting the process of turing “CRM users” into “Customer Experts.”

Don’t get me wrong – we don’t do it alone. Like I noted above in the demand generation ecosystem we support – there are lots of potential data inputs, integrated tools, apps, widgets, etc. – that make for the most successful creations of this “Nexus of Engagement.” But I would argue that the unlimited flexibility of Sugar’s architecture, it’s easily customized user-first design, and the broad pre-existing technology and data ecosystem around Sugar – makes us unique in our ability to support any user in becoming a customer expert.

UPDATED 2013-06-19: Webinar moved to June 25th. Sorry for the inconvenience.

As many of you know, SugarCRM has run the App of the Month program for the past several years. Going forward, sugarcrm-aotm-sugaroutfittersSugarOutfitters and SugarCRM will be working together to feature the best apps every month. We’re really excited to work with SugarCRM on this program as finding the best apps in the SugarCRM ecosystem is already a big part of what we do!

Without further ado, DetectID Cloud for is the June 2013 SugarCRM App of the Month. The DetectID Cloud for SugarCRM helps ensure your SugarCRM SugarCRM data is safe and secure. They will give a live demo at the SugarCRM Community Webinar on June 25th at 11am EDT. To try out DetectID Cloud for SugarCRM, simply start a free trial today.

profile_DI_juneappofmonthYour name, title and brief bio?

Daniel Ingevaldson, CTO of Easy Solutions, Inc. I’m responsible for the overall technology strategy for Easy Solutions.

When you designed and built this app, what problems were you looking to solve for SugarCRM users and how does the DetectID Cloud for SugarCRM solve those problems?

Easy Solutions has been a market-leader in building security and anti-fraud technology for banks and other financial institutions for many years. We have helped our clients protect their systems and account holders from constant and deliberate attacks from highly skilled adversaries. One primary technology that banks rely upon to protect their users is “multi-factor authentication” (MFA), which basically means that users need something beyond a simple password to access their accounts. The use of MFA protects users from simple “phishing” attacks which are designed to trick users into supplying their username and password.

These problems don’t just affect big banks. There were almost 1,500 breaches of customer data publicly reported last year, and probably hundreds more that went unreported. In each of these events, personal information, account names, emails and/or passwords were stolen. Studies show that most users commonly reuse the same password for nearly every web site registration and many users are registered for hundreds. With the constant drumbeat of high-profile breaches, the circulation of hundreds of thousands of usernames and passwords in the online underground and the pervasive problem of extensive password reuse, nearly all cloud-based data is at risk.

Our goal with SugarCRM is to provide enabling technology for easy-to-use MFA for SugarCRM. The same technology that supports our financial services customers has been leveraged to provide SugarCRM users the extra security needed, without the extra hassle. With DetectID Cloud for SugarCRM, even if the user’s password has been stolen, it is not possible to access SugarCRM data.

What unique or interesting ways does your product make it easy for users to use?

DetectID Cloud for SugarCRM supports two types of MFA. The first is “device authentication”, which detects and fingerprints the user’s computer during the first login. After the device is enrolled and associated with a specific user account, every login thereafter will trigger a check to see if the enrolled computer is behind the login. If not, it will not be possible to login. The second approach is called “mobile one-time-password”, or mobile OTP. Mobile OTP allows users to login normally with a username or password and to enter a one-time-password from the Easy Solutions DetectID OTP iPhone or Android app. Mobile OTP turns any mobile device into a second factor. In both cases, if a password is stolen, account access is not allowed without the second factor.

What attracted you to being a part of the SugarCRM ecosystem?

The ecosystem. SugarCRM has a fantastic community of integrators, hosting providers and app developers. SugarCRM customers are attracted to the platform because it gives them the power to tune their instance to their specific requirements. Easy Solutions is interested in providing MFA technology to all enterprise applications because they are all equally vulnerable to these basic attack types.

What is your vision for DetectID Cloud for SugarCRM? What can we expect to see from DetectID in the future?

DetectID Cloud is built upon robust enterprise-class technology that supports authentication for millions of online users. Our vision for DetectID Cloud is to continue to expand the capabilities of the solution to provide customers with additional types of MFA and additional flexibility to deploy the right combination and security and convenience that is right for their users.

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

Harmen Baas tweeted, “Nu presentatie van Sugar7 door @sugarclint op CRM Acceleration 2013! #BrixCRM #SugarCRM pic.twitter.com/TK6LETwVTz”
https://twitter.com/HarmenBaas/status/340113475839868929

Mike Gee tweeted, “Just received my @SugarCRM Pre-Sales Engineer and Implementation Consultant certificates. I’m now qualified!”
https://twitter.com/EnableITmike/status/340433103942201344

Endeavor CPQ tweeted, “BIG HONOR! Congrats 2 our partners @SugarCRM RT @jmertic: SugarCRM Wins ISM 2013 Top 15 CRM Software Award… http://fb.me/Vw0EABjp
https://twitter.com/endeavortweets/status/339476813153710080

Jordan Moss tweeted, “@sugarclint I love this show almost as much as I love @sugarcrm! :) @AtcoreSystems #AllThingsAtcore”
https://twitter.com/jordanmoss_13/status/339376923031519232
(Regarding Shipping Wars, A&E’s hit reality tv show which uses Sugar’s customer uShip as its shipping marketplace)

Have a Sweet Friday!

Best,
Anshu Agarwal
VP of Marketing

We rolled out our new messaging platform back at SugarCon this year, with the “Every Customer, Every User, Every Time” message ringing loud and clear as a call to the CRM world. It’s pretty clear message, especially with end-users who have had to fight against the fails of technology for years and years. But how does this same question resonate in developer circles? Are they too far abstracted away from the user for the message to add value?

I had the privilege of being at the php|tek 2013 conference in Chicago two weeks ago, which is one of the prominent gatherings of the PHP community that we’ve sponsored for the last three years, and heard a great keynote from Andrew Nacin. As lead developer of the WordPress web publishing platform which is being used by millons of people worldwide, he’s observed front and center the challenges of building a self-hosted tool that needs to be as easy as possible to get up and running. There were some great themes that came up…

It speaks loud and clear to the developer world; making users fight against your application, especially in the first experiences the user has with it, is detrimental to adoption. Making the user need to go thru multiple confusing steps to get it up and running, having to install all sort of dependencies, or even needing to do non-trivial maintenance on the application, is way out of their realm; they don’t want to have to learn the internals of an application to be a successful user of it.

For example, telling every user that you need to be using the latest build of Chrome is a requirement, but that doesn’t help the user that is locked by corporate policy into using IE. Or saying that you need to install some specific library in order to install your application, which locks out the person trying to get it up and going on a shared host that doesn’t allow that. Dictating terms like that draws a clear line in the sand, which immediately ostracizes folks who don’t care about these details and just want “something that works”.

Where’s the lesson here? While trying to use the latest whiz-bang-hip thing is great, in the end if it’s not making a tangible different to your user then it doesn’t matter. Users want abstracted from technology, not having to be experts in it. Write every line of code with this thought in mind “Am I helping my user be productive and get the task done, every time?”.