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Is your organization using Sugar to automate sales, marketing, support, or in some other unique way? Have you gained benefit from the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of the Sugar platform?

Then it’s time for your voice to be heard.

pi

Gartner’s Peer Insights is an innovative new concept from the analysis firm. Rather than have potential decision-makers hear only from analysts, who may or may not have hands-on experience with the software they recommend, Peer Insights gives potential buyers first hand analysis from actual users.

These reviews, combined with other steps in the evaluation process, can better equip IT and line of business decision-makers with the tools they need to best address their CRM initiatives.

Want your voice heard? Simply provide a review by clicking HERE.

We look forward to reading your thoughtful reviews!

Last week, SugarCRM hosted more than 1,200 attendees at SugarCon, its annual conference for customers and partners. The SugarCon 2016 theme was “Transform Relationships” as we gathered to talk about how industry after industry is being disrupted by ridiculously fast evolution of technology – and what that means for the customer experience.  

It was a great week, with more than 35 breakout sessions from SugarCRM customers and partners, a fabulous list of main stage keynotes, and demos that wowed the crowd.

SugarCRM CEO Larry Augustin kicked off the show by outlining a four-part strategy for companies to adjust their operations to thrive during the era of digital transformation. Clint Oram, SugarCRM’s co-founder and CMO, followed with a demo of the some of the new capabilities that are coming to the Sugar Platform and mobile app.

SugarSRM SugarCon 2016 in San Francisco, California, Tuesday, June 14, 2016. (Photo by Paul Sakuma Photography) www.paulsakuma.com

 

Dr. Catriona Wallace and Rich Green, SugarCRM’s chief product officer, provided some serious brain power on the second day of keynotes. They dazzled the audience with details about how the rise of platforms as replacements for individual applications, machine learning, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and predictive analytics are the key technologies that will shape the future of CRM. Rich introduced the crowd to SugarCRM’s new Sugar Intelligence product line and “Candace” our future intelligent assistant.

Catriona pic

Announcements that we made during the show included:

  • Sugar is now available on IBM Cloud in a single tenant, dedicated private cloud environment. SugarCRM has extended its relationship with one of its closest partners. Organizations now have more flexibility and control over their CRM data with new IBM Cloud deployment options, including bare metal servers, OpenStack-managed clouds and virtualized, multi-tenant cloud services.
  • SugarCRM’s vision for Intelligent CRM begins with the Sugar Intelligence Service™. The new service, currently in development by SugarCRM, combines data from best-in-class external sources with internal data to provide a more comprehensive view of the customer. Further, the Sugar Intelligence Service adds predictive analytics capabilities to make intelligent recommendations for next best actions in customer interactions.
  • A sneak peek at “Candace,” an intelligent agent that guides and assists users in interactions with customers, helping them plan meetings, build deeper connections, recommend best actions, and respond to breaking developments as relationships evolve.
  • A new advanced plugin for Sugar — the Customer Journey Plugin from Addoptify. This new enterprise solution helps SugarCRM customers unite best-practice CRM with their customers’ decision journeys. This infuses the customer’s entire decision process with internal efficiency to streamline processes, boost sales performance and strengthen customer engagement across all departments.

Thanks to all who attended and shared the week with us. Videos of the keynotes will be available shortly for you to (re)watch. In the meantime, please save the date for SugarCon 2017.

SugarCon2017-SavetheDate

We have just returned from a bit of a whirlwind week of events: the trio of CRM Evolution/SpeechTek/Customer Service Experience shows in Washington D.C. and thecrossrdGartner Customer Strategies & Technologies Summit in London. Throughout the week, we heard a LOT of insightful and innovative ideas from analysts, practitioners and other industry experts around the present and future of customer engagement and customer relationship management in general.

One item that stuck out in my mind was Gartner analyst Ed Thompson’s keynote, which focused on the “defining moments” that shape our personal lives as well as the world around us. Note, these are very different than “moments of truth,” those small, but far more frequent interaction points that can make or break your relationships with customers. Defining moments, as Thompson explains, are far more infrequent, think of a major breakthrough such as the market availability of the first digital camera (or even the first camera phone), and have far more profound and lasting impacts.

These moments affect not just the way individuals see the world, but also shape the way businesses (and really, the world in general) operate.

When I look at the industry in which SugarCRM operates, that of front office software, it is easy to see several defining moments. These monumental shifts have been both in the way the customer relationship has evolved, and also about the nature of the technology we create and use in business. And of course, these two are inextricably linked.

A few examples of defining moments that have shaped CRM: the introduction of email into the customer relationship, the emergence of SaaS delivery of apps (and the eventual evolution into cloud software), the iPhone making mobile CRM apps a must-have, Facebook and Twitter becoming de-facto customer conversation channels, etc.

Looking at these defining moments, a few observations become clear. One, the pace and breadth of defining moments in our world is increasing, due mainly to the insanely rapid pace of technology innovation. Second, those that refuse or simply fail to take advantage of the changes pushed forward from these moments do so at their own peril.

We talk a lot about “disruption” and “digital transformation” – but in the light of defining moments these should not be considered single “projects” or a one-time transformation endeavor. Rather, the pace of innovation and the onslaught of more customer channels, data points, and expectations means that businesses must be in a constant state of development, with total openness to change. Sure, change is hard, but you need to aggressively embrace new business models.

One great example is SugarCRM customer CitySprint (who just happened to co-present their transformation story on stage at the Gartner event). While CitySprint is a leader in its space as a last mile delivery and logistics provider in the UK, they saw the disruption curve coming – from new digital technologies like Uber, Amazon Prime, etc. Rather than risk getting left behind, CitySprint is incubating its own startup to shift its business from simple delivery into providing technology, solutions and tools for businesses across the UK to create more effective customer experiences. (CitySprint will be telling more about this story at SugarCon in June FYI.)

So, no matter what your industry, one thing is clear: disruption is coming in some form or another. And, it is going to keep coming. Those who embrace the pace of change and respond accordingly will win. Those who do not will face steeper and steeper uphill climbs in an increasingly competitive marketplace. On which side of this equation would you rather be?

It’s time to Transform Relationships!

The (r)evolution of new technologies is rapidly re-drawing the business landscape. Customers are in charge, hyper-connected and full of expectations that companies know them intimately and deliver communications, products and services designed for THEM. Everyone knows it’s time to transform or be left behind.

The transformation needs to start with taking the customer perspective. SugarCon 2016 will offer new insight from experts and industry leaders on how companies can take a holistic approach to transform relationships to drive deeper customer understanding and deliver more engaging customer experiences.

SugarCon 2016 has more than 35 breakout sessions from top CRM experts. In this year’s sessions, executives and thought leaders from a broad range of industries will address business transformation, strategic IT management, and technical CRM development and deployment topics. In addition, SugarCRM technical experts will go in-depth on the product roadmap and the latest Sugar capabilities.

Some of the can’t-miss sessions at the event include:

Larry Augustin: Transforming Relationships – Four Ingredients for Success – June 14 at 8:45am

SugarCRM works with thousands of companies around the globe. We see four key ingredients that set the very best companies apart. Larry will talk about how each company must align strategy, people, processes and systems to transform customer relationships.

Clint Oram: Transforming Relationships with a Modern CRM – June 14 at 9:45am

Clint will demo how Sugar 7 can help you transform relationships by delivering a seamless customer experience across the entire customer journey, anticipating customer needs and coordinating the actions of teams across large organizations. You’ll see and hear great examples of how Sugar 7 can be extended to address specific industries.

Transformation Around the Globe: Sugar Customer Panel –  Tuesday, June 14 at 11am

We’ve brought together a pretty amazing panel of experts to discuss the market dynamics driving their own business transformations. They’ll share insights and experiences using Sugar to re-tool global sales teams, streamline customer care, and create personalized guest and retail experiences.

The panel includes:

IBM – Deb Drakeford, Director Sales Connect, Office of the CIO

Devlyn Optical – Andrew Devlyn, eCommerce and Innovation Director

Sands China – Scott Lake, Senior Vice President of Loyalty Marketing and Strategic Analysis

Fast Forward with Rich Green – Wednesday, June 15 at 11am

SugarCRM’s new chief product officer, Rich Green, is a recognized Silicon Valley leader and one of the architects of the technology environment that surrounds us today. Rich will discuss major technology drivers, like information to everywhere, mass customization, big data, machine learning, IoT – even quantum computing. He’ll share his vision for how these technologies are transforming CRM — today and well into the future. Expect some exciting announcements and sneak peeks in this session.

Dr. Catriona Wallace: When Customers Take Charge – Transforming CRM to a Segment of One –  Wednesday, June 15 at 8:45am

Dr. Catriona Wallace, one of the world’s most cited experts on the future of customer experience, will share how emerging trends, such as Conversational Commerce, are now creating an environment where both B2B and B2C customers can no longer be put in segments, and instead need to be treated as individuals. Dr. Wallace will share the key trends that have provided customers  more power than ever before as well as the important role that platforms play in better connecting and creating shared value for both customers and businesses. 

The App Throwdown – Wednesday, June 15 at 4:15pm

SugarCRM’s annual showcase of technology for the Sugar platform is always a crowd favorite. The App Throwdown is where customers, partners, and prospects get to see some of the coolest, most useful, and innovative extensions that drive business transformation, save costs, and close deals faster. 

Build your Sugar Expertise

We’ve created a whole new track called Sugar In-Depth where Sugar experts get into the nitty gritty on how to use new Sugar technology like the Mobile SDK, Sugar 7.7, and Advanced Workflow. SugarCon also offers a hands-on “UnCon” track for developers, opportunities to interact with the SugarCRM engineering team in the SugarLabs, and Sugar University training and certification.

Build your Network

SugarCon will offer lots of great networking opportunities – with industry leaders and influencers, peers who share your interests and challenges, SugarCRM executives, technical experts and partners, and of course our event sponsors. Birds of a Feather sessions will offer a place to connect with attendees around topics that matter most to you.

And Have Fun Too!

There are plenty of cool events and experiences at SugarCon. You definitely won’t want to miss this year’s SugarCon Party Tuesday evening, June 14!

Finally, don’t take my word for it. Here’s Clint Oram, SugarCRM Co-Founder and CTO about what will make SugarCon great this year.

As a precursor to their annual Salesforce Automation (SFA) Magic Quadrant, several Gartner analysts ran a survey polling key decision makers at enterprises around the world about what they look for in an ideal SFA/CRM system. The results were published on Gartner’s site (note: subscription required) this week, and the results are not surprising.

Well, not surprising to us over here at SugarCRM. That is because the key areas that IT decision makers saw as important focus areas are the exact areas where we have built out the Sugar product and platform the most over the past few years.

So, according to the survey, what is most valued by IT leaders?

  • Intuitive Mobile Solutions
  • Mastery of Core Functionality
  • Ease of Integration

On the topic of mobility – I think we as an industry are finally coming to understand that mobile CRM does not mean “shrinking a CRM system down to a phone screen UI.” Rather, we are building more device and purpose-driven applications of CRM – and it is great that IT Decision makers also get this, meaning they are looking to optimize the real-life mobile usage scenarios customer-facing employees require every day. I am excited about the direction our mobile team is going, and we will have lots of cool announcements as 2016 unfolds.

When it comes to “core functionality” – we at SugarCRM have seen more and more companies select Sugar not by our “latest and greatest” or “edge functionality” but rather by Sugar providing absolutely mature and intuitive core SFA features on top of the most solid, extensible and scalable platform. In today’s world, IT leaders know they can develop and build features on a platform, but a solid and well-designed user experience must be there in order to start off on the right foot.

While Integration has certainly come a long way in the age of the cloud, we often forget than many of the large enterprises out there are still stifled by legacy applications. These products have older, proprietary back ends – making integration challenging. Sugar offers a wider range of integration options making it easier to integrate legacy enterprise applications with Sugar than with other CRM systems out there. And as integration becomes easier and easier, we are seeing even more innovative combinations of enterprise and Web data merged with Sugar data to create more highly informed users.

Again, these survey results are not surprising when you consider where we are at in terms of CRM trends. Large enterprises are moving away from legacy systems and the large giant incumbent software vendors, and midsize companies are entering the “strategic” phase of their CRM journeys. It all combines for what we see as an exciting era in CRM history, one that bodes very well for SugarCRM and our vision for the market.

Today, SugarCRM announced 23 of its worldwide channel partners have achieved Elite partner status for 2016. This year’s class represents the top 10 percent of all organizations in SugarCRM’s worldwide channel program. 16 different countries are represented, including for the first time, partners from Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Canada and Brazil, showing the significant momentum SugarCRM is enjoying around the world.

Additionally, our Elite partners delivered a solid 36% year-to-year increase in annually recurring subscription revenue in 2015, and added more than 350 new SugarCRM customers in total.

SugarCRM Elite partners have attained the highest level of recognition in the company’s channel partner program by building large-scale, growing businesses that provide consulting, implementation, integration, training and development services for Sugar; meeting or exceeding standards for technical proficiency and professional certification in Sugar products; and demonstrating consistent success implementing Sugar in hosted, on-premises, and private cloud environments.

This year’s Elite Partners are:

  • Bhea Technologies (Singapore & USA)
  • BrainSell Technologies (USA)
  • BrixCRM (Netherlands)
  • CloudTech (New Zealand)
  • DataSync Corp. (USA)
  • DRI-Nordic (Denmark & Germany)
  • Enable Technologies (UK)
  • Epicom (USA)
  • Faye Business Systems Group (USA)
  • GrowIT (Argentina & Chile)
  • iNet Process (France & USA)
  • Insignio CRM GmbH (Germany)
  • Levementum, LLC (USA)
  • Merx Business Performance (Mexico)
  • OpenSymbol (Italy)
  • Plus Consulting (USA & Australia)
  • Provident CRM (Ireland)
  • REDK (Spain)
  • Sinergis (Brazil)
  • Solutions Metrix (Canada)
  • Synolia (France)
  • Technology Advisors Inc. (USA)
  • W-Systems Corp. (USA)

Congrats to all of our Elite partners.

Organizations that view their CRM as a tool to track sales leads and record data about current customers are missing opportunities to get the most out of the system.

It seems a given that CRM needs to evolve to meet the need to of today’s digital economy and empowered customer, but many CRM offerings lack the critical components needed to succeed in today’s world of fast-paced change, highly-informed consumers, and a constantly expanding array of customer touch points.

One of the first issues is that many legacy CRM deployments were done as departmental silos, meaning the software and processes were limited to a single company department or portion of the customer lifecycle. This leads to disconnection between departments, difficulty presenting a consistent message to customers, and ultimately frustrated customers.

Our latest blog series will provide ways organizations can leverage modern CRM tools to better align the entire organization around the customer lifecycle.

Better Alignment Between Marketing and Sales

In most companies, sales and marketing are separate departments. Organizations typically rely on the marketing team (and marketing automation software) to develop, score and nurture leads, and then simply “throw them over the wall” to the sales team.  From there, it’s up to sales to turn a lead into a paying customer.

As service becomes more important, and as we increasingly move to a subscription economy – that wall between lead generation and sales processes needs to be torn down.

One of the weaknesses in the marketing-to-sales handoff is the lack of visibility and context around the true nature of the lead. Even if it’s highly qualified, much more information and work is needed to better route and engage a marketing-qualified prospect. A modern CRM takes the handoff from the demand generation tool, and can add far more sophisticated routing rules to make sure that every new lead is sent to the correct person in sales, and also ensure that existing customers are not sent to the wrong agents, reducing “lead cannibalization.”

Advanced workflow capabilities inside modern CRM tools can ensure that not only are leads nurtured, but post-sale follow ups, renewal notifications and other revenue-generating actions all improve the quality of marketing directed to known customers. After all, studies show that the probability to selling to existing customers is 60-70% higher than selling to new prospects.

So, is your CRM aligned to meet the demands of the empowered customer? Can you bridge the gap between your sales and marketing teams?

Modern CRM tools offer organizations the ability to create a more cohesive, cross-departmental view of the customer journey. And these tools are flexible – and affordable – so the actions of every customer-facing employee can make informed decisions with access comprehensive information about the customer, This customer data must be orchestrated across all departments to deliver a consistent message throughout the entire customer journey.