SugarCRM Touts Generative AI's Potential at London Conference

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SugarCRM, on the first day of its Connected 2023 conference in London, reiterated its commitment to empowering companies with cutting-edge technology that automates much of their daily workflows

Everything in business is becoming more complicated, but businesses want solutions that make their sales much easier, said Stuart Hall, vice president of customer success for EMEA at SugarCRM, pointing to the combination of hyper-automation, artificial intelligence, social media, growing mountains of data, and supply chain disruptions that are challenging businesses on a daily basis. “We are connecting the dots for you to make your life easier,” he said.

For example, SugarCRM now automates messages from different parts of the platform rather than forcing users to move into messaging apps. Sales managers can now call up a wide variety of visual reports rather than needing to construct the reports and build graphic representations. End customers can use self-service to solve or correct a number of issues without involving SugarCRM technicians.

"Let the platform do the work; automate anything; accelerate everything; and anticipate what's next," said James Frampton, SugarCRM's senior vice president and general manager of the EMEA region. That work includes demand generation, lead nurturing, sales acceleration, opportunity pipleline processing, management and predictions, and service and support. 

The pipeline capabilities are particularly important, he said, because more than half (54 percent) of sales leads generated by marketing are either poorly qualified or unqualified.

The SugarCRM platform includes cloud, workflow and automation, configurability, integration, identity/pricing, and security. What’s next, he predicted, is "generative AI for everyone. The CRM revolution will be driven by generative AI."

Generative AI will enable users to ask anything, find everything, create workflows, easily configure apps, and much more, he said. The technology will be able to compose personalized sales and marketing content; create ad-hoc reports and workflows. 

SugarCRM is building its business on three primary pillars: user experience, generative AI, and a focus on the manufacturing and distribution industries, Clint Oram, the company's co-founder and chief strategy officer, said in an interview with DestinationCRM.

"If there's one thing I've learned in my 25 years in the CRM industry, CRM is a beauty show. You have to have a beautiful application, you have to be designing an app that's easy to use, if not even fun to use."

Most CRM users don't have technical backgrounds, Oram explained. "The people whom we focus in on are the people using an application. They want to use what they want to use as opposed to someone telling them what they have to use. So we invest in user experience continuously."

Just as the three rules of real estate are "location, location, location," the three rules of software are "easy, easy, easy," according to Oram.

Now, and in the immediate future, that means investing in generative AI, SugarCRM’s second pillar, according to Oram. Generative AI, he said, "is completely rewriting the way all software companies are going to be thinking about delivering the user experience, the voice-based user experience and the natural language-based user experience that is interpreting what you're saying and making very intelligent guesses on what you mean by what you're saying. The future of applications is all wrapped together."

Rather than clicking through multiple screens, in the near future, sales managers will be able to use generative AI-powered applications via voice for complex questions about sales over a given time period, sales in a particular region, and predictive analytic questions, according to Oram.

Looking 12 months out, Oram predicted that generative AI will move from everyone talking about the technology to many businesses using it on a daily basis for CRM and a number of other applications.

As for SugarCRM's third pillar, Oram said there is a large need for a simple CRM solution in manufacturing and distribution, which rely on enterprise resource planning systems for inventory but typically don’t have updated CRM systems on the front end,  

A third of SugarCRM’s customers are already in manufacturing and distribution, two industries where SugarCRM is seeing growth. SugarCRM is focusing on making its solutions as easy as possible for people in those industries to use.

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