SugarCon 2017: Sugar Doubles Down on the ‘R’ in CRM

SAN FRANCISCO — “For the past 20 years, most CRM companies have been focused on things that aren’t relationship-oriented,” SugarCRM CEO Larry Augustin told the crowd during the morning keynote Tuesday at the company’s SugarCon event. “It’s like they forgot that there’s an ‘R’ in CRM, and that ‘R,’ for the past 20 years, has been one of the most underinvested parts of CRM.”

“We’re doubling down on the ‘R’ in CRM,” he continued, announcing that the company has established two product lines: relationship management and relationship intelligence.

“Relationship management encompasses our traditional CRM products, but with a renewed emphasis on helping you build better business relationships. Relationship intelligence is all about getting smarter about your business relationships, bringing you information and insight when you need it before you even ask,” he explained.

SugarCRM Hint is the company’s flagship relationship intelligence product. With Hint, users input a contact’s name and email address and Hint returns personal and corporate profile information for that contact—data that is automatically uploaded into the CRM. Hint was officially launched in the United States in June. Sugar announced that the latest version of Hint—available on Oct. 5—supports contacts in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Canada and provides users with recent news articles about contacts’ organizations, informing them about real-time developments that might yield opportunities.

The company also previewed a smart mobile assistant application designed to guide business relationships. The app features an “intelligence calendar” that provides logistical and strategic information about upcoming meetings. Users can schedule an alert before a meeting and the app will indicate the meeting’s subject matter, location (with directions), and time, as well as provide a professional summary of the meeting contact supplemented by intelligent info from Hint and the contact’s social media profiles.

Furthermore, the company announced the availability of its mobile software development kit (SDK), which enables its customers to quickly and easily build customizations for Sugar Mobile in a way that echoes the Sugar desktop experience. With it, developers can extend the capabilities of Sugar Mobile without the need to build their own applications from scratch. According to Sugar, examples of customizations include integration with enterprise-ready mobile device management tools, custom fields, views, and buttons; integration with native device capabilities like GPS and the camera; and custom styling, theming, and navigation.

“CRM is fundamentally about people and customer relationships. We’ve been saying that for years. Relationships absolutely matter—while we’re doing all of this amazing technology, don’t do it just for technology’s sake; do it because you want to build better business relationships,” Augustin told the audience during the morning keynote.

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