• June 15, 2016
  • By Leonard KlieEditor, CRM magazine and SmarCustomerService.com

At SugarCon, SugarCRM CEO Outlines a Plan for Digital Transformation

SAN FRANCISCO — As the business world undergoes a digital transformation, it is more important than ever for businesses to adapt or perish, Larry Augustin, CEO of SugarCRM, told the 1,500 attendees at his company's SugarCon user conference.

"The pace of the digital disruption is fast and the scope is wide," Augustin said during his opening keynote. "No industry is immune. In most industries, the threat of digital disruption is real."

The digital revolution, he said, is happening far faster than the Industrial Revolution did. And to respond, businesses will need to transform their customer relationships.

"CRM needs to move from the system of record to a system of engagement," he said.

Augustin outlined a four-part strategy for companies to adjust their operations to better handle the digital transformation: 

1. Align initiatives. CRM, Augustin said, has to be "part of the core business objectives, and it has to be cross-functional." To reach this goal, he suggested that companies measure Net Promote Scores and report them at the board level, gauge the voice of the customer through surveys, and incentivize employees across all departments, not just in customer service and support.

2. Empower employees so they can adequately respond to customer needs. The key to this, Augustin said, is making information available to everyone, everywhere.

3. Orchestrate interactions through customer journey mapping to ensure that transactions happen with complete visibility to both customers and employees, and that they happen seamlessly across channels.

4. Deliver insights.

To further help companies with their customer journey mapping, SugarCRM today announced that the Customer Journey Plugin from Addoptify is now an integrated part of the SugarCRM platform.

This new enterprise solution automates complex business processes and maps them to the customer journey. It has two unique features: a Customer Decision Indicator chart, which displays the individual customer's stages throughout the entire decision journey, and an advanced Customer Decision Workflow Panel, which describes every task or action the user must complete to help a customer advance to the next decision stage. The result is a streamlined process that synchronizes all customer-facing activities, from marketing and sales through on-boarding and renewal. 

The Customer Journey Plugin will be available for all versions of the Sugar Platform (Sugar Professional, Sugar Enterprise and Sugar Ultimate) for $15 per user, per month.

To further help customers with their digital needs, SugarCRM also announced that organizations can deploy the Sugar CRM platform on-premises or across IBM's global network of 46 cloud data centers.

By choosing IBM Cloud, Sugar can be deployed across bare metal cloud servers, dedicated off-premises clouds, or private cloud environments behind the firewall.

"IT strategy should not be held hostage by vendors that offer a proprietary, multitenant cloud configuration as the only option. Instead, choice should be the rule of the day for cloud deployments, so organizations can implement systems in a way that fits their business and IT needs," said Clint Oram, cofounder and chief marketing officer at SugarCRM. "SugarCRM customers that are looking for greater control over their data, more deployment options, and a reliable infrastructure should consider IBM Cloud as their platform of choice."

Companies can also select IBM's OpenStack-powered managed private clouds, which offers a private cloud as a service on-premises or as a dedicated service running on IBM Cloud. 

"The most valued type of data that organizations have in the enterprise is their customer data. Having the right deployment options that meet security concerns, regulatory requirements, and risk mitigation are top of mind for any business choosing a cloud infrastructure," said Bill Karpovich, general manager of the IBM Cloud Platform. "With IBM Cloud, SugarCRM's clients and partners will now have the ability to deploy the Sugar platform across any hybrid cloud environment, making it easier than ever to gain privacy and control over their most important asset—customer data." 

This announcement builds on a long-standing strategic relationship between SugarCRM and IBM. Last September, the two companies announced the IBM Marketing Cloud for SugarCRM, helping break down silos between marketing, sales, and service departments and across digital and human touch points.

At the same time, 3CLogic, a provider of cloud contact center solutions, released a computer telephony integration (CTI) for SugarCRM. The end-to-end, multichannel solution will provide a diverse set of features and functionality via application programming interfaces (APIs). These include the following: 

  • new browser-based user interface and CTIs for inbound, outbound, or blended call requirements;
  • the ability to operate using existing on-premises telephony systems (Cisco or Avaya) or via a pure cloud offering;
  • intelligent routing of calls using SugarCRM data and objects;
  • skills-based routing;
  • automated rep screen-pop;
  • call and screen recordings embedded within SugarCRM;
  • real-time agent monitoring and quality management tools; and
  • integrated call reporting within Sugar’s reporting framework.

"We recognize both enterprise and call center organizations are increasingly forgoing pure cloud deployments in favor of hybrid cloud models which allow for the combined use of existing platforms with new modern cloud-enabled applications," said Denis Seynhaeve, CEO of 3CLogic, in a statement. "Our new CTI for SugarCRM is meant to help bridge the best of both world's with the ultimate goal of enhancing sales and customer service."

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