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CRM Idol and Communicating Our Vision

Posted by on September 15, 2013

The 3rd season of CRM Idol is well underway right now and we are fortunate to be have been one of the few selected for this year’s competition. CRM Idol provides up-and-coming players in the CRM space an opportunity to not just get exposure, but also the mentoring required to continue to grow.

From the CRM Idol site:

CRM Idol is an annual competition that provides CRM industry related small businesses an opportunity for exposure, resources and advice that would otherwise be unavailable to them.

There are also auxiliary benefits that we have experienced. The biggest of which is that it really forced us to find how to best communicate our vision. This exercise required deep introspection about who we are, why we are here, and where we are going. Pruned down to its minimum, here is what we came to…

Who We Are

We are long time SugarCRM users and developers. Having been on both sides of the proverbial fence, we are well versed in the importance of user experience in successful CRM strategies. User experience is core to everything we do at SugarOutfitters.

Why We Are Here

To be a “Best-of-Breed” platform, SugarCRM needs a marketplace.

There is an industry-wide shift happening right now where marketplaces are rapidly becoming the de facto standard for enterprise applications. What first started in the mobile world as a way to make finding, trying, and buying easy for consumers has now become an expectation for any software-as-a-service platform. This is why ecosystems, such as SugarCRM’s, need a vibrant marketplace. It is an expectation of any user that there will be a way for them to find well-polished, up-to-date solutions to their various needs.

A marketplace doesn’t just complete a platform, it enables the entire ecosystem to grow exponentially. Partners and developers of the platform have immediate access to customers of the platform, and conversely, customers are provided with a deep selection of value-added components making the entire platform a more attractive option. The collaborative nature of how a marketplace functions, between the application platform, end users, and solution providers, are essential to the growth of the application platform.

Around a couple of years ago we saw this gaping hole in the SugarCRM platform. There wasn’t a vibrant ecosystem for individuals and companies alike to buy and sell SugarCRM-specific modules and integrations. So we decided to act and build the SugarCRM app store we always wanted as both end users and solution providers.

Where We Are Going

Since it is imperative to know where you are right now before determining where you are going, here is where we see ourselves right now.

We have built a core platform that makes it easy for:

  • SugarCRM users to discover and buy the best-of-breed solutions that are out there.
  • Solution providers who offer commercial, high-quality modules and integrations. It’s a turn-key storefront for sellers with a bunch of value-adds (webhooks, licensing API, and so on).

How can we make this even easier for everyone?

Right now, if you are using SugarCRM it requires two major steps before starting the solution discovery process:

  1. Have to first recognize that there is a problem or opportunity to improve efficiencies and/or processes.
  2. Have to then become an expert in figuring out how to address those findings. This requires knowing where to find these solutions, what to look for, and so on. This can be overwhelming and leave you second guessing yourself.

What if there was way for SugarCRM to not only auto detect these opportunities, but to also suggest and give you the solution right as you are using SugarCRM?

This is where we are going with an in-app store. By moving in-app we can give you tailored suggestions designed to make you even more efficient, helping you to cut costs or generate more sales. In addition to this, a customized app store can be built just for you to show just the solutions that are available to your edition, version, and hosting environment of SugarCRM. What this also means is that installation will become a hands-off process. No more having to follow these long install processes that are required from 3rd party solutions. Instead, click a button to start using it right away. The installation happens automatically behind the scenes. This can even make trials easier than ever to use. Want to see how a solution could work for your organization? Start a trial and use it right away with your own data. Not seeing the benefit? Just stop the trial. The installation and uninstallation all just works.

We are excited with the core platform that is in place. It sets us up to really be able to tackle some larger opportunities for improving ever user’s experience in SugarCRM. After all, that is what SugarCRM is all about; empowering every user.

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