thomas.wieberneit@aheadcrm.co.nz
The Clash of Titans – The Great 2021 Players

The Clash of Titans – The Great 2021 Players

The year 2021 comes to an end. More than three years have gone by since the last look at the Clash of Titans, an analysis of how the then big 4.5: Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce, SAP, and Adobe – along with some other players, are shaping the greater CRM and CX arena. A lot has changed since Thomas Wieberneit published his 2018 series that consisted of 4 articles: Platform PlayMicrosoft and SAP weigh inThe War Cry: Oracle and SalesforceThe IaaS Platform Providers It is obvious that the commoditization of the business application continues, and the vendors’ focus on the underlying platform has even increased since 2018. CRM, and enterprise software in general, has always been a platform play although this has not always been recognized and sometimes even negated. Two obvious reasons for it being a platform play is that the creation of positive customer and user experiences needs a consistent technical platform, or we end up with engagements that are fragmented across interactions. This results in inconsistent and poor experiences. The second reason is that it needs a technological platform to enable and grow a thriving ecosystem. Vinnie Mirchandani in January 2020 stated that Enterprise Software Platforms have so far underperformed. Mirchandani looked at Microsoft, SAP and Salesforce. He basically argues, without providing too many details, that the major enterprise software vendors’ platforms are all lacking ambitious goals and do not aim high enough. One of his major points is that none of these vendors has put enough emphasis in empowering, nurturing and growing their respective partner ecosystems to take advantage of the software platforms by augmenting the applications delivered by the platform vendor...
You are a platform player? How to not be doomed!

You are a platform player? How to not be doomed!

These days every significant software vendor and some others, too, is positioning itself as a CX- and/or a platform player. By now, it is well known, what it means to be a platform player, and this is also not the main topic of this post. Just as much: In order to be a significant CX player, one quite simply needs to be a platform player.  Also, regardless of whether one has a platform or not, if everyone is a CX and a platform player, then obviously this is nothing that differentiates one vendor from the other anymore. Customers meanwhile nearly expect a set of solutions by one vendor being built upon one platform – or at least to appear like they are built on one platform. This basically means that “platform” as a thing to emphasize on has reached its zenith. And then, there is an additional problem associated with the platform game. A platform market is a kind of a winner takes it all market. Following the analysis and argumentation of Ray Wang in his new book Everybody Wants to Rule the World, in a platform market there will be only two major players. All other players are becoming insignificant or will vanish. While this sounds somewhat dystopian the point that I want to make is that there will not be a great many successful and strong players in a platform market. To use a metaphor, at one point in time a few vendors will have created enough gravity to become the entity that customers are attracted to. It is also visible that the first vendors have understood this and are acting...
How SugarCRM is setting out to become a Titan

How SugarCRM is setting out to become a Titan

The news On November 2, 2021, SugarCRM held an analyst summit to share what is going on at the company and to get some candid feedback of the participants. As usual for this type of event, there is quite some information that is still under NDA, so I will be able to cover some of it only in broad strokes rather than the detail that the matters deserve. After a business update by CEO Craig Charlton, the event itself revolved around two themes: customer success stories, including customers describing how they are using SugarCRM to improve their own business by better serving their customers in an interview style formatSugarCRM business development, technology, and its future trajectory. Naturally, this part is largely under NDA. There were breakout sessions covering Sugar Sell, Sugar Service, and Sugar Market As usual, and with the notable exception of the customer interviews, the event was slide-driven with giving the opportunity to ask questions at the end of the respective agenda items plus offering a brief Q&A with the executives. Last, but not least, part of the event is a 1:1 session with a SugarCRM executive a few days after the summit. After a short opening by Sarita Kincaid, Craig Charlton offered a business update, showing how SugarCRM developed in the past twelve months. The company is focusing keenly on the mid-market. Craig painted a bright picture that shows a very high customer retention combined with a good growth rate. Noteworthy are a steep increase of the recurring ARR. He quoted a nearly doubled number of new logos, combined with a more than doubled new/upsell ARR...
The Platform CAN Do the Work. Let it!

The Platform CAN Do the Work. Let it!

On June 15, 2021, the CRMKonvos crew had the chance to chat with Andreas Schuster, Customer Success Director for SugarCRM in Europe, about the company’s evolving vision and goals. He did not disappoint. Schuster has filled a variety of roles over the years, both in the software industry and outside of it, and has developed an appreciation of what well-administered CRM can do for a business and its customers. “I have been able to get to know CRM in the industry and in sales, and I keep getting to know it again and again,” Schuster said. “I never get bored watching companies actually supporting their sales management with software, but also just the way they work together with the customer and with the customer. And it is always exciting.” One important thing that Schuster believes, though, is that CRM is more than technology; it is behavior and culture which technology can enable to be better. “CRM is not so much a technical tool; it really is an approach,” Schuster said. “It’s a strategic sales approach, and there’s a lot that goes into it now, but it’s still the same.” The technology is an important starting point though, especially with larger and more complex businesses. Schuster added: “I keep coming back to this: the software that’s used has to work great, it has to be intuitive, it has to look good. But taking this CRM approach is first of all a strategic thing in a company. You have to want it. You have to prepare for it. And you also have to set an example for your company from the...
How to avoid the looming CRM crisis

How to avoid the looming CRM crisis

A short while ago the CRMKonvos team had the opportunity to invite Frank Tjaben of SugarCRM into our living rooms or home offices for a lively discussion about whether businesses are facing a crisis of customer relationship management and if so, why. To use some slightly clichéd terminology, Frank has been both a hunter and a farmer throughout his career, putting him in a unique place to talk about exactly this topic. He has seen it from both sides—as a user and seller of CRM software. He started his career as a call center agent, and then held various sales and sales management positions, including customer advisory roles for both enterprise organisations and SMBs. He says that a sales person’s main objective is to get into an as good as possible dialogue with the customer, regardless of one’s actual role. At the end of the day it is about solving a customer’s problem. He firmly believes that those who understand the customer best are the ones who close the deal. This is where the value of CRM systems begins. These systems are good for managing to-dos and activities, which is important in sales. It is important to be reliable. “It might sound conservative, but then sales is a conservative craft,” Frank says. “If you make an appointment for next week, then this is what is meant, an appointment.” He maintains that this, although important, is only a part of it. It only looks at the basics. The business evolves. Therefore, customers need to also know that the vendor’s product vision matches their future needs. The big question is: What...