SugarCon 2010 - Reflecting on the Conference
Last week most of the W-Systems team was at SugarCon, the SugarCRM User and Developer Conference in San Francisco. Like most conferences, there were lots of great sessions and many opportunities for networking, but three things stood out in my mind as different and special about this SugarCon.
The Maturity of SugarCRM as a Product and as a Company
This was my third SugarCon and this conference differed from the others in a couple of important ways.
- It was more user-focused than developer-focused. This was evidenced by the topics of the sessions and reflected in the make-up of conference attendees. There were still plenty of developers in the crowd, but I saw many more SugarCRM customers this year.
- It was more professional and polished. From the caliber of the keynote speakers to the look at feel of the new SugarCRM 6 that was debuted at the event, this SugarCon was simply more professional than past years' events.
The Expansion of the SugarCRM Ecosystem
There were more than twice as many exhibitors at this SugarCon than last year. It is clear that the ecosystem of products that integrate with, complement, and support SugarCRM is growing at a rapid pace. This is good for everyone. It demonstrates that SugarCRM is being taken seriously by enterprise customers and that the market for third-party SugarCRM products is now big enough to support a wide array of companies.
The Melding of CRM and Social Media
One of the conference tracks at SugarCon focused on social media marketing and the intersection of social media and customer relationship management. This topic -- Social CRM -- is a big deal in the CRM world and one that we will be writing on quite a bit in the coming weeks and months. Paul Greenberg presented an awesome keynote address outlining why social media is so critical to the customer conversation. His statistics about the use of social media as a means to get product recommendations, complain about bad customer service, and build customer loyalty were amazing. Look for more on this in the coming days.
I feel that SugarCon 2010 was a "coming out party" for a product and a company that has always been good and are now becoming great. I'll give quite a bit of the credit for this phenomenon to Larry Augustin, SugarCRM's new CEO. SugarCRM has always had a smart and dedicated staff but they lacked the leadership of a seasoned veteran like Larry. He has brought focus to SugarCRM's direction and he has also brought some key hires that are driving the marketing of the firm in new directions. As a SugarCRM Gold Partner, we see this every day in support we are receiving from the partner channel. I'm happy to see the direction SugarCRM is taking and looking forward to all the growth the entire SugarCRM ecosystem will experience between now and the next SugarCon.
Did you attend SugarCon this year? Please feel free to share your comments and experiences here.