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It’s been about two weeks since SugarCon 2012 wrapped-up in San Francisco. This year’s conference sent me back to Austin with an overwhelming amount of optimism and motivation. With more than 1,000 attendees, inspiring keynotes, informative breakout sessions, and tons of networking opportunities, W-Systems can officially chalk this one up as a success!
From my perspective, SugarCon was more than just a two-day users conference. It began with our customers’ participation and advocacy, our partners’ support, our engineers’ creativity, and of course the great relationship we’ve developed with the Sugar team and other Sugar channel partners.
My top five highlights of SugarCon 2012 are W-Systems’s customers, our partnerships, the presentations, the Sugar App Throwdown, and the Sugar team.
Not just customers... but advocates. When we ask our customers why they choose W-Systems, we consistently hear that we are easy to work with, have smart and creative engineers, and we are priced right. Two of the three things reflect on the outstanding Engineering team we’ve built and are proof that it all starts with great work.
Several of our customers attended SugarCon for the sessions and training, but a few went above and beyond by presenting their case study in sessions and doing video testimonials.
I want to thank Steven Ford from BACO Realty and Matt Davidson from USAFact for being amazing customer advocates for W-Systems and for presenting during SugarCon 2012. In addition to the breakout session, Matt was also included in SugarCon’s closing keynote as one of two featured customers.
Over the past two years, W-Systems has dedicated a quarter of its SugarCon booth to highlighting our amazing technology partners. Companies like Twilio, Pardot, Adobe EchoSign, Entrinsik, Omni, and Transverse are all creating robust products that fit nicely into the Sugar ecosystem. W-Systems has recommended and integrated dozens of our partners’ applications with SugarCRM. At SugarCon, we collaborated with several of our partners to drive traffic to our booth, highlight our integrations, and share success stories of customers using our partner’s products with their SugarCRM system.
W-Systems worked closely with Transverse, the makers of the Tract billing system, to show-off the integration between the all-in-one activity-based rating, billing and subscription platform and SugarCRM. To creatively show this integration in action, W-Systems and Transverse used a remote control slot car racing game as a real-life example. The race track came with software to measure lap and race times, driver history, and a number of wins. W-Systems-integrated the race track software into SugarCRM, so that each driver/SugarCon attendee could be recorded and reported on inside of Sugar. W-Systems and Transverse took this a step further and integrated the Tract billing system with the Sugar race scores and “billed” the drivers per lap using the billing software. The race track was set up outside of Transverse’s booth for attendees to play and see the integration first hand.
Other partners such as Twilio, a cloud-based application used for voice, conference, and SMS communications, had their own booth or kiosk at SugarCon to show-off the products. Twilio used W-Systems’s SugarCon DEMO system to demonstrate several integrations W-Systems built between SugarCRM and Twilio such as Click-to-Call, SMS text message alerts, the screen pops, conference bridging, and more.
Having a booth at SugarCon has been great for W-Systems, but the best part is sharing an entire exhibit hall with great partners and products, and seeing that ecosystem grow each year.
Larry Augustine’s opening keynote set the stage for SugarCon and the official announcement of IBM’s move from Siebel to SugarCRM. Larry painted the picture of the CRM marketplace and discussed the opportunity for SugarCRM to increase market share. His presentation was just what Sugar users, partners, and analysts wanted and needed to hear.
Guy Kawasaki, the award-winning author of Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions, gave an excellent presentation that was engaging, motivational, and funny. His theme was how to be enchanting. In his presentation, Guy outlined concepts from his book and explained how to put those ideas into action to create happier and more loyal customers. Plus... they gave out free books, which Guy autographed afterward.
W-Systems’ customers also had their place in the conference schedule (BACO Realty’s Telecom Campaign Manager session and USAFact’s session on its use of Mobile CRM to drive sales and operations). In addition to those sessions, W-Systems' Bill Harrison foreshadowed and presented his ideas on CRM mobile apps. Bill discussed how Mobile CRM will reshape the CRM industry and even prototyped department-specific apps for smartphones. Unfortunately, the presentation was not recorded, but the slides are posted and include excellent research on the evolution of social media, mobile devices, and how it all relates to the CRM industry.
W-Systems engineer Danny Mulvihill presented his virtual whiteboard app for SugarCRM during the SugarCon App Throwdown. Danny was among the six finalists chosen to DEMO their app on stage. Each finalist had three minutes to impress the audience, and more importantly, a panel of top industry experts including Paul Greenberg, Brent Leary, Esteban Kolsky and Denis Pombriant, and Clint Oram from SugarCRM.
Danny represented W-Systems extremely well and impressed the judges with his confident stage presence, his explanation of unique use cases for the app, and the app’s innovative interface. Congrats Danny!
The “Sugas”, SugarCRM’s nickname for its team, is the final highlight of my SugarCon experience. I’ve been working closely with SugarCRM’s marketing team for two years. Because of the relationships we’ve built with the Sugar team, we are more in sync with a marketing, customer service, and engineering standpoint. The people at Sugar are not only motivated to take SugarCRM to the next level, but they are creative, fun, and are representative of a great working relationship and partnership.
During the SugarCRM Partner Awards dinner, I was recognized among Sugar’s channel partners as the Most Creative Marketer in 2011. This came as a surprise to me and I was extremely honored to receive this award. I have a lot of respect for the Sugar team and look forward to working closely with them as both SugarCRM and W-Systems continue to grow.
For more information about SugarCon 2012, contact us now.