Customers Lend a Hand

By John Pallatto  |  Posted 2005-12-09 Print this article Print

One company that was part of the testing and evaluation process for version 4.0 is BZ Results Inc., which develops digital marketing systems for the automobile dealer industry. The company uses the Sugar Suite for all its internal sales and marketing programs and expects to steadily expand the usage of the product from about 40 employees to the entire sales and marketing team of more than 100 people, said Rob Lackey, CTO with BZ Results, based in Coventry, R.I.
The company started working with Sugar Suite 3.5 in August 2005 and was actively involved in what SugarCRM calls its "community review" process for version 4.0 in which developers and customers are encouraged to not only suggested improvements but to submit their own extensions.
Click here to read about the inclusion of SugarCRMs suite in Novell Inc.s open-source Linux startup. Through beta test process, "we were able to become directly involved with the product direction" and make a significant contribution the ultimate shape of the product that is being released next week, Lackey said. Of particular value to BZ Results is the new workflow capabilities that allows the companies sales representatives to rapidly respond to customer inquiries or changes in the status of sales opportunities, he said. The new version provides great flexibility in the way it can change or customize the business rules to respond to any conceivable sales situation. For example, sales representatives can walk out of a customer sales presentation, use a handheld computer to send a confirmation of a potential customers interest and the CRM system back at headquarters can e-mail "a formal sales proposal based on the initial discussions even before the sales rep can get back in his car and close the door," Lackey said. The suite is proven to be much more versatile than the company imagined when it first started looking for a new CRM application. "We paid for a CRM application. We ended up getting a customer-centric communications platform that our entire company could work with," he said. SugarCRM offers the Sugar Suite Professional and Enterprise editions in both on-demand and on-premise packages. The on-premise versions are available starting at $39.95 per user a month. The on-premise versions of Sugar Professional and Sugar Enterprise are available for $239 and $449 per user per year. The subscription pricing includes the source code, 12 months of application updates, installation assistance, global weekday e-mail-based technical support, trouble ticketing with patch and fix distributions. The company also offers the Sugar Cube appliance, which is a standalone server with the complete CRM suite installed ready for deployment at the customers site. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis about customer relationship management solutions.

John Pallatto John Pallatto is's Managing Editor News/West Coast. He directs eWEEK's news coverage in Silicon Valley and throughout the West Coast region. He has more than 35 years of experience as a professional journalist, which began as a report with the Hartford Courant daily newspaper in Connecticut. He was also a member of the founding staff of PC Week in March 1984. Pallatto was PC Week's West Coast bureau chief, a senior editor at Ziff Davis' Internet Computing magazine and the West Coast bureau chief at Internet World magazine.

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