On the eve of arch-rival Salesforce.com's massive Dreamforce conference, SugarCRM is making some noise of its own by releasing a new edition of its CRM application that's focused on improving user productivity.
This week privately held SugarCRM also said that revenue in its third quarter grew 80 percent year-over-year and the company was profitable, but specific figures weren't disclosed.
In an interview with CRN, SugarCRM CTO and co-founder Clint Oram stressed that the latest release of the Sugar application emphasizes the productivity of individual sales professionals.
"In the CRM industry, the software is often seen first as a tool for sales managers and executives," he said. "There's been a lack of emphasis on sales individuals, which is our focus."
The new Sugar UX, also known as Sugar 7, release sports a user interface that Oram described as more akin to those on consumer applications. The application pulls together not just data about customer deals but also information about all customer interactions and contextual intelligence about that information.
"What users need to be able to do is pull more insight out of that information," Oram said. "This is about accessing what's available in the database and summarizing it so the sales professional can take action on that data."
"I think the interface is visionary," said Jim Ward, president and CEO of BrainSell Technologies, a Topsfield, Mass.-based solution provider that partners with SugarCRM and other CRM application developers, including Salesforce.com. "I like their emphasis on making the product very focused on how the user works and to make them more efficient."
The new release is available now either for on-premise deployment or through public and private cloud services.
Ward said he recently held a demonstration of SugarCRM and Salesforce.com application capabilities before some 70 customers and prospects. "And Sugar came out very well," he said.
SugarCRM currently works with more than 300 channel partners with about 80 percent of the company's revenue coming through the channel. Oram said the vendor is focused on growing sales through those solution providers, rather than recruiting additional partners.
SugarCRM is also stepping up its sales and marketing efforts and competing more directly with Salesforce.com on price, BrainSell's Ward said. "I think SugarCRM is finding their mojo. They've always had an underground buzz."
Those stepped up efforts got a boost in August with the $40 million in equity financing the company received from Goldman Sachs. "We're investing to grow the business," Oram said.
It appears to be paying off. This week the company said sales grew 80 percent in the third quarter, the 16th consecutive quarter of revenue growth. The company was also profitable in the quarter -- which Oram said the company had not planned on. "It's a nice place to be, from a cash-growth perspective," he said.
PUBLISHED NOV. 15, 2013