Oracle founder Larry Ellison once said it’s important to see things in the present, even if they are in the future. While the Silicon Valley visionary might have been speaking about seeing tomorrow’s potential in today’s practical, the trends coming out this year’s crop of conferences and investor calls celebrate both.
For the future-focused, the team at SugarCRM are forging a path to the next generation of data-driven technology. CEO Craig Sherlton and CTO/CPO Rich Green are changing the CRM game by bringing history to their platform’s offerings. Their new product, Sugar Connect, collects data from across multiple channels, tracks performance, calculates metrics and stores that information in an events platform. From there, Sugar Discover takes a daily snapshot of the CRM pipeline so that enterprises can track their customer’s journey, rewind or fast forward through history, and identify issues and opportunities in the relationship.
For years, CRM-makers have been developing new capacities for capturing a clearer 360-degree view of the customer experience. Even with these added data dimensions, the information only ever represents a snapshot in time. Being able to track progress through time can bring a fuller, richer context to what are often complex situations.
“CRM systems… [can tell] you the state of the nation now [but] they’re really poor… [at] telling you historically what’s happened,” Sherlton said. By creating a way to track events through time, users are able to build a chronology after a situation is discovered and utilize machine learning technology to identify patterns and anomalies. The new tools are still being refined but SugarCRM’s innovation may spark new innovations within the industry.
Microservices and platforms were another promising trend emerging from this year’s crop of conferences and investor calls. Two companies that stand out in this regard are Adobe and Zoho. As Constellation Research’s Ray Wang describes, Adobe is moving from “creative to commerce” through a series of acquisitions that support a more customer experience-based focus for the firm. The most recent addition of e-commerce platform Magento positions Adobe as strong contender in the CX market space with real-time analytics analysis for customized shopper recommendations and product selections to bump sales.
Adobe’s experience cloud is a culmination of over a decade of carefully cultivated attainments and integrations. It’s a curious alchemy of company acquisitions that have somehow been blended together create a wildly successful ecosystem of marketing and ecommerce tools. Adobe VP of commerce product and platform, Jason Woosley, believes that the future of application and platform development lies with microservices. Customers can log into the cloud and customize services to meet their specific needs – all the best that high-flying full stack software options can offer without the expense and restrictions.
Conversely, Zoho comes at the microservice question with a “build it and they will come” approach. The web-based business tool provider introduces their Catalyst Platform as an all-in-one environment for developers to create applications with minimal coding requirements. It also offers a full tech stack of microservice resources for more code-driven projects and an extra layer of abstraction for safe, secure, and scalable running of applications. In this instance, Zoho is providing an open environment that allows for a more organic evolution of products and services.
For those concerned with the present, the final theme comes from the up swell in social good being done. Many of the big events in 2019 showcased how organizations were engaged in philanthropic projects – a comparative high from other years. Doing good, says Salesforce’s CTO/CPO Nasi Jazayeri, is an important way to interact with customers and prospects. While the advantages can be commercial, it also contributes to important feelings of connection and meaning between employees and customers in a special way.