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Unleashing the Real Power of CRM

When we hear the term CRM, what comes to mind is a solution that automates  sales processes and nurtures more profitable customer relationships. In a socially-connected world, businesses often think of CRM in terms of creating extraordinary customer experiences and bolstering the bottom-line. However, the real value of a modern CRM goes far beyond what we’ve thought for more than a decade.

CRM systems have evolved from lead-generation platforms to a fully integrated and diverse solutions that drive customer experience and loyalty throughout the entire customer lifecycle. CRM can be integrated with Content Management Systems (CMSs), BPM, BI, social sales, marketing analytics, and learning management systems; delivering all-around value we may not already be aware of. So, what are the key areas businesses should be focusing on in order to uncover the maximum potential of CRM?
 
Predictive Analytics 
While CRM applications already have tons of useful customer information, even deeper insights are on their way—thanks to a new trend of integrating predictive analytics capabilities right into a CRM sytem. Companies will now be able to use existing CRM data to gain deeper insights into key business metrics and greatly improve critical one-on-one interactions with customers. 
 
Another key benefit to this addition is that the CRM and predictive analytics tools are connected deeply with social media platforms like Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter—to help businesses leverage information in real-time. 
 
Digitize Customer Files and Embed Workflows 
By embedding workflows into the CRM system, tasks can be easily organized, assigned to respective team members, and tracked. Moreover, if a team member is absent, another staff member can fulfill that request in a consistent and timely manner.
 
Update Information on the fly
MobileCRM has become an increasingly important and valuable tool for marketers, sales teams, customer service, and IT departments. Updating and accessing information in near real-time means many things for different departments.
 
For the sales team, this may mean better visibility into inventory levels, the ability to make pricing decisions on the fly, meet promised delivery dates, and perform more transactions in less time. 
 
Leverage the Power of SocialCRM in your Business
Companies of every kind are focusing more on consumers and engaging with them on social media platforms, but the ones that really want to make a difference are going beyond gaining visibility. Smart companies are leveraging the power of SocialCRM, and making real-time communications with their customers, which are tracked in the system for future use. 
 
Optimize Marketing Campaigns 

By integrating CRM with marketing automation tools, you can significantly improve conversion rates by managing and tracking campaigns across multiple channels, from lead capture all the way to closing the deal.

Additionally, you can qualify, track, and utilize lead scoring from multiple campaigns, then automate lead assignment based on those scores. This provides unparalleled insight into exactly what your prospects are interested in, helping your sales team to manage their discussions accordingly. 
 
The CRM industry is expected to flourish in the coming years as organizations of every kind are looking to improve productivity, agility, scalability, save money, and increase both the top and bottom lines. With technology constantly changing and  innovating, CRM is geared to address the varied demands of today’s business. 
 
If you have any CRM development initiatives, we can help you develop a solution to meet your exact requirements.

CRM Success Through Effective Master Data Management Strategies

If you use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system you can’t afford to ignore  proper data management techniques. Proper data management is critical to effective information governance. And, Master Data Management (MDM) plays a vital role in building results-oriented and effective CRM processes. With the evolution of Big Data, mastering MDM has become an even more critical entity.

"Over the last several years, CRM software sales have outstripped overall IT spending," said Bill O'Kane, research director at Gartner. "CRM leaders must understand the benefits of the MDM discipline to CRM and make it part of their CRM strategy. MDM is critical to enabling CRM leaders to create the 360-degree view of the customer required for an optimized customer experience."

Customer data is generated through different platforms, including: social media, third-party applications, and other external data enrichment providers. Organizations can’t go wrong by using these platforms with their MDM for customer segmentation, customer acquisition, prospecting, and overall consistent reporting. This especially applies in marketing or sales departments, where today a coordinated effort is required to improve efficiency and generate more revenue.

To achieve success with an MDM program, it’s important to measure strategies effectively. To help you in your efforts, we’re providing you with a few simple steps to consider before implementing your MDM strategy.

  • Define an enterprise data management objective
  • Identify usable sources of master data
  • Create a data quality benchmark- ensure the master data is free of redundancies and duplicates. (Tools, processes, and people are generally used to maintain the data quality).
  • Continuously audit programs and update to newer versions of software and applications

Master Data Management

Creating and maintaining accurate and complete master data should be the top priority of every organization. To be successful, an organization must acquire and maintain accurate master data by developing data maintenance and governance processes and procedures. The strategy adopted to determine the success of an MDM program can vary from one organization to another, but the core value remains the same: optimizing spending and growing business.

If you’d like to learn more about OSSCube and our Master Data Management tools, send us an email: info@osscube.com or give us a call at 1-888-724-8898


Why Magento Rules E-Commerce

Magento Ecommerce SolutionMagento is the world’s most powerful open source e-commerce platform. Launched in 2008, Magento is now trusted by more than 200,000 businesses, including some of the world's leading brands. It offers  businesses a high degree of flexibility, and control over user experience, catalog, content, and functionality of their e-commerce sites. Completely scalable and backed by an extensive support network, the Magento platform empowers large and growing businesses to scale more effectively and support growing numbers of visitors to their core e-commerce sites.
 
So what makes Magento the most preferred e-commerce platform? Let’s  take a deeper look:
 
Intuitive administration interface and flexibility 
Magento provides e-commerce solutions that let you customize the look, feel, and functionality of your site to reflect your brand’s personality. Choosing Magento as your e-commerce platform provides you with an intuitive administration interface capable of easily updating and refining your site as your needs evolve. Considering the remarkable benefits of Magento , it’s easy to see why major brands such as Vizio, The 
North Face, Fred Perry, and Samsung have embraced it for their online commerce requirements.
 
New themes 
Magento has introduced new sub-categories for themes to make it easier for online businesses to find and download the right option for their business.This makes it easier for developers to showcase their unique style and appeal to retailers in specific industries.
 
Support of large brands 
Over the past year Magento and its diverse ecosystem have continued to improve on the Magento platform to support larger brands, more robust product catalogues, and more complex implementations. Optimized catalogue indexing, improved content caching, streamlined checkout flow, and improved tax recommendations provide customers with greater value,faster load times and lower overall costs, from their Magento platform.
 
Community of more than 300,000 members 
The rapid growth of Magento is further strengthened by a dedicated community of more than 300,000 members. This community has the ability to provide technical support as you build and run your site. If you have concerns regarding design, deployment, customization, or anything else, you can easily engage with the community for support and guidance. 
 
It’s exciting to see the innovative solutions that Magento has created for the online business industry. By solving real customer challenges like waiting in line to purchase goods, your business can improve scustomer experience, build brand loyalty and increase revenue while enjoying the lower total cost of ownership provided by open source applications. No other platform delivers such a high level of inherent functionality along with a great deal of flexibility; Magento is truly one-of-a-kind.

6 Insider Tips for Successful SugarCRM Integration Projects

Using a CRM system effectively can have limitless benefits for an orgainzation. With an Open Source CRM like SugarCRM , business processes are simplified, customer experience is improved, sales productivity is increased and cost of  ownership is dramtically lower than other similar tools. Any issues with using CRM typically stems from an organizations failure to effectively integrate it into the application ecosystem. Ill defined strategies, business processes and technical requirements may lead to end user frustration, effectively negating many of the potential benefits. SugarCRM Integration
 
We are sharing our 6 insider tips for successful CRM integration. based on our many years of successful SugarCRM integration experience. Make sure to take notes!:
 
1. Flexibility in Integration: SugarCRM is designed to be compatibe with virtually any applications or data sources across a department or the enterprise. It can become the “single pane of glass” to provide a 360 degree customer view. Good planning and business process mapping is a key to creating a fully integrated business solution around the CRM. 
 
2. Quick and easy customization: Make sure the level of customization required to create mappings, workflows and reporting are consistent with well defined business processes.  SugarCRM’s flexibility allows the product to be customized to meet your specific organizational needs, while proprietary CRM systems force you to work around the functionality they provide. 
 
3. Scalability: Thinking ahead to choose the right tool will help save you from costly conversions in the future. Your CRM should be able to scale with the needs of your organization. Many lower end CRM systems simply can not scale to meet enterprise needs, and many proprietary CRM systems provide significantly more functionality and expense than are typically required to begin a project.  SugarCRM provides the best of both worlds; It’s a great entry level CRM system that can easily scale to support an entire enterprise of thousands of users. 
 
4. Sustainability: Your integration should sustain the application environment more efficiently. SugarCRM is based on open source standards that are likely to be around for many years. This open source design will help ensure that the CRM will be sustainable as other applications evolve. Proprietary tools may run into future compatibility issues or require very expensive upgrades to keep pace with change. 
 
5. Organized security policies: Data security is top of mind in almost all organizations today. The integration plan should account for roles and responsibilities to allow data to be accessed and viewed on an as needed basis. SugarCRM is designed to support hierarchical and segmented security policies. 
 
6. Plan for Regular Updates: All software applications evolve as user requirements and technologies change. CRM systems are no different. It’s important to plan for regular system updates to help your organization to take advantage of new features and efficiencies. Be sure to test these upgrades in a development environment before going live to make sure that there are no negative impacts to your existing functionality. 
 
When integrated successfully, a CRM can improve the way every aspect of your organization operates; It increases efficiency, speed, customer experience, and more. However, it is up to you to choose the right service provider with the knowledge and experience to help you to define the architecture, build the solution and help you to avoid costly pitfalls. 
 
OSSCube, a proud SugarCRM Gold Partner, enables you to integrate SugarCRM into your organizations application ecosystem to create an integrated business solution. Common integrations include ERP (SAP, Oracle); CMS (Drupal, Joomla and WordPress); BI l(Pentaho, BIRT), Telephony (Switchvox, Digium and Asterisk); Quicken; Web services; Legacy systems and Social media applications.
 
To learn more about our SugarCRM integration services, click here

The Top Three Benefits of Using a CRM

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is changing the way businesses operate. Until now, home-made systems have provided basic functionality, but times are changing. The ever increasing pace of business is demanding functionality that is most likely beyond the scope of smaller systems. As requirements for CRM capabilities expand, organizations will find themselves falling behind in customer service, and internal productivity.   All that being said, here are our top three benefits of using a CRM:  Customer Relationship Management
 
Accessibility of data
CRM systems are competitive because they are in the business of improving customer experience and increasing internal productivity. Data in a CRM system is organized in a way that makes it intuitive to use. There are customizable tools that let you create modules, folders, menus, and tabs; all of which make finding what you need, when you need it, the easiest part of your job. But what is perhaps even more intriguing about CRM systems is the way they make on-boarding and job transitions as simple as possible. When an employee leaves, their contacts—along with all of their information, call logs, notes, presentations and other history—can be easily transferred to whomever fills the empty role. One outstanding aspect of CRM systems is that, before a rep makes a customer visit to possibly ask for more sales, they can quickly get a status of the account, including any customer service issues.  The last thing anyone wants is to be surprised in the middle of an important meeting.  
 
Improved customer experience
Because the entire company is working from a single repository of customer data, every employee is "on the same page" when dealing with customers.  This inherently improves customer experiences by making sure anyone they are dealing with is knowledgeable on every aspect of their previous product experiences. Additionally, customer self-service is a growing commodity among internet users, and made simple by company use of a CRM system. Because knowledge bases are online, customers can get self-help to diagnose problems or chat with customer service groups online.  
 
Better decision-making for your company
Analytics from collected customer data is key to making corporate decisions.  Trend reports by product, priority, and other important decision-making factors are all provided to SRM users. Some top questions/ concerns a solid CRM system can answer:  
 
  1. Are the number of customer service requests increasing due to particular product issue?  
  2. Am I losing deals to a particular competitor?  What were the reasons?  Perhaps I need to educate my sales force on how to deal with these competitive situations. 
  3. Why are the # of leads coming in decreasing by the week?  Perhaps I need to generate leads via other methods to fill the gap?  
  4. If my sales forecast exceeds my operational capacity, I may need to hire personnel to service those new customers. 
 
So there you have it, our top three benefits of using a CRM system. Do you use a CRM? Send us your thoughts, and let us know if you agree! Don’t use a CMS? Let us know what you think in the comments! We love hearing from you!

Want to learn more? Check out: http://www.osscube.com/sugarcrm

Or register for one of our free webinars about switching to SugarCRM by clicking here: http://www.osscube.com/switch-salesforce-to-sugarcrm

 


Loaded carts and wish lists: What Magento is really made of

magento ecommerce solution

If you’re reading this, and happen to be a human being, chances are you’ve purchased something online. Whether you got caught in a bidding war, found a steal on Amazon, or were too afraid of the mall on Black Friday to leave your house, it’s happened to you. But as simple as online shopping my seem, there’s an application working behind the scenes to make sure you can log in and get everything on that list of yours. 

These apps come in all shapes and sizes, but Magento is one in particular that’s taking the ecommerce world by storm. In fact, as of September 23, 2013, 20% of the top 100k internet sites were using Magento.

So what makes Magento work? Here are the basics:

Who/when: In early 2011 eBay made an investment in Magento amounting to nearly majority ownership; by the end of the year eBay controlled 100%.

What: Magento is an ecommerce application. Built using Zend (PHP) framework, It allows businesses to engage with their customers and provide online shopping carts into their websites. Extended features allow for social sharing, customization, mobile, user profiles, and much more.

Where: Magento is an open source web application. This means that the software is developed by the community, and is available for free. (The community version is free, more full featured version are sold by X.commerce, an eBay company)

Why: Because enabling ecommerce is generating businesses a lot of money!  2012 ecommerce sales eclipsed $200 million.   When you combine that with a lower cost open source model, the ROI is huge.  In addition, Magento is the most flexible platform on the market, allowing for more control and unique engagement model.

How: The good news is there are lots of ways to learn about Magento. The better news, is you’re already reading from one of the best options! OSSCube specializes in Magento implementation, customization, and support. If you’d like to learn more about our expertise, go to www.OSSCube.com/Magento

When it comes to your business, you always want to make the best decision. Don’t let the competition beat you to the punch, and start looking into ecommerce options! You won’t regret it.

To learn more about OSSCube and our services please visit www.osscube.com or call: 1-888-967-7282


Apigility – Lightning Fast API Development

Apigilty - API Development
Have you been struggling to get applications to market fast? A couple of weeks back, Zend, the PHP Company, revealed a new open source project called Apigility. The Apigility project , an opinionated API builder, is a fresh and distinct new way to provide users with the world’s easiest way to create and maintain high-quality API-based applications.
 
Zend has launched Apigility realizing the challenges of building API-centric architectures. It provides a user interface for building APIs in a simple, standardized way, leveraging industry standards and best practices.
 
According to Zend, Developers can create an API and wire in any number of the nuts-and-bolts services that Apigility provides. This automates some decisions, making the coding process easier and less cumbersome. Zend has selected recommended best practices for API creation in terms of authentication, error handling, filtering, validation and documentation. Apigility’s role does not end with the creation of the API – it is designed to allow developers to evolve their APIs as requirements change - add, update or remove APIs – and has full support for versioning.
 
Below are Apigility’s highlights:
 
Error handling - When an error happens on the server side, Apigility immediately reports the response involved and the nature of the problem to the API consumer. Apigility’s detailed problem report enables programmers to easily parse and understand what happened, rather than remain mystified as to the source of their API error and spend hours finding it. Additionally, developers may tailor error reports to deliver as much or as little information as desired.
 
Validation - Apigility makes it simple for developers to make sure functionality exists for their end users. It ensures that all data coming into an API is valid. If not, Apigility sends a single response, in a predictable format that returns all errors. API consumers know upfront when they did something wrong.
 
Content negotiation - Apigility enables developers to immediately know when something is wrong with submitted data. It will verify whether each client is capable of viewing an application, and whether data submitted to an API is of an acceptable content type. If not, Apigility sends back a response indicating that the API can’t provide a representation, or cannot understand the data. As a result, APIs become simpler for 3rd parties and partners to work with.
 
Versioning - Apigility supports multiple versions of the same API with added, altered or removed services – and enables developers to easily support both old and up-to-date clients at the same time, with fully automated version negotiation. The user interface allows developers to manage all versions of the API from one centralized place, and provision new versions as needed.

Apigility is hosted on GitHub. The README contains details on how to download and install Apigility via Composer; once you install, set it up via a vhost in your web server or the built-in PHP 5.4+ web server and visit the welcome page in a web browser. That’s it! Now get started creating your APIs!
 
To learn more about this project, click here.
 
We are excited about this new initiative by Zend. OSSCube won the "Americas Premier Partner of the Year 2013" award at ZendCon 2013. We have also been named as 2012 System Integration Partner of the Year at this eighth annual PHP conference.
 
OSSCube is the world’s only Zend Center of Excellence for its trained Zend Certified Engineers (ZCEs) on board and successful projects with Zend and PHP in large-scale and business-critical implementations around the world.
 
To know more about the services OSSCube provides?, visit www.osscube.com/php or contact me, Brian Land.  Email: Brian@osscube.com or phone: 512.670.8430

Cyber Security Isn’t What it Used to be

Cyber SecurityOn August 29, 2013 a few members of OSSCube attended the CIOSynergy in Boston, Ma. The event, which focuses on creating business discussions between technology companies and corporate CIOs, also features several panels throughout the day. The SECURECIO™ Panel was a highlight of the day, offering executives insight on the hottest business topic in years.

Here are some of the most important points brought up during the panel. Make sure to give us your thoughts in the comments below!

1: “A lot of the concerns in the past few years highlight our dependency on systems to stay up and running." Tim McKnight, EVP Information and Security Risks, Fidelity
In a digital age, any business is expected to be accessible 24/7. Websites, social media, and internal systems like CRM and e-mail must be maintained. Any outage is not only a security risk to the company, but to any customer with ties to the organization. Additionally, every minute that a public profile is compromised or unavailable is a minute of negative exposure for a brand. That one minute could’ve been the first time a billion dollar company wanted to contact you- That’s great, but now they see your company as juvenile and incapable of maintaining even its own business; deal-breaker.

2: “It's not just financial data anymore. If it's out there they'll find a way to make money on it." Ken Patterson, CISO, Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare
Cyber-attacks are no longer about obtaining financial information; they’re about obtaining ANY information. That means that intrusions aren’t just looking for card numbers and pins, but for passwords, and screen names, addresses, cell phone numbers; anything that can give them a social and digital profile of potential targets. Access to a cellphone number can lead to cell intrusions targeting GPS location allowing hackers to know where you live, where you spend your money, and where you work; they could target an entire corporation because they know sending you an email would go through your company’s internal system.

3: "Does more money mean more security? Not necessarily." Tim McKnight
This one is the classic quality over quantity scenario. Although protection is going to cost some (probably large) amount of money, the price discrepancies aren’t quite as important when you get down to the nitty gritty of those numbers; it’s about what you’re getting out of your investment. Never go searching for a security option based on a budget; you want to use your requirements as a search tool. Find what you need without looking at price, then follow up on that package with Development and business representatives.

So, are you scared yet? We know the feeling. But the best way to prepare for a cyber attack is to stay informed. We live in the digital age, and working in technology you should always know what the newest threats are. They may not be impossible to thwart, but there’s always going to be a way to minimize risk and consequence.
 


Is your current CRM application capable of handling organization changes?

The process of implementing a CRM application is arguably the most dynamic topic because of its business transforming capability, and the role it will play in the future success of an organization. Every organization has different expectations as they all have unique needs, strategic objectives and tactical requirements. The core challenge of implementing a CRM application is not typically related to the technology, but in achieving strategic alignment between an organization’s business objectives and technological capabilities.

Simply, each organization usually has defined specific strategies around customer service and processes that they have implemented time over time. These processes tend to evolve over time as business conditions change, challenging the technology to keep pace. It’s not uncommon for these changes to cause business and technical alignment to get out of sync. 

It’s surprising how many companies have not yet adopted formal CRM systems, but are using “home grown” solutions. There are many organizations that have seen the strategic value in long-term investment in CRM application. But, CRM strategy is something that changes from time-to-time to gain competitive advantage and drive more profitability. A good example is the way organizations are adopting social computing, SaaS solution, mobile capabilities to deal with digital disruptions and maximize the overall value of their customer portfolio. Now the question is how can you make sure your organization maximize the return from your CRM investment? So, before acquiring and deploying a CRM solution, it is important to understand and access the capabilities of CRM that will lead and sustain the necessary organizational changes like:

  • Changes in business models, merger and acquisition and regulatory compliance requirements
  • Consolidation and integration requirements around new adopted environment or newly deployed supporting technologies
  • Supporting changing requirements to constantly improve customer experience
  • Providing a global view of customer records to both customer facing and management employees
  • Any surprising demand to train more sales representatives and users 
  • Modernize  CRM and integrate with best-of-breed apps

Each organization has its own distinction, some are technology focused, some are more business centric, and some more agile than others, but the important question is how they leverage the implemented CRM system to handle the change in the organization and expand the turnover in a near to mid-term future. 


OSSCube Joins Austin Technology Council

Austin Technology CouncilAustin, TX

OSSCube is pleased to announce that it is now a member of the Austin Technology Council (ATC). The ATC is Central Texas’ premier trade association for companies working in and around technology and life sciences.

With 200 member organizations, representing over 20,000 technology and life science industry professionals, the ATC offers numerous events, educational forums and business conferences that bring together visionaries, leaders, managers and employees to make an impact on the industry.

OSSCube, a global open source solutions provider, looks forward to contributing to the local community and to working with peer groups to promote professional development and education in the open source technology sector. Contact OSSCube at info@osscube.com or call us at 888-967-7282.


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    client testimonials

    We’ve reduced our costs by 60% and were able to improve our data quality by moving from SalesForce.com to SugarCRM.
    Our service provider, OSSCube exceeded our expectations! Delivery was very fast and they were extremely responsive to any issues uncovered during UAT. We're looking forward to reaping the benefits of SugarCRM long into the future.

    Phillip Getto, CTO
    Orametrix, US

    Thank you all. I am very fortunate to be working with such a skilled, dedicated and gracious team. I only wish I could be there in person to express my gratitude.

    Client Representative
    Building and Construction Network, US

    The requests that OSSCube has been working on are making our jobs better so I wanted to pass the kudos along to your team!

    Project Leader of Web and Data Services
    CU Solutions Group, US

    We wanted to express our appreciation for the work your team performed on the SmartStart application. The team was always professional, following up consistently and appropriately, and followed through on every deliverable in a detailed manner. And we appreciate the professional workforce you are building at OSSCube.

    Ben and Sue, Client Representatives
    SmartStart application, US

    Well done for the successful BSS migration! I'm really conscious that there has been a huge amount of work that has gone into planning and managing this event, and it's a credit to everyone involved that it has gone as smoothly as it has done. It's been particularly encouraging to see the level of dedication and the feeling of working as 'one team' which has ensured that issues have been cleared down in a speedy fashion.

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