During its annual SugarCon conference last week, customer relationship management (CRM) firm SugarCRM unveiled a new machine learning-based offering that’s currently in development: Sugar Intelligence Service.
The service, which will be delivered through a Siri- or Cortana-like artificial intelligence (AI) agent called “Candace,” will combine companies’ in-house data with other outside sources to provide predictive analytics and a more 360-degree view of customers.
No release date or pricing information has been announced at this time. The intelligence service will function as a “one-stop shop of information” about seller-customer interactions, according to SugarCRM.
‘More Time Learning from Data’
SugarCRM chief product officer Rich Green led a demonstration of Candace and the new intelligence service during his presentation at the SugarCon conference in San Francisco on Wednesday. New technologies are helping to transform CRM, he said, noting that SugarCRM’s new service builds on technologies that were added through two recent acquisitions: Contastic and Stitch.
Acquired by SugarCRM for an undisclosed sum in March, Contastic’s flagship product is an automated natural language processing platform designed to help companies quickly provide customers with helpful and relevant information. Stitch, purchased in March 2015, specialized in personal assistant technologies for mobile users.
Those technologies of those two companies are enabling SugarCRM to build future service offerings based on intelligent agent technologies, Green said. “In the near future, we plan to give Sugar users the ability to gather and analyze customer intelligence from a broad range of sources so that people spend less time entering data into the CRM and more time learning from it,” Green said in a statement.
Sugar with Slack, Bots and More
Much of SugarCRM’s recent growth has come from smaller-scale business customers that typically have between 500 and 1,000 users, according to a 2015 Magic Quadrant report about sales force automation providers from Gartner Inc. The addition of more automated, AI-driven services could help the company further expand its market reach.
SugarCRM already partners with a number of large, global services providers such as Infosys, Wipro and IBM. In fact, the company announced last week that it was adding the support of IBM Cloud to its own CRM platform with the goal of providing customers with fast, global and scalable services.
The new partnership with SugarCRM will help IBM’s clients gain “the ability to deploy the Sugar platform across any hybrid cloud environment, making it easier than ever to gain privacy and control over their most important asset — customer data,” according to Bill Karpovich, general manager for IBM Cloud Platform.
During last week’s SugarCon, SugarCRM also singled out several partners for the “coolest, most useful and most innovative extensions of the Sugar platform.” They included Collab, which has begun using Facebook Messenger’s bot technology for customer engagement; Epicom’s “Slack for Sugar” implementation; and TrustSphere, which has applied relationship analytics to its Sugar platform to better identify hidden contacts, prospects and partners.