SugarCRM on Tuesday launched Hint, the first offering in its new line of relationship intelligence products.
Hint users can enter a few contact details about a person with whom they want to connect, and Hint automatically will search social sources on the Web for personal and company information.
That data, and other personal and corporate details from a company’s internal files, will be collated and served up to the user in a side-panel view.
“Hint is the building block for future relationship intelligence product offerings, which will go deeper into AI,” said SugarCRM spokesperson Andrew Staples.
Artificial intelligence requires large data sets, and “as Hint evolves, it will allow us to get the data needed and then layer predictive analytics and machine learning on top of that data,” Staples told CRM Buyer.
What Hint Users Get
For sales teams, Hint’s advantage over other CRM vendors’ products is that it lets users select specific data and quickly pull it into the CRM account profile in the context of a particular opportunity they’re working on, Nucleus Research noted.
Further, users can quickly create a new customer profile, and information from the Web can be refreshed automatically, keeping records up to date.
Hint is priced at US$15 a month per user. It is compatible with Sugar 7.8 or later.
Hint is SugarCRM’s first purely cloud-based Software as a Service offering, and it could be marketed as a standalone cloud service in the future, Nucleus suggested.
Taking On the Competition
SugarCRM is listed at $70 a user a month, so the price with Hint goes up to $85 a user a month. Microsoft Dynamics 365 with LinkedIn Sales Navigator costs $135 per user per month, Nucleus pointed out.
That said, Microsoft “does provide some built-in coaching, relationship health graphs, and in-mail capabilities that SugarCRM Hint doesn’t,” Rebecca Wettemann, VP of research at Nucleus Research, told CRM Buyer.
Competition for Hint comes from companies like Hoovers, InsideView, DiscoverOrg and Salesforce, remarked Cindy Zhou, a principal analyst at Constellation Research.
“The advantage for SugarCRM is that Hint’s a native product for their CRM solution, which facilitates a faster and automatic data append process,” Zhou told CRM Buyer. “The other solutions require integration with CRM to append the data, and require costly subscription fees.”
It is likely that SugarCRM customers will understand the depth and breadth of companies and contacts that Hint can append, said Zhou.
They may need to turn to third-party data companies for specialized contacts, she noted. “InsideView and DiscoverOrg are strong in IT contacts, for example.”
Where Relationship Intelligence Is Going
“Relationship intelligence” is SugarCRM’s new name for the Sugar Intelligence Service, which the company unveiled at SugarCON 2016 last June.
At that conference, SugarCRM demonstrated Candace, an AI-powered intelligent agent. Candace is still in development and will be unveiled later, Staples said.
SugarCRM plans to partner with AI offerings from Amazon, Google and other companies rather than build its own AI products. It already integrates with IBM Watson.
“Our customers, and the industry at large, aren’t asking us to build AI,” Staples explained — “they’re asking us to give them the tools to build better business relationships.”
Sugar plans “to innovate on Hint and relationship intelligence quickly,” he added, indicating “there’s a good chance” the company will talk much more about Hint at SugarCON 2017, to be held in late September.
SugarCRM’s vision for relationship intelligence is that it will “guide and assist users in interactions with customers, helping them to plan meetings, build deeper connections, recommend best actions, and respond to late-breaking developments as relationships evolve,” Staples remarked, “at any time on any device.”