Access Group is a leading author of integrated business management software. Its portfolio spans solutions for ERP, finance, HR, payroll, not for profit, CRM, warehousing, business intelligence, professional service automation and manufacturing.
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“A few years ago, we recognized that we needed to have a transformation strategy that moved to a cloud solution – that’s the way the market is going – and that it made sense to have a CRM as part of that strategy,” says Greg Dennick, head of aCloud operations, the brand under which Access Group markets Sugar within its business services package. “Sugar was the best fit for us.”
The benefits of becoming a Sugar OEM Edition partner have been enlightening and profitable, Greg says.
Quick Time-To-Market At Reduced Costs Means Better Margins
When Access Group, a leading international business software vendor and implementer, assessed its market position and mapped an ambitious expansion plan, the leadership team identified a strong CRM partner as a pillar of growth and service.
The CRM had to fit sales strategies, be flexible and cost-efficient in its customization for varying industries, and boost the company’s principal channels – professional and financial services and supply chain – while fostering expansion into the growing health- care and nonprofit verticals.
“We saw both a risk and an opportunity, in that we had customers buying their CRM elsewhere, and we didn’t really have an answer for them at that time. With that in mind, we had three choices: build a CRM, acquire a company doing CRM software – and it had to be compatible with our current technology – or work with a partner that shared values and had forward-looking technology,” Greg says.
“The fit with Sugar was brilliant,” says Greg. “It is a world-class application that is recognized by the analysts – Gartner, Forrester and the rest of it – and that our customers can get the benefit of as part of an integrated suite. The customer doesn’t have to worry about multiple vendor integrations for front- and back-office, and that gives us a quick time to value and reduces risk and costs.”
Becoming A Sugar OEM Was The Right Fit
With an array of CRM companies on the market, Access Group had plenty of suitors looking to gain the business of a company rated in The Sunday Times (London) 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2014 and 2015.
Ultimately, Sugar OEM Edition’s flexibility, clear pricing structure and team relationship approach prevailed, says Greg:
“We looked at the Salesforce model and the Sugar one and we found that in terms of technology, Sugar was open source, was cloud or on-premise agnostic and that the development environment was something in which we felt we could build an OEM version of the product very easily. We also felt that SugarCRM had good synergies with us in terms of who the company targets as customers. We very much liked the extensibility of the platform, and the OEM terms were a positive.”
Sugar sales produced about $1 million last year, accounting for about 25 percent of net new business for the aCloud unit of The Access Group, which has been cited in The Sunday Times as one of the country’s fastest-growing software developers.
“That’s a significant contribution to our organization in a short time,” Greg says. “We find it pretty easy to on-board new customers to the Sugar platform in whatever way they may be adopting it,” Greg says. “The Sugar structure helps us when we want to sell CRM into our existing enterprise client base, and because the technology is easy to deploy, we are aligned with Sugar in its market targets.”
The Cloud and European Union Privacy Regulations
While it may seem counterintuitive that Access Group is cloud-oriented in markets that have more stringent privacy laws than the United States, Greg says the company views cloud-based applications as the wave of the future, and wants to capitalize on that, while remaining in compliance with European Union privacy requirements.
All hosting is with companies based in the United Kingdom, which helps compliance, Greg says.
“We’re always in compliance with the Safe Harbor requirements,” says Greg. “But we see the cloud as the growth area, while still assuring our customers of their privacy. We’ll do on-premise installations if the customer requires it, but it is not a large part of our business plan.”
A few clients prefer on-premise hosting or are so remote that they do not have internet access. But nearly 95 percent of Access Group’s customers use cloud-hosting, which makes updates easier and helps smooth integrations with Sugar.
A Great Fit For Both Companies
As an OEM partner, Access Group sees its relationship with SugarCRM, the company, as a success for itself and its customers.
Using Sugar OEM Edition as the focal point, Access Group integrates its proprietary Enterprise Resource Planning software, a financial tracking product it calls Dimensions, its professional services automation platform, called FocalPoint; and software unique to the client company’s field – manufacturing, professional services or whatever the vertical might be.
“Then, we use Sugar to surface all that data in a client-centric way, allowing customers to run the CRM process over the top of it all,” says Greg. “It makes for a much more efficient and adaptable business solutions package for our customers.”
That same customer-centric focus and ease of use made the world’s most affordable and flexible CRM attractive to The Access Group.
“Commercially, Sugar worked well for us: we liked the product fit for our customer, and we were able to work with SugarCRM on our needs as an OEM,” Greg says. “We’re quite proud of the fact that we are working with Sugar – we like what you are doing with the brand – and we see a brilliant future in working together.”