Out of the Box vs. Out-of-the-Box

I am doing a lot of analyst and press briefings for our next release (which is awesome BTW) and I always get the question: How much of this is out-of-the-box functionality?

And I answer in kind.  Fine. But on a call with the always illuminating Denis Pombriant of Beagle Research (seriously, I never leave a conversation with Denis without a new idea) we had a funny discussion about how Sugar is an “out of the box” thinker when it comes to CRM and how we empower our users, developers and partners. I wish I could delve more into the conversation without violating my own NDA.

Anyway, the talk led me to think about the future of CRM. I seriously think we will see less and less 100% “out-of-the-box” configurations when it comes to the new social media, web 2.0 or whatever we call it features – and more super easy to use tool sets to make web mashups and unstructured data management possible inside a CRM system.

By empowering users with foolproof toolsets, their imagination and “out of the box” thinking can create much more in-depth and valuable custom features than we could as a vendor. We cannot think of all the web properties, data service providers, etc. that empower businesses and enrich their CRM processes – but we can make it easy for others to do so. It is simply another extension of our commercial open source model – creating strong frameworks that users can leverage to do great things specific to their real business needs – not drawn up in some engineering workshop in Silicon Valley.

Next week we will reveal some awesome new features and I’ll be blogging about some use-case scenarios I have already dreamed up for these new features…kind of an “out of the box” primer for the next great phase in SugarCRM’s development.