It has been one week since we shot the Quickbooks Tech Talk and the final edit has already been finished. It will be uploaded to YouTube later today. The experience of this first video alone has been incredibly valuable.
The interview in itself was a success, mostly. Nerves prevented me from conducting in the organized manner I had hoped, but Amanda was there to fill in the gaps. The important thing is that I broke the ice. I will only get better. With admirable articulation, Tommy willingly gave an awesome performance and in response to the questions, helped me to understand the technical processes behind the integration between Quickbooks and SugarCRM. An open-source PHP web connector was used, which runs a scheduled job every 5 minutes to ping a queue within Sugar so that the information on either end of the integration is synced. Tommy and the engineers can build customized triggers that place Quickbooks actions into the queue. In this case, an invoice checkbox was built in Sugar’s records. All the user has to do is check it – one mouse click – and within five minutes the invoice record will be processed on the Quickbooks side. I love the user interface simplicity. After hearing this description in the interview, then reading the transcription a few times over, then hearing it again while reviewing the footage, I finally got the picture. A family member brought to my attention the fact that people process information differently. Some need to hear it, others need to read it or watch it, but for people like me it really drives home when it is presented audibly, visually, and in text. Amanda and I tried to incorporate this theory into the final edit, which employs screencasts and engaging graphics that paint a picture to what is being said.
I am astounded at how much I have learned in just this past week. I felt like I could have done a better job in composing the shot to get rid of a few glitches, but I decided to dismiss the blunders and carry on with the project. In hindsight, I am grateful that these shenanigans occurred on the first video, rather than the fifth. Now I have a higher standard and an improved strategy. My editing confidence has received a definite boost and I am excited for further experimentation with all the enhancement effects Final Cut has to offer. I can’t tell you how much I have already learned by practice on the technical end of production, and how much I have grown emotionally. Much to my appreciation, Amanda was there to guide me through this first video, and I enjoyed our collaboration. The rest of the team has also been very encouraging and supportive. All in all, I am having a blast.
I am rounding the end of my forth day at Epicom. In just a few short days I weaned myself off of written notes entirely and mentally concluded that “Q4” means the last three months in a year! Success!
Coming from a background in video production, I have no prior knowledge of Customer Relationship Management software. It has taken physical practice and a couple of re-reads to clearly understand the concept. I’ve only exercised a few basic functions that are designed to assist in organization and open staff communication, but to be quite candid it has already become hard for me to imagine life without it. I never knew I was such a fan of time management. These digital to-do lists are delicious.
There is still a ton of CRM features with which I have yet to become familiar. It looks like I will be learning as I go while building my video production repertoire – recording screencast demos, editing Tech Talks, covering conferences, interviewing co-workers…the list goes on! I’m stoked. I really ended up in the right place at the right time. I have a huge opportunity to improve my craft and discover a cool, complex technological industry, straight from the source. By the way, these tech folk are a bunch of highly creative innovators who are also very quick-witted and welcoming. Everyone here values and supports one another, a refreshing attitude that is extended toward newcomers. My first day, Bill invited the entire team out to lunch. At yesterday morning’s meeting, I got to watch Anthony demonstrate his development of the search engine on SugarCRM’s history subpanel (read about it here) in addition to hearing a piece of personal good news from each employee. There was lots of clapping and laughter…a lively bunch. I could sense the buzz in the air after my first interview. I am very grateful for having landed in a harmonious environment where I can contribute to an existing positive vibe.
Today, Amanda and I are going to shoot what will be my very first Tech Talk experience! Time to rock.
So, my all-time favorite thing about SugarCRM is…
The “AHA!” moments that happen when using Sugar. It is so easy to see a way to solve a problem or make something more efficient. Since Sugar is open-source, it is easy to modify to a new solution to a problem. The open API is what makes all of those things possible, and is my number one favorite thing about Sugar. It helps trigger and create the “AHAs” and the “I-can-do-mores” in this post.
That “AHA” moment definitely includes how I learned–and feel that I could run a business using only SugarCRM. I come from a liberal arts background, and there aren’t many Bachelor of Arts requirements that teach business management. If you are a small business owner and you are here because you are looking for your first CRM, check out the free-trial of Sugar. You don’t need to put any of your information into it first, but get a trial and look around. Just by doing that first step, I could connect a lot of little dots for how I can make my processes easier.
I know how to balance a check book. I thankfully learned that lesson in elementary school, but I never realized managing budgets can get tricky. In Sugar, I saw that I could create any possible expense and assign it to a customer, a campaign, anything. Any little administrative task is set up, right there, in the CRM, meaning all the little things I never learned with my liberal arts degree are set up for me to go “AHA.”
For example, I can create a contract from a quote. With an integration Epicom made, I can click a button and the information in the quote will be transferred to the contract template. Then, I can email it to the recipient. If I really want to get efficient I can get the EchoSign plug in, which allows the recipient to sign it electronically. Too easy.
I am a fan of how Sugar organized potential clients to customers. While playing with the system and the basic infrastructure inside of the crm, I got a lot of ideas to apply the same organization to my own projects. Applying it to Google+ was the most fun I had writing a blog entry. My only regret is that Google+ for businesses aren’t up-and-running yet.
There are tons of other things Sugar can do and tons of things to discover, which is why my favorite thing about SugarCRM is the “AHAs.”
I am starting to see the value of CRM behind contact and data-based services. I talked about my first step of using CRM as a Rolodex. This expands on that post.
Recently, I used different platforms for information and organizational collaboration, and had a technology “AHA!” moment. I can’t even imagine how our engineer’s brains work. Our engineers impress me with the solutions they develop, and the creativity behind the solution.
This is what was going on in my head,
I used two products that triggered this thought, an email list builder and a media/journalist email finder.
Both have tons, if not millions of contacts. Both need a clean CRM and database.
They need accurate information that can be updated or flagged by users. A way for users to know the last update time of the information. The updated content needs value. Both need simple and relevant searching ability. Above all, the information needs to reach its destination, and to have the opportunity for tweaks and growth.
My “AHA!” moment was that a CRM helps solve all the issues a data-based contact service faces, and that there are companies like Epicom that help solve these problems. Behind every great online service is a great, well-thought out, planned CRM.
And this doesn’t just apply to contact-based services. It is for small, online boutiques and stores to manage descriptions of merchandise. All possibilities can materialize with a great engineer and CRM.
I have been editing blog entries at Epicom for two and a half months now, and I just learned what VoIP means. For those of you also learning CRM, it means Voice over Internet Protocol or voice communication using the Internet.
So, why is VoIP important?
VoIP allows users to call nationally and internationally for cheap, since users only need an Internet connection and a computer. VoIP is not limited to voice communication. Most VoIP services incorporate video and text.
For example at Epicom, we partner with Twilio, a cloud communications platform. We recently used their voice and phone application to build a Click-to-Call plugin for SugarCRM. This plugin allows users to click on any phone number and initiate the call from their CRM system.
VoIP is important because it changes the way our society–our world communicates. It is becoming easier for all-sized businesses to work with people across the country and overseas.
It is a fundamental shift in the way we communicate.
I was surprised to learn how VoIP applications are changing our lives. Technology is advancing what we are capable of as employees, as businesses and as people. It allows us to make life easier. better. cheaper.
Being able to click-to-call from the CRM reduces wasted time for sales, marketing and operations teams. It may seem silly but those little things improve the quality of life.
By cutting that time out of a persons day, there is more time for innovation and advancement.
Those two words, innovation and advancement, are the core of business. I just learned the meaning of VoIP, but as I read, I started thinking of the possibilities. I encourage you to think of how VoIP and technology can help your business. You never know what you could be over looking.
Long delay in posting, I went on a tour of America to visit my family. I had not seen some of them since I was ten.
When I sat down to write this blog entry, I was not sure where I was going to start. Then, I thought about my family members I went without seeing for so long. It reminded me of really great, loyal customers. They knew everything about my life. From school, relationships and my pets; my family knew about me. Just like great customers know about services, products and employees.
But between school, relationships and pets, I lost track of them. This can happen to great, loyal customers too. I decided to learn about setting up tasks in SugarCRM, and what happens when the task starts in the system. So, I will remember to keep up with my customers.
First select Task in the drop down menu.
This is what the blank form looks like in Sugar.