Is Salesforce Copying the Crust and Corteza Product Strategy?

Is Salesforce Copying the Crust and Corteza Product Strategy?

Last week brought us the news that two of the most significant players in the CRM market, Salesforce and Microsoft had struck a deal. Salesforce Marketing Cloud will soon be hosted by Microsoft Azure. At the same time Microsoft Teams, a Slack Messaging alternative, will be integrated with Salesforce Sales CRM and Service Clouds.

When we were first designing Crust and Corteza’s product strategy, our research showed that Salesforce Chatter, the internal messaging system on the cloud-only platform, was the most disappointing element of its portfolio. In its place, we decided to implement a core Messaging system inspired by Slack’s architecture and feature set. This feature set is already included in our Sales CRM and Service Cloud.

Why was Slack-like Messaging of such interest? At Crust, we believe that openness, consistency and standardisation of data architecture are critical to the healthy long-term functioning of a business. Cobbled-together data architectures are expensive to maintain, and it’s always the customer that pays. Crust and our community project, Corteza, avoid such complexity by default. Our Messaging can suck in data from thousands of different sources if we wish and standardise that data for use across our various applications. Try to do that with email…

At Crust, we believe that openness, consistency and standardisation of data architecture are critical to the healthy long-term functioning of a business.

It remains to be seen what Salesforce’s decision to hold hands with Microsoft means in terms of businesses’ data sovereignty. Recently, Google’s been accused of health data stockpiling, and one of the concerns is that data from one service will be used to promote others. Is it possible someday that Microsoft buys Salesforce outrightly, giving it unfettered access to all activity on the powerful trio of Salesforce, LinkedIn and Skype? That’s a lot of sensitive trading data and intellectual property, and it highlights the big question of a data grab where Microsoft may find itself wandering into antitrust territory once again.

However, let’s face it; this is all about money. The real costs of Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics365 already border on extortionate. How much more customers can be “locked-in” by dependence on the vendors’ closed business logic implementations and hoisted with new charges remains to be seen. If history is any measure, then they usually find a way.

Crust and Corteza will always aim to include market-leading features, will always provide familiar UI’s and UX and will always be 100% free and open. Our strategy to offer a robust, self-hosted alternative to Salesforce looks more aligned than ever.

So is Salesforce copying Crust and Corteza’s strategies? Maybe just a little wink in our direction with their Microsoft Teams integration, but for the rest, we’re a whole lot safer and less expensive a bet 😉

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Crust or Corteza?

At Crust we often get asked the question as to whether an organisation should use Crust or Corteza? If your deployment is in a professional setting, then we always recommend Crust. If not, Corteza is a good option, as it usually has some extra features. We often use the analogy of Fedora’s relationship to Red Hat Enterprise Linux to explain the differences. However, that’s an over-simplified comparison, and we usually need to explain in more detail. The following are some useful questions and answers:

What’s the difference between Crust and Corteza?

Corteza is fundamentally a development and testing platform. We’re continually adding new features to it, and it often gets updated a few times a week. This “rolling-release” approach means you need to know your way around Corteza to support it reliably.

Best think of Crust of as an enterprise product based on Corteza source code. It is stable and thoroughly tested. The versions we sell are based on major releases which only come out every three months (the next major version release is 19.12 this December). Crust also doesn’t contain everything in Corteza, for apparent reasons.

Are There Other Differences?

Yes, and they’re essential differences too! They primarily concern intellectual property.

Corteza is released under an Apache 2.0 license. It is 100% the property of the Commons Conservancy Foundation. Crust, while based on Corteza code, has its proprietary binaries and a proprietary user subscription model.

One reason Crust takes this approach is to offer more flexibility to enterprise customers who may not want to work with an exclusively open source license. Customers may wish to add on their proprietary extensions or business logic.

The other main reason is that open-source software licenses are distributed “as is” without warranties or assurances of any kind. The “as is” condition is often unacceptable to enterprises, with good reason. Businesses need to know someone’s going to take responsibility when software throws up bugs and other surprises.

Will Long-Term Support Ever be made Available for Corteza?

Yes, we certainly hope so someday. The stronger the community gets, the more likely this will be. Corteza counts many great organisations amongst its users to date, and exciting new developments are happening almost by the week.

Long-term support is a big responsibility for a community to bear and maintain. However, with enough determination, we’ll reach that goal, for sure.

Any Plans for a SaaS Service?

For those who don’t want to self-host their deployments and wish to leave all support and management to the team here at Crust Technology, we will be delivering a Crust Cloud in 2020. Watch this space for more information!

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How CRM Software Can Change Your Online Business

When you hear the word CRM, what comes to your mind? Do you see a software that helps you keep customer data or do you see an application that provides actionable insights? If you think of it only as a customer information repository, then you may not be taking much advantage of the capabilities of a CRM system. If you think of it as a way to grow your business, then you are on the right track.

But a CRM application is not just for your sales team only. It can also work for your marketing and customer service units. When you align your customer relationship management (CRM) strategy with other departments’ workflows, you can uncover more information about your customers, thus giving you a holistic view of them. Then you can have a better understanding of them, which can help you gain their trust and continuing business.

That is not all. A CRM solution has other benefits for your business such as the ones we discuss below .

1. It can help you understand your customers

The main purpose of CRM is right there in the name: to build stronger relationships with customers. This is preferable to finding new leads and prospects because they cost 5 times more than to maintain your business relationships with your current clients, according to an infographic by Invesp.

Finding new customers is more costly than keeping existing ones.

When used correctly, a CRM can boost your business with existing customers because it helps you see who is making purchases, who is engaged with your marketing activities, and who you need to watch to make sure they stay with your company.

The insights you gain from a CRM software can also help you personalize your interactions with your buyers one-on-one. It can be something as basic as using their names on emails or it can be something as complex as curating content that is tailored to their needs and interests.

2. It empowers you to appreciate your clients

When you store all of your customer data on your CRM system, you can see with a glance who among your patrons provide you with the most revenue. You can use this information for creating targeted marketing campaigns that can entice this percentage of customers to spend more.

You can do that by reaching out to them individually via a personalized email. This is when you can tell them how much you appreciate their business and give them offers and discounts exclusive only for them. You can also generate special coupons or codes for their use and enter those in your CRM platform to make sure that they are honored upon checkout.

3. It can aid you in making good use of your data

Big data is big. It is not just in size but in impact as well. Since your CRM process requires that you collect information from customers at every turn, it becomes a data mine that you can exploit. You can get insights from this dataset through reports and dashboards. The latter offers you a comprehensive summary while the former can provide you with in-depth information.

Additionally, you can utilize your CRM data to determine the performance of your sales team. Once you have the numbers, you can determine who the top performers are, who are lagging behind, and the areas where you need to work on.

That is not all there is to data, though. Modern CRM solutions are now capable of connecting with third-party software. You can take advantage of this by integrating it with a BI/analytics solution so that you can uncover more insights that can help drive business growth.

4. It automates tasks and boosts efficiency

If you started doing business without advanced software, it can be challenging to make teams use CRM. However, once you show them what such a system can do and ease them into adopting it, then they may embrace it fully in no time.

But what exactly can a CRM software do to make your workforce accept it?

For one, it can automate redundant tasks like data entry. Nobody likes inputting the same information over again into a system. With a CRM armed with automation capabilities, your employees can save time and energy because it enters the necessary information into relevant fields.

Moreover, this application relieves your employees of the task of having to follow-up with customers, leads, and prospects. That is because your CRM solution can trigger follow-up emails when it meets certain conditions (that you can set when you configure it the first time).

5. It lets you take your business wherever there is internet

The beauty of cloud-based applications is the way they offer mobility. This can only mean that you can work on the go, from home, or even in a cafe or another setting. Because of this, you can answer the queries of your staff and step in to resolve issues anytime.

What’s more, your being able to access your CRM technology from anywhere helps you stay in control and make sure that business is running smoothly even when you are not present in the office.

Putting customers first

A customer-first approach can help you put your business operations perspective. That is something a CRM can assist you with because of its rich data regarding your leads and purchasers. With the insights you uncover, you can enhance your engagement and marketing strategies to make them more attractive to your entire audience or to specific segments. Therefore, you can inspire loyalty and retain your best customers.

Cross-Application and Federated Automation with Crust Corredor

5 August 2019
Cork, Ireland

Crust Technology has announced the impending release of Crust Corredor, its new backend technology for cross-application and federated workflow automation.

The original philosophical intent behind Crust was for the platform to be a seamless three way marriage between identity, communication and business logicsays Niall McCarthy, CEO of Crust Technology.While Crust’s flexible and scalable micro-service architecture helps make it the ideal private cloud technological alternative to Salesforce’s centralised public cloud, Corredor delivers on our philosophical intent”.

What is Corredor?

Corredor is a trigger-based automation plugin designed specifically for the Crust platform. Corredor adds more safety, resilience, consistency and flexibility to the existing front-end javascript automation engine that ships with Crust CRM and Crust Compose by default. Extending your key CRM and Service Cloud workflows across your entire Crust deployment and beyond is about to become a reality.

Automations Across Crust CRM and Crust Compose Applications

Corredor will enable customers to build automations and CRM workflows across any Crust Compose-based component or namespace, reducing duplication of effort and maximising synergies between your Crust applications.

Federated Automation Across Instances of the Crust Platform

Via Crust API’s it will be possible to generate automation actions across different instances of the Crust platform, opening up a world of opportunity for efficient third party collaboration. With Corredor, your organisation can share native Crust data anonymously and securely, decouple critical records-based systems gradually and smoothly, or simply deploy multiple free-standing systems with tight data inter-relationships.

System and Messaging Triggers (Coming Soon!)

Corredor will soon extend to all parts of the core Crust platform, delivering automation capabilities for both the Crust System and Crust Messaging services, thereby ensuring the marriage of identity, communication and business logic is complete.

Version Control with Git Integration (Coming Soon!)

To help protect your organisation and deliver clear version control over your automations, HTTP support for Git-based repositories will be included with Corredor. The truly flexible enterprise needs to be able to examine, re-use, evolve and even roll back its business logic easily and safely. Combined with Crust Compose’s unlimited namespace feature, Corredor delivers the complete business logic automation solution.

In line with Crust Technology’s open source policy, all software code for Crust Corredor will be contributed to the Corteza project at https://www.cortezaproject.org where it will be freely available to users on a permanent basis.

Crust Corredor will be released in early September 2019. For Proof-of-Concept trials please contacts Crust at sales@crust.tech.

10 Reasons why Crust CRM is the True Salesforce Alternative

Many CRM applications claim to be an alternative to Salesforce, the cloud-only market leader, but very few can actually justify this claim. Crust CRM has been designed to be superior in many ways to Salesforce whilst delivering a competitive feature set. If you’re looking for a Salesforce alternative, here’s why Crust CRM should be the top of your list. Read more

Crust Technology Announces “Crust Service Cloud”

16 July 2019
Cork, Ireland

Crust, the most advanced open source CRM in the world and the No. 1 private cloud alternative to Salesforce, has announced the upcoming release of Crust Service Cloud.

Crust Service Cloud will deliver the following feature set:

  • Agent console with 360 degree view of any customer
  • Advanced Case Management with integrated omni-channel communications
  • Attachments Management
  • Products Module
  • Service Level Agreement (SLA) Tracking and Monitoring
  • Knowledge Base
  • Integrated Response Templates
  • Dashboards
  • Escalation Automation
  • Scripts Module
  • Self-service Portal
  • Integration with the Corteza Application Ecosystem
  • Skills module for intelligently and automatically assigning tasks to the most appropriate staff member
  • Complete integration with Crust CRM and Crust Messaging
  • Mobile ready

Read more

Customer Identity and Access Management with Crust

With Crust CRM, customer engagement is secure and seamless. Of course, having an Identity and Access Management specialist investing in your business helps – Crust is part owned by DAASI International, Europe’s leading open source IAM consultancy. Balancing customer security with convenience is an important design goal in Crust which been expertly implemented by DAASI International and the Crust team.

Here are some of the key features for enterprises: Read more

High Trust “Customer Scale” Messaging with Crust

Every business needs an effective and secure messaging system. However, that system should also be able to scale to customer populations, bringing your automated processes, workflows and your team itself into a closer and richer collaboration with your customers than ever before.

Crust Enterprise Messaging is a self-hosted or private cloud enterprise messaging system with a comparable feature set to Slack corporate messaging. It provides a important communication layer for Crust CRM, but exists as a standalone offering too. Read more

The Best Customer Service Experience is Built on Crust

Building a great customer service platform is no easy task. Mapping customer experience and user journeys is complex and ever-changing. Ensuring your technology keeps up requires a platform sufficiently flexible and extensible – but it can’t be a headache to maintain either. Unifying identity, customer records, communications and interactions, marketing requirements, processing queries and complaints and delivering varied customer engagement applications securely requires the right tools at your disposal.

As the world’s most advanced open source CRM and the No. 1 secure private cloud alternative to Salesforce, Crust delivers a unified approach to co-ordinating and simplifying the customer user experience for both your organisation and its customers. Read more

Why choose Crust and Corteza? Because Customer and User Trust are Sacred.

I’ve been asked a good number of times over the last few days why Crust Technology decided to donate all its software intellectual property to the Commons Conservancy Foundation and created Corteza “The Digital Work Platform for Humanity”. Why give away what many tech businesses consider to be the crown jewel in their commercial portfolio?

Read more