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Since X2CRM—a comprehensive software suite developed by X2Engine—is built upon a single code and database, the franchising company was able to create new modules and advanced customizations without any knowledge of coding. While X2CRM’s eight built-in modules are designed to cover every customer interface during marketing, sales, orders, support, and service interactions, the platform also includes X2Studio—a drag-and-drop feature that allows users to personalize X2CRM to fit their respective business needs. At the heart of the product, however, are two software components: X2Flow, a visual workflow automation engine, and X2Process, a process management framework and marketing automation.
In an interview with CIO Applications, David Buchanan, the CEO of X2Engine, explains how X2CRM’s open-source philosophy has led to 40,000 global deployments, the benefits of automation in marketing and sales, and a whole lot more.
What were the factors that led to X2Engine foraying into the collaboration landscape?
Traditionally, a CRM platform—which encompasses every last bit of information ranging from a list of customers, marketing strategies, sales leads, prospective clients, and more—is meant to enhance interaction and communication around a corporation. However, our platform collaborates with almost any organizational asset—be it collaboration around support issues, sales, and marketing processes, or customer project plans. We believe the whole idea of collaboration is ‘if you can view information within the context of your customer base, it’s much more usable.’ We have achieved that through X2CRM.
How do the Project Management capabilities of the platform tie into CRM?
Our clients love the idea of an integrated project management tool collaborated around CRM. For example, a client can view the details of a big account (on the platform) and notice there are four ongoing projects; each project has to be assigned to specific people. So, the platform can help them manage both projects and resources efficiently. Since the platform keeps track of each account and every project, the workforce can accordingly collaborate, either at a task level or project level. The built-in automation generates project reports on a daily or monthly basis, including comprehensive data of each project, the progress or lack thereof, changes in the database of an account, etc.
We believe the whole idea of collaboration is ‘if you can view information within the context of your customer base, it’s much more usable.’ We have achieved that through X2CRM
No, our platform is holistic and open-ended. A wide range of industries is already using it. We have always wanted to create an extensible and non-industry-specific platform. Unlike other CRMs, the components in the X2CRM are easily customizable and extendable to meet the individual needs of any company. We are written in the same platform as Facebook, and since we leverage AWS’ cloud services, our platform is highly scalable and user-friendly. When a client wants to integrate new modules, we can build that for them within two or three weeks. This degree of accessibility makes us the premier Enterprise CRM in the marketplace.
Could you delve into the X2CRM platform and other solutions offered by X2Engine?
The unique capability of our platform is the users can get both a resource-centric view and a customer-centric view. The former represents how an organization has delegated every last resource, which employee is assigned to a particular task, how many project(s) are being handled by specific employees, the projected degree of leftover work per assignment, etc. All this data is integrated with calendars and spreadsheets. The customer-centric view gives enterprises real-time information on the status of projects, e-mails from clients, prospective clients, etc. The workflow component of the platform (X2Flow) changes colors depending on the status of a project. While the color green symbolizes that a project is on track, the color red indicates trouble. We believe the real beauty of our CRM-based collaboration/project management tool is to empower enterprises to get perspectives from both sides.
Can you share a customer success story where X2Engine has helped one of its clients overcome their business hurdles and attain the desired outcomes?
This particular client wanted to track a lot of their internal projects. To do so, they migrated to a collaboration tool. However, every user in their organization could get access to the platform, and log in comments, calls, and different type of assets. Since all the status messages of accounts were being keyed in by anonymous users, the situation was out of control. They couldn’t create a system to identify which employee was working on a particular project. Since it was such a fluid environment, people were getting moved from one project to another daily. Since shifting to X2CRM, they can track their resources from tasks, and by doing that, they can automatically track the projects. The moral of that story is ‘if you can’t quantify, you can’t manage.’ This story proves why enterprises need the X2CRM platform to track everything, increase profits, reduce costs, and improve customer relationships.
Could you talk us through how users can connect external APIs in the X2CRM platform?
The X2REST-ful API allows our customers to connect the CRM to a world of external applications and interfaces. It’s possible to run any external API on the platform. We believe this is a level of sophistication that has never existed before, in terms of defining an app and business processes before tying them all together with the workflow engine. We’re creating a whole new world of CRM. What we’re excited about is the Hub Sources—which provides a 360 degree of the customer in the form of reports and insights. While upper management can delve deeper into marketing, sales, and support performance, regular employees can see how their activities are influencing customers in live activity feeds, alerts and dashboards.
What differentiates X2Engine from other collaboration solution providers?
From our vantage point, X2CRM is a self-defining app and the only fully integrated CRM with a marketing automation platform. While most marketing automation vendors don’t have a CRM, there are CRM vendors that don’t have a marketing automation package. We’re the first and only fully integrated, marketing automation and CRM vendor. Since it is an open-source project, anyone can extend the app in any way they desire. Our enterprise version comes with an in-built application platform where customers can easily extend capabilities and add new features. All of that can be done without any coding!