Renowned Architectural Firm Hits It BIG with Sugar
Bjarke Ingels Group, known as BIG, is a trend-setting architectural firm with offices in the United States and Europe. Among its works are VIA 57 West, a 44-story residential high-rise, and Two World Trade Center in New York City, the LEGO House in Denmark and the Washington Redskins football stadium.
Headquarters: Copenhagen, New York City
Use case: Marketing
Partner: UpCurve Cloud
Challenge: Centralize contact management data and make it transparent; manage projects and potential projects within one platform; drive user adoption.
Solution: Sugar Enterprise, hosted on-premise, with customizations by Sugar Elite Partner UpCurve Cloud.
- Cost savings by restructuring databases before they grew too large to manage
- Time savings by creating workflows that fostered transparency and enriched information-sharing
- At-a-glance, color-keyed data via UpCurve Cloud reporting enhancements
BIG’s Growth Trend Demands a Workhorse CRM
With high profile-projects throughout Europe, North America, Asia and the Middle East, BIG’s growth was outstripping its ability to track projects and contacts.
BIG had relied on Microsoft Outlook and Excel for contact management, with no central database to hold all the information. Users couldn’t find and report in a timely way.
Leadership decided it was vital to centralize data, creating a singular place where users could access all the information. And it had to do it now; waiting could take double the time and costs to make the change.
Before implementing Sugar, BIG had a CRM marketed towards the architecture and engineering industries, but the firm scrapped it within a year. BIG had several custom configuration needs that the other CRM wasn’t built to accommodate, and it needed an Outlook integration.
Not only was the lack of a robust, enterprise-level CRM hurting business, it was dampening user enthusiasm toward any CRM.
"There was a general feeling of weariness around the subject of implementing a new CRM," says Arielle Cruz, business development manager.
A CRM for Visual People
The BIG team consists of highly visual people. They are designers by nature, visual learners and communicators, inspired by the visually stunning.
That need played into Sugar’s wheelhouse because the business transforming platform is easily and cost-effectively customized.
In UpCurve Cloud’s hands, the Sugar Enterprise application was customized for all the color-coding BIG had used in Outlook and Excel.
When Outlook was synched to Sugar, users saw the same familiar Contact color codes.
"We love the way contacts and relationships are comprehensively linked,” says Arielle. “We can identify people who are working on a project as well as what their role is on the project, which is super important to us."
The business development team, which kept a complex color-coded spreadsheet to track the status and type of potential projects, saw the same color indicators when it pulled reports in Sugar.
Retaining the color codes helped substantially with user adoption.
“Because everything is centralized now, we know where to find the information we’re looking for, and our work process is much faster, reliable, and more efficient,” says Arielle.
Today, BIG uses Sugar to manage a multi-country pipeline and business development activities. The marketing, business development, press and front office teams see Sugar fulfilling their original hopes for CRM functionality.
"When putting together our marketing materials, it’s been such an improvement to be able to gather general project information such as size, location and program so quickly. Without Sugar, we would end up either contacting colleagues for additional details or shuffling through several folders and emails, which took up a lot of our time," Arielle says.
BIG Will Build on its CRM Success
Riding the success of its implementation and user adoption, BIG is looking at more Sugar uses, such as adding functionality to track the firm’s exhibitions and lectures.
Arielle also wants to gain more operational insights by expanding reports and dashboard use.
"Having this centralized database creates opportunities for us to run analyses that may reveal more about our business development workflow that we hadn’t considered before,” she says.
It appears she’ll have executive-level support.
“Our tailored CRM system will ensure that BIG is able to respond to any future possibility,” says Kai-Uwe Bergmann, a BIG partner and head of business development.
This story is based on information provided by Sugar Elite Partner UpCurve Cloud.
Customizations: Adapted Task and Contact Modules for color-coding
Headquarters: Ramsey, NJ.
Phone: (800) 775-8378