This is a guest post by Erik Wikman, Engineering Manager at Epicom Corporation.
A snow storm totaling 1.25 inches in Austin, Texas this past winter yielded the development of several Twilio-based products including a Universal Click-to-Call plugin for SugarCRM. Epicom responded quickly and developed an emergency SMS system
to warn all employees of the unsafe driving conditions. The message was sent out of our SugarCRM system as text messages to each employee’s cell phone.
Our firm, Epicom, is an Austin-based consulting and development company that builds, supports, and hosts complex web-based Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems. We do a lot of integrations with SugarCRM and other back-end systems. One of the more common integrations we do is telephony related and we now use Twilio for those integrations.
Getting Started With Twilio
Epicom started using Twilio on an internal project to be able to send staff members
SMS text messages to their mobile device from within SugarCRM. Later on we used
Twilio to build a conference bridge system so that our sales reps could invite clients to a
conference call using the CRM system. If the CRM system recognizes the client’s phone
number it announces them into the conference, and if it doesn’t it requires them to put in
After testing the waters with those first two projects, Epicom saw even greater
opportunity using Twilio. We found that a click-to-call application using Twilio would be
a good solution for a lot of our clients that had an old phone system that was proprietary
and difficult to integrate with any CRM system. With Twilio, we could build one
universal click-to-call system that would work with any phone system. Our internal
project evolved into Epicom’s Universal Click-to-Call Plugin for SugarCRM and is the
most recent product that we’ve launched publicly.
[youtube width="640" height="390"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPCUUebHDjE[/youtube]
How We Built Click-to-Call
SugarCRM is written in PHP so we’re primarily using the PHP helper library that Twilio
provides. We are coding it directly into Sugar using PHP. Click-to-Call was completely
written in an upgrade safe design and is module-loadable. Whether a client is using
Windows, Linux, or any other environment, Epicom’s Click-to-Call plugin is compatible
with all of the different SugarCRM platform options.
Working With the Twilio API
Developing Click-to-Call and other products using Twilio has been pretty easy. It’s
a very user friendly API, it’s well documented, and it comes with a helper library for
several languages, which makes the development go quicker. The Twilio API is also very robust and scalable. If a customer is using Click-to-Call or another product powered by Twilio we don’t have to worry about the system keeping up if the business doubles or
triples the number of agents. It’s nice to not have to worry about those architecture issues for scaling the product. Overall, it’s just been a very user friendly API for a developer to work with.
Future Plans for Click-to-Call Using Twilio Client
A few months ago we went out to Twilio’s headquarters for a V.I.P. weekend where they
demonstrated some of the new things that are up and coming, which included Twilio Client.
We started working on the new version of Click-to-Call at the event so that we could
demonstrate how we could use the product without a traditional landline or legacy phone
system. The next release of the Click-to-Call product will be based on Twilio Client
and will be less expensive for our customers to use because it is browser-based.
In the following video, Epicom’s Engineering Manager Eric Wikman discusses the benefits and advantages in using Twilio with CRM. He also mentions the release of the Twilio Client product and how that has impacted Epicom’s Click-to-Call product and other CRM related tools Epicom has built.
[youtube width="640" height="390"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hrl2kUjO20g[/youtube]
Many thanks to Eric Wikman for writing all about Epicom’s Twilio integration. We’re looking forward to seeing all the cool things they integrate into their CRM offerings! If you have questions regarding any of Epicom’s products, shoot them an email.