sugar_09_logo.jpg
SugarCRM is officially out of beta and now on general release. When it was originally released in April -- in beta -- SugarCRM 6 (news, site) introduced a new user interface that focused on speed, simplicity and interoperability with other web applications and mobile devices.

The company also announced at the time that it had made the primary source code repository for Sugar Community Edition publicly accessible.

But the v6.0 release also comes with dozens of other features in two categories aimed at improving user efficiency. These include:

  • Sales and Reporting: New tools, including enhanced dashboards, to give users better insights into how their enterprise is performing internally, and how their clients are responding to sales initiatives. Sales forecasts analyze targets, trends and how the enterprise is performing in respect of each.
  • Information control: Enhanced information access controls including automatic workflow controls that streamlines the flow of information across designated departments and users. Data protection is also enhanced.

It also comes with complete data integration for profiling customers as well as enhanced mobile access for external users.

Improving User Interaction

In an increasingly crowded customer relationship management (CRM) market, SugarCRM v6 was developed, the company says, with the idea that CRM does not have to be complex to deploy or use. In this respect SugarCRM has identified three areas that it believes will make it stand out above the rest. 

Intuitive User Experience

SugarCRM’s v6.0 interaction with the user now comes with new buttons and icons that enable even those with little experience in CRM software the ability to carry out business tasks through one-click actions, simple views and inline filtering.

SugarCRM_sales force automation.jpg

SugarCRM sales force automation

 

SugarCRM overall, takes fewer clicks to see required pages while previously viewed pages can be accessed from anywhere. A revamped search function takes account of where users are working in the application and provides results best suited to work in that area.

SugarCRM_Multiple channel.jpg

Multiple channel work in SugarCRM

Flexibility

With this version of SugarCRM, users will be able to access and use applications from within the user interface including information from social networks like Twitter or LinkedIn. Sugar Studio also enables administrators define default and custom views.

Open Architecture

SugarCRM 6 is designed to run on any cloud services platform or can be deployed in any on-premise operating system.

SugarCRM v the World!

It’s probably just coincidental that SugarCRM let its full point v6.0 go to general release just as Salesforce (news, site) and Microsoft (news, site) started slinging mud at each other in the courts over patents related to CRM.

Could it be that SugarCRM is using the occasion to build itself up and turn itself into a realistic alternative to these two bruisers, especially in the SMB market where companies are increasingly looking for CRM software, but may be not prepared to pay for Dynamics or Salesforce?

Certainly SugarCRM because it is open source, is a great deal more flexible and customizable than Salesforce or Dynamics. Although Salesforce.com Unlimited edition is able to deal with unlimited custom tags and objects just like SugarCRM 6, it comes with a price tag almost twice that of SugarCRM.

SugarCRM has also been able to get itself about a lot easier and has ensured that v6.0 works with all its partners, which includes Box.net (news, site) as of last April, enabling users to collaborate on documents in the cloud from within SugarCRM, and KnowledgeTree (news, site) last December, while its community edition was placed in the Microsoft Web Apps gallery last August.

SugarCRM Collaboration.jpg

SugarCRM user interaction and collaboration

It has also just announced at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference that Sugar 6 is certified for deployment on the Microsoft Windows Azure platform.

While the beta of v 6.0 has been around since April, the general release will push it out into a market that doesn’t have a lot of spare cash and might just be tempted by a full CRM product with the right price tag. Only time will tell. In the meantime, if you want to take a free seven day trial you can access it here.