Sugar CRM Software: ReviewBy Partho, Gaea News Network
Monday, March 16, 2009
In my article on Top 10 Customer Relationship Management Software, I had highlighted one of widely adopted open source software - Sugar CRM. Here I want to share the review of the Sugar CRM software. Sugar CRM offers commercial open source customer relationship management applications for various companies around the world. There are two commercial products offered by SUgar CRM - Sugar Professional and Sugar Enterprise. Sugar CRM seems to be designed for the budget conscious businesses looking to support the technology and business model without making a major investment in the first place. After the release of its version 4.5, the application can also run with Microsoft’s Windows Server operating system and SQL Server database. This has proliferated the acceptance of the application. Let’s delve into it’s features to discover more about the software.
Sugar CRM is distinct from most of the other CRM software, since it is an open source software. It is powered by LAMP software stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP). LAMP stack is easily supported and this enables Sugar Sales Professional to be deployed for minimal fee. It’s a responsive, stable and customizable technology designed to meet the enterprise level demands.
It’s important to mention that although Sugar CRM is an open source it is not a part of open source initiative. Having said that is also a fact that it is the most preferred commercial open source since there are no significant open source CRM providers in the market.
Features of Sugar CRM
Set up and Administration
The set up is easy to handle. It allows the user to integrate plug-ins for Microsoft Outlook and Word. The customizable dashboard offers real time information about business performance. Bulk of customer data can be imported from other CRM tools such as Sales Force and ACT.
Customer Relationship Management
The CRM includes creation of accounts and management of any contacts associated with each account. It provides details of activities such as meetings, calls tasks, notes with attachments, emails, account, lead, opportunity and case. The software also helps to manage the leads and sales prospects throughout the sales cycle.
Automation of Sales Force
Important statistics of the sales performance are provided in the dashboard. The sales opportunities pipeline, lead sources and outcomes can be seen from the Graphical dashboard. It generates the summary view of the top opportunities, appointments, open cases, leads, open tasks, sales pipeline graph, monthly calendar, and a quick contact.
Tracking Sales Opportunities
The software allows tracking of important information such as status of sales opportunities, revenue potential, probability of closing, and expected close date for procuring sales forecast. Further, it sorts and filters the most important contacts and sales opportunities.
Managing Customer Information
Information about the customers and prospects are organized in a one central database. Key information about the sales opportunities, accounts, and individual business contacts can be obtained from the central database. The incoming and outgoing email messages and appointments are automatically associated with the business contacts, business opportunities and accounts. The tasks, notes, files and phone logs can be attached to the accounts, business contacts or sales opportunities, so that they can be retrieved quickly.
Share the Customer Information with Co-Workers
The customer information can be shared with other co-workers like for instance business owner, another sales person, the administrative assistant and others.
The reports are informative and preformatted. They assist in prioritizing the sales tasks by tracking the status of the sales endeavors.
Customized report can be produced for instantaneous and summarized reports about the business contacts and opportunities.
Work Flow & Contract Management
It controls the flow of information thorough your business more efficiently. The users can be assigned task through automatic email notifications.
The CRM software offers a calender view of the corporate activities associated task list. There are shared calendars for viewing other users’ calendars which helps to avoid scheduling conflicts.
Create Quote and Invoices
The software allows the user to generate a product or item list within SugarCRM for quotes on the products and/or services. The quotes and invoices are converted to PDF and can be emailed to the account contact.
Email Campaign Management
The users can compose HTML emails and send them to specific records from the SugarCRM
Since the Sugar CRM is a open source architecture, it allows the businesses to customize, integrate and extend the CRM application based on the technical resources.
It includes additional functionality such as Advanced SQL Reporting, Advanced Project Management, Offline Client Sync etc. It allows greater scalability and support for Oracle 9i and 10g.
The affordability is a certain plus with Sugar CRM. It can be a feasible option for budget conscience organizations.
The training programs, satisfying documentation and the relatively active community
It offers a freely downloadable version.
- Although the Sugar CRM claims to fit all size of businesses. It is a solution for small businesses.
- The system administration tools are limited and some of them are missing, like account merges, flexible security models, mass modifications.
- The pipelines, forecasts and reporting are not up to the standards.
- Sugar CRM offers a full fledged free trial of the product. But it focuses more on leads than user experience.
- The open source software are yet to be fully accepted by business application specialists.
The Sugar CRM has mainly two major commercial competitors Entellium and Salesforce.com. Some of its other open source competitors include CentraView CRM, ComPiere CRM, Dark Horse Centric CRM, Anteil Open CRM, CampWare Cream CRM, Ohioedge CRM, Open-App SellWin CRM and Open SourceCRM Project.
Tags: Cases, Crm application, CRM Software, Fact, Open Source, Open Source Software, open source SUGAR CRM, review of Sugar CRM, Sugar CRM