Review of SugarCRM

January, 2015

Rating: 4/5

SugarCRM is the flagship product of Sugar, that unusually for CRM products, is based on the open source platform. It has most of the key features required by small to medium sized businesses of a CRM package, although it falls behind the market leaders if you have a requirement for detailed reports and analysis.

SugarCRM is a Software as a Service (SaaS) product, integrating most of the tasks necessary to help a firm with their sales and marketing campaigns. It includes most of the features expected of such products, such as sales automation and forecasting, marketing lead management, support automation, call centre automation, reporting and dashboards.

It has Marketo integration to help you set up, manage and then report on on sophisticated marketing programs.

Three editions are currently available: Professional, which includes all of the features listed above; Enterprise, which includes all of the Professional feature-set, with enterprise opportunity management, enterprise forecasting and additional help and support options; and Ultimate, which includes everything in the Enterprise edition, with further support options and extra storage space.

The latest version of SugarCRM makes a real effort to improve the user experience of its users. The aim of the latest interface, SugarUX, is to be simple and intuitive for individual users, making it painless for them to do their daily tasks. As a whole it does its job well, and it is clear and simple. When it first came out is was class-leading, although some of the competing companies have since caught up when it comes to intuitive usability.

As part of this user-friendliness, the package includes SugarCRM Mobile which is an app that can be used with any iOS or Android device, allied with Sugar’s own browser. A key feature is that the interface is the same, no matter whether you are on your PC, your tablet or your phone.

There is quite some flexibility for customers who deploy the program. Somewhat atypically for a CRM package, they have the choice of deploying it behind a company firewall, in the cloud using SugarCloud, or in the cloud using a public cloud service like Amazon Web Services, Rackspace Cloud or IBM Smartcloud.

A key market difference for SugarCRM is that it is an extensible platform build on Open Source web technologies. Quite a few firms have taken advantage of this capability to widen the capabilities and uses that the program have within their organisation.

This last point is actually a point of division, with some critics seeing this as being a weakness in the product. There is an argument that the use of open source software increases the overall expense, as there are likely to be increased programming costs. I believe this depends on whether your business supports the concept of open source software and whether you have the in-house expertise and interest to work with, and possibly customize, SugarCRM to meet your needs. There are quite a number of installations where customers have taken full advantage of the customization abilities, well beyond what the creators would have originally envisaged.

Another area that has come in for some criticism is the comparatively small range of pipelines, reports and forecasts, leading to less opportunity for analysis compared to some of the competing packages.

SugarCRM is targeted at small businesses, with the extra enterprise tools in the Enterprise and Ultimate editions expanding the capabilities to make it suitable for medium businesses. We’d recommend that larger enterprises look at alternative CRM solutions.

Overall SugarCRM from Sugar is a good open source CRM package, with solid, but not extensive, sales and marketing features, that has a clever user interface and which can be deployed in quite a variety of different ways. As with all CRM packages, it is best to have a demo first.

The Sales Pitch

Sugar Ultimate is the ultimate CRM suite for the most demanding customers, combining industry-leading features with the most modern CRM platform architecture.

Sugar Ultimate allows large enterprises to collaborate across extended teams, publish and manage CRM functionality to customers and partners, and receive the administration and support services expected of mission-critical applications.

Features

Sales, Marketing and Customer Service Automation: Lead, opportunity, and account management , Campaign management, email marketing, Case management and incident tracking, Advanced dashboards

Advanced Features: Reporting, Sales forecasting, Quotes, Product catalog , Contracts

Mobile CRM: Sugar Mobile Plus with offline sync for Blackberry, iPad and iPhone

Global CRM: Out-of-the-box support for 22 languages, Multi-currency support

Enterprise-Class Functionality: Customer Self-Service Portal, Advanced SQL reporting, Offline client synchronization, MySQL, Oracle 10g and 11g, and IBM DB2 database compatibility

Administration: Access controls, Advanced security, Data quality controls, Sugar Studio for easy configuration, Sugar Logic and Module Builder for easy customization, User, role, and team management, Workflow automation

Social CRM and Collaboration

Cloud Deployment Options

Support from the SugarCRM Team

Sugar On-Demand Specifics

A La Carte Available Options

Customers
1,000,000 end users

Roxtec, ThyssenKrupp System Engineering, Affinity4, Tacamor, AXXES, Bright House Networks, SIM University, Pointlogic, Induplast, ion-ip, UZO, Corona Medical SAS, State of Oregon, RedBalloon Days, CBI Group, Sofos Energia, City Of Rijswijk, Kaut-Bullinger, B2V, Juwi MacMillan, TIM Group, Pure360, Marini S.p.A., LUEG AG, Bitdefender, OmniMed Financial & Insurance, Lindner Group, Certiquality, Greenfield Communications, Worldwide Supply

Tech Information
Service Name
SugarCRM
Parent Company
SugarCRM
No. of Staff maintaining this service (estimated)
Medium (100-499 people)
Compliance
EEA Safe Harbor, SAS 70 II, HIPAA
Major Outages
January 2012
Service-level
99.5%
Support
Telephone, Online, Email
Mobile Devices
Yes, Android App, iPhone App, iPad App
Head Office
USA
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