SAN FRANCISCO-The latest edition of SugarCRM's open-source CRM package, released as a public beta April 13, includes a revised UI designed to deliver speedy, simplified navigation along with improved mobile accessibility, company officials said.
Sugar 6, which was introduced during the company's SugarCon user conference here, is scheduled to become available to a subset of production customers in June and will be released to all customers in July, said Clint Oram, SugarCRM vice president of products.
"We have spent quite a bit of time updating the user interface. What you will see right out of the gate is a very bold new look around the color schemes," Oram said. The developers of Sugar 6 also used the AJAX development language "to update the look and feel even further than we have done" with earlier versions, he said.
To improve mobile accessibility, Sugar CRM has completely rewritten its mobile application with Sugar 6 using the Appcelerator's Titanium smartphone application development platform, Oram said.
The new version includes the Sugar Shortcut Bar, which is designed to give users one-click access to common tasks, such as creating an account, a document or a task, finding contacts, noting sales opportunities or logging a call. Oram said overall the Sugar 6 interface requires about 20 percent fewer clicks to perform common tasks.
The new edition also delivers a streamlined search process. "Now when you do a search you get this hover-over view of the search results rather than being navigated away to a separate screen" to see search results, Oram said. This eliminates the need for users to go back to the previous screen if they didn't get the results they want or need to run another search, he said.
SugarCRM also announced several application integrations with other ISVs, including SnapLogic, which designed its DataFlow architecture to allow customers and third-party software developers to deploy links to any cloud, SAAS (software as a service) or enterprise application. The company also announced integrations with the Intuit QuickBooks bookkeeping application and the Box.net collaborative document editing application.
The Box.net application, for example, will allow a sales representative to create a draft of a contract or sales proposal and invite others to remotely view and revise the documents, such as the customer, a sales manager or the legal department.
Oram said SugarCRM will also continue to make it easy for customers to access the application on cloud platforms. In November 2009, the company announced a partnership with Microsoft to put SugarCRM on the Windows Azure cloud system to allow customers and VARs to take advantage of the scalability and high availability of this platform.
In summer 2009 SugarCRM revealed that it had struck a deal to deploy the Sugar Community Edition on Amazon.com's Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud platform to provide CRM developers with an easy-to-deploy cloud development environment.
"There is a huge amount of leverage to take advantage of with all these cloud platforms that are available today from Microsoft Azure to Amazon EC2 to Rackspace Cloud and others," Oram said. SugarCRM will continue to support these platforms in the future, he said.
The company also announced that it has made the primary source code repository for the Sugar Community Edition publicly accessible through the SugarForge open-source development community. The company is doing this to make it easier for SugarCRM developers to write their own applications, add-ons and extensions to the open-source CRM platform.
The SugarForge community has grown from three developers and a single core development project in 2005 to more than 22,000 developers working on 800 projects, according to company officials. The company claims there have been nearly 8 million downloads of SugarCRM over the past five years.