SugarCRMs Sugar Professional 3.0

 
 
By Michael Caton  |  Posted 2005-06-20
 
 
 

SugarCRMs Sugar Professional 3.0


SugarCRM has made several key improvements in the way Sugar Professional works. Version 3.0 is a flexible solution for companies that want to adapt the product to specific processes, and its new features augment an already good set of sales tools.



Click here to read the full review of Sugar Professional 3.0.

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SugarCRM has made several key improvements in the way Sugar Professional works. Version 3.0 is a flexible solution for companies that want to adapt the product to specific processes, and its new features augment an already good set of sales tools.

During tests, we generally liked the way elements of the sales process came together. As with most CRM products, leads, opportunities, accounts and contacts are managed within discrete modules delineated through a tab-based interface. But we could also easily create opportunities in the context of a customer record, for example.

Sugar Professional is a little heavy-handed when it comes to linking to other components or specific actions throughout the application—at least in its off-the-shelf configuration. In contrast to Centric CRM, users can expect to do some scrolling to see details about an accounts history, leads and cases. We would like to see a more efficient way to move to relevant information, such as a subtab element, for some of these elements.

SugarCRM has fleshed out Sugar Professional with supporting modules that will make it easier to integrate sales with workflow and marketing efforts, including campaign, document and e-mail management modules.

In general, these components worked well during tests. The e-mail management module, for example, dovetails with one of the better features introduced in Version 2.5—the ability to move messages from a users Microsoft Outlook client into Sugar Professional. With this update, we also could create templates and manage mass mailings.

Sugar Professional could use more flexibility in document management. For example, we would like to have the ability to create rich-text documents directly within the system, as we could with Centric CRM, rather than having to rely on uploading content. Sugar Professional 3.0 supports versioning, but there isnt a document workflow for managing revisions.

Click here to read the review of Centric CRM.

Another new feature in Sugar Professional is a project module much like Centric CRMs. The Sugar Professional project module allowed us to estimate and track actual time spent on a project, as well as create project dependencies. The one thing missing is a good graphical view of tasks: Sugar Professional presents just a flat list of project tasks.

We did appreciate that, from the Project Task home page, we could change task elements, such as assignment and due date, using a quick update form.

From an administrative standpoint, a welcome addition to this release is the ability to manage user module access by role, as well as to rename the module tabs.

An administrative feature that was added in Version 2.5 and improved in this release is the ability to completely customize the system, including creating custom fields and editing existing module forms using the Studio tool in the administrator interface.

We generally liked the way the tool works, although it took us a little time to get used to the way form elements stick to a page. The Studio tool edits a single page at a time, so heavy customization will likely take a while.

Next page: Evaluation Shortlist: Related Products.

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Evaluation Shortlist

Best Softwares SalesLogix Client/server-based SalesLogix is highly customizable and flexible but requires considerable expertise for customization (www.saleslogix.com)

Dark Horse Ventures Centric CRM Lags behind SugarCRM in customizability but has good modules for basic sales and customer management (www.centriccrm.com)

FrontRange Solutions USA Inc.s GoldMine Good midrange solution that uses industry-specific templates to simplify customization (www.goldmine.com)

NetSuites NetSuite CRM NetSuite CRM is an affordable hosted CRM application that can integrate with NetSuites hosted ERP (enterprise resource planning) application (www.netsuite.com)

Salesforce.coms Salesforce.com Salesforce.coms Web-based CRM application is very approachable, extensible and customizable but at a hefty price (www.salesforce.com)

Technical Analyst Michael Caton can be reached at michael_caton@ziffdavis.com.

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