SugarCRM Boosts Workflow, Reporting Tools in 4.0 Edition

SugarCRM is getting ready to launch version 4.0 of its open-source customer relationship management suite that includes enhanced workflow, reporting and campaign management features.

New workflow, reporting and customizable dashboards are among the new features that SugarCRM Inc. is adding to the version 4.0 of its open-source Sugar Suite customer relationship management product due for release on Dec. 16.

The new version will include a business rules-based workflow management system designed to ensure the sales personnel and sales managers follow up promptly on important opportunities, said John Roberts, SugarCRM CEO.

The system has "time-based workflows, so if an opportunity for a $500,000 sale sits at a certain stage for greater than two weeks, it generates an alert for the sales rep and the sales manager," Roberts said.

"We have had a very nice charting capability using a flash reporting widget that we actually wrote and open-source licensed," Roberts said.

But version 4.0 allows users to quickly build reports that generate charts that users can instantly display on dashboards that are customized according to the users role in the sales or marketing organization.

/zimages/2/28571.gifClick here to read about the addition of Oracle 9i and MySQL database support to version 3.5.

Version 4.0 also has automated marketing campaign features that allow users to create an outbound e-mail campaign that they can set for distribution at a specific time coordinated with other events or business announcements, Roberts said.

This is also an inbound e-mail processing feature that automatically converts e-mails into customer cases that are linked to escalation rules and queue management features to balance customer support work loads.

With these new features Roberts said SugarCRM can offer a product that can compete with most other established on-premise or on-demand CRM applications on the market, said Roberts.

"We are in the era of commercial open-source applications being on par, and I think superior in many ways to, established, proprietary CRM applications," Roberts said.

The product is now robust enough that "any company that is considering, NetSuite, Siebel Systems or Oracle should absolutely take a look at SugarCRM, and I think they will be extremely pleased with what they see," he said.

Although it has only been a little more than a year since the company official debuted on the market, the company currently claims to have 300 customers, about 15,000 individual users, and the company has grown to about 50 employees, Roberts said.

In October, SugarCRM obtained $18.7 million in venture funding to continue to develop its Sugar Suite product line.

That fact that SugarCRM is developed as an open-source product means it is "really leveraging the shared ideas of developers around the world," and that has helped to make the suite "extremely innovative," he said.

That is also the reason why the product has been translated into 30 different languages even though the product has been actively on the market for less than two full years, he noted.

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John Pallatto

John Pallatto

John Pallatto has been editor in chief of QuinStreet Inc.'s since October 2012. He has more than 40 years of experience as a professional journalist working at a daily newspaper and...