SugarCRM rounds out its previously SFA-focused application with new multichannel marketing and BI functionality to appeal to a wider market; one analyst calls it an evolution.
Posted Jan 29, 2007
SugarCRM announced today that it would be spicing up its core platform. Sugar Open Source, Sugar Professional, and Sugar Enterprise will now be infused with new multichannel marketing and business intelligence capabilities with the release of several new modules. Sugar CRM's new Campaign Wizard, Campaign Manager, and automated lead capture functionality promise to create better control of and visibility into marketing campaigns. Advanced data filtering, multiple grouping, and unlimited data joins ramps up BI functionality to better understand marketing's efforts. The release rounds out SugarCRM's previously sales-centered offerings to make the platform more competitive in a larger market.
"Being able to provide very deep, detailed campaign management functionality and being able to roll that up into an analytics reporting capability that gives you the ability to see results is really crucial," says John Roberts, CEO of SugarCRM. Roberts cites the divergent forms of communication available today as well as CRM's ROI-centric mindset as major pushes in the release of the new marketing and BI modules. Marketing and BI also represent logical steps for the company to take, as SugarCRM's offerings previously focused on sales force automation and customer support. Martin Schneider, an analyst at the 451 Group, says of the release, "What we're seeing here is an evolution."
Although marketing automation was included in SugarCRM's release of its 4.5 platform last summer, the new module offers more advanced tracking and management capabilities and better connections to sales and analytics. The Campaign Wizard offers step-by-step campaign execution for marketers, which the company says will make the software more user-friendly. Additionally, the multichannel functionality takes SugarCRM away from its previously email-focused offerings to enable marketers to manage efforts, such as online advertising, newsletters, search engine marketing, list rentals, telesales programs, and webcasts as well.
Roberts explains that SugarCRM sees marketing as "the beginning of the sales process." For this reason, he explains, the BI functionality is most important as it follows returns from marketing campaign to lead creation to sale. The new SugarCRM Business Analytics allows users to consolidate information from multiple channels into a single report, group individually selected data sets, and view them in multiple formats which can be updated live.
Schneider believes that SugarCRM's upgrades will make the software more competitive and attractive to both large businesses and SMBs. "This brings Sugar on par with what a lot of propriety products are," he says. He explains that Sugar isn't behind on developing this functionality, but that the company is expanding quickly. "As the product gets more robust and there are more features that are ready to go, you're going to see a wider and wider acceptance of the product in general."
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