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SugarCRM Sweetens the Deal
Scheduled for general availability Friday, a new release offers enhancements including advanced reporting, customizable dashboards, and workflow management.
Posted Dec 12, 2005
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SugarCRM, with its eye on capturing its share of the midmarket and the enterprise, is set to release the latest installment of its suite portfolio, which the company describes as bringing enterprise-grade CRM to companies of all sizes. Sugar Suite 4.0 features capabilities that include advanced reporting, mail merging, customizable dashboards, workflow management, new user-interface themes, and access control. Slated for general availability on Friday, the beta release of Sugar Suite is available now. It is the company's seventh major release in the past 20 months.

The release, which leverages its community of 3,000 developers, comprises Sugar Enterprise, Sugar Open Source, and Sugar Professional. Sugar Enterprise is available in an on-premise model for $449 per user, per year, and on-demand for $39.95 per user monthly, while Sugar Professional's on-premise price tag is $239 per user, per year, and on demand also for $39.95 per user monthly. Both also can be delivered as appliance-based versions available in the Sugar Cube, a standalone server.

Business automation is the core of the release, according to John Roberts, CEO of SugarCRM. Workflow management capabilities of 4.0 automate and control how information flows through an organization, streamlining business processes like lead assignment. "A good example is, if a salesman closes an opportunity, 4.0 will automatically generate a new project and assigns the appropriate internal [staff] to that project and creates alerts for them," Roberts says.

Version 4.0 also offers marketing automation enhancements, such as the ability to develop, test, launch, and measure lead-generation email campaigns; the ability to convert emails into customer cases; and the ability to automatically transfer leads generated from marketing automation into the sales pipeline. "Now you can define a campaign that automatically sets up the segment list, generates an outbound email campaign, records the results, [and] generates those reports automatically," Roberts says.

The company has a substantial percentage of five-, 10-, and 20-seat customers that deploy Sugar Suite, according to Roberts. However, "we're beginning to see greater demand from the midmarket and enterprise level," he says. The company has had 400,000 downloads of open source code for Sugar Suite and has been translated into 24 languages.

Some SMBs are attracted to open source for the cost savings, "but it's not that usable for them unless they've got some expertise in-house, which often isn't the case," says Laurie McCabe, vice president of SMB insight and business solutions at AMI-Partners. "Because they can get it hosted and as an appliance [from Sugar] it makes [the company] much more accessible."

However, McCabe expects to see uptake in the number of large companies that adopt open source functionality, contingent on how successful pilots are and how the model matches the company's needs. "It's going to be a while before it's a wholesale, 'Let's go ahead and do this,'" she says. However, open source is "becoming a more credible option for people who don't want to have to run that whole proprietary stack and [it] puts the price pressure on everybody else," McCabe says. SugarCRM is "on a mission, so definitely, we should all be keeping our eyes on them."


Additional reporting by Colin Beasty.

Related articles:
The (Open) Source of the Problem
SugarCRM Unveils Enterprise Edition

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