Sage Unveils a New Taste of CRM
Sage Software on Thursday launched the newest edition of its CRM software, SageCRM version 6, for small and medium businesses, an application that company officials say provides advanced training and search capabilities, including instructional feature tours and on-screen coaching as well as expanded search queries and grouping functionality.
The new version also enables integration with other Sage applications for accounting and business management, including Sage Accpac ERP, Sage Pro ERP, Sage MAS 90 ERP, and Sage Timberline Office, as well as integration with a variety of third-party back office systems.
"This is potentially quite important. They're putting quite a bit of emphasis on integration with back office systems, principally their own," says Denis Pombriant, founder and managing principal of Beagle Research. "Front- to back-office integration is important for small and medium-size companies because they don't have IT departments. It seems to me that they have put a lot in here. This gives the attention to small and medium-size businesses that large businesses are used to getting."
The updated application includes enhancements for administrators and users. Among the administrator enhancements is an updated territory tree for moving records from one sales territory to another and for merging sales territories. Shared data fields and multiple records can be updated in a single step. The field level security has been simplified so that administrators can use check boxes rather than coding to grant or restrict access for individual users, specific user type profiles and teams. The application also adds support for a telephony server application programming interface (API) and for computer-supported telecommunications applications.
Users can run the application within the Microsoft Outlook folder navigation pane or via a SageCRM toolbar in Outlook. A new company record can be created in SageCRM when adding a contact to Outlook, while also checking for duplicate records. Additionally, users can file individual e-mails or batches of e-mails sent from Outlook in SageCRM and attach global documents in new Outlook e-mails.
The updated search engine includes a redesigned interface that can now search for keywords within communications such as e-mails and phone logs. Advance query building supports "and/or" searches and allows users to specify search fields and values, according to the company.
Updated data segmentation capabilities enable users to create static or dynamically updated groups that can contain people, companies, opportunities and other data categories to better organize and automatically update records based on common characteristics.
New users should come up to speed more quickly, via enhanced training capabilities. A new Quick Start tab provides access to on-screen training and coaching tools including instructional videos, user preference setup wizards, feature summary captions, and quick tips. "Training and coaching is important because small and medium-size companies have a lot of turnover, so they always have people they need to bring up to speed," Pombriant says. "They have staff turnover and they have things that must be learned quickly and not left to sit."
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