• January 31, 2005
  • By Colin Beasty, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

SugarCRM Customizes to the Client With Sugar Suite

Looking to improve on client customization and enlarge its customer base, SugarCRM has upgraded its open source CRM platform, Sugar Suite 2.5, with new tools to enable business users or administrators without coding knowledge the ability to customize the platform to meet various business needs. The company also announced that its core application would now be called Sugar Suite, not Sugar Sales, in response to the additional features that have improved the program's functionality. Among the enhancements, users can customize fields and forms, and can connect to other Web-based enterprise information repositories to create made-to-order business tool portals. Improvements also include a new charting engine, integration with the Mambo Web-portal application, a bug tracker, and an integrated RSS reader, plus special upgrades that include wireless PDA access and enhanced Microsoft Outlook plug-ins. "We realized that 2.5 could be utilized for various uses within the organization," says John Roberts, CEO of SugarCRM. "At a certain point it just didn't make sense to call it Sugar Sales--it's much more broad then just a sales application." Modules can be activated and deactivated with a click, enabling organizations that do not need functions like Account, Leads, or Opportunities to simplify the user interface. Additionally, fields can be added, modified, removed, or reconfigured without directly modifying the source code. All modules in Sugar Suite have been optimized for viewing on small-screen wireless devices like PalmOne, Treo, and BlackBerry, for on-the-road sales personnel. "The main thrust of 2.5 is now you can go into the application and completely customize it. You can add new fields, you can completely rearrange the modules, change tab orders--it's completely customizable without writing any code at all," Roberts says. "We are extending the open source customization capabilities of our Sugar Suite to make customization available to nontechnical users who don't know anything about Linux, Apache, or PHP." The company also included a new charting engine that generates charts and graphs, and supports Far East and Cyrillic character sets, an important feature for a company whose customer base is predominantly international. Because he source code is publicly available, other companies can tie their applications into it for added value. "We are enabling organizations to embed other applications into our interface to permit one-stop access to multiple applications." One example is the Mambo open source portal for automatic lead passing and customer self-service. A new API enables e-commerce and Web-lead transactions to be integrated into Sugar Suite through Mambo. Customer registrations on an organization's Mambo-based Web site can now be automatically forwarded to Sugar Suite, and customers can access their own trouble-ticket histories online to reduce unnecessary phone calls. Related articles: CRM Vendors Embrace Open Source CRM
Daily Dispatch: December 1, 2004
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