SugarCRM Launches Sugar 7.8

On Wednesday, SugarCRM released Sugar 7.8, the latest version of its CRM platform, which includes updates to its enterprise-level business process management (BPM) tool, Advanced Workflow, and a team-based permissions feature.

According to Dax Farhang, vice president of product marketing at SugarCRM, the release reflects SugarCRM's ongoing investment in "helping support enterprises really transform their CRM systems from just a location where they input customer data to a system that helps them drive their customer-facing activities."

SugarCRM's platform aims to help firms automate processes that span the customer's engagements with a company, and to equip users with business processes that are built around role-based views and customer workflow tools.

Improvements to the Advanced Workflow function—first added to the platform in 2015—give administrators the flexibility to design complex business processes. "We've made it easier for administrators to define those complex business rules that guide the decisions that occur within the business processes," Farhang explains. "If you think about a typical bus process, they're chained together by approvals or decisions points. And in reality, within each of those decision points, there's usually a lot of complex decision making that needs to occur in order to understand really what needs to occur next in that process." Farhang notes that products that fail to capture that logic render the process ineffective because "they don't reflect real-world behavior." The updates, he says, "allow customers to define processes the way their businesses really work." Users can also integrate these processes with custom triggers or events that occur within the system and tie them back in with other systems in their IT infrastructure.

The updated Advanced Workflow can be particularly helpful in steering leads to the right sales reps, as it takes into account the variety of conditions and permutations that lead to such decisions.

Companies that want to capitalize on collaborative tools need to be able to align virtual teams with their opportunities and deals, Farhang adds. "You can't always just rely on your organizational structure to properly align with the folks that need to be involved." The team-based permissions feature enables companies to create virtual teams that consist of subject matter experts or colleagues that need to cooperate on a particular deal; the feature gives each team member full visibility into all relevant information. Companies can get moving on projects "without having to create a formal organizational structure that includes all of those individuals and would give them visibility into more information than they needed," Farhang says.

Version 7.8 also features enhancements to SugarCRM's underlying technologies to enable the development community to take advantage of more robust security APIs and additional features in the underlying libraries, Farhang says.

Now in beta, and expected in Q1 of 2017, is SugarCRM’s mobile SDK, which Farhangs says will enable companies to develop "purpose-built mobile applications" for specific roles. "So rather than distributing a single mobile client to every single customer-facing employee," companies will be able to develop clients that are tailored for roles in sales or service, for example.

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