SugarCRM, an open source CRM provider, has released 6.3, a new version of its flagship product line. It has also upped the ante in the cloud wars by partnering with IBM on its SmartCloud platform.
The upshot, CMO Nick Halsey told CRM Buyer, is a CRM app more than able to go head to head with long-established vendors.
Tighter Integration, Better Interface
Among changes to the new version, SugarCRM “put in a significant amount of enhanced administration control and management capabilities,” Halsey said.
However, what is immediately more apparent to the end user is the tighter integration with Google and and the new user interface, he said, which netted a 40 percent performance improvement.
“The performance improvement to our Ajax-based user interface was very important to our users,” Halsey remarked. “No matter how functional a product is, if it doesn’t run quickly enough, it won’t be used much or at all.”
Ditto for integration, he continued. “One of the most important elements to a user when adopting a new CRM system is the ability to import information as seamlessly as possible.”
The SugarLogic Factor
To facilitate the data import process, SugarCRM has created a wizard that lets users import contacts with one or two clicks, noted Halsey. It also added the ability to programmatically conduct mass updates via SugarLogic and other programming tools.
“Now, a user can update his or her contacts in large numbers instead of in batches,” Halsey said.
One of the ways SugarCRM has made its product customizable and extensible is through SugarLogic, a programming interface, he went on to explain.
“It allows the user to build a process-driven workflow inside the CRM application. So, depending on what the end user is doing and what data is entered into the screen, the entire user interface can adapt based on that process,” said Halsey.
In fact, as part of the 6.3 upgrade, SugarCRM made substantial enhancements to SugarLogic, he noted. “It essentially means a user can build a much more fine-grained, process driven work flow.”
A New Partner
In the 6.3 update, SugarCRM certified and announced general availability for SugarCRM running on IBM’s SmartCloud enterprise platform, Halsey said.
“This is a $7 billion line of business for IBM this year alone, and we wanted be part of that as they continued to reach into this part of the market,” he noted.
There are two components to this offering: SmartCloud Enterprise, which provides Infrastructure as a Service; and SmartCloud Application Services, which provide tools for developers.