SugarCRM Open Source Software Review
Founded in April 2004, SugarCRM has become one of the highest growth CRM software solutions in the world. As of May 2012, the Cupertino, CA-based company has acquired approximately $80M in venture funding, and has amassed over 11M downloads, 1M users in over 80 countries, 170,000 paid subscriptions, 30,000 registered developers, 1,000 open source projects on SugarForge, 400 Value Added Resellers (VARs) on five continents and 100 products on the new SugarExchange
The open source CRM company is showing traction in both customer acquisitions and business performance. Revenue growth maintained high double digit figures throughout 2011 and 2012. In addition to its business performance, SugarCRM's brand and reputation are unique in the CRM industry. The company has built a passionate and loyal following of partners and customers.
The SugarCRM Sales Force Automation (SFA) software is straightforward in managing accounts, contacts, activities and opportunities. While the pages are bit bland (fewer buttons and more illustrative images with more color might make the user interface more engaging), the logical combination of menus, tabs, favorites, shortcuts, forms and one-click accelerators are well thought through, and help users get where they want quickly and without much training. The menu navigation takes advantage of Ajax technology, renders efficient dynamic displays and is clearly one of the most intuitive menu navigation schemes available.
While opportunity management references activities, tasks, meetings, contacts and virtually all history associated with the sale opportunity in a single view, it lacks some of the more advanced features such as including product inventory items or multiple period sale events.
SugarCRM's strength is clearly SFA, and the marketing software is just as clearly very weak. Campaigns cover the basics, such as query-based target list creation, text or HTML emails from templates, designated leads by source, distribution of sales leads based on rules, real-time status, and resolution of marketing derived leads, and campaign effectiveness reporting.
Going a few steps further, Sugar also delivers a few of the not so basic requirements such as budget currency designation, budget amount with revenue forecast, assignment of tracked URL designations (to know which recipients clicked through the email receipts), test message distributions and quick view of email delivery metrics, such as messages sent, bounced, clicked-through, viewed and opted out as well as a few conversion metrics such as leads created, contacts created and opportunities generated. Some of these metrics permit drill-down to see the actual lead records.
Marketers wanting more automation, such as online lead acquisitions, anonymous website visitor tracking, lead scoring, progressive profiling, nurture campaigns, lead transfer and rich marketing analytics will need to procure a separate third party product such as HubSpot, Marketo or Pardot—all of which offer packaged integration to SugarCRM.
Sugar's customer service module includes the traditional case or incident management processes of case entry, tools based resolution, routing or escalation, and closure. The customer service software centralizes case management across channels and allows some basic social media inclusion. The customer self service portal allows customers to submit their tickets online, search FAQs or the knowledgebase, track case status and update their company information.
Sugar customer service software is best suited for help desks wanting basic asset control or ticket management. Sugar CRM may be considered for very simple call centers, however, with limited functionality in areas such as web self service and knowledge management, and without more advanced features such as computer telephony integration (CTI), unified communications, automated call distribution (ACD), interactive voice response (IVR), call routing based on round robin and workflow rules, call recording and interaction tracking and various other tools needed for contact center operations, Sugar is an unlikely fit for contact centers.
Top Sugar CRM advantages include rich SFA functionality, cloud CRM portability (customers may choose the cloud that best serves their cost, reliability, performance and service level agreement (SLA) objectives), a low acquisition cost and low total cost of ownership (TCO), and a very strong global channel of professional services and support providers. Based on its open source foundation, Sugar also offers customers a flexible development framework, customization tools and open source foundation which can aid software customization or CRM extensibility. Customers are able modify Sugar at various levels, including the data model, objects, columns, fields and the user interface. Additionally, the Module Builder is an interesting graphical tool which uses building blocks and workflow patterns to facilitate the development of new extensions and applications.
Sugar CRM weaknesses include a user interface that doesn't fully leverage consumer technologies, relatively weak marketing and customer service software modules, a poor Service Level Agreement for its hosted CRM, missing Business Intelligence and analytics, and poor marketing/messaging by the company which negatively impacts the company's brand.
When evaluating SugarCRM or identifying and recommending the most relevant and direct Sugar CRM competitors for comparison purposes, we typically consider the customer's propensity toward open source software, then align specific company objectives to Sugar CRM software functionality (to assess fit) and finally consider company size, user count, user types/roles, vertical market, geo-locations, internal resources, constraints such as budget and technical considerations such as integration and customization.
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SugarCRM may be a good fit if:
You desire CRM software with the flexibility benefits of open source.
You are looking for best-of-breed Sales Force Automation (SFA) software.
You desire CRM software portability or want a choice in cloud providers.
You feel you may change software delivery methods from the cloud to on-premises or vice versa.
CRM software budget is an important issue and low cost is a key decision making criteria item.
Sugar CRM Reference Sites