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An Engineered Point of View: Integrating SugarCRM with Custom B2B Websites

by Lydia Teffera on June 18, 2014

4 minute read

Last week I had the chance to sit down with W-Systems Software Engineer, Robert Newsham. After talking about Sugar 7 and its new and improved interface, we started to discuss a project he was wrapping up. I found this project, in particular, to be interesting because it was fully done in Sugar 7 and it utilized Sugar's new API. Below are some of the questions and answers from our chat!

Lydia: Can you explain the project you are currently working on or have recently completed?
Robert: We have a customer that runs their own B2B website where they manage both customers and suppliers and help to match both of them based on their product needs. Everything at first was going great, but recently they were having issues integrating more sales and lead functionality into their existing infrastructure. Their previous sales process consisted of in-house spreadsheets in order to track down leads and divide them amongst the sales team. They would also use these spreadsheets to organize each customer and supplier and to make sure their products were in stock and up to date. But after running into growing pain issues, they decided they needed a better system to manage their sales process, and one that didn’t include their own custom code and the stress of debugging it. So they came to W-Systems to leverage SugarCRM as the fundamental piece that would hopefully bridge the gaps between their front-end site (or customer facing site) and their back-end sales and management process.

Lydia: So what happened next...and how did you make it possible?
Robert: In order to make this possible we needed to create several modules in Sugar that correlated to the core objects in their front-end site so that data could be synchronized between the two. For example, we mapped various customer types to accounts and contacts and created other modules such as payment information to help store customer purchases. This allowed the sales team to leverage Sugar’s tools and inevitably access information within the CRM without having to constantly manage or develop the customer-facing site. All in all, we probably created over 10 specific modules that provided similar functions and helped to streamline their lead flow and sales process. These modules also ensured that meetings and follow-ups were scheduled on time and that nothing important would fall in between the cracks. Sugar is now their primary interface for their internal staff.

Lydia: How did you come up with this specific solution?
Robert: Well to be quite honest, our VP of Operations, Eric Wickman created the solution and then handed it off to our project manager, Vincent Barrientez. Once they organized a schedule and project plan, I got on board and began making the customizations needed.

Lydia: What tools and/or software did you use for this project?
Robert: Well first and foremost we used SugarCRM, but this time we developed the solution in Sugar 7 and were able to use the new API which was a lot better designed and much easier to develop with. We also used Sidecar’s backbone controller framework to provide some additional extensions.

Lydia: What did you really like about this project?
Robert: This was actually the first project I have ever done with Sugar 7. I enjoyed it a lot because It allowed me to leverage some of the Sidecar functionality, such as record view dashlets, to provide contextual information related to the current record. I also really enjoyed using JavaScript-based solutions to suit various Sugar needs.

Lydia: Are you finished with the project?
Robert: Yes, we recently finished and are excited to see how the integration improves our customer’s operating efficiency!

For more information on Robert’s project or if you have any additional questions, contact us today. 

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