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SugarCRM released version 5.2 for general availability in mid-December. We've been using it in-house for about a month and in general, we're really happy with it. 5.2 offers some cool integration features with social networking platforms and commercial business information providers. We're pretty happy with the stability of this release and we've already upgraded some of our on-premise customers. Our hosted customer will probably be upgraded following the first bug fix release for 5.2, which should hit the streets in the next few weeks.
I think the best thing about 5.2 is that it shows the direction CRM systems are heading industry-wide. CRM is all about tracking and keeping in touch with people and to the extent that a product like Sugar can integrate with existing platforms such as LinkedIn, Jigsaw, and Hoovers, then all the better, IMHO.
Here is what you will find in 5.2
Sugar now provides connectors to LinkedIn, Jigsaw, and Hoover’s. Connectors enable users to view data or merge data from external data sources from within a Sugar record. Additional connectors to other data sources can be obtained and installed using the Module Loader.
My Sugar Feed is a new dashlet that appears on a user's homepage. It works sort of like the News Feed feature on Facebook. Users can post status updates, external links, images, and YouTube videos for team members to view within the dashlet. Sugar Feed also provides a stream of information regarding new contacts, leads, opportunities, or cases created by team members. Team members can also be notified when a lead is converted when a case is closed, and when an opportunity is closed.
Sugar offers two new user access types. These access types enable organizations to grant module-specific administration and developer privileges to their users while still maintaining the security and integrity of the system. This is a really important enhancement because previously, anyone with system administrator privileges had unrestricted power to access any feature of SugarCRM, including upgrade routines and database maintenance services that could wreak havoc on a system if inappropriately used. These new roles give users the power they need while restricting access to system administration services. The new access types include:
My favorite feature of 5.2 is the integration with Jigsaw and Hoovers. Here's how I use it. When I add a new Account to our in-house system, I typically just enter the name of the company. With the Jigsaw integration, I just click the new "Get Data" button from the Account screen and SugarCRM automatically queries Jigsaw and Hoovers for details on this account. Once I verify the correct company selection, Sugar automatically retrieves details about the account, including physical address and business size statistics as measured by revenue and employee headcount. This is a very powerful feature that is handy and time-saving.
If you are an existing or prospective customer and want to check out 5.2 firsthand, just drop us a line and we'll make a demo system available for you.