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Late last year, SugarCRM launched its latest release, Sugar 7. W-Systems hosted an online demo to walk through the new features and also discuss release dates and upgrade information. As I write this, brand new Sugar users are being deployed on version 7 and a select few existing users have been upgraded to the new version. Existing users will be upgraded or have the option to upgrade in Q1 2014. It’ll be important for users to understand how to navigate through the new interface and to know what’s new so they can take full advantage of the product updates. Below are some of the major changes Sugar users will see in version 7.
In version 6, the user has the option of laying out dashlets in one, two, or three columns. In Sugar 7, the entire application uses Bootstrap which allows up to 12 columns. The layout of the dashboard allows a user to set a different number of columns per row throughout the page. Sugar added a few new chart types such as the Bubble chart, Organizational Flowcharts, and improved Sales Forecast charts. The dashlets are also interactive. From the dashlet, users can select and deselect in the legend of a chart to filter the data from the report’s chart.
The new Preview section shows a quick view of the details in a record without being forced to open the record and wait for the page to load. By selecting the “eye” icon, the dashlets in the Intelligence Pane (mentioned below) are replaced with the Preview. This section shows the fields in a record and the Activity Stream associated with it.
The Intelligence Pane sits at the right of the list view and record view. This area stores custom dashlets. If the Preview mode is chosen, the Intelligence Pane will show the Preview of that record. The dashlets available for this section are context based. So if you are viewing an Account, the dashlets will relate to that Account. Each Intelligence Pane setup is unique to the user and can be modified by the end user, similarly to the setup of the homepage dashboard. If the user doesn’t wish to see the Intelligence Pane or the Preview section, they can expand the Business Card view or list view screens to create more screen real estate when needed.
In-line editing was a highly requested feature from Sugar users. We are happy to see that SugarCRM has built this capability into Sugar 7. In list view, users can edit fields in each row without opening the record. By combining Preview mode and edit capabilities from the list view, the user can work much faster and complete smaller tasks without ever opening a record and waiting for the page to load. In-line editing is also applied to the record view as discussed below.
The Business Card view has a smaller subset of fields that are the most relevant to the record. To view the remaining fields, the user can click “Show More”, to extend the view. Sugar also removed the concept of edit and detail view. In older versions, the page would completely reload when editing and the page would reload again when saved. This significantly slowed down the workflow. In Sugar 7, a user can make in-line edits to specific fields or edits to the entire record without waiting for the page to reload.
In version 6, Sugar had basic and advanced search. They’ve removed that completely and replaced it with a full-text search box and filter engine. This made basic searching easier and advanced searching more powerful. The search function is available in list view and record view. Users can search and filter through all of the subpanels within a record. Additionally, the concept of pagination has been removed. When a user scrolls down from the list view page, the page will load more lines instantly. In version 6, the user would have to click through to the next page and wait for the page to load more records. Now it is done instantly.
Sugar has made major improvements to its Activity Stream to increase collaboration and transparency. In version 6, the Activity Stream was a dashlet on the home page that showed system-wide updates and offered very little communication capabilities. In Sugar 7, the Activity Stream has been completely revamped. The system-wide Activity Stream still exists, but there are now Activity Streams per record view. On each record, the activity related to that record is shown. For example, when viewing an Account, the Activity Stream will show when a Contact, Case, Opportunity, etc. has been created and linked to that Account. Even more, the Activity Stream is much more useful as a communication tool. The user can write a comment on the Activity Stream and mention another user by using the “@” symbol before their name. They can also reference other records such as Cases by using the “#” symbol before the record name. The user can also drag and drop files into the Activity Stream and reference a user to take a look. Any time a record is mentioned, the comment will also show in the Activity Stream of that referenced record and if a user is mentioned they will be notified via the Notification Center mentioned below.
The Notification Center is located at the top right of the navigation bar in between the global search bar and the user profile drop down. If you have a notification, the red box will show the number of notifications you have. To view the notifications, simply click the box to see a list. Types of notifications include Sugar license overages and mentions in an Activity Stream post.
In Sugar 7, there is a new module called Revenue Line Items. When creating an Opportunity, the user will also create a Revenue Line Item per service or product they are selling as a part of the entire Opportunity. For example, a user may create an Opportunity for the sale of a new product. But this Opportunity includes several items like the product itself, training, and support. Each of these items might have different close dates or be in different stages. In Sugar 7, the user can close a Revenue Line Item without having to close the entire Opportunity. The new module allows users to manage complex deals more efficiently. --- Sugar 7.2 will be released in March of 2014. There will be additional features and improvements added to that release that we will cover in a future blog post and webinar. W-Systems is offering a Sugar 7 ready package to test your current customizations for compatibility on Sugar 7. For more information, contact us today!.