Why We Like SugarCRM 5.1
SugarCRM released version 5.1 a few weeks ago and we at W-Systems are happily using it on our in-house system. This version's not perfect and we've certainly uncovered a few quirks and bugs since the new release gained general availability status. But in general, it is one of the strongest SugarCRM upgrades we've seen in a while and it addresses a lot of problems that crept into the product since the SugarCRM architecture was redesigned in version 5.0. Here's a little more about the new features in 5.1 and why we like it so much.
Advanced Reporting and Analytics
There's a new reporting engine in SugarCRM 5.1 with lots of powerful and cool new features. Some of them include:
- A new user interface and report wizard that simplify report creation and modification.
- New types of reports that can aggregate data from multiple SugarCRM modules.
- Support for combining data sets using inner joins and outer joins.
- Support for pivot tables and better data grouping in reports.
- A new Excel Integration that allows users to run SugarCRM reports and queries from within Excel and capture output in Excel for further number crunching.
SugarCRM has a new wireless interface that allows users to access SugarCRM from any browser-enabled mobile phone. The new wireless interface is device independent and easy to use.
A new tracker system provides data on how SugarCRM is being used and how the application is performing. Managers can use the Tracker to monitor which modules and records are being accessed by users, how often they are logging on to the system, and the online status of each user. Administrators can use the tracker to view system response times and overall CRM system utilization.
Data Import Enhancements
SugarCRM's data import tools have been improved, which makes it easier to move data from applications like Excel, Act!, Outlook and Salesforce.com into SugarCRM.
- Users can now import information into all modules within SugarCRM.
- Data quality controls have been added to reduce duplicate information.
The SugarCRM Module Builder, which was added to the product in version 5.0, has been enhanced in 5.1 with the addition of new data relationship types, a data auditing capability, and support for integration of customer modules onto the SugarCRM Homepage dashlet system.
Here's Why We Like It
- Sugar 5.1 is the first really solid SugarCRM release built on the new 5.0 application architecture. We typically wait for several months after a major release like 5.1 for bugs to get worked out before we upgrade our in-house systems. But we jumped on 5.1 right away and found that it was more stable than the 5.0 versions we were running previously. That's because 5.1 includes lots of 5.0 bug fixes in addition to the new features I've listed above.
- The new reporting module is a huge improvement. Some of our legacy reports did not survive the conversion from 5.0 very well and we had to rebuild them to make everything work under 5.1. But that wasn't too painful and the subsequent customer upgrades that we have completed seem to have been even smoother. Now we are starting to work with the new Excel integration. More on this in a later post.
- The Module Builder is now really solid. Eric has just finished building two custom modules for us that make it easy for W-Systems to manage information about our hosted CRM customers. We'll write another blog post about this project in the near future. We're also working on several customer projects that include custom module development and those projects are going great. But the bottom line is that the Module Builder is a strong addition to SugarCRM and one that I encourage sophisticated users to check out.
In future posts, we'll talk about some of the new projects we are completing under SugarCRM 5.1. Most of our hosted customers have now been upgraded so if you have been waiting to complete an upgrade, now is a good time to move forward. And if you've never used SugarCRM before, I encourage you to check it out. SugarCRM has always been highly customizable and very flexible. But now it also has some truly world-class features that enable it to compete with the best, most expensive CRM systems on the market.