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What to expect in the Sugar CRM platform

Sugar, the latest CRM platform from SugarCRM, marries B2B and B2C engagement strategies using a single appliance.

Sugar from SugarCRM is a customer relationship management (CRM) platform that businesses use to manage the sales, marketing and customer support facets of their B2B and B2C engagement strategies.

Sugar includes core SugarCRM open source tools that manage accounts, leads, meetings, reports, calendar, projects and workflow. The platform's features include custom layouts, role-based views that come pre-loaded with custom templates, a customizable homepage, Module Builder for creating personalized modules and Sugar Studio, which is used for tailoring pre-existing or newly created modules in Module Builder.

The SugarCRM open source platform helps users centralize key customer, sales and lead data through advanced workflows, dashboards and reports. It also enables users to collaborate through Activity Streams (a tracker showing all activity in the platform) and other communication and reporting functions. Sugar's reporting features include matrix reports, scheduled reports and SQL-based advanced reporting.

Sugar also offers several functions to support marketing campaign management, including tools for email marketing campaigns, newsletter management, campaign dashboards and lead routing. These functions, combined with Sugar's reporting and workflow capabilities, help automate an organization's CRM responsibilities.

The SugarCRM open source platform is offered as software as a service -- hosted by SugarCRM -- public or private cloud and on-server. The platform also offers open APIs that allow it to integrate with other enterprise software, including enterprise resource planning systems, data services such as Dun & Bradstreet, applications such as Google Apps, Microsoft Word and Excel, Exchange, Yahoo email platforms, and GoToMeeting.

Sugar also integrates with social media platforms, including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, to help users keep track of contacts' social profile activities. These interactions can be documented in Sugar's lead and support modules, helping users track customer inquiries and requests. Sugar also integrates with e-commerce and transactional platforms and social media analysis tools, further helping users stay on top of customer interactions and track them for future reference.

The software is designed for use by mid-to-large organizations and is scalable to thousands of users. It runs on Linux, iSeries, OS X and Windows and is adaptable to run on many other platforms. Sugar can also be used on popular mobile devices such as Android smartphones and tablets, Apple's iPad and iPhone and BlackBerry devices. Sugar's mobile platform doesn't support the Android Native Browser, however, and must be accessed through the Google Chrome Web browser.

Sugar is available in the following three editions, which are licensed under annual subscriptions:

  • Sugar Professional: $40 per user, per month.
  • Sugar Enterprise: $65 per user, per month.
  • Sugar Ultimate: $150 per user, per month.

Each license requires a minimum of 10 users. Each level of subscription comes with data security and data backup measures, multi-currency support and can be viewed in more than 20 different languages. Basic support is included in each release, but for an additional $10 per user, per month enhanced support is available.

The latest version of Sugar is 7.6, which features enhanced workflow capabilities, role-based platform viewing and enhanced dashboards for those using the platform on mobile devices. Typically, the company puts out a new feature release every six months and, on average, releases a new numerical version every 18 months. A free seven-day trial of the platform is available.

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