Colosa Builds Better BPM Into SugarCRM

SugarCRM and Colosa are getting set to debut a new Sugar module based on a visual tool that lets users design business process workflows inside SugarCRM. They’ll be able to control the way tasks get routed; track how long it takes to complete; and control which screens get displayed and their order.

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The module, ProcessMaker SugarCRM Edition, contains a full BMPN 2.0 designer and engine — the current standard for business process design, according to Brian S. Reale, CEO and cofounder of Colosa.

“We have built ProcessMaker from the ground up based on Sugar’s architecture,” he told CRM Buyer. “Because it is a Sugar module, it does not require an extra server or need to run on an extra box.”

More to the point, the functionality it offers “opens a whole new world of possibilities for users,” Reale continued. Depending on how it is used, “it can completely change SugarCRM and what it can do.”

The integration will debut at SugarCRM’s 7th annual SugarCon in New York City next week.

Building BPM Solutions

There was some workflow process functionality in SugarCRM before the introduction of this module.

What ProcessMaker brings to the table is “best-of-breed technology that is baked into the product,” said Reale.

The company modified some of this functionality for SugarCRM users.

“We realize that these users are primarily focused on CRM and may not be familiar with BPM functionality as much,” noted Reale. “So we made it simpler and incorporated Sugar icons and nomenclature in the module.”

Yet underneath the streamlined interface “is the full BPMN 2.0 engine,” he said.

The tool is used to design a workflow, which is then executed in the engine, Reale explained.

Before and After

Before the introduction of this module, Sugar essentially had events that would trigger other events or actions.

However, “there was no way to ask the system to handle more complicated processes,” said Reale. “If you wanted a change, it usually involved a lot of hard coding.”

For instance, to construct a lead assignment workflow without the module, a user would need to tap as many as 35 workflow rules, he pointed out. “We were able to replace all of those rules with one diagram.”

Using ProcessMaker, the user can determine how a certain action is to be performed. The user could, say, establish a requirement that any lead coming from the European market would have to go through additional precautions to make sure privacy regulations were followed. The lead would be visually mapped from department to department to ensure accomplishment of the task.

The module will be sold on a per seat basis as an add-on to SugarCRM. It is currently in closed beta.

Erika Morphy has been writing about technology, finance and business issues for more than 20 years. She lives in Silver Spring, Md.

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