Last week, SugarCRM made version 5.1 generally available. With its beta release earlier this year, the open source CRM provider broke new ground, providing innovations in business intelligence and an intriguing mobile app for the BlackBerry and the iPhone.
These features are deservedly being called “big ticket” items, says Martin Schneider, SugarCRM’s director of product marketing in a blog post.
Other features, though, are not receiving as much attention.
“I think some people simply skipped over the very cool feature we have called Tracker,” Schneider notes.
“Tracker allows admins to better analyze CRM use traffic, allows line of business managers to better understand how their teams use the system, and in general is a tool to help drive CRM adoption. And isn’t that the real goal here? I have seen companies improve their business when they had high adoption of clunky and non-intuitive CRM tools,” he notes. “Imagine being able to more easily drive adoption of a cool CRM system.”
Developers are excited about the release’s module builder enhancer, “a tool that allows you to significantly shorten development costs and time — which, in turn, lets developers get more creative about CRM,” Schneider told CRM Buyer.
David Wheelergoes into some detail about modular builder in his post at the Sugar Development Zone.
“One of the best parts of using Sugar has to be customizing it,” Wheeler says. “You don’t want to use a software package if it can’t meet your needs, and no two people or businesses have the same set of requirements. Sugar provides some really neat tools when it comes to customization, and in 5.1 they have been made even better.”
Measuring Call Center Performance
For advice on how to measure performance in a contact center operation, consult the CRM Guru.
“Being a call center manager, it’s very important to understand overall customer service efficiency so you can improve your internal operations as well as reward your employees based on their performance,” observes the Guru. “Say, for example one of your call center employees does a great job and you’re unaware of this deed. A post call survey for the customer would be able to provide an opportunity to give this feedback, hence later rewarding the employee.”
Compare and Contrast
Joel Falconerattakes a lookat six Web-based CRM applications: Salesforce.com, Highrise, Oracle OnDemand, SugarCRM, PipelineDeals and Zoho CRM.
It’s a good read — especially for small businesses that are novices to the CRM market — because he doesn’t pull his punches. On Highrise, for instance, Falconerat points out that “the prices are a bit marked up — you’re probably paying for the storage space more than anything. Perhaps they’re only targeting enterprise users, but for my uses I’d only want to plonk down for a plan if it had more power than the cheapest option while costing less than the $50/month option.”
Pipeline, “delivers a sigh of relief with a monthly cost of $15 per user, and unlimited data storage is included in that price.”
Salesforce.com is “another CRM that is highly focused on making sales and not so much on customer relations management.”
You get the picture.
A relatively new blog provides an introductory look at vendors in the open source CRM space, comparing and contrasting SugarCRM, Concursive and Vtiger.
Jammers Productivity Blog offersreviews of Web 2.0 tools for business in a series of three posts.The latest takes a look at the online sales apps for Salesforce.com, Relenta CRM and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Live.
Tracker is certainly an excellent feature. However, management does need to tread carefully when implementing a policy of tracking staff use of the system. For one thing, it can make staff feel they are working in a "big brother" environment. More importantly, though, management needs to carefully determine whether high use of the system is a result of a very efficient staff memeber, or merely one who has not been appropriately trained and clicks on a lot more pages than is necessary.
5.1 is being well received however. I work for a SugarCRM customisation company (http://www.theSugarRefinery.com) and we’re getting very positive feedback from customers upgrading to this latest release.