SugarCRM: Customer Relationship Management in the Cloud

Companies often consider SugarCRM, along with Salesforce and other alternatives, to communicate with their customers worldwide. The platform organizes any client interactions into a dependable and coherently organized system. Apps that perform this function are called customer relationship management (CRM) software.

What is a CRM?

PC Magazine explored the general topic of CRM tools. These tools are used particularly for marketing and sales purposes. They can be a good investment because they allow a company to improve its customer attraction and retention strategies. They also tend to help shorten the sales cycle (the step-by-step process experienced by a customer determines whether or not to make a purchase).

A CRM manages both existing customers and prospects (which are essentially qualified leads that might turn into customers). It is primarily the territory of the salesforce of a business and the parts of the organization that is integrated with the sales department. This technology is applicable throughout the business world, although different organizations will find certain aspects of a CRM system more useful than others. Many organizations are unaware, though, that a CRM is not just about sales. It is useful for any form of customer interaction, including support and marketing.

A CRM is similar to a personal information management (PIM) system such as Contact Wolf or Microsoft Outlook. However, PIM software is focused primarily on filtering contacts within a database. Full-featured CRM applications have much broader capabilities than PIM applications related to customer communication.

What is SugarCRM?

SugarCRM was created by a company of the same name located in Cupertino, California. The company, which originally started as an open-source project, has been incorporated since 2004.

The software is available in two different open-source versions, one free (called the Community Edition) and the other paid. This February, the company stated that it would not produce any additional releases of the Community Edition. However, they would still be distributing patches for any newly discovered security vulnerabilities.

Why is the company so successful?

Before we get into the specific benefits of the SugarCRM software itself, it’s interesting generally to consider the software company’s rise to prominence. Business Insider explored its fight with Microsoft and Salesforce in 2012 when the company had just garnered over $30 million of venture capital to help it further overtake the market.

The California company has been in the black since 2010, with over 1 million downloads. That makes it the #3 CRM worldwide. Its revenues increased almost 70% in 2011. The reason for the success of the company is straightforward: specialty. Customer relationship management is the only focus of the business. Essentially, Sugar offers a compelling alternative to the homogeneity of a Windows environment. Even Salesforce has created and marketed broader offerings, such as Heroku and Rypple.

The other major difference between the three competitors is that Salesforce and Microsoft have their own clouds while Sugar has its users select their own cloud services provider (CSP). The app can run on any cloud system, Atlantic.Net’s cloud hosting business solutions including ours and the Windows Azure system (which Microsoft would, of course, prefer to be the territory of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM).

Specific benefits of Sugar

The reason the software has become so popular is in part because of the following reasons as listed at Loaded Technologies:

  1. Choose your own cloud – With this app, you aren’t stuck with one option for hosting. You can use the company’s own cloud, your private data center, or (as stated above) whatever cloud computing host you select.
  2. Great features included by default – Generally speaking, you don’t have to make any additional purchases of add-ons. It’s ready as an off-the-shelf solution: feature-rich tools to handle your sales, marketing, and support needs are all available immediately. Salesforce, in contrast, has separate packages that meet various business needs, so often, additional money must be spent. The structure of the license, based on the open-source philosophy, allows for much more fluidity and accessibility. Its customization capabilities allow it to fit the specific needs of any business.
  3. Lack of extra charges – The way that the software is priced is straightforward. Some customer relationship management systems will charge you additional fees for full mobile compatibility or integrating the system with other software. You have all the functionality you need upfront with Sugar.
  4. Highly respected company – Research and analysis giants Forrester and Gartner have recognized the company with rewards for their impressive efforts at technological innovation.
  5. Changeable to meet your needs – Developers appreciate the open-source model of the application. It’s based on PHP code, so many professionals can change the script to fit particular requirements. Expertise isn’t necessary, though: the system is also designed for users who aren’t technically proficient (with its sophisticated settings menu).

Choosing a hosting provider

As with any website or application, your experience with SugarCRM is highly dependent on the cloud hosting provider you choose. At Atlantic.Net, we craft all our solutions using the strongest advances in software and cloud server technology. We generate environments that multiply redundant, incredibly fast, and optimally secure to support demanding hosting implementations, such as PCI compliant hosting.  Learn more about our PCI hosting.

By Kent Roberts