Sugar 5.1 – Lots of Cool Stuff!

So, Sugar released some new features to Beta today. This is not as big a feature/platform release as Sugar 5.0 in December, it does extend that platform in some very cool ways.

For one, the reporting is really cooking in Sugar now. Dare I say, it is best-in-class when it comes to packaged CRM apps. There are some cool new things like matrix reports, the ability to do inner/outer joins and now Excel export is super simple. But CRM users are not always SAS analysts…so a Wizard (similar to our Campaign Wizard that makes marketing activities in Sugar a snap) guides users through complex report creation. Oh, and runtime filters make altering reports on the fly a cinch as well. All told, it is now easier to gain insight into data in your Sugar system, and you can get more complex in how you slice and dice that data.

The mobile capabilities have also been enhanced, with the highlight being native Blackberry and iPhone support. I wasn’t too sure of the iPhone as an enterprise application, but it has proven itself ready for prime time. Also, the UI for Sugar on the iPhone is AWESOME. Seriously, check it out…(I’ll have some screenshots up ASAP.)

Some cool additions to Module Builder are in 5.1 as well. Files and Opportunities have been added as core building blocks for custom modules. I see some HUGE potential here. For example, HR departments can extend the CRM system to meet their needs by associating Resumes (Files) with Recruitment Prospects (Opportunities) in a custom module housed inside Sugar and on the platform, so HR can report on hiring activity, and see where new hires are coming from and other trends. And that’s just one example of the thousands people can think up and create with a few clicks.

Some other highlights: new import tools make it really, really simple to get your data from other products (like Microsoft CRM, Salesforce.com or Act!) into Sugar. And a new Tracker concept allows Sugar admins to understand how and when users are leveraging the Sugar system. This is pretty cool stuff, system monitoring for Sugar. This means admins can make sure there are no bottlenecks in high-use areas, and CRM leads can make sure that processes are built right and that adoption is optimal and not trailing off due to poorly customized processes etc. CRM is all about making a system your employees WANT to use, and Tracker helps you do just that.

Like I said, this is a lot of functionality here. Just wait til we get to our next release, there’s even more cool stuff right around the corner.

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