Looking Deeper into SugarCRM 5.1

I spent most of my day giving press briefings and analyst calls on Sugar’s latest release currently in beta – 5.1. I have to say, based on the responses I’m seeing, that there’s a couple REALLY interesting parts to 5.1 that should not be overlooked.

Apart from a great story around the reporting enhancements, the new Module Builder features cannot be overlooked.  I posted a bit about the features last week, but seriously, SugarCRM as a platform is making more and more logical sense for companies of all sizes.

Think about it, with the ability to associate files with customized “opportunities” – users can do almost anything given the basic workflow and other Sugar building blocks. Insurance firms can associate files like Claim Forms with the claims processing workflow “Opportunity” (after all, what is an opportunity in CRM but a phased process where certain steps are given certain values?). Or, a political campaign can assign Files such as voter correspondence along the Opportunity cycle associated with campaign contributions. Anywhere there is even a slight parallel between that business process and CRM, Module Builder can automate that process or at elast have that process housed in a single system of record.

Those capabilities, combined with the deeper reporting functionality, allows SugarCRM to really play a platform role as the standard where all interactions take place within an organization. Think about it – use Module Builder to, for example, extend Sugar into HR and you need not

a) Pay for a new system and minimum user licenses

b) Pay additional professional services costs to customize a new system

c) Train admins (and eventually end users) on an entirely new system

d) Perform tricky (and costly) integration work to get a siloed HR application to talk to your CRM system

I see Module Builder having a definite learning curve. But once people “get it” and see how Module Builder can extend the SugarCRM platform, allowing for totally connected departments on a ubiquitous user experience (that supports full cross-departmental reporting and process flows) – we are really gonna see people take the concept and run with it. Module Builder also allows SugarCRM’s partners to get creative as well, building strong packages to extend the core platform and build out a niche business for themselves reselling these customizations in vertical and other geographic markets.

Seriously, the limit =