Customizable CRM for the SMB

I just completed work on a small bylined article that I’ve written for a European publication about SugarCRM and how our product offerings are well suited for the small- and medium-sized business (SMB) market. Whenever I read about CRM for SMBs two paying points usually jump forward: price and Microsoft integration, both of which are obviously important; limited IT budget for the former and that fact that most SMBs are usually operating Windows on their computers (if not personnel computers) for the latter. But what about deep functionality and customization capabilities?

Typically, industry pundits and experts state that the functionality sets inherent to an enterprise CRM application aren’t found, or really needed, by SMBs, and that the customization/integration capabilities aren’t required because they don’t have the IT department to build or support such links. I disagree, as it flies in the face of everything I’ve seen here since joining SugarCRM (and for that matter the industry four years ago), has I’ve spoken to literally dozens of SugarCRM SMB customers who are doing exactly that.

Part of the problem is simply superficial. Too many industry pundits judge SMBs on employee count alone; the industry or nature of one’s business can mean that the IT department is forced to support enterprise-type software deployments and rollouts.

Thankfully, now more than ever, such requirements can be meet at a fraction of the cost, thus making such capabilities open to SMBs. The limitations of the old-school SaaS model and proprietary-based software of a decade ago has resulted in new development models, such as Web-based platforms, multi-instance architectures, and open source…and that means enterprise-like capabilities at SMB prices and expertise.