SugarCRM Version 6 Enters Beta
April 20, 2010 Alex Woodie
Customer relationship management software developer SugarCRM announced the next version of its SugarCRM application last week at its annual SugarCon user conference. New features in Sugar 6–a PHP application that can run under i/OS–include a revamped GUI, easier installation, and better integration with mobile devices.
SugarCRM was one of the most heavily anticipated enterprise applications to arrive on the System i server when SugarCRM announced support for the platform three years ago. While it’s difficult to determine how many System i shops have adopted PHP or SugarCRM, it’s safe to say that the open source CRM application (which deploys on the MySQL database that is the only the second supported database on the i/OS platform) is still one of the most advanced and feature-rich enterprise applications that PHP- and MySQL-enablement has opened up to the System i installed base.
If SugarCRM is correct, the new version 6 release will impress users from the get-go. The company is touting a “clean, bold” user interface that it says will allow users to perform tasks more easily, while simultaneously increasing the “information density” of each screen. Use of AJAX coding techniques enables the application to pop data up on the screen when a mouse is hovered over a link, while users who prefer to spread their work out across several Web browser tabs will appreciate the better tab naming feature that version 6 brings.
Wherever users go in SugarCRM, they will be within clicking distance of a “shortcut bar” that gives them one-click access to common tasks, such as creating an account, contact, or sales opportunity; taking a note; logging a meeting or a call; or performing a global search. The availability of the shortcut bar, as well as other UI enhancements, contributes to a 20 percent decrease in the number of mouse clicks required to perform standard tasks, compared to previous versions, according to SugarCRM.
Mobile computing is all the rage these days, and Sugar 6 supports this trend with native support for all the major smart phone devices, including the iPhone, the Android, and the BlackBerry. (Apparently, Microsoft‘s Windows Mobile OS doesn’t count; maybe that will change if version 7 of the mobile OS is a hit.) The new CRM also features a native app for the new iPad, which will undoubtedly get some people excited.
Sugar 6 will also include “cloud connectors” to third-party data service providers, such as JigSaw, a business directory service, and LinkedIn, a network for sharing professional connections. New application connectors are also being introduced for SnapLogic, a data integration service provider, and Intuit QuickBooks, financial software for small businesses. Plug-ins are also being built for Outlook, Word, and Excel that will allow users to more easily work with these desktop apps from within SugarCRM.
Sugar 6 is expected to be generally available this summer. The beta is available now at www.sugarforge.com.