Cloud Based SugarCRM Releases Sugar 6
SugarCRM’s new edition of software-as-a-service, Sugar 6, is believed to have entered a beta test program from April 13. SugarCRM is an open-source package that now appears with a newly revamped user interface which can accommodate faster navigation with the help of a one-click access to many of its features, and an overhauled application for mobile connectivity.
Company officials said that Sugar 6 is scheduled to be available to a selected group of production customers from June, while its general release to the public is scheduled for July. Clint Oram, the vice president of products in SugarCRM, confirmed the release schedule during the introduction of Sugar 6, which was introduced in the company’s very own SugarCon user conference.
Oram also added that the company has spent so long improving the user interface that users will observe a noticeable upgrade with its very bold new UI – based on the color schemes. The Sugar 6 developers have made use of the AJAX development language to give it a drastic new look, and have pushed it to far greater limits than with previous incarnations.
Oram further stated that one of the major improvements of Sugar 6 is its mobile accessibility. The improved mobile platform was completely rewritten through Appcelerator’s Titanium smartphone application development system.
The Sugar 6 version includes a better user interface with features such as the Sugar Shortcut Bar, which has been designed to improve user interaction by giving one-click access to the most common tasks including fining contacts, creating an account, noting sales opportunities, creating a document, creating a task and logging a call. Oram claims that the Sugar 6 interface has reduced the user clicks to about 20% which is always a welcome improvement.
The latest edition of SugarCRM also provides a search process that is streamlined. Everytime you do a search, you will get a hover overview of all the search results in contrast to being navigated away onto a new screen just to see the results. This process will eliminate the steps wherein the users have to keep on returning to the search results screen if they don’t see the results they need or need to perform another search query.
Oram also shared that SugarCRM’s integration of several applications with other ISVs, which includes SnapLogic, the designer of its DataFlow architecture, which allows customers and other 3rd-party application manufacturers to deploy important links to any enterprise application, software-as-a-service (SAAS), and any cloud. The announcement of the company includes its integration with the bookkeeping application Intuit Quickbooks and the collaborative document editing software Box.net.
The integration with Box.net software is especially useful as it will enable various sales representatives to make a draft of a significant contract or even as sales proposal, then send invitations to others to view and revise the document remotely, which could be the customer, the legal department or the sales manager.
Oram stated that SugarCRM is committed to making it easy for customers to access the software on a cloud platform. There was a previous partnership with Microsoft in November of 2009 that put SugarCRM on Microsoft’s Windows Azure cloud system, and this will allow the VARs and customers to make the most of the high availability and scalability of this platform.
The company also struck a deal with Amazon.com in the summer of 2009 to enable deployment of the Sugar Community Edition on the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud platform, and this will provide the dedicated CRM developers with an environment that can deploy cloud development easily.
SugarCRM announced that the primary source code has been made publicly available to the Sugar Community Edition through the SugarForge open-source development community. The company are committed to making applications using SugarCRM software easier for developers and allow them to create their own add-ons, extensions and applications. The SugarForge community has already grown to 22,000 developers working on some 800 projects. Over the past 5 years, there have been around 8 million downloads of SugarCRM all over the world, and this looks set to grow even more with Sugar 6.
By Mike Wheatley