CRM Review – SugarCRM


This CRM Review examines SugarCRM.

In-Depth CRM Review


SugarCRM Inc.
10050 North Wolfe Road, SW2-130
Cupertino, CA 95014-2528


CRM Category: Strategic Solution – Cloud/On Premise

Sub-Category: Sales Force Automation/Marketing Automation/Customer Support/Call Center/Mobile CRM/Social CRM/Project Management 

Seats: Mid Market


About the Company:

SugarCRM is the world’s leading provider of commercial open source customer relationship management (CRM) software for companies of all sizes. Sugar easily adapts to any business environment by offering a more flexible, cost-effective alternative than proprietary applications.

SugarCRM’s open source architecture allows companies to more easily customize and integrate customer-facing business processes in order to build and maintain more profitable relationships. SugarCRM offers several deployment options, including on-demand, on-premise and appliance-based solutions to suit customers’ security, integration and configuration needs.

About the Product:

Because there are a lot of smart people outside of Silicon Valley

The Sugar Open Source Project and Community are at the heart of our mission. Creating an ‘architecture of participation’ where users from around the world can help to build a higher quality, more useful product is a superior form of development than the traditional Silicon Valley model of a few product managers dictating what features the world needs. The open source model embraces the world outside of Silicon Valley instead of keeping it at arm’s length.

When we started SugarCRM, we hoped there was a better way to build and sell enterprise software. Now, years later, that hope has turned into confidence. There is always a better way.

Better Way to Build and Distribute Software

In an industry dedicated to improving customer relationships (CRM), it is interesting that proprietary software vendors spend between 50-70% of revenues convincing customers to buy their product (sales and marketing) and less than 10% of revenues actually making better products (engineering).

We thought there was a better way. Why not write our product in public and distribute it through an open source license? Individuals and companies would be free to evaluate and use Sugar Community Edition without restriction. If users decide they want advanced functionality, professional support and product extensions, they can engage with SugarCRM when they are ready for a commercial relationship. This Commercial Open Source model shortens the costly and time-consuming enterprise sales cycle while allocating more toward engineering (almost half our company is part of R&D). It also makes for more successful deployments because customers do not experience the ‘bait and switch’ sales model of proprietary vendors. The commercial open source model requires putting your product in front of your sales force, which means having a fast, intuitive application that is easy to learn, use and extend.

Customers want flexibility, not vendor lock-in

What if a real estate agent sold you a house under the condition that you had to arrange the furniture in a certain way or the house would fall apart? Or what if a car salesman sold you a car that you were only allowed to drive on certain roads or the car would fail? Sound crazy?

These artificial constraints are similar to the ones proprietary software vendors impose on customers. You can buy our software but only deploy it On-Demand and you must work through our narrow, proprietary interfaces. Or, you can buy our software but you must install it on-premise running on this type of server and operating system. These artificial restrictions are designed to benefit the vendor, not the customer. The more constraints they put in place, the more hurdles the customer must jump over, and the more locked-in the customer becomes.

SugarCRM is dedicated to placing the users and customers in control by abolishing the artificial restrictions imposed by vendors. Deploy SugarCRM On-Demand, On-Site or via an Appliance. Use Sugar Community Edition for free or pay for the commercial editions. Inspect and modify the source code. Create extensions that can be shared or protected. With Commercial Open Source, users are in charge.

We view open source as a meritocracy. If a product is strong and meets a need, an open source license allows the product to reach more people. Open Source enlarges markets and allows innovation to flourish. Sugar Community Edition gives you control and frees you from vendor lock-in. That is why, in just two years, Sugar Open Source has been downloaded over 1,000,000 times and translated into over 75 languages. Over 400 complements and extensions to Sugar Community Edition have been contributed by our user community.

SugarCRM extends its mobile CRM leadership position with its new native iPhone application, made generally available as part of the latest enhancement to Sugar 6. Bundled with the Sugar Enterprise edition, the iPhone application is also available for a limited time at no additional charge for users of Sugar Professional edition. The Sugar Mobile for iPhone application can be downloaded at the Apple iTunes AppStore. Free trials of SugarCRM Professional can be launched directly from Sugar Mobile for iPhone, as well as from the SugarCRM website.

The Sugar Mobile for iPhone application enhances SugarCRM’s existing mobile offerings by making it even simpler to find, create and modify customer information such as leads, opportunities and support cases. With Sugar Mobile for iPhone, Sugar users out in the field have the edge they need to quickly respond to customer inquiries and beat the competition. In addition, Sugar Mobile for iPhone is easily customized using the SugarCRM Mobile Studio administration panel. Administrators can quickly create mobile-specific fields, limit which fields are seen in the iPhone application, or create entirely new user screens for use by mobile employees.

Additional new features in Sugar 6 include the general availability of Sugar Logic—a new set of PHP and JavaScript libraries aimed at empowering Sugar developers. With Sugar Logic, developers can more quickly create dynamic processes and views in SugarCRM instances, which are also upgrade safe.

The latest edition of Sugar 6 also includes 13 new languages fully supported by SugarCRM. With these new supported language packs, users need not download, install and manage language translations for SugarCRM. These packs are embedded in the system, managed by SugarCRM, and available from a simple dropdown menu at startup.

In addition, new social media, collaboration and access features are included in the latest Sugar release. A new Twitter Connector enables Sugar users to quickly and easily monitor the Twitter activity of accounts and contacts right inside the SugarCRM record. Sugar 6 now supports Microsoft Outlook 2010 and offers enhanced support for IMAP email protocols such as Google’s Gmail service—further widening the ability for users to quickly and easily sync and archive emails in the Sugar system. Finally, Sugar 6 now supports the Google Chrome browser, providing even more choice when accessing the world’s most flexible, intuitive and open CRM system.

To compare editions of SugarCRM, see:


Sugar Community Edition

SugarCRM makes Sugar Community Edition available free of charge under the GNU General Public License.

Sugar Professional

Advanced CRM for small & medium-sized businesses from $360/user/year

Sugar Enterprise

CRM for the most demanding business $600/user/year

For further pricing details, please contact the company directly.

Rich’s View:

I have always considered SugarCRM a quasi-OpenSource version of that other giant bay-area CRM solution. And, thus, not especially interesting! However, I did like the sound of some of the announcements made by CEO Larry Augustin at their recent SugarCon. So, I will spend the rest of the summer examining the upcoming 7.o release to see if they really walk their talk!

This review is undergoing a major update and should be available in August-2013!


Short List:

If you are considering this program, you should also look at these other CRM solutions:

      • Coming Soon!


Rich’s Recommended Web Sites

SugarCRM Forums

SugarCRM Wiki




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Still have questions about SugarCRM? Just leave a comment below!


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