Author: Anna Petelina, Business Development Manager
My colleagues and I are often enquired about the difference between free of charge Community Edition (CE) and commercial Sugar Professional. It is not a secret that an open code provides limitless possibilities for developers to customize Community Edition for the needs of every business.
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Yes, it’s true. INTEGROS has performed a number of CRM system implementations using Community Edition as a platform, but there are 5 business tasks the realization of which is going to be more efficient on the basis of SugarCRM commercial edition:
- The need for flexible data access control by the user
- The need to build reports by the users’ efforts, not engaging developers
- Manage workflows
- CRM system and Gmail or Outlook integration
- Mobile access
Below are the comprehensive answers to the questions “Why is it vital?” and “Who needs it?”
5 key benefits of Sugar Professional
Flexible data access control system
Customer data has always been “sacred” for every business. Once the number of CRM system users has approached 7-10 people, the top managers start wondering: what is the optimal way of ensuring team interaction with a customer but at the same time to control data access?
Contrasted to the ”packaged” Community Edition solution, where a user either sees a customer alone, or the customer is seen by everyone, Sugar Professional enables grouping of users into Teams. Several teams can have access to one customer (Contact, Opportunity, Lead or any other entity of a CRM system) at once, which allows flexible access options. In addition, each team can have different access rights to work with various database fields (view, record, edit) which gives a possibility to share access not only on the level of objects (Contact, Account, Opportunity…), but on the level of particular characteristics of these objects.
Can a developer bring in these modifications? Of course! But the answer has a hidden side, which may be unknown to a non-technical specialist. Security is a core of any computer system, and a CRM system is not an exception. Therefore, if you make changes to the Community Edition core, to ensure new opportunities for managing permissions, you have to take on risks, related to your dependence on a team or a developer, who made those changes. INTEGROS is frequently contacted by the companies the developers of which quit, leaving a CRM system behind that can be neither maintained nor enhanced. Such solutions have either to be “replaced”, or the company has to look for a developer who will agree to examine and support the code, left by his predecessor. Every developer knows that it’s a lowly employment.
In terms of Sugar Professional, the developed access management system is delivered as a standard functionality, so the similar risks are just excluded both in short term and in long term perspective.
Another indication that the company has outgrown Community Edition is an increased need to build reports flexibly, not engaging developers.
Reports are the final stage of CRM data life cycle, therefore, the more users there are, the more frequent the requests for building reports are. The availability of such a functionality in a CRM system not only increases the speed and convenience of users’ work significantly, but also decreases IT expenses, as if the reports are customized by a developer, he requires a fee.
In addition to the fact that reports in Sugar Professional are built using filters, that are not more difficult than Excel filters, they can be used as bricks for building the marketing campaign and mailing lists. Presented in the form of diagrams, the reports can be placed on the dashboard which gives a structured picture of customer data, for example, next to the list of the top-priority tasks and customers birthdays in a current week.
The managers of all levels are likely to appreciate the possibility to receive a report by email on a timely basis. In such a way, one can have the finger on the pulse of everything without even logging into the CRM system.
I can’t but admit that the flexibility of filling the CRM objects with fields is provided by a built-in Sugar functionality – Studio, which allows you modify and create brand-new objects. But only a commercial Studio has calculated fields (Formulas) and dependent fields (when the value of one field depends on the value designated in another field).
The more data is stored in a CRM system, the greater the need is to configure automated processes. For every company the list of events to be checked and controlled by different people is purely individual:
- Creating of a new opportunity with a budget of over 100 thousand
- Email or a call from a VIP-client
- Request from the website that has been pending for more than 2 hours
- Opportunity remains on the stage “Scope identification” for too long
Workflow functionality allows monitoring similar events automatically and automatically perform the following actions within the system: assign tasks, update the data field values, send alerts via email.
Email and correspondence are an essential part of modern business life. Managers are often reproached by the superiors for not attaching important correspondence with a customer to a CRM system. And they themselves are often challenged to find an important email, sent “by someone from a legal department but not attached to the CRM system”.
In order to optimize work with email correspondence, Sugar Professional contains Email Archiving feature which archives and links to a CRM system any inbound and outbound email. As soon as the system spots an email address in your database, the history is recorded automatically, putting no personal effort. Notably, this feature is perfectly integrated with corporate Google Mail. In this case the users of a CRM system work with Gmail as with their main email client and the email archiving option helps not to worry, whether an email has been sent form a PC or a smartphone.
It may seem a piece of cake, but in fact it’s a sophisticated engineering solution, which saves your nerves and money.
Another great technical achievement which saves our time is a smartphone. It’s no longer a telephone but a small and light PC always at hand. Especially for people who have to work on the move, SugarCRM has developed a mobile client, available only in commercial editions. Although many solutions are delivered to Community Edition by third parties, they all have one disadvantage – they are not changed in case you extend the CRM database with new fields and objects.
Sugar Professional Mobile client is configured via Studio. Having added a new object or a field, it’s possible to indicate whether they should be displayed within the mobile client. It allows not only handling the contact details of any complexity level, but to carry out specific tasks on the mobile device, that in the past were meant to be performed on the PC only: to place orders, process customer requests, received from the website, participate in a teamwork. Indeed, it’s a valuable functionality for those, whose work requires spending much time away from office.
How to make a right choice
If it’s vital for your company to ensure 2 or more of the abovementioned options, choose Sugar Professional, you will never regret your choice. Paying 40 dollars a month you will get a high-quality CRM platform with a guaranteed support and a possibility to save up on servers and maintenance.
If a 40-dollar pay per a user is beyond your means, but you still need a CRM system, start from implementing Community Edition. Just try to introduce fewer modifications. It will not only decrease the CRM system implementation budget, but will also simplify migration to more functional editions, which you are likely to need as your business grows.