SugarCRM moves up release cadence, introduces shareable dashboards in Fall ’17 release

The new release of the SugarCRM flagship product also modernizes the Email module and lets users drill down into the dashboards for more insights.

The new email interface

SugarCRM has unveiled the latest version of their flagship Sugar On-Demand offering, with their Fall ‘17 update. Part of the news is around the timeframe of the release, as they move up their core cloud release to once every 90 days, or four per year. The release itself has several enhancements of note. Dashboards can now be shared with other users, enhancing collaboration. The ability to drill down into charts by clicking through them has also been introduced for the first time. Finally, the old email module has been modernized with a new interface and upgrading of the back end.

“This release is one of multiple releases we have made this quarter,” said Clint Oram, SugarCRM’s co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer.  “A couple weeks ago at SugarCon, we refreshed our mobile product and sales intelligence solutions, and also introduced a new mobile SDK.”

This release of Sugar On-Demand pushes up what Oram referred to as SugarCRM’s pace of innovation.

“With this Sugar On-Demand release, we are moving to a quarterly cloud release schedule,” he said. “Our historical schedule over the product’s 13 year life was to wait until we had enough features together, and bring out a release once or twice a year. We have shifted to a new quarterly schedule to push out innovation more quickly. So going forward, our releases won’t be about big bangs, but a steady stream of continuous updates.”

SugarCRM also offers this product in a private cloud version with much less frequent updates – but even its schedule has been accelerated.

“Some customers who manage their own software and data want fewer updates, and they get a once a year update every spring,” Oram said. “It used to come out about every year and a half, but we have accelerated it a little.”

The three major enhancements announced are all ones channel partners have been asking for.

“A key focus is enhancing sharing,” Oram said. “We have introduced shared dashboards and added the ability to drill into them and get more insights out of them.”

The ability to enhance the dashboards that provide visual representations of the CRM data around leads, opportunities and accounts significantly improves the ability of sales teams to collaborate. Sharing is done simply by pressing a button.

“We had the ability for users to create their own databases before, but we hadn’t had the shareable aspect,” Oram said. “Some customers built customizations doing this on top of our platform, so we decided to build it into the core platform.”

This release also introduces drill-through charts. Double-clicking on a chart segment reveals further details without the need to create a separate report.

“We have had static charts for over ten years, and the ability to click through wasn’t there, even though each release has more dashboards than ever before,” Oram said. He emphasized that this capability is aimed at line of business users rather than IT. He also characterized it as providing a slight enhancement to the end user experience.

The third change has a significant impact on end user experience. The Sugar Email module has been completely redesigned. It now provides a central view of all relevant email records, which are associated with accounts and contacts and can be organized by filtering, searching and tagging. Emails archived through various services can also be managed.

“Email is the richest vein of communication with customers, and we have always considered it  important that it be tightly interwoven with the CRM,” Oram said. “The old Email module was a decade old, and it was definitely time to give it a modern look and feel. We have redone a lot of the plumbing, and introduced a completely new user interface. You can now quickly and easily track and store email communications.”

More enhancements will be coming to the email, including the addition of analytics, which is in the future.

Of all the new things in all the releases, Oram said the one of most interest to partner is actually the mobile SDK introduced at SugarCon

“It is clearly the most interesting thing for partners,” he said. “It is now going into full scale adoption, and lets them build industry-specific functionality for their customers.”