Open source CRM vendor SugarCRM hopes its new offering, which comes in professional and open source flavors, is even sweeter than its predecessors.
Sugar Open Source Edition 2.5 expands the CRM interface to include Web portal tools, according to the company, while Sugar Professional Edition includes integration with wireless devices in addition to new Web portal tools.
Sugar Open Source allows users to customize the application directly from the revamped Administration Console, which eliminates the need to write code. According to the company, users can customize fields and forms, as well as connect to other Web-based enterprise information repositories, to create made-to-order business tool portals that are unavailable in more expensive, closed source CRM products.
Users can also activate and deactivate modules (items like leads or accounts) or add new ones. Sugar Suite contains a new chart generation engine, so users can automatically create charts of varying shapes, sizes and configurations.
"With our new 2.5 release, we are extending the open source customization capabilities of our Sugar Suite to make customization available to non-technical users who don't know anything about Linux, Apache, MySQL or PHP," John Roberts, CEO of SugarCRM, said in a statement.
"At the same time, we are enabling organizations to embed other applications into our interface to permit one-stop access to multiple applications and establish Sugar Suite as home base for CRM professionals."
Roberts explained to internetnews.com that SugarCRM uses PHP for its development, and most of its own developers use the Zend IDE, including Zend Platform, to expedite their development.
Integration with other data sources is a key part of the new Sugar Suite, which now includes portal creation, integration and RSS reader capabilities.
The portal integration is with the popular open source Mambo Content Management System (CMS) via a new Sugar API. The Mambo integration allows for customer data collected from a user Mambo-based Web site to be forwarded and integrated into Sugar Suite.
Sugar Professional improves upon PDA access, and it includes a new summary report feature that rolls key data into one report. This edition also adds paid professional support to the CRM offering.
Sugar Professional comes more than a week after the company quietly floated the first open source version of the same release. Feedback concerning the open source version led to a number of bug fixes; in the last week the application has been patched three times.
Sugar Open Source is currently available for free while Sugar Professional is available under a commercial license and also as the Sugar On-Demand hosted version.