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8/27/2008
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SugarCRM Upgrades To 5.1 With Reporting, Analytics, Tracking

The new Tracker feature tells an employer which salespeople are making use of SugarCRM's capabilities, which features are most frequently used, and which are being ignored.

SugarCRM is offering its major upgrade of 2008 to its open source customer relationship management system in a release that includes improved analytics, reporting and a new Tracker feature.

SugarCRM 5.1, released yesterday, adds the features on top of the 5.0 version , which has been out since last December. Tracker, for example, lets a SugarCRM user review activity by the system that tells an employer which salespeople are making use of its capabilities and what features are most frequently used versus those that are little used or ignored.

"Every sales person is an artist. It's best not to put them in front of a computer and expect them to all use it the same way," said John Roberts, CEO and founder of SugarCRM. Tracker gives VPs of sales or other executives a chance to review SugarCRM statistics and figure out how to help their salesforces be better organized.

Enhancements to the Module Builder feature of the system lets a user build a form to support a new relationship or a new template for some activity without needing to rely on IT programming staff for help. The visual development feature allows users to drag and drop a particular information field from a database or other source to the form, assembling information in a way that will be useful to the user.

The new reporting capabilities include the ability to collect data in more complex data sets, including column-oriented data, or information of a similar type, out of a database and present it in a matrix. Reports may include the results of the relational database function of inner and outer joins, Roberts said.

Additional run-time filters may be applied to the data being reported, and results of Excel spreadsheets added to reports.

SugarCRM's wireless clients now include the Apple iPhone as well as RIM Blackberry. With SugarCRM's retooled wireless client interface, more data and more complex presentations of data can be delivered to end users' handheld devices. "The iPhone has changed the game in terms of what the user interface can do," he said.

SugarCRM is a four-year-old open source company with 165 employees in Cupertino, Calif. Roberts said it has 4,000 technical support customers; it reported 3,000 in early February. Its SugarCRM system is running on 50,000 servers, based on pings sent back to headquarters after installation. The firm has raised $46 million in two rounds of venture capital funding so far, he said.

To help understand what's next for CRM software, InformationWeek has published an anaysis of the SaaS marketplace. Download the report here (registration required).

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