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Delivering successful SugarCRM projects is not just about cutting code. There's a process of requirements elicitation, documentation, design and project management to add to the business of delighting customers.

Reviewing the up and coming SuiteCRM 7.9

SalesAgility have been the drivers and innovators of SuiteCRM which has made it one of the most downloaded open source CRM applications in the world. Within this period, the SuiteCRM product team brought us “Campaigns” email module. In today’s world a dynamic email marketing suite has become an important part of any CRM and marketing function.

In this blog, I will give you the run down on the new features you can expect to see in the next release – SuiteCRM Version 7.9. This release is weighted towards vast improvements to the “Campaigns” and updating the “Emails” module. As well as addressing bugs from prior releases there is an extensive list of tweaks and improved functionality.

Here are just some of highlights of what you can expect to see in this release.

New and Responsive Email Client

1. New design for SuiteP - see our screenshots

2. Use the new Filters to search for Imported and non Imported Emails

3. Compose directly via Email's list view with responsive pop-up window

4. Improved HTML support

5. Attach multiple files to Emails via browse button

6. Extendible by Developers - a new compose view, support upgrade safe customisations, new message box plugin for creating modal dialogues in SuiteCRM and more

7. Related records to emails

8. Navigation between folders from email client

9. The Email List View displays the emails from the IMAP server without importing

10. Improved performance of importing Emails

11. Maintaining standard functionality – related records to emails, individually importing emails, and more

Email Template Enhancements

1. Ability to choose between three available Editors - Raw HTML, Tiny MCE and Mozaik

2. Ability to set the width and colour of the Content container - only available on Mozaik editor

Other enhancements

1. Improve Reminders in performance

2. Improve View Summary design - including the ability to filter

3. Community enhancements

4. Deprecation of Suite7 and SuiteR - don't worry, we have announced LTS for 7.8.x

In amongst all these bug fixes and improvements it also brings the deprecation Suite7 and SuiteR themes. The removal of these themes was necessary in order to improve our release cycle and implement the LTS for SuiteCRM 7.8 and beyond.

Screen Shot 1    Screen Shot 2     Screen Shot 3    Screen Shot 4

The official SuiteCRM 7.9 will be released W/C 22nd May 2017.

However if you cannot wait that long you now have the chance to road test the SuiteCRM 7.9 BETA version (see release notes for what’s included). As with any Beta release there are some elements which are still being developed and worked on before general availability - Email Template enhancements, Group Email, Saving Drafts, Filtering Emails (only works on non imported emails) Selecting and Importing Emails Individually, Moving Folders, Reply To, email Templates, Removing/Deleting Emails

If you have any comments on this article then please contact me on – 01789 585 499 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. any bugs or issues with the Beta release please share these on GitHub and Forums

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Long Term Support Strategy for SuiteCRM

SalesAgility are now releasing a long term support cycle to provide users with a firm commitment to the future development of SuiteCRM. This commitment could not be more timely. LTS will provide confidence to those users where SuiteCRM is now a critical part of their businesses infrastructure. This is in contrast to the end of life cycle of the SugarCRM CE which is set for 15th July 2017

In the past, fast release cycles allowed us to quickly innovate and have served us well for the past couple of years. However this also hampers our ability to tackle the bigger more substantial issues that we wanted to resolve. SalesAgility believe the commitment to a LTS strategy is a monumental step forward. It will ensures that SuiteCRM will deliver much needed stability to its customers.

Key Points

We are introducing a more lengthy release cycle of 6 months – guarantee 2 major releases a year.
Long Term Support SuiteCRM versions every 18 months, providing a total of 27 months of support.
LTS versions will overlap the previous LTS by at least 9 months beginning with v7.8.x as our first LTS version.
The LTS support will include 21 months of full support, which includes major and critical bug fixes, security fixes and any issues introduced by new browsers. After 21 months this level will reduce to only security fixes.
As 7.8.x will be our first LTS we have extended the support until May 2019

SuiteCRM has to move with the times. A LTS strategy will help in the quest to become the most used CRM application in the world. We feel that committing to a LTS strategy allows us to build on the success of SuiteCRM in the past and to deliver a long term strategy to ensure the continued growth of SuiteCRM and to its future.

In line with the overall strategic progress of SuiteCRM and in response to requests from a number of industries, we will also be soon be releasing information about a warranted version of SuiteCRM.

To access the full LTS cycle please click here

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SuiteCRM are awarded yet another prestigious CRM Award

SuiteCRM are proud to have received the Great User Experience Award and Rising Star Award in 2017 from FinanceOnline the popular B2B software review platform. Having only recently been added to the site, we are ecstatic that our award winning software has already been recognised for its user experience and growth potential in 2017. We were also ha...
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12 Simple Rules of CRM Implementation

CRM software isn't a black art. It is a big and complex field though. If you're not sure how big and complex, then try Googling "CRM". You'll find opinions from a huge number of sources from learned academics to large consultancies implementing CRM applications on a global scale.

SalesAgility fall into neither of the above categories. But we have accumulated a lot of experience over the years which we're more than happy to share with you.

So, for our take on CRM, read on ..... 12 Simple Rules that should underpin EVERY CRM implementation

1. Executive sponsorship

It's no accident that this is at the top. If the CEO hasn't bought into it – don't do it. It is critical that everyone in the organisation is aware that commitment to the project comes from the top. The commitment needs to extend down from directors and senior line managers and users need to be aware of that. Implementing CRM is about change as much as anything else and change is hard. Change is very much harder without executive support.

2. External Assistance

Unless you have one of the world's leading CRM experts tucked away in the Accounts Office, don't do it by yourselves. CRM is a big field and its reach is deep into the organisation. Get in people who eat, sleep and breathe CRM.

3. Involvement

You need to get your people involved. Designing and implementing this from a top down approach will be seen as simply that .... management foisting another system on us. Find the middle managers and significant influencers, especially in the sales team, and put them on the design and implementation project. Get their buy-in, make them envangelists, give everyone the feeling of ownership.

4. Don't do everything at once

CRM can have a deep reach into an organisation, especially if it involves sales, marketing and service automation. Implement incrementally to avoid confusion and over extensive change resistance. So, do it in stages.

5. Post-implementation Support

You can train people extensively before the system goes live. But when push comes to shove, people will forget what they were taught and start to use the application in the way that they are comfortable with. This is plain wrong. Unless there is a common approach to the data that needs to be recorded and a common approach to how it is recorded, then the main value of the CRM is lost. So, post-implementation support monitors and mentors users after the application goes live. Those first three months are critical.

6. Encourage user feedback and act on it

Communicate with your users and let them know that not only were they involved with the design of the application, they're also involved in the running of it. User buy-in is as critical as executive sponsorship. Don't ignore users just because you've gone live.

7. Don't be rigid

This is a little bit of a cheat as it's really an extension of the point above. But it's important. Even the best implementations will need tweaked in the light of user experience. SugarCRM enables organisations to react to feedback and changing business needs quickly. Take advantage of that. Put lightweight but robust processes in place so that change can happen. Don't put bureaucratic barriers to change in place.

8. Don't set unreasonable expectations

You're not going to be a customer-centric organisation the day after you go live. It takes months for data to be accumulated and adjustments to be made in the light of experience.

9. Training should be extensive

Half an hour per person is not enough. Every user should attend training before they are allowed access to the system. Ideally training should communicate purpose and evangelise as well as educate. Training should be structured, hands-on, contain exercises to consolidate learning and have opportunities for delegates to ask questions.

10. Spend time on Design

Most CRM applications take the kitchen sink approach. They have fields to capture every conceivable fact about customers and the processes that support them. User adoption will plummet if users have to plough through a myriad of redundant fields to get to the ones that they need. It will plummet even further if they can't reflect the needs of their own business because no fields are available to capture the information. Spend time going carefully through the application (see 3 above) taking out that which isn't needed and putting in that which is ..... and be prepared to change this after you go live (see 7 above).

11. Clean your data

It's worth putting in the investment into cleaning the data before it goes into CRM. This means getting rid of data that is old and of no more value. It means having complete records of names, addresses, postcodes, email addresses ... it also means that the data should be well structured, that postcodes are in the postcode field and town in the town field.

12. Know what you want to get out of CRM

At the outset, have a vision and a set of deliverables from the project. Articulate the vision clearly both to the implementation team and to the users. And review three to six months after the project goes live. Otherwise how do you know if the implementation is successful?

13. Enjoy it!!

Yes, we know we said 12 rules, but rule number 13 is important too – A well-implemented CRM application will deliver extensive information benefits to you and to your customers. It will improve information flow, process efficiency, customer retention and customer satisfaction. It will make information much easier to find, build collaborative teamwork and reduce duplication of information and effort.

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SugarCRM calls time on open source

In a post on their website, SugarCRM's Clint Oram confirms what many in the community had thought - that they will not be releasing Version 7 code to the community.

Of course, they still have not come out and stated it in absolute terms. In somewhat weaselly language Oram states that SugarCRM "has no plans at this time to release a version 7" to the community. In using this language he continues to sow doubt and confusion, which may well be the intention.

Really what is being said here is:

“All of you tens of thousands of developers and consultants that have contributed code, tested our releases, bug fixed, assisted in the forums – Thank you for helping to make us a successful proprietary software company. But you can all shove off now because you have served your purpose and we don't need you any more.”

Furthermore, he states that SugarCRM sees two types of users of Sugar Community Edition:

1) developers that wish to build on an open source CRM platform
 

2) users, generally first time CRM users, that are looking for a free/inexpensive CRM solution. 

And:

1) We envision an open source solution targeted exclusively for developers.  
 

2) We also envision a simpler way for first-time CRM users to find and use CRM.

So, to paraphrase the above:

They do not recognise any general industry move towards collaboratively built enterprise-class open source business applications. In SugarCRM world, there are 2 types of customers not prepared to  engage with the tired old proprietary software vendor antics – tinkerers and cheapskates.

For the cheapskates they will probably offer a version of 7 that mimics the current Community Edition functionality at a low cost with the aim of moving these to the more expensive variants over time. It's same-old, same-old proprietary vendor lock-in tactics.
 

For the developers/tinkerers they will maintain the 6.5.x code base with the occasional bug fix. But, really don't hold your breath. What they actually want is for Community Edition to die from neglect.
 

So, thank goodness there is an alternative. SuiteCRM is SugarCRM the way it could and should have been. It's open source. It has a huge base of additional functionality built on top of the Community Edition.


If you want an open source, powerful and committed CRM company, you can no longer look at SugarCRM.

Come and join the party. It's now at SuiteCRM.

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