Find Part 1 of the SugarCon 2013: SugarCRM 7 review here
Just as I began to tune out the current speaker, my ears focused on one phrase “Sugar 7”. As my eyes followed my ears from my iPhone and email to the 200 inch screen in the front of the room, there it was, the slide before the slide that would show me my first screen shot of Sugar 7. It was a great moment. Suddenly the 12 emails I received in the last 20 minutes didn’t matter. I was about to see it. As an electric guitar whaled in the background, the slide faded out and the new faded in. There it was, a screen shot of the new Sugar 7 home page.
While it looked similar, it wasn’t, it was new. As the sound of sent text messages cleared the air, a moment of silence followed. You could see it on everyone’s face, we were all thinking the same thing “If they changed the home page, they may have changed things people actually use”, and so they had. Over the next 20 minutes SugarCRM unveiled its new Sugar 7 platform. It wasn’t just lipstick. It was the makeover. As in, went to weight loss camp, lost 80 pounds, come back with a new bod and attitude type makeover. It was official, I was impressed.
Sugar 7 is faster, cleaner and more social friendly than ever before. With all new search, filtering and smart tagging capabilities, SugarCRM had finally created a product that worked like REAL people do. Someone finally got it, how a business and its users interact and collaborate around customer driven processes and activities is what matters. That’s what needed to be front and center, not just hundreds of fields spread across dozens of screens. This Sugar 7 was smart. SugarCRM had wisely built up its Activity Stream concept and built it in to every module. Now users had a choice, view data in traditional fields and panels or in a real-time chatter type interface. If its one thing every successful business understands its effective communication. SugarCRM had just added a very powerful communication and collaboration tool. Just as important as new collaboration features and capabilities, the look and feel was a dramatic improvement. Sugar 7 looked crisp and sharp with new color driven icons noting record types and color coded tagging information.
Now the questions around the room change to “How soon can we get this?” and “My clients are going to love this”. But wait, there was more , SugarCRM rebuilt the entire Sugar mobile experience with a new Module App for iPhone and Android. This app looked like a seamless extension of Sugar 7. It was fast and offered many of the new filtering and searching capabilities as Sugar 7. Could it be, a software developer was offering the same user experience in a mobile application? Not exactly, but it’s a 4.5 inch screen so some slack is appropriate.
As I spent my week learning more about the Sugar 7 platform I soon realized that I was potentially witnessing software history. A developer had announced a new release that energized its users and the people supporting those users. But with all of this adrenaline inducing positivity I knew there had to be a dark cloud looming…the release roadmap. Just like that fancy new model sports car at auto show, it will be a while before we can test drive Sugar 7. The published, yet non-official, release timeline for Sugar 7 is Q3 2013 for New Sugar OnDemand Customers and Q4 2013 for all existing Sugar Ondemand Customers. This means that any Sugar Customers who are using an on-premise or locally hosted installation of SugarCRM are going to be waiting until Q1 2014 or later of next year before they are able to migrate over to Sugar 7 in the form of a Sugar 7.1 release. Nevertheless, is Sugar 7 work the wait? Absolutely!
Contributor: Jason Barnes, Oasis Solutions Group Partner