As SugarCRM celebrates its 10th birthday, over a decade of innovation has lead to the product becoming a major player in the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) space. Indeed, Gartner now ranks the product in the “Visionary” quadrant (details here).
As someone who has kept a close eye on the product over that time, and who runs a company dedicated to supplying and servicing SugarCRM, I have watched the product mature and gain huge ground on its closest competitor – SalesForce.com.
So what exactly are the differences between Sugar and SalesForce?
Well, funnily enough, the main differentiators are the same now as they’ve always been – price, control andflexibility. But with the release towards the end of 2013 of Sugar 7, we can now add one more item to that list –usability.
So here’s a full run-down of the things you should consider if you’ve narrowed your CRM selection down to SugarCRM or SalesForce.com.
Part 1 – Where is your data?
SalesForce (SF) was certainly a pioneer in the concepts of “software as a service” and “cloud” – long before the terms had gained popular usage. These days, it is common to entrust major organisations to find a home for your data somewhere on the Internet and not to worry too much about where it is physically located.
That’s all fine unless…
- Your industry has regulatory controls over where your data can live
- You ever want your data back
With SF your data is going to be hosted in the US. Not a problem if your a US based company but if you’re located outside of the US that may cause you some concern.
Of more concern to most, is the knowledge that you can’t get all of that data back – at least not in any usable format. If your using your CRM solution as you should be, building up a rich history of your entire relationship with a customer, it is reasonable to assume that you don’t want to lose that history should you choose to move to a different product in the future. Those archived emails, notes, tasks, meeting records, call records, quotes, pipeline deals and everything else, they wrap up your entire engagement with the customer. SF will not hand you back your data with all of the links between the different records intact. All you can do is export report results to a CSV spreadsheet.
How is SugarCRM Different?
SugarCRM hands you control of your data. Yes, you can host it on Sugar’s cloud (either on the US cloud or on the EU one). Alternately, you can host it on your own internal infrastructure; or put it on Amazon or any other popular cloud framework; or get a partner to host it for you. SugarCRM gives you that choice. You can even move from one data deployment strategy to another without penalty.
And if you want the data back? Well, it’s your data, so you can have it. Even if hosted on the cloud, your data is still held in a popular Open Source database format – MySQL. The support team will export you a complete database backup. Every piece of data is there but more importantly, all of the keys which link, say, a particular call record to a particular customer, or a pipeline deal to a particular company, all of those are there too. The MySQL database platform is free. So you can get your data back in a usable format at any time.
Figure 1 – SugarCRM gives you control over where your data is stored, how it is stored and how you can retrieve it.
Next up, I’ll be looking at the difference in cost between the two solutions.