Commence CRM and SugarCRM

A Brief Comparison of Two Middle Market CRM Providers

Mid-size businesses and small enterprises looking for a CRM solution typically focus their energy on a few specific CRM software providers.  Two of the companies battling for a slice of this middle market are Commence CRM and SugarCRM.  Both are considered high quality alternatives to the more expensive and complex Salesforce.com program, but there are several differences between the two.  This brief report highlights some of the differences that consumers may be interested in.

Functionality: Both Commence CRM and SugarCRM are comprehensive offerings that rival enterprise level solutions such as Oracle and SAP.  In addition to contact and account management, calendaring and activity management, both solutions support sales force automation, lead management, marketing campaign management, customer support, e-mail integration, document management, mobile integration, reporting and analytics.  Integration with third party accounting solutions is also offered by both providers. Both products offer robust functionality and it is unlikely you will require features that are not offered by either CRM vendor.  Commence also offers an integrated project management solution which is attractive for companies that require this functionality.

Advantage:  Commence CRM if project management is required.

Customization: Both CRM solutions are customizable. SugarCRM was originally released as a free open source CRM program, but is now sold under an annual subscription license.  The product is written using the PHP language which is not highly regarded as an enterprise level language and while the product can be highly customized it does require PHP knowledge for most customizations. Commence CRM is designed using Java, an industry standard for scalability and high speed performance.  Commence has incorporated a lot of flexibility within the user interface which enables the system administrator to tailor the applications without programming knowledge.  More sophisticated customization however would require Java expertise.

Advantage:  Commence CRM due to industry standard Java programming language.

Deployment: Both Commence CRM and SugarCRM are online web based CRM solutions that may be deployed on premise or via a cloud computing environment.  Both offer a tremendous advantage over Salesforce.com who does not offer on-premise deployment.

Advantage:  SugarCRM. Commence limits on-premise deployment to larger organizations.

Hosting & Data Security: Commence CRM has a strategic partnership with Rackspace, the industry’s number one rated hosting facility which has datacenters in the United States, Europe and Asia.   Rackspace provides the highest level cloud computing environment in the industry.  SugarCRM can be hosted by the client or any third party hosting provider.  This may be of concern to customers looking for continuity with regard to new product releases and high quality support services.

Advantage:  Commence CRM. Rackspace is a recognized cloud computing leader.

Customer Support: SugarCRM offers several customer service plans. They are separately priced from the product’s annual service fees.  Commence bundles in telephone support into the annual service fee.  Support is provided directly from the company’s headquarters in the United States.

Advantage:  Commence CRM. Telephone support included in annual service fees.

Price: Both products are attractively priced as compared to rival Salesforce.com and offer good value.   SugarCRM offers two editions: SugarCRM professional at $360 annually per user and SugarCRM Enterprise for $600 per user per year.  Commence CRM offers a bit more flexibility with regard to the selection of functionality and price, and lets you build your own CRM system by selecting the functionality you require at a price that meets your budget. Prices start at $220 per user annually and go up to $780 annually per user.

Advantage:  Commence CRM, due to flexible applications selection and pricing.

Image Credit: Sugar cubes by Original uploader was Creet at en.wikipedia – originally by Uwe Hermann source Wikimedia license CC Free photos from acobox.com

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