CRM Review of SugarCRM

Compare Commence CRM vs. SugarCRM

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.

How They Compare:

1) Functionality: Both Commence CRM and SugarCRM are comprehensive offerings that rival enterprise level solutions. 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. With either Commence CRM or SugarCRM it is unlikely you will require features that are not offered by these CRM solution providers. Commence however offers several unique features that give it edge over SugarCRM such as; the ability to read and compose e-mail right within the Commence CRM dashboard, a customer rating feature, a lead qualification scoring capability and an automated organization chart that customers find exceptionally valuable. In addition, Commence CRM offers an integrated project management solution which is unique in the CRM sector.

Advantage: Commence CRM

2) Ease of Use: One of the most important aspects of any CRM system is the learning curve and how easy the product is to use. Commence CRM gets the edge here as customers have indicated that the product’s user interface is easier to navigate and use than SugarCRM. Commence has incorporated a number of repetitive daily tasks right within the product’s dashboard or home page. This enables the end user to conduct the majority of their daily business without ever leaving the dashboard. Users can quickly read and compose email, schedule follow-up activities, manage leads and sales opportunities, review projects, even add service tickets without leaving the home page.

Advantage: Commence CRM

3) Cost: SugarCRM offers several editions ranging in price from $35 per user per month to well over $100 dollars. Some of the more costly editions do not offer too much in the way of additional functionality but instead provide higher storage levels. It’s clear that Sugar’s pricing model is better suited to mid-size companies then smaller businesses that simply do not require that level of storage. Commence CRM also offers several product editions as well starting at $15 dollars per user per month and concluding with their enterprise edition at $60. Each edition offers additional functionality and storage as well.

Advantage: Commence CRM – less costly for similar functionality.

4) Product Platform: Both Commence CRM and SugarCRM target midsize companies and small enterprises. Commence uses Java, an industry standard platform and architecture for scalability and performance. Java is utilized by some of the largest application service providers in the world. SugarCRM is written using the PHP language which is not highly regarded for scalability and system performance. For customers that expect to experience growth in transaction volume and utilization, Commence CRM would be the preferred choice.

Advantage: Commence CRM

5) System Deployment: Both Commence CRM and SugarCRM are online web based CRM solutions that may be deployed on premise or via a hosted environment. Both offer a tremendous advantage over Salesforce.com who does not offer on-premise deployment. Commence has forged a strategic business alliance with Rack Space, the number 1 rated provider of hosted application software. Rack Space offers Commence customers the security and comfort of a best in class hosting service via the cloud.

Advantage: None

6) Data Security: One of the most important aspects of engaging a provider of cloud based CRM solutions is the comfort of knowing that your data is properly secured and protected. 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 does not disclose their hosting facility which is a bit perplexing and should be a concern for anyone who wants to know where their data is and that it is being properly secured. The product can also be hosted by third parties but the responsibility for service level agreements, reliability and uptime performance then transfers to the third party and not SugarCRM. Customers that choose to deploy SugarCRM via a third party hosting provider may have to take on the responsibility for product updates and enhancements themselves. Commence CRM releases are fully implemented by the corporation via the Rackspace cloud computing environment.

Advantage: Commence CRM.

7) Customizability: Both CRM solutions are customizable. SugarCRM was originally released as a free open source CRM tool for designing applications. While highly customizable, customers are required to know the PHP development language or engage developers with this expertise to do anything more than add custom fields or change labels. Commence has incorporated customization right within the user interface. This allows the system administrator to quickly create custom views, saved searches or add custom fields without programmer intervention.

Advantage: None

8) Customer Service: Both Commence and SugarCRM have a staff of highly experienced support personnel that offer quality customer service which places them among the elite of CRM solution providers. Online help, video training and a knowledgebase are available 24/7 from both companies and telephone support is available at an additional cost.

Advantage: None

The Final Score

Commence is designed specifically for sales, marketing and support staff that require a comprehensive business solution that is ease to use, affordable and can be customizable without programmer intervention. Targeted squarely at the middle market, Commence offers comprehensive functionality, a best in class hosting service and a reputation for providing quality products and services that span more than two decades. Deployment is rapid and customers are operational with one to two days.

SugarCRM was introduced as a free open source CRM program that was targeted at the development and IT community who would take full responsibility for the deployment, implementation and support of their customized CRM solution. Today, similar to Commence, SugarCRM has several product editions at different price points. Both companies offer a robust solution and high quality customer service. Either one would be a good alternative to higher priced programs like Salesforce.com. Commence CRM’s ease of use, lower cost of entry, and its Java based architecture give it a competitive edge over SugarCRM.

Take a moment to learn how Commence CRM can help grow your business in our online CRM videos or by taking a free CRM test drive.