The Real Story on SugarCRM

Are you curious about how RSG reviews Customer Relationship Management platforms in our CRM vendor evaluation research stream?

Well, let me show you with a closer look at our evaluation of the SugarCRM platform. Sugar started as an open source and a simpler alternative to expensive CRM offerings. Over time, it has built a good set of core capabilities and can give more established commercial products a run for their money, especially around sales automation, where the platform is highly customizable. 

If you need a suite consisting of sales, marketing, and service in a single package with a core set of capabilities, Sugar is a plausible alternative — assuming you have PHP skills and don’t mind taking up challenges related to open source.

It becomes as less suitable platform, at least on its own, if you need advanced capabilities in specific areas (like marketing), or you were expecting a CRM distribution that’s pre-customized for your industry. In such cases, you will need to either invest in additional offerings from SugarCRM or from other vendors.

You’ll also want to keep a closer eye on the company itself; rounds of cost-cutting, leadership changes, and a formal break from its open source origins all suggest the possibility of impatient investors, who may push the company towards some sort of “exit,” ready or not.

SugarCRM Strengths

  • Available as a unified suite, with comprehensive functionality in a single package
  • Customers find it comparatively easier to deploy, train, and optimize
  • Simpler and lower pricing makes Sugar very cost-effective
  • Product is relatively easy to extend, and you can find an impressive array of 3rd-party modules
  • Is available in a variety of deployment models, including SaaS, on-premise, and public/private cloud hosting
  • Customers benefit from a large, diverse, and supportive ecosystem

SugarCRM Weaknesses

  • Lags competitors in industry-specific solutions; there's just a single horizontal offering
  • Lacks many advanced features that other vendors provide as a result of their acquisitions
  • Outdated reporting services hinder advanced sales and marketing analysis
  • Recent acquisition patched hole in Marketing Automation portfolio, but is new and will require more integration
  • PHP-based platform is consistently bedeviled by security vulnerabilities, that, while readily patched, require advanced vigilance by administrators
  • Vendor behind the platform is a relatively small company; reduces long-term viability
  • Potential for institutional turbulence with staff cuts and leadership changes as company may be prepping for "exit"

Consider Your Options

SugarCRM is just one of 8 CRM vendors that RSG covers.

Within the full CRM report and decision tools, RSG also digs into which CRM vendors address certain business scenarios better than others. As always, some products will fit better — or worse — for different use cases.  Find out which CRM vendors best match yours.


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