SugarCRM or Business Contact Manager for Outlook???? (CRM novice)

Hi All,

I have just started working for a V.new and V.small company, and have been given the task of deciding whether to use SugarCRM, or Microsoft's Business Contact Manager for Outlook 2003, as our CRM software. I am a CRM novice, so I have been doing some research, and I can't seem to find any comparative information on these two pieces of software. Do any of you have any views about them?

I will give you a bit of info regarding the system..... The company runs training courses, and so deals with many enquiries, follow-ups, booking etc. At present we have an SQL database with an Access front end, to store all information. This worked fine when there were only two employees, but now other functions are needed.

Each course requires 8 students/customers to run economically. Oppertunities may be missed because each member of staff has been storing the interested customer details in their head. We need some way of setting group reminders so everyone is presented with the information without having to trawl through the database. I think the intention is to use the CRM for contacts and enquiries, and then somehow link it to the courses database.

It would be great if anyone could shed ANY light on this for me!

Thanks for reading ............................ Holly Timlin :)
DaveTimAsked:
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyConnect With a Mentor Principal ConsultantCommented:
If you are already using SQL and Access, and most likely Outlook.  I would HIGHLY recommend that you stay with the integrated BCM.  Better yet, download the Office 2007 beta, which I've been using for a couple of months now... BCM absolutely ROCKS in that version.  It's fully customizable with exactly what you need... integrating it with contacts, calendar, email and the rest of Office.  

http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview/beta/getthebeta.mspx

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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georgeblissConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Firstly, a few questions:

- Have you considered hosted CRM or are you looking at running the systems on your own servers?

From a cost centre point of view Hosted CRM might make sense for your company at this stage. There are a number of options available, and I wouldn't limit your research to MS Business Contact Manager or sugar. While both are great products, you should look at services from SageCRM.com, NetSuite and similar companies. MS BCM is great because it has a seamless upgrade path to full Microsoft CRM, whereas you might have problems scaling up to a full CRM package from something like Sugar (I'm working on this for a client at the moment).


- How 'unique' are your business processes? For example, how complex is the information you need to store in relation to your training courses?

You should look at how easy each of the packages are to customise, in particular what workflow options you need. Sugar is pretty limited in this sense. As is MS BCM. SageCRM and the full MS CRM package are fully customisable, for example you could create a new 'entity' for Training Courses, and define workflow rules for this new entity.
 
-  How many end-users are there?

This will obviously affect your options....

Let me know if this helps...

GEORGE

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davidis99Connect With a Mentor Commented:
If you're considering an open source based package such as SugarCRM, you may want to expand your selection process to other open source CRM packages as well.  There's a fairly comprehensive list at this page

http://www.opensource-crm.com/Open-Source-CRM-Vendors.html

Unless you're working on a very short timeframe, I'd say it's worth taking the time to look.
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DaveTimAuthor Commented:
Hi guys,

Thanks for your help.

I think I may suggest sticking with BCM, because I get the impression from you all that it is easily upgradeable. I will have a look around at other available packages, but the boss is keen to stick with the ones we already have access to (there are only 3 members of staff).

I will also pass on your comments to the guys, Thanks again.

Holly :)
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