SugarCRM or custom?
July 3, 2012 5:57 PM Subscribe
Is SugarCRM a good contacts database solution for my wife's small business, given her current database and business needs?
posted by sleevener to computers & internet (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The backbone of my wife's business is her contacts database. Every communication that she and her employees have with her customers begins and ends there. She's currently using a custom-built PHP/MySQL web interface thing that a programmer friend of mine built as a way to teach himself PHP. He has since disappeared, and the database is in need of some maintenance (mostly bugfixes) and upgrades (GoogleMaps integration).
The database itself is pretty simple. Each record has contact info, some checkboxes of various kinds, a "call-scheduled" date field, and a free-text phone log where they record the details of every interaction with their customers. Whatever she does going forward, she needs to be able to see all information for a given contact record on a single page, to search and filter the records based on multiple criteria, to export filtered lists to .csv (for email marketing), to apply changes to a given field of multiple records (say in a filtered list), etc.
So one option would be to find a programmer who could take over the maintenance. Another programmer friend of mine, however, recommends that we look into SugarCRM. After poking around in the free trial, it seems like it's much more complex than what we're currently using. I gather that it can be customized, but I'm not sure I would know where to begin. I don't even know where the information in the phone log field would go.
However, Sugar seems to have ongoing support, regular upgrades, a community of people writing add-ons for it, etc. All of this could be of great benefit for us in the future (we won't be so hamstrung by our disappeared friend). Also, we want to add some GoogleMaps functions to the database, which might already be written for Sugar -- I'm not sure how to gauge the time and expense of hiring someone to write that into our custom solution, but it seems like a mess waiting to happen.
What do you think? What seems better in the long run? What information am I missing? Would it make sense to hire someone to migrate our MySQL database to the Community Edition of Sugar and customize it for our needs? I've considered making a post in Jobs, but wanted to get community feedback first. If anybody knows Sugar inside and out, show forth! And thanks very much!