The last thing a sales guy would like is to open up a desktop and punch data into a CRM application. So even though companies spend thousands of dollars on implementing a customized SugarCRM, many a times they face the problem of low user adoption and even lower business value realization from CRM. One of the reasons for this is the fact that a major proportion of the users are mobile and would want to access data on the go. We felt that the value that the application delivers is hugely enhanced by developing a customized SugarCRM theme accessible on the go without much of a hassle.
This article details why your business may need to have a responsive theme and also the design considerations that went in when we designed our theme. The limitations have been given along with comparison of what it is like to have a mobile application versus a responsive theme for SugarCRM.
Business Cases – Why a plug-in to make your current SugarCRM theme Responsive
Though it is not difficult to visualize the benefits of having SugarCRM on mobiles and tablets, if you are still wondering about the same, following are some key business examples why we should consider it.
i. As sales manager, you can access dashboards on your mobile for example you can access latest opportunities created in the system and mobilize your resources for maximum business gains even on the go. Still better, you can personally greet the customers with whom you just closed business with.
ii. As salesperson, you can capture the recent notes / opportunities / meeting details just after your meeting, instead of waiting to reach office and filling the same offline. This not only eliminates information loss but also removes the need to login into a desktop to fill in your daily field details.
iii. As a support staff it is needed to visit customer site to fix service related cases, you can see your newly assigned records and optimize your travel / work plan for the day.
Thus, if you have users accessing SugarCRM on the go, you must seriously consider moving to a responsive theme which can help them access the system from anywhere and on any device.
Mobile App versus a Responsive Theme
So now you are convinced that on the go access to SugarCRM is a value add, there are two ways of accomplishing it – i) Developing Mobile Application (ii) Responsive theme. Following chart compares the two approaches
|Features||Mobile Application||Responsive theme|
|Ability to access data on mobile||Yes||Yes|
|Ability to create data using mobile||Limited||Yes|
|Custom fields / Custom modules||No||Yes|
|Total cost of ownership||Higher||Moderate|
|Time to market||Longer||Shorter|
As shown above a clear cut winning argument in favour of responsive theme is the fact that whereas Mobile apps have to be developed for each operating system like Android, Windows and iOs , responsive themes are platform independent. Moreover, as you customize your CRM application by adding new modules or new fields, you may have to enhance you mobile app as well. This may consume time and money and bring down your user experience. So it is absolutely correct to say that a responsive theme wins hands down so far as the above alternates are considered.
Key Considerations for a SugarCRM responsive theme converter plug-in
When we started to make the responsive theme converter plug-in for SugarCRM, we thought of the following key design considerations. This helped us in ensuring that the design can help organizations across versions, industry verticals and customization levels.
Data Access versus Data Entry
There are themes in market which can help you to access data. However since creation of data is complicated, they leave this part. We thought, it is no fun to have only data access without creation of a new record.
Accessing Dashboards and Subpanels
Same is the case with dashboards and subpanels. It makes the page a bit longish, however this is a crucial set of data which is needed to have a 360 degree view of the record and understand the history behind the transaction.
Works for all standard as well as custom modules
Custom modules are present across instances. The theme automatically converts any custom module in a responsive manner.
Exclusions – what it does not do
There are two things which this theme doesn’t convert – (i) Sugar admin page and (ii) customized screen elements not using SugarCRM default UI and built via customized code. Whereas we felt that the former was overkill and its best left to have this functionality on a desktop, for the latter there aren’t any generic solutions and have to be dealt with on a case to case basis.
Screenshots of the solution
To visualize the solution, we are placing some screenshots of the solution below so that it becomes easy for you to visualize. We shall shortly put up a link to the live demo based on community edition.
Interested in the solution? Contact us for pricing by filling the form on the right hand side.
The solution works with community edition and Professional Edition. We are working on making it work for SugarCRM 7.0.
The future is CRM is definitely to go mobile. However, as discussed, the best strategy is to go for responsive SugarCRM theme rather than building mobile applications. This helps in increasing user adoption as well as improving the overall user experience and usability of the application to a majority of sales and after sales users.
We would love to hear back from you. We really value your suggestions and feedback. You can simply post your comments below or contact us using the quick contact form available on the right hand section. You may note that this is not a free plug-in. If you are interested in purchasing this plug-in please reach out to us. We shall also make it available in the market place shortly. We appreciate your patience and your interest in this regards.
We sincerely hope you liked going through the page as much as we did while putting it in front of you.