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Sage CRM Software Review

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Sage CRM Technology

SageCRM is developed in a mix of languages including Java and Delphi. Sage CRM only runs on Microsoft SQL server in the cloud for hosted customers, however, the product uses a 'database access service' layer of abstraction to be database agnostic and will also support Oracle and DB2 databases in an on-premise environment.

Sage CRM is a purpose built, browser-based, multi-tenant cloud CRM application. For the most part, no software installation is required on local PCs. However, plug-ins or ActiveX controls are required for certain functions such as mail merge, Outlook integration and reporting. Unfortunately, because of the forced controls to be downloaded, Sage CRM only supports one browser—Internet Explorer.

Sage CRM doesn't take full advantage of web technologies, such as AJAX, in order to deliver a more interactive and animated user experience. This can result in performance delays when entire pages are forced to refresh instead of limiting data transfers to very small components or panels.

By comparison, Saleslogix is developed in C++ and .NET C#, among other languages, hosted on SQL Server when in the cloud, also supports Oracle if on-premise and operates on both IE and Firefox browsers.

System Integration

Within the packaged Sage CRM software, there are functions for users or managers to import and export data. The on-demand CRM editions are limited to importing and exporting .CSV files, which is sufficient for many companies, while the on-premise edition also supports the upload and download of Excel files.

All editions permit a SOAP-based web services API (Application Program Interface) to expose CRM objects and data streams for system integration purposes. The on-premise CRM software edition goes further and provides a COM (Component Object Model) API, SData (Sage Data) API and Microsoft .NET API.

By comparison, SalesLogix integration is available using standard protocols including web services, Microsoft ADO, published SalesLogix API, direct access through the SalesLogix OLE DB Provider, URL passing and a COM interface. SalesLogix uses Microsoft ADO for data layer access and has the ability to read and write data to many back-end platforms (such as DB2, Oracle and Sybase) through custom VBScripts.

If the interfaces in the application support COM, then object manipulation can also be developed and executed with VBA extensions (VBScripts). Alternatively, if the application interfaces support a scripting environment that can read the Windows registry, then registry keys and values can be managed to pass data from SalesLogix to the integrated application. If the application has neither a COM interface nor a scripting environment, manipulation can be accomplished through command line parameters. This is a limited method of system integration, however, as communication to the external application must be done by loading an executable, data cannot be passed to the application while it is open.

Software Customization

Short of actual software customization, Sage CRM provides several configuration options for users to tailor their CRM system user interface. User administration features such as My User Preferences, My CRM configuration, Team CRM configuration and presentation layer themes allow personal preferences or company branding without incurring technical implications. Only the on-premise edition permits the creation of custom themes.

To customize forms, all three CRM software editions permit caption customizations, field management to add or remove fields from pages, view control management and dashboard management. The on-premise edition permits additional customization capabilities such as a component manager for creating new objects, field level create scripts, field level validate scripts, table level scripts and the ability to enable or disable Sage Data (SData) objects.

More significant software customization can be performed by the Sage business partner channel who possess tools and training not readily available to customers.

For comparison, SalesLogix offers its own development tool but allows for software customization to be done in Visual Studio and imported into SalesLogix. Software customization and integration to the SalesLogix Web client can be accomplished using ASP.Net with application logic and development classes written in any .Net compliant language. Manipulation of SalesLogix data by a custom data migration application must use the SalesLogix OLE DB Provider or the SalesLogix API. This is required to notify the synchronization engine that database changes have occurred. Otherwise, remote users will not receive changes to SalesLogix data made by the custom application.

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