20 Aug SugarCRM’s plug-ins for Microsoft Office
For almost two decades Microsoft Office is an undeniable leader of the office suites market. As Microsoft’s suite is present in most of the companies, the level of integration with applications being a part of Microsoft Office is often a very important area while choosing the most appropriate CRM system for a particular company. It is also one of the reasons why one of the most popular systems for customer relationship management is Microsoft Dynamics CRM which (for obvious reasons) is believed to offer the deepest integration with Microsoft Office.
Significant demand for flawless communication between a CRM system and the most popular office suite has been reflected in the functionality of SugarCRM. Even in the most basic version of this system (SugarCRM Professional), users can integrate SugarCRM with Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel with dedicated plug-ins. In this post we are going to take a look at the possibilities of those three plug-ins.
In many companies Microsoft’s e-mail client is the main software used for communication with customers and (still) storing their contact data. It can be said that, because of its profile, Microsoft Outlook is a the element of Microsoft Office closest to a CRM system. Deep integration with Outlook is very often one of the key functionalities of a CRM system and we have to admit that SugarCRM is doing a great job in this area.
The plug-in that integrates SugarCRM with Outlook has two main functions:
- archiving e-mails sent and received within communication with people present in SugarCRM as records
- synchronizing contact data, tasks, meetings and calendar
Basic configuration of the integrator is available in Outlook’s settings and it allows to connect our SugarCRM account, define the level of synchronization for particular areas and setting the language of the plug-in.
Producers of SugarCRM also cared about advanced capabilities in the area of configuring the synchronization. For example, we can define the elements that will be a subject to synchronization, sync direction (both ways or one way) or whether or not SugarCRM will download and store the attachments.
Basically, the integrator is managed from Outlook’s Ribbon and it offers different options based on the current view. In the Mail view it is possible to archive a particular e-mail within the record existing in our system (thanks to which the message will be seen – for example – in a subpanel under particular Account, Contact or Lead) and creating a new record in SugarCRM within such modules as Accounts, Bugs, Cases, Contacts, Leads and Opportunities. Creating a new record from Outlook is especially useful, for an instance, in a situation in which we would like to quickly create a Lead in the system based on an e-mail received from a person interested in our services or products.
In the Calendar, Tasks and Contacts views the plug-in allows us to choose the elements that will be synchronized with SugarCRM. While creating a new e-mail we can use the “Send and archive” option wich allows simultaneous sending the e-mail to recipient and saving it in SugarCRM. By creating a new contact in Outlook we can create an appropriate record in SugarCRM and add a new Account based on the information about the company.
The SugarCRM-Outlook integrator is a very user-friendly and useful tool with wide range of functionality and configuration settings. It enables seamless communication between Outlook and SugarCRM in the areas crucial for customer relationship management.
SugarCRM’s plug-in for Microsoft Excel allows viewing and editing SugarCRM’s modules from the spreadsheet. Within basic functionality, with this integrator it is possible to fill and edit particular fields in SugarCRM, adding new records and saving changes in the system’s database. To use this integrator, a user must have the ability to export data from SugarCRM.
A very useful function of this plug-in is opening in Microsoft Excel the reports generated in SugarCRM with the possibility of saving them as spreadsheets.
the main functionality of SugarCRM’s plug-in for Microsoft Word allows to use the Word template for a mail merge in SugarCRM and using the data gathered in SugarCRM to perform a mail merge in Word. The plug-in allows generating the documents using unlimited number of records existing within SugarCRM’s modules such as Accounts, Opportunities, Leads, Contacts, Cases and Campaigns.
When it comes to default integration of SugarCRM and Microsoft Office, the most handy and comprehensive functionality refers to communication between SugarCRM and Outlook. However, the capabilities offered by plug-ins for Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel for some users might be equally useful. Summing up, effective parallel usage of the most popular office suite and a customer relationship management system is not only the domain of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.