One of the joys, challenges, opportunities, and differentiators of CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems is that they are meant to be adapted to the way you want to run your organization. The CRM system should reflect your organization's competitive advantage, it should support what makes you special, and it should match your organization's DNA. As an organization, you want to accomplish this without breaking the bank and without multi-year projects.
CRM systems become valuable to an organization when they are more than data repositories and extended Rolodexes. The most successful CRM systems are those where business processes happen in CRM. A successful CRM system is one where users go to get business done.
To support faster time to value, the CRM industry and SugarCRM offer No Code / Low Code (NCLC) capabilities. These capabilities support the adaptation of CRM to an organization's DNA without the need for specialized developers and complex projects. No Code capabilities can be mastered by your CRM administrator or business analyst.
Let us review how No Code / Low Code works for SugarCRM customers. Our goal is to enable our customers to create whole new business processes with a data structure, user interface forms, process guidance, process automation, and the reporting analysis needed to support those processes.
No Code Front End Automation
To help our users, we provide automation of the user interface. With our No Code Sugar Studio tool, a Sugar administrator can create user interfaces that adapt themselves to the information on the screen. It becomes easier to work a system when only the needed information is on the screen. Sugar allows an administrator to create the database tables and relationships, the dynamic forms, and record views without any code. Customer records in Sugar can look completely different than prospect records or vendor records - all done without a line of code. The Sugar No-Code user interface designer supplies a collection of form elements such as text fields, image fields, drop-down selection fields, calculated fields, currency fields, and many more that can be dragged onto the canvas of a form to create a user interface for any purpose.
To guide our users through business processes, we enable our Sugar administrators to create those processes as what we call ‘Smart Guides'. The guides are created in an easy 'drag and drop' manner, to display the process in an intuitive checklist format. When a user encounters a record that is subject to a business process, the user is guided through the steps and asked to check the steps completed. The entire Smart Guide is created and maintained without any code.
Sometimes processes can be a little tedious for the user. To remove the ‘busy-work’ sometimes involved in a business process, Sugar provides the concept of an ‘Action Button.’ An action button is a button placed by an administrator on a record screen that when pressed executes either a single task or a sequence of tasks, replacing a manual set of clicks and entries by the user. Action Buttons are without any code.
No Code Back End Automation
Sugar provides an automation engine that monitors CRM records and responds to record conditions, entries, updates, and time passed. Sugar administrators define an unlimited set of processes that can be triggered by new records or updates to existing records. Processes are a set of decision trees, actions, and wait-for conditions that are configured in a visual drag and drop interface. No code is required to create a business process that may be unique to your organization. These automatons are valuable by reducing dependencies on human ‘busy work,’ speeding up desired next actions, and reducing process error.
No Code Integrations
While we like to think that Sugar can run a business by itself, sometimes it must interact with other systems. To provide a no-code method of pushing information to other systems, Sugar provides what is called a ‘webhook’ function. Without any code, an administrator can instruct a webhook to fire in response to a Sugar record update. This can pass information to an external system that supports web hooks that can carry on the business process in that system.
Integrations from Sugar to many other platforms can be accomplished throughout Sugar Integrate products as well as with popular no-code integration platforms such as Zapier, Bedrock Make, and Starfish.
No Code Expressions
To support business processes, sometimes calculations and evaluations are required. Sugar provides the ability to use Excel-like formulas in many places. We call this Sugar Logic. These evaluative expressions are used to display the results of calculations, conditionally display record fields, conditionally present drop-down options, and conditionally change the layouts of entire records. These Sugar Logic expressions are a powerful no-code replacement for what other systems might require code to accomplish.
No Code Reporting and Dashboards
Business processes need to be measured. Sugar provides for no-code, drag, and drop report creation. Reports can be created and placed as charts and tables on general dashboards or to support a specific record type.
No Code Security
In no-code capabilities, security is provided by the Sugar platform. Guardrails are built-in, and the user does not have to consider sometimes complex security and data access rules.
No Code Portability
When our Sugar users or partners build a no-code process, they can easily package up and export the components for re-use in another system. This supports healthy change management practices where processes are built on a development system, tested on a Quality Assurance System, and deployed on a Production system.
Low Code Configuration
Sugar is also developer-friendly, so there are lots of opportunities to go further and add code to a Sugar system to turn the system into anything you want. With the extensive No Code options added over the past few years, it is not often needed, but it is good to know that it is available if needed.
Low code removes a lot of the overhead of custom coding projects by just inserting ‘helper’ code into areas otherwise maintained by no code configuration capabilities. This may result in gaining results in only 10-20% of the time of a ‘full-code’ customization. Since the development complexity is lower, less experienced developers are needed, or the learning curve for a developer to become capable is less steep.
One of Sugar’s Low Code capabilities is referred to as a Logic Hook. A Logic Hook is a small snippet of code, usually written in PHP, that is triggered on load, edit, or save of a record. If for any reason your organizational imagination takes you further than what our no-code framework can provide, then Logic-Hooks is the next step. It is low code in that a single Logic Hook may be about 10-50 lines of code to support the business functionality needed.
Another Sugar Low Code capability is a Scheduled Job. A scheduled job is a routine written in PHP that is uploaded to the Sugar Job Scheduler and executed on a defined time. Typical jobs include days of cleanup, execution of integration jobs, and such.
Sugar Outfitters Marketplace
A very no-code way to extend your Sugar platform is to find it on Sugar Outfitters, SugarCRM’s online marketplace for third party extensions, plugins, and integrations to Sugar. Find 100’s of quality and affordable extensions to Sugar, download the package, test it on a sandbox environment, and add capability.
Time to value is the predominant demand from our mid-market customers. Embracing and adopting No-Code capabilities are the keys to achieving this for both customers and vendors. Sugar has been at the forefront of providing a flexible No-Code and Low-Code CRM system for the past decade.