The latest version of Sage CRM has completed its development and has been delivered to each of the different Sage country teams around the world. This means partners and customers will be getting news soon from their local Sage offices indicating when it will be released into each market.
The previous release, Sage CRM 2017, saw a healthy increase in the number of seats sold. We expect Sage CRM 2018 to continue to be a very strong offering, providing as it does the Sales, Marketing and Customer Service modules for 6 separate Sage 200 franchise accounting products around the world.
The new release has to be put into the context of the product strategy for Sage CRM and how it relates to Sage business management solutions. This strategy is to strengthen the proposition of Sage Business Management Solutions through integrated CRM. This means that the Sales, Marketing and Service features provided by Sage CRM are targeted at prospective and existing Sage customers who are looking for better ways to manage and grow their business and who need enhanced visibility of business data so they can make informed decisions based on accurate information from across the business, both front and back office.
The integration focus is explicit and guides everything that the product management and development teams are doing. The intention is to make Integrated Sage CRM an ideal solution for both existing Sage BMS customers or new Sage BMS customers looking for an easy to use, fully-featured CRM application available with out-of-the-box integration to their existing Sage solution.
We are trying to make the Sage CRM proposition almost a no-brainer when it comes to both new sales or cross-selling to an existing customer.
The strategy has a direct effect on the way in which our Product Management teams look at deciding which features get added to the roadmap. This has resulted in effort being put into 3 key areas
- Integration – This is the high-quality ability to directly invoke interfaces to allow seamless data exchange and interoperability between a Sage accounting system and Sage CRM.
- Ease of Use – Here we have been looking to improve the immediate user experience by continual improvement to the main user screens and ensuring that interface reassures the customer that Sage CRM is up to date in design and functionality.
- We are striving to improve overall product quality. We want to make sure the over the long term customers remain deeply satisfied with the performance and behaviour of the sales, marketing and customer service modules. We want to ensure that they are ready to recommend Sage CRM unhesitatingly.
Changes to the product
- Calendar Improvements
- MailChimp Enhancements
- Menu and Interface new features
- Quotes and Orders Usability Improvements
- Metadata Optimisation
- Exchange Integration Improvements
- Security Enhancements
These changes along with more than customer issues being addressed means that Sage CRM continues to provide a better customer experience with each release. You can read more about the changes to Sage CRM 2018 R1 within the Release notes available from the Help Center (http://help.sagecrm.com)
About the Calendar
It is worth discussing one of the areas that have seen considerable changes recently. When Sage CRM 2017 R1 was released it introduced an entirely new way of drawing and controlling the Calendar. Not all the existing calendar features could be implemented in Sage CRM 2017 R1 and the changes continued in 2017 R2. Sage CRM R3 was essentially a maintenance release with a few enhancements added unrelated to the Calendar.
Further enhancements have been made to the calendar in Sage CRM 2018 R1.
- Improved performance.
- Simplified assignment of icons to custom actions
- Tooltip on appointments in the Day view.
- Change appointment date and time by drag and drop.
- View team members added to a task or appointment
- Complete tasks quickly.
- Extend or reduce appointment duration by drag and drop.
- Quickly create new tasks with attachments.
I will discuss these changes in a separate article about the calendar and in the updated training materials.
Members of the Developer Program with the correct access rights can download a copy of Sage CRM 2018 R1 from the "Releases and Patches" gallery on the Community. This copy has been made available to allow partners to test their components, integrations and add-ons prior to the release of Sage CRM 2018 R1 in each Sage region.