Sugar 7.7 Review – Knowledge Base and Tags to Enhance SugarCRM Experience – April 2016

Dashlet showing hierarchical categorization of Knowledge Base articles

Sugar’s journey to move to a new latest architecture started in October 2013 with the release of Sugar 7 version. From there it has slowly but steadily adding new features and the latest is Sugar 7.7 version release on 15th April 2016. If Process Author and Role Based Views in Enterprise Edition is the major add on in 7.6, it is knowledge base enhancement, tagging and global search enhancements the key additions in Sugar 7.7. This article reviews Sugar 7.7 and brings the enhancements from 7.6.

Any one who is familiar with the difference between Sugar 6 and 7 know the sidecar framework and Sugar UX with intelligence pane. Sugar is bringing all older version modules to the new Sugar UX or sidecar framework. With Sugar 7.7, it is now knowledge base article module that got the new UI. With this Sugar has moved all modules except few like Contracts, Quotes, Documents and Reports.


Tagging

Tagging is a free flowing way of categorising records of importance. This came to prominence after “delicious” started and popularised social book marking. And Sugar 7.7 comes with Tagging feature for all sidecar modules like accounts, contacts, opportunities, leads, cases, targets, target lists, knowledge base, bugs. Tagging Administration is provided to ensure tag names are monitored and normalised across the users.

Like Teams and Assigned user, Tags module is enabled for sidecar modules. So each user can add an existing tag or new tag to the record depending on his / her thought process. Once records are tagged they can be searched in Global Search using the Tags.

As different users add new tags, tag administrator can rename them or merge them to give proper structure to it. Tags created by different users are stored in “Tags” module.

You can have more information on Tags on this URL http://support.sugarcrm.com/Documentation/Sugar_Versions/7.7/Ent/Application_Guide/Tags/#Overview

Global Search in Sugar 7.7 comes with expanded search bar the moment you click on the Global Search. The main menu gets expanded except one module menu on the left and Profile and notification on the right.

The expanded global search bar significantly boosts the value addition of Tagging, as relevant tags for search keywords are displayed in the first row below the search bar.

Global Search in SugarCRM

And global search left hand side reflects the module search pane where by you can select all modules or a few selected modules for the global search.

Even though global search quick view has not changed much except the introduction of tags line in the first row, the search results page has been modified by adding some more convenient features.

Module selection pane for global search in SugarCRM

For detailed information on Global Search you can refer Sugar website http://support.sugarcrm.com/Documentation/Sugar_Versions/7.7/Ent/Application_Guide/Search/#Global_Search

Knowledge Base Articles and Customer Self Service Portal

Sugar 7.7 comes with significant value addition in Knowledge Base module and its self service portal publishing features. First and foremost it has been moved to the new Sidecar framework thus enhancing usability aspect. On top of that it has been given a boost in publishing and authoring features.

Knowledge Base module has more statuses to track it from Draft position to publishing and till its expiry. And Sidecar features are used to ensure colour coding differentiates each stage of Knowledge Base Article.

Record Action Menu

The record action menu has facilities to add localization and revisions to each article. On top of that the current status is prominently visible at the top of the record and is editable then and there.

Articles Publishing

Knowledge Base articles can be scheduled to be published at the date that is decided after the approval. The module has one more field “External Article” which allows it to automatically make it available in the Customer Self Service Portal. In a way Cases can be converted to Articles, edited and approved by the right people before scheduling for publishing externally in the portal.

Article Categorization

The article categorization has been enhanced with the dash let that shows the availability of articles under different hierarchical categorization.

Dashlet showing hierarchical categorization of Knowledge Base articles

Articles can be created from main menu, case record view and also case sub panel.

Article Templates

One more major enhancement to the knowledge base module is creation of article templates. You can load article templates and the users who are creating the articles can use one of the templates to create their article for approval. This way there may be many different authors but a standard format of writing. Different types of documents like FAQs, Product Sheets, etc.. can have different formats.

Creation of article templates for standardizing content in Knowledge Base

Article Ratings

The new rating feature enables readers to rate the article useful or not. These rating statistics can be used to visually see how appealing each article is and also bring top rated articles automatically in a dash let.

Rating feature allowing readers to rate articles for Knowledge Base articles

Article Categories

A new UI is provided for creating categories with drag and drop feature to hierarchically arrange them. Categories can be dynamically created from the Article record view or from the Categories list view.

Dynamically creating categories from Article record view or Categories list view

Apart from the above features, Sugar has added revision support and multi language support for the knowledge base module.

More information about Knowledge Base Articles can be accessed http://support.sugarcrm.com/Documentation/Sugar_Versions/7.7/Ent/Application_Guide/Knowledge_Base/

The enhanced knowledge base module gives boost to customers using SugarCRM for Customer Support Automation.

Lead Convert Option

One of the major challenges in the older version of 7 is when a Lead is converted to Account, Contact and Opportunity, the activities are not transferred to the Accounts / Contacts sub panel. With the new version you can transfer the Activities to Accounts/Contacts/Opportunities. Now you can also bring activities from Targets module to leads and subsequently to other modules. So let us say you have a tele calling team that calls prospective targets regularly and hands them to the sales team when a proper response is received, you can transfer the activities from Targets to Leads and then from Leads to other modules. And it is controllable from admin panel to enable or disable the activity transfer.

Total Record Count in List View and Sub Panel View

When you access any module you can see the total record count which gives an indication of how many records are there in the module or search result.

Total record count in list view for quick reference

Another improvement in the same category is the record count in sub panel when you are accessing them directly or through search.

Total record count in Subpanel view for quick reference

List View Preview Edit

A silent addition in the Sugar 7.7 is “Preview” panel edit feature. If you are in a list view and accessing more details of a record using the “Preview” / Intelligence pane, the preview record can be edited directly there. In Sugar 7.7 you can see a pencil icon on the Preview pane header that allows you to directly edit the record fields without opening the detailed record view. You admin can enable this feature in System Settings. I think Sugar should add this to sub panel preview and activity stream preview as some users might get addicted to the sweetness of this feature and may want more.

Bhea is a Singapore based SugarCRM Elite Partner with presence in New York and Bangalore. Bhea’s expertise is in implementing SugarCRM and specialize in Performance Optimization of SugarCRM Deployments and Migration of Sugar 6 version implementations to latest 7.x version.

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