In Sugar 5.0, we revamped the Emails module to increase its value to users and to simultaneously improve the user experience.
Our goal was to increase user adoption of the application and help our customers maximize the return on their investments. Our goal was not to build a fully-loaded email client, such as Outlook, or to replace the Sugar Plug-in for Outlook, but to provide a solid alternative to managing email correspondence within applications outside of Sugar.
The target users for the enhanced Emails module are power users of the application, such as Sales Representatives and Support Engineers. For those users, the ability to conveniently communicate with prospects and customers through Sugar, and to easily relate their communications with the accounts, opportunities and cases, can save a lot of time and energy.
Functionality in the Emails module that existed prior to the 5.0 included the ability to create and use email templates and signatures, the ability to create records from emails, automatic importing of emails into Sugar, automatic association of the emails with existing contacts, leads and targets, an HTML editor for composing emails that can contain embedded images and the ability to set up group inboxes to share emails with team members.
Functionality added in 5.0 includes the ability to view and manage multiple email accounts and the option to selectively import emails into Sugar. The advantage of being able to select specific emails to import into Sugar is reducing the amount of Spam and other emails that do not belong within Sugar.
In addition to a greater control over emails, users can now organize imported emails within personal or group folders in Sugar, as well as handle frequently emailed recipients within mailing lists. And new in 5.1 is the ability to configure automatic creation of case records from inbound emails, which can significantly reduce the number of steps Support Representatives need to take to begin corresponding with customers and increase the amount of time they have to spend on resolving customer issues.
How successful have we been so far with the new Emails module?
Since launching it, we’ve received a lot of feedback from both customers and the community. And we have taken a lot of it to heart. There was an adjustment period for many users who were accustomed to the simplicity of the old interface and who had to access the same functionality differently in the new interface, and that has been the topic and subject of several Sugar Forums threads and customer support cases. Many of the issues encountered and reported have been prioritized and fixed in the patches released since 5.0.
Moving forward, we plan on continuing to focus on improving the quality and performance of the Emails module, and fine-tuning the user interface so that it requires even less clicks to manage emails and related records. However, we remain open to the ideas and suggestions that we obtain from our user base about what we should consider for the Emails module in future releases.
We’ve received mixed input about how much further Sugar should go with the Emails module. Are we going in the right direction with focusing more on the quality and performance and less on developing new features for the module? Or is Emails lacking functionality that would truly make it useful within a CRM application? Would it be better to continue developing and deepening other CRM features in Sugar?
Please feel free to let us know what you think. We’re all ears!