With December starting this weekend and 2019 just around the corner, I thought it would be a great time to create a guide for our family of SugarCRM customers to use and plan for the upcoming year. Here are four things to think about as we approach 2019.
Sugar maintains an end-of-life schedule which you can access at any time here. It’s important to be aware of these dates and include in your plans for the year. End-of-life means that the specific version of Sugar will no longer be supported or maintained by SugarCRM. Once the end-of-life date passes, you can no longer call Sugar support to request help, and Sugar will no longer release bug fixes or perform security maintenance on your instance.
In 2019, the end-of-life date you need to know is October 31. On this date in 2019, Sugar 8 end-of-life will occur. If you need to, you can purchase extended support for Sugar 8 which will give you up to a year of additional support on that version. We recommend planning for end-of-life six months before the end-of-life date. It’s important to speak with your partner (such as W-Systems) to prepare for end-of-life and the changes that come with it.
Don’t forget that Sugar adopted a new release process in late 2017. This process is documented here. If you are a Sugar Cloud (On-Demand) customer, you know that your system will be automatically upgraded four times per year. We recommend you work with your partner each quarter to understand what is coming in each update and evaluate whether your system’s current customizations need to be updated during the upgrade process.
If your Sugar instance is On-Premise, there will be one update available to you each year. With the current Sugar release process, the next update will be Sugar 9 in 2019 and Sugar 10 in 2020. Some organizations try to remain on an older version of Sugar, but this is not something W-Systems would ever advise. You will not have access to bug fixes or protective security patches. And the longer you wait to upgrade, the more costly and time consuming your upgrade can become (whether it’s development time, training users, or counseling employees through change). It’s best to stay up-to-date with upgrades to keep your organization’s data secure and your CRM productivity optimized. Want to know more about when it’s best to upgrade? Check out this blog post.
Here at W-Systems, we don’t believe in a one-and-done CRM system implementation. We believe that you must continually evaluate and measure your CRM performance and optimize for improvement. Here are a few ways to do that in your yearly planning:
- Choose some record views to improve. This may include deleting unused fields, renaming fields to more relevant company lingo, or streamlining using dependent fields.
- Create some auto-populated fields using calculated fields in Sugar. You can use this tip to create consistent names for records.
- Create some new Sugar reports for increased accountability.
- Review business processes implemented in the last year and make sure they are reinforced in Sugar through required fields and automated workflows.
It’s really important to incorporate CRM training into your yearly calendar. This is easy with all the Sugar resources available to you, such as:
Recurrent training is critical because of user turnover and also any changes that might be implemented to your CRM software. If you are a larger organization or using Sugar Cloud, we recommend quarterly training. If you are a smaller organization, we recommend doing training as new employees are hired or upon your yearly upgrade.
If you need help creating a plan for your organization and Sugar in 2019, please reach out to us! We can help you evaluate where you currently are, what your goals should be, and what to do next.
This post originally appeared on w-systems.com.