We are using a highly customized SugarCRM Community Edition system and longing for a CRM with a more updated interface. However we like to be able to make "deep" modifications and the hook system in Suite/Sugar serves that purpose well. Most cloud-based CRMs offer less customization capability (let's call them "non-code level" customizations) such as adding custom fields or workflows. We need a lot more control than that. Preferably we want direct access to our CRM database so other software we develop can access the CRM data without having to go through an API (we will use an API though if absolutely necessary).
Is the latest Sugar really the next best alternative if we want to take it to "the next level" so to speak or does it still have wither (a) a comparatively outdated interface (inefficient use of screen real estate on large (32") FullHD monitors), and/or (b) more limited customization than a self-hosted, community edition solution?
Are there other solutions worth looking at that we can have "code-level" customization capabilities (or something very close)? We would still consider self-hosting, if that's really the only option, but prefer to move to the cloud and let someone else manage the server and core code updates.