Earlier today, open-source BPM technology platform vendor Colosa released ProcessMaker SugarCRM Edition. This is a specialised commercial version of its core product, ProcessMaker, that deploys as a SugarCRM add-on module and extends the CRM platform’s functionality with dedicated process modeling, workflow execution, performance monitoring and business rules capabilities.
It’s no secret that SugarCRM’s strategy revolves around pushing out beyond its small-to-midsize customer heartland to also work with large enterprises; and as well as extending its partner network and doing deals with the likes of IBM to prove its scalability, being able to offer larger customers process management functionality integrated right into the product is a smart move.
It’s probably no coincidence that Salesforce.com has been able to take advantage of a similar capability since the release of Active Endpoints’ (now Informatica’s) Cloud Extend for Salesforce. However ProcessMaker SugarCRM Edition (PMSE hereafter, to save my fingers) looks like a richer proposition than Cloud Extend for Salesforce. Whereas the latter is focused on using flow models to create composite screenflows that help individual salespeople be more productive and more consistent, PMSE is more set up to deliver classic workflow capabilities across multiple individuals and teams who need to coordinate their tasks and track against deadlines.
ProcessMaker has had the ability to integrate with SugarCRM since 2011; however this is something different. PMSE is a big deal because it provides significantly richer process management functionality than that available through SugarCRM’s native workflows (which are really straightforward definitions of triggers and alerts designed to help automate aspects of simple approval tasks). With PMSE installed on a SugarCRM server as an add-on, SugarCRM customers (only on-premise customers today; though support for SugarCRM On Demand is promised) get the following extensions inside the SugarCRM environment:
- A BPMN process mapping tool that’s aware of SugarCRM features and concepts via integration with the CRM system’s metadata model and logic hooks, and a process engine which executes your models
- A business rules engine with a dedicated decision-table rule builder that can be referenced from within process models (as an option)
- Task inboxes and work assignment schemes
- Integration of workflow facilities with SugarCRM’s existing forms, document management facilities and email engine.
I’m going to be watching with interest to see what customers do with PMSE and how they deliver value. At the top end of the CRM marketplace, Pega is showing that combining CRM with BPM delivers a potential foundation for enterprise transformation; I’m excited to see if SugarCRM and ProcessMaker can deliver some of the same magic. (As an aside, I’ll also be seeing whether other BPM technology vendors.. let’s say.. IBM? makes a similar play).
If you’re a SugarCRM user, I’d love to hear what you think—can you see how you’d take advantage of more sophisticated workflow and integrated process management capabilities?