An extended SugarCRM knowledge base can be found online in the SugarCRM forums, in the SugarCRM online documentation (for users, developers and administrators) and very valuable pieces of information can be found scattered all over the World Wide Web. Finding the information you need can consume very much time, even more if you are new to the Open Source CRM solution SugarCRM. Not all books however are the right choice for all user types. Buying yourself a decent book may be an obvious time saver, but then, since you’re new to all this, what book should you buy?
So far, I’ve read four five books on SugarCRM:
- “SugarCRM for Dummies” by Karen S. Fredricks (November 2008)
- “Implementing SugarCRM: a Step by Step approach” by Michael J.R. Whitehead (February 2006)
- “SugarCRM Developer’s Manual: Customize and extend SugarCRM” by Dr. Mark Alexander Bain (June 2007)
- “Definitive Guide to SugarCRM: Better Business Applications” by John Mertic (November 2009)
- “Implementing SugarCRM 5.x: A Practical Guide for Small Businesses ” by Angel Magaña and Michael J.R. Whitehead (September 2010) [added to this list January 2011]
Below you can find my advice on what books to read.
For SugarCRM newbies and end-users
If you are new to SugarCRM, I recommend reading “SugarCRM for Dummies”, it’s the most simple yet elegantly written introduction to using SugarCRM – a typical end user working with a not too much modified SugarCRM installation will find all he or she needs to know. For people working a while with SugarCRM it may be a convenient reference book. For SugarCRM administrators, some basic guidelines are included – don’t expect to much of it though. The book is from November 2008 and SugarCRM has not changed that much since, so it is reasonably up-to-date.
Should you consider buying the very recent “Definitive Guide to SugarCRM”? No! The book’s title is very misleading; it is a perfect book for SugarCRM developers though, as I will point out below.
For SugarCRM managers, consultants and trainers
You need to know how SugarCRM can enhance the organization’s business and how you are going to make this happen. Implementing a CRM system in an existing organization will always lead to organizational change. A guide such as “Implementing SugarCRM: a Step by Step approach” by Michael J.R. Whitehead may be a welcome manual through this complex process. It includes some checklists and training material. The book dates from February 2006, but since it is not that technically oriented and focusing more on the organizational side it still applies to the current SugarCRM release.
Update: In September 2010, Angel Magaña and Michael J.R. Whitehead have published an excellent new book titled “Implementing SugarCRM 5.x: A Practical Guide for Small Businesses “. They guide you through the major considerations of determining how a CRM system can aid your business, choosing the right CRM system, and the right deployment and support options suited for your business’ budget, before describing the SugarCRM basics from an end user perspective, administrator perspective, and management (strategic) perspective. I like this book for the completeness and clearness of checklists throughout the book – which would have saved me a lot of time if I have had them a few years ago during deployment and management meetings.
For SugarCRM administrators
Well, I have not encountered a good book specifically for SugarCRM administration yet. Most administrative functions are described throughout “SugarCRM for Dummies”, “Implementing SugarCRM” and “SugarCRM Developer’s Manual” and ofcourse in the online administrator documentation. A reason for this may be that the administrator’s responsibilities within the system are a bit vague: you can develop and customize SugarCRM’s functionalities to a certain degree using the administrator’s interface, but for much of the customization this interface will simply not do. At that point, the line between administrating and developing is very thin. For the latter I recommend to read on.
For SugarCRM developers
However “SugarCRM Developer’s Manual” seems to be the obvious choice here, it is a bit outdated as it is from June 2007 and SugarCRM has changed significantly since. The recently published “Definitive Guide to SugarCRM” by John Mertic may therefore be a better pick if wish to know how these modules, vardefs and logic hooks work within the SugarCRM MVC and if you are not afraid of getting your hands dirty with some serious manual PHP coding.