Extreme CRM Makeover, Open Source Edition - The Bowels of Implementation

Things may be quiet on the outside, but lots going on inside

It's been over a month since we last checked in on American Bancard, SugarCRM and Levementum in our Extreme CRM Makeover, Open Source Edition series. In the last episode, Levementum was introduced into the mix as the customization/implementation "go to partner" by SugarCRM.  Since that time someone looking in from the outside may not see a big difference. But nothing could be further from the truth.  This extreme makeover is in the bowels of implementation.

Leading the charge on this from American Bancard's sideis Senior Systems Architect, Mike Anglin. Mike is tasked with taking the three different databases which currently hold Amercian Bancard's customer data and boiling that down to one set of data with "good" information.  Removing redundant information, fields and bad data is a huge problem in and of itself.  But the home grown application that AB has been using makes it even harder.  So Mike is leaving that system in place and really just taking clean data to use for the Sugar implementation. This way the Sugar application will be clean from the beginning, making it easier to maintain and grow going forward.

Mike Anglin
The plan is that Mike then takes the "good" data and turns it over to the Levementum folks. They are the experts in importing the data into Sugar and setting up Sugar to make it look the way American Bancard wants it to. The way Mike explains it, the Sugar application itself will set up the database schema based on the front end of the application. The data he provides Levementum will then be placed in that database using that schema. That is where Levementum will really take over.

One thing Mike tells me though is that even after Sugar is up and running, the operational functions that the current home grown application provides will probably not be available in Sugar.  However, because it is open source, they intend to do some custom development to build an application that handles the operational piece that will integrate into Sugar and use the data stored in Sugar. A perfect example of open source providing the flexibility to make it work the way you want.

While Mike has been busy getting clean data, Steve Scop, Amercian Banncard CTO has been busy with contracts.  Getting the contracts and SOWs (statement of work) done with both Sugar and Levementum has not been that difficult. But anytime you get lawyers involved, well you know how that goes.  Everything is signed, sealed and delivered now. Everyone knows what their responsibility is.

Steve's next tasks are planning the first limited roll out to the inside sales team and training for the staff.  That will conclude phase 1 of the plan.

The timeline for completion of this phase 1 is another 2 months. That will make it almost 4 months since this started.  That is I am told about average time for a migration from existing CRM to another one. 

We will check back in a few weeks to see how things are going.

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