If you ask anyone in the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) space, they most likely will agree that SugarCRM is one of the finest products of its kind. This commercial, open source solution offers every feature to meet your CRM needs. The feature list includes:

  • Personal home page
  • Activity management
  • Contacts
  • Accounts
  • Project management
  • Campaigns
  • Web-to-lead forms
  • Dashboards
  • Cases
  • Email clients and marketing
  • Leads
  • Opportunities
  • Bug tracking
  • Shared calendars

What you need

You need a LAMP (Linux Apache MySQL PHP) or a WAMP (Windows Apache MySQL PHP) server that must have: cURL, GD, and a mail server.

I demonstrate the installation of the Community Edition of SugarCRM on a Ubuntu 13.04 machine (LAMP). I will assume the AMP requirements of this platform are already installed.

Installation requirements

I will use the postfix and dovecot to meet the SugarCRM IMAP needs. To install these pieces of software, open a terminal window and run the command sudo apt-get install dovecot-imapd postfix. You will be prompted for your sudo password. Type that password and hit Enter.

The next two requirements can be installed with the command sudo apt-get install php5-gd curl. Allow those installations to complete. (Note: The Apache webserver will restart during the above installation.)

Finally, you will need a database. My preference is to use phpMyAdmin to create the databases. Name this database sugarcrm, and you’re ready to go.

There is one last configuration you need to make: open the /etc/php5/apache2/php.ini, look for the line upload_max_filesize = 2M, change the filesize to at least 6M, and save the file.

Installation of SugarCRM

You can download and install the Community Edition of SugarCRM for free. (If you want support and the latest patches updates, you’ll want to purchase one of the other editions of SugarCRM.) Download the latest release of SugarCRM and move the file to the /var/www directory. Uncompress that file with the command sudo unzip /var/www/SugarCE-XXX.zip (XXX is the release number).

You need to rename the newly created directory and change its ownership. Rename the directory with the command sudo mv /var/www/SugarCE-XXX /var/www/sugarcrm (XXX is the release number). The directory must now be owned by a user/group that has write privileges to the /var/www/ directory. A safe bet for that is www-data. To change ownership to that, run the command sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/sugarcrm.

Now that the directory has the correct permissions, it’s time to start the web-based installation.

Web-based install

This is the bulk of the installation, but it’s quite simple.

1. Fire up your browser and point it to http://ADDRESS_OF_SERVER/sugarcrm.

2. In the welcome screen, select the language you need for the install and click Next.

3. Scroll down the screen that informs you about all of the requirements necessary for the installation and click Next.

4. When you are presented with the EULA, select the check box for Agree and click Next.

5. In the resulting screen when are you are asked what type of installation you want, select Typical Install and click Next (Figure A).
Figure A

Almost all of the options in the Custom Install can be handled post-install. (Click the image to enlarge.)

6. On the database selection screen, you should only have one option, MySQL, which will be selected by default. Click Next to go to the Database Configuration screen (Figure B).

7. In the Database Configuration dialog, enter all of the necessary information for the database. The easiest route to success is to set the SugarCRM database admin to be the same as the MySQL admin user, which is set by default. You can also have the SugarCRM installer populate the database with demo data; in many instances, this can make it easier for you or your end users to figure out what to do with the various tools. Click Next.

Figure B

You should have all of this information from the database you created prior to starting the installation. (Click the image to enlarge.)

8. The final step is to set up the administrative user and click Next (Figure C). (The installation shouldn’t take very long.)
Figure C

This will be the first user you log in to SugarCRM with. (Click the image to enlarge.)

9. After the installation completes, click Next to go to the product registration window.

10. After you fill out the registration, you are finished with the install and can proceed to the SugarCRM Branding dialog, where you will enter your company’s name and logo (Figure D).
Figure D

Fill out the branding information. (Click the image to enlarge.)

11. Enter your company’s locale information in the System Locale Settings dialog (Figure E).
Figure E

Set up your date, language, currency, and more. (Click the image to enlarge.)

12. Set up the SMTP server (Figure F).
Figure F

You can select from a number of SMTP servers. (Click the image to enlarge.)

You are ready to log in to SugarCRM and start using one of the most powerful CRM tools on the market. The next time we cover SugarCRM, we’ll dive into how to use it.