Project of the Month - February 2009
Connector for Google Calendar
Description of project
This module connects Sugar with Google Calendar. Now users can watch their private and business activities in a single location (Google Calendar).
Why are you a leading contributor in the SugarCRM community? What are the benefits that you experience from your involvement?
SugarForge is the preferred place to exchange concepts and code for developers of Sugar. So it's only natural that we move code that we want to share to this platform. MyCRM is primarily a systems integrator. We are delivering services and turnkey solutions to organizations that want to be introduced SugarCRM. We thought it might be a good idea to "test the waters" and open source something usable to see the feedback. We needed a calendaring solution for our growing team as well.
What other projects have you been involved with on SugarForge.org?
We develop and maintain the Connector for Dimdim - an extension to integrate Dimdim Web Meeting with SugarCRM. On an interim basis we maintain OrgChart - an extension originally created by CallRoom / Mr. Marcello Leite to graphically display organizational hierarchies in SugarCRM.
What inspired you to create this project?
As I mentioned before, my team needed a calendaring solution. We also wanted something fast and reliable and we did not want to manage a Groupware server. Google Calendar seemed to be the best solution - also because the Calendar API made integration with our internal SugarCRM system possible.
What business pain points were you solving specifically?
It is essential to have one view of your private, social, and business events. Everyone knows how inconvenient it is to tell a customer (or even worse your wife) that you need to change the schedule. With SugarCRM you can nicely relate your business activities with other business objects like accounts or contacts. With the help of the connector you can blend all your activities together to one view in Google Calendar - activities from Sugar with information about holidays, private events and etc. Additionally, Google Calendar makes it simple to give "outsiders" access to your schedule. So they know what you are doing and can coordinate their own schedule accordingly.
Is there anything that the users should know about? Something hidden/new in this project? Think of this as an opportunity to describe how it works to a user.
We did a pure real-time replication from SugarCRM to Google first. Now you can also send past activities (meetings, tasks, calls) from SugarCRM to Google. Also, the system is highly configurable, e.g. you can put a prefix in the subjects of your SugarCRM activities before sending them to Google. This way the user can see if this event is a call, a meeting or a task in Google Calendar. We also use NuevaSync and Google Mobile to push Google Calendar events on our iPhones, Nokias etc. This is invaluable as we can have meetings or calls planned in SugarCRM on our mobile devices in pretty much real-time without the hassles of a sync based client.
What would you say to encourage additional community participation?
Think about improving your reputation, learning from other ideas and concepts. You will get good feedback only if you do something valuable for others too. There are many ways to make a contribution like posting code, posting ideas or bug fixes or doing translations.
What do you want to build next for Sugar Suite?
We are finishing a couple of extension to integrate Fax/SMS Gateways, Google Contacts, Google Docs, Google Analytics and SKYPE.
Past Projects of the Month