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July 12, 2018 Business Technologies

Comparing SugarCRM and Dynamics 365 – Which is the Best Fit?

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By Kevin Cook

It’s summer and that means relaxing on the beach with your favorite CRM comparison guide. Today I want to help you compare SugarCRM to Microsoft Dynamics 365 (D365).

We will look at the feature set, licensing, and integration and customizations.


Sugar and D365 are both excellent CRM tools. They will both allow you to manage leads, contacts, accounts, opportunities and more. Standard CRM fare. Of course, they let you manage activities like phone calls, meetings, tasks and emails. Additionally, you can relate notes and documents you upload from your desktop.

Sugar is a ‘pure-play’ CRM where they are the CRM and they make it easy for you to connect your favorite add-ons.

D365, on the other hand, is more of a platform play. D365 allows you to buy into more than just CRM if you need it. For example, you can optionally add marketing, customer service, field service, project management, and financials and operations to the system. D365 apps are part of one suite and can be added for one or all users.

Consideration: If all you need is straight CRM, both tools are good, but Sugar will give it to you at a lower price.


Both Sugar and D365 are Software as a Service (SaaS). Sugar has a very simple pricing plan: $480/user/year for Professional, $780/user/year for Enterprise. Most customers choose Enterprise.  Sugar has a 10-user minimum so you are spending a minimum of $4800 or $7800.

Dynamics 365

D365 has no minimums, but their pricing is not as straight forward.  You can buy into D365 at the Enterprise Plan Level, the Customer Plan level or the App Level. The overall plan includes all of the sales tools, plus financials. The dollar costs in the diagram are per user per month. If all your users buy into all the apps, you could have a hefty bill, but D365 allows you to mix and match and many users will be satisfied with the $8/user/month team license. Combine mixing and matching with no minimum and your total license cost could be lower.

Finally, Sugar, like most SaaS products, requires an annual contract. Microsoft will allow you to pay monthly through a partner like BrainSell.

Consideration: If you only need a few full users of CRM, give D365 a look.

Integration and Customizations

Sugar is built to be integrated. Because they view themselves as a pure-play CRM tool, they want to give you the option to integrate to your favorite add-ons. That means that Sugar is built with the idea of integrations in mind. An open API and a solid architecture make it easy for tools to integrate. It’s easy for you to integrate too.

Out of the box, Sugar connects with the Microsoft Office Suite, (Word, Outlook, Excel). Gmail and other popular products are available at an additional cost.

D365 can be integrated too, but not as readily as Sugar. However, Microsoft allows the Dynamics suite to transparently connect to just about any other Microsoft tool. Office 365 (O365), of course, is an integration that is totally transparent. There is no better integration than Outlook to D365. You can do almost anything you need to do in Dynamics 365 without leaving Outlook.

Consideration: If you are already an office user, look at D365 for ease of adoption and transparent integration

If you need to configure your CRM, Sugar might have the edge. Sugar has their ‘Studio’ where you can make point-and-click changes to your live Sugar instance. The interface is user-friendly and there is even the provision for adding some scripting like calculations to your custom fields.

D365 is also customizable, but the interface isn’t as rich as Sugar’s. D365, however does let you move out of the CRM and to build your own app using Power Apps. You can build pretty much any custom application you need and drop it into CRM. Power Apps is point-and-click, and can be combined with Flow, another Microsoft tool, to give you workflow both inside and outside the CRM.

Consideration: If you only want to configure CRM, go with Sugar. If you need to go beyond the CRM, look at D365.

Bottom Line

Every situation is different, and both CRM systems will give you excellent capability. If you want a best-of-breed system where you connect the exact tools you need, Sugar is a great choice. If you are already using Office 365 and want a tight integration, go straight to Dynamics 365. To optimize license price, you might have better luck with D365, but if you want simple pricing, Sugar is your best bet.

If you’re still struggling to decide between SugarCRM and Dynamics 365, download our 2018 CRM Vendor report, and call us! You’re not alone in your quest for the best CRM for your company, and we help others make decisions like the one you’re currently facing all the time.

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Author Bio

Kevin Cook

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