Archives For Open Source

I have always told prospects that it pays to deploy and open, flexible CRM solution…

Now, for businesses in Singapore it really PAYS!

The country has a long history of fostering the creation of well-run small businesses. The latest installment of Singapore’s benevolent attitude towards growing local businesses: SugarCRM is now listed as a certified solution under iSPRINT (Packaged Solutions).

So – what does this mean?

Simply put – any Singapore business that deploys SugarCRM is eligible for a credit of up to 50 percent of the qualifying costs, capped at S$10,000 of an initial subscription of a listed solution. So, that means deploying a best-in-class CRM system at half the cost. That is, seriously, pretty darn cool.

Imagine adding the ability to better manage your contacts, opportunities, activities etc. across your sales, marketing and support teams. Imagine having access to a full reporting suite to guide your business and gain predictability. Imagine empowering sales and support agents with their critical data on the go with mobile CRM access. Imagine identifying, converting and delighting more customers with social CRM tools.

Oh yeah, and all that comes at half the normal cost.

To take advantage of this insanely awesome offer – contact SugarCRM APAC partner iZeno today.

Many have probably seen that Salesforce.com has acquired web conferencing tools provider DimDim for $31m. (The rumors of this deal had been percolating since before Dreamforce so for many this was no surprise at all.)

The deal pits Salesforce.com in many ways against some big companies and very popular products – Citrix’s GoToMeeting and Cisco’s Webex, in addition to IBM’s Lotus Live set of offerings. With its recent platform buy in Heroku, and this new move, it is funny to see Salesforce continue to add competitive concerns and look to enter in large markets where it has no clout, rather than look to live above the competition in one market where it already does well. Confident move?  Yes. Smart move?  Well, we’ll just have to wait…

And while the DimDim acquisition clearly places SFDC in competition with the likes of WebEx and GoToMeeting, Salesforce would like to look at this differently. Salesforce instead sees this as a pocket acquisition to bolster its Chatter functionality – a tool it is already basically just giving away to gain some stickiness for its actual paid apps. So, if SFDC does not really see much future for DimDim save for part of what is now a free add-on, then the $31m price was not a huge price to pay to make a cool new collaboration feature a little more robust.

But again, if Chatter is basically free at this point, why buy DimDim? The product was open source under the GPL. Couldn’t SFDC simply create an integration to the free tool and offer up that integration along with a simple installer to add video and screen sharing tools to Chatter?

I think the answer here is two-fold. One, I have not yet seen SFDC do anything that resembles open source. Yes, they have opened up their toolkits and platforms for developers, but everyone does that. There is just not that type of culture alive at SFDC in my opinion. This is a company steeped in the grand history of proprietary software.

The second reason (which is definitely intertwined with the first) is that due to SFDC’s multi-tenant model, adding DimDim-like resources without wholly owning the code would be problematic. As we know, in order for SFDC to really have a tight handle on anything its users touch, it has to run on its monolithic platform. This makes upgrades and other things easy, but does set limitations on how SFDC can go to market with technology it doesn’t own.

It will be interesting to see if the nature of a GPL licensed piece of software sitting inside a huge multi-tenant database has any effect on the way in which Chatter users are empowered to make, own and redistribute changes.

All in all, this is chump change for SFDC, and while it plots them theoretically against big names like Webex, I can’t see Salesforce actually making any huge headway into standalone video conferencing with the DimDim technology – most likely Salesforce.com will only relegate the functionality as a nice add-on to Chatter.

Deploy Sugar 6.1 in the blink of an eye with the new BitNami stack installer for Mac OS.

Check it out HERE.

Thanks as always to the folks at BitNami for making the worldwide SugarCRM Mac contingent more content ;)

Two of the biggest trends in CRM over the past couple of years have been mobile access and the addition of social media channels. While these technology trends were developing, more and more small and midsize companies around the world were discovering that thanks to open source and the cloud – they could now afford to add the benefits of CRM to their businesses.

Now, all of these technology and business trends are converging in the latest release of Sugar 6. The latest and greatest from the people that pioneered “CRM Made Simple” are at it again, this time adding Global, Mobile and Social capabilities to Sugar 6.

On the global front, 13 new language packs make it easier than ever for companies around the world to get up and running quickly with a best in class CRM system. Sugar will continue to add these fully supported language and currency translations – which no longer require downloading and installing or updating. Just select your language and currency from the drop down list at startup – and you’re good to go!

More and more workers are looking to gain access to data and do their jobs more effectively while away from the office. SugarCRM has answered this call with a new Sugar Mobile application for the iPhone. This native application captures the sleek look and feel of iPhone resident applications, and is fully integrated with the iPhone features. This means you can click to call, and log that call in Sugar in seconds. Click on an address to jump to the google map of that location. With Sugar Mobile – all of your data and connections are just a click away at all times.

Social media is a hot topic, and adding social channels to your CRM system can give you an edge in the market. With the latest edition of Sugar 6, you can quickly check the Twitter streams of contacts and accounts with the new Twitter Connector. And a new integration with social collaboration vendor Qontext makes it easier to collaborate in real time with co-workers and customers in a cool new social media friendly manner.

So there you have it – new Global, Mobile and Social tools – right inside the most intuitive, flexible and open CRM system on the planet.

Check out these new features for yourself by grabbing your own Free Trial of Sugar 6 today.

It is a common scenario – you have hours to kill on a cross-country flight. it is the perfect time to update and view some iof your most pressing opportunities, contacts and accounts in your CRM system. There’s just one problem – the plane has no wifi, and you are using an on-demand version of SugarCRM.

The issue of excellent, customized mobile and offline access has been solved by SugarCRM partner RhoLogic (a division of Logic Appeal) has developed its new RhoLogic Mobile for Sugar – a cross-platform mobile CRM extension that offers users offline access to their SugarCRM data.

The RhoLogic product works in a cloud-based manner. This means that users do not need to worry about running the technology on any hardware apart from the devices themselves. For now, RhoLogic for Sugar is available at the AppStore for iPhones and at the Android Apps Marketplace. Again, this is a cross platform tool – so firms do not have to decide on only one device for all users in order to power a company-wide mobile CRM strategy.

The offline access through the Sync server is really cool. It uses a lite local database to maintain a large data set on the use’s’ device – but does not take forever to load up. Not yet enjoying the power of Sugar 6?  That’s OK – as the RhoLogic for Sugar works with Sugar 5.5 as well.

To boot, users of Sugar’s existing Mobile Studio capabilities to streamline or customize mobile views into Sugar already know how to use RhoLogic for Sugar. The tool uses the same interface – and all Mobile Studio commands are replicated through RhoLogic – so users can quickly, easily and instantly crate and deploy mobile customizations to their Sugar deployment.

The product is available today – check out the RhoLogic web site for more info.

A couple years back, Psychology Today had an article that analyzes why developers participate in open source communities.  I blogged on this topic then, but I recently had a discussion with an open source pundit on this topic and thought I’d revisit some of the lessons I’ve learned about motivating open source developers.  Simply put, I think the developers’ motivations go a bit deeper than just street cred, self-actualization and altruism … they go right to the wallet.

Let’s start with taking the “street cred” idea a bit further.

First, there’s street cred: People want to garner approval from their peers and build their reputation.

What I’ve seen in the SugarCRM community is that independent consultants and system integration firms can turn “street cred” into “business cred” (or marketability) and make some money. Simply put, companies hire you for projects if you are a credible SugarCRM community member. Also, IT developers NEED to have open source experience on their resumes these days to get the best jobs. Hiring somebody who actually contributes code to an open source project gives companies real competitive advantage for their business.

So being a prominent member of the SugarCRM community turns into actual dollars (Euros, kroners, Linden dollars, whatever). That’s a VERY powerful concept that is glossed over with the ticky tacky term “street cred”.

Now let’s take the “self-actualization” idea.

Second, there’s self-actualization: Working on these projects is enjoyable in and of itself, and it also provides the opportunities to practice your skills, collect feedback, and grow as a geek.

Yeah, coders code because they like to code. Coding is cool. Believe it or not, one of my favorite ways of relaxing is to fix bugs in Sugar. Now call me wacko (my wife calls me other things), but Sugar is my baby and I want to see her not just be good, but be friggen great! So I certainly agree with the point on “self-actualization.”

However, the ability for a company, a project manager and/or a developer implementing SugarCRM to take control of their own destiny around the Sugar app is HUGE. I’ve project managed implementations of proprietary CRM systems in past lives. There’s nothing better at blowing up your project schedule than a showstopper bug or unexpected limitation in an API.

With open source, a company can fix the problem themselves if needed or extend an API to meet their needs. Now SugarCRM works very hard as a company to respond to all of our customer’s reported issues in a timely manner, but when your go-live date is looming ahead of you and the CEO demands no delays, there is nothing better than having the ability to fix any issues yourself and not be tied to the responsiveness of your vendor. And if you are an independent consultant or system integration firm, time = money.  Again, control is a very powerful aspect which drives developers to open source that goes way beyond “self-actualization” or even “altruism”. It drives sanity for the developer and bottom-line value for the business.

Personally, I think these two ideas of marketability and control should have been included in the Psychology Today article as these are the motivations I hear about everyday from SugarCRM community members.  Marketability is about putting money in your wallet and control is about keeping money from flowing out of your wallet.

–Clint

Note: This post originally appeared on CRM Outsiders. For an in-depth and insightful discussion with Larry explaining his points further, check out Larry’s NetworkWorld podcast on the topic.

Some Thoughts on Open

By Larry Augustin, CEO, SugarCRM

The announcement of General Availability of Sugar 6 this week has prompted some questions about SugarCRM’s business model and the role of Open Source at SugarCRM. (Read about it all here: [1][2][3][4])

Open Source is at the heart of SugarCRM’s business. Well over half of our engineering effort produces code that is released under an OSI approved license. We have three versions of our Sugar CRM product: Community Edition, Professional Edition, and Enterprise Edition. The Community Edition is licensed under version 3 of the AGPL, and has been licensed under some version of the GPL or AGPL since early 2007. Prior to that it was available under several variants of the MPL.

SugarCRM does not release 100% of the code we develop under an Open Source license; Sugar Professional Edition and Enterprise Edition are distributed under a commercial license. This mix of Open Source and commercially licensed software offerings has allowed us to build a successful business while creating an innovative, award winning, affordable, and open CRM solution. From the beginning SugarCRM has always had this mixed model. We benefit from this model, and, as Marten Mickos says, believe that the world of Free and Open Source Software benefits as well.

SugarCRM always makes available full source code to all of our customers. In all cases (Community, Professional, or Enterprise), our customers receive full source code to our products. In all cases our customers have the right to run our products anywhere: in their own datacenters, in our datacenters, or at any of a variety of cloud service providers. In all cases our customers own their data and have full access to their complete database. We care deeply about those rights. They are at the heart of our differentiation as a company.

Open Source code is just part of that. “Open” to us means more than source code. It’s an entire philosophy about how we do business and how we empower our customers.

To riff on an analogy I originally heard from Red Hat founder Bob Young, would you buy a car with the hood locked shut and where only the dealer who sold you that car had the key? Imagine for a minute what that would mean. Only the dealer could perform regularly scheduled maintenance. You couldn’t modify the engine in any way, such as tuning for higher performance or modifying it to run on alternative fuels. Imagine you were on a trip and the car broke down. While you might have the skills to fix it, or might find a local mechanic who could fix it, you wouldn’t have those options. Only the dealer has the key, and only the dealer has the right to touch that engine. Imagine how frustrating that lack of control would be.

Why then would you run your business on software where you have no control? Where you are entirely at the mercy of the vendor? Where you did not control your own destiny?

At SugarCRM we are passionate about giving our customers that control. With full access to Sugar’s source code, customers can take control of their own destiny. If they so choose, they can make enhancements specific to their business needs. If something breaks, they can open the hood themselves, or have a “mechanic” of their own choosing open the hood for them.

But empowering customers means not just sharing with them our source code (under either an Open Source or commercial license), but also making sure that they have the keys to the hood so they can control their own destiny. How is this different? Consider a ‘traditional’ hosted (Software as a Service, or SaaS) CRM provider. Your data resides on their servers, under their control. If their systems go down, you go down. If it doesn’t operate the way you want it to, you’re out of luck. Even if they were to give you access to their source code, you are still not in control of your own destiny, because you wouldn’t be allowed to modify it, or even run it, if you wanted to. You might have the blueprints, but you still can’t get under the hood. Tim O’Reilly has been preaching this challenge to Free and Open Source Software for many years. Marten Mickos makes the same observation about closed web services in his recent Computer World UK article.

At SugarCRM our customers have not only full access to their data, but they have that access in the original database form so that they can truly control their own destiny. They can move that database to another cloud service provider or to servers on their own private cloud or in their own data center. As a SugarCRM customer that choice is in your control.

Further, our open model has created a vibrant partner network that allows our customers to select the level of service they want, while at the same time giving them full control and options for the future. For example, you may be the hands-on person who likes to open the hood and change your own oil. Or you may prefer to buy a complete service agreement with your car, where everything is included and the dealer takes care of everything. Our open model has enabled a network of partners that offer whatever level of service you need, from do-it-yourself to full service. As a SugarCRM customer that choice is in your control.

Our open, ”run anywhere”, model enables similar choice and control in where your data resides and your applications runs. That may mean you choose to let us run Sugar for you out of our datacenters. Or you may choose to run it on cloud services such as Amazon, Rackspace, or Windows Azure. Or you may choose to run it on your own servers on your own private cloud. As a SugarCRM customer that choice is in your control.

Bottom line: Open is a core value for us a SugarCRM. That manifests itself in part through our commitment to our Open Source Community Edition, but is pervasive in our entire company philosophy in which our customers receive full source code to our products, have the right to run our products anywhere, and own their own data. Open is at the heart of our business.