SugarCRM introduced late last week an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) Platform Edition of its customer relationship management suite. The move is intended to allow independent software vendors and distribution partners to embed its commercially managed, open-source CRM software into their business packages.
The company said the Platform Edition gives OEMs full access to its source code, and vendors can use its open cloud deployment to offer custom solutions. Larry Augustin, CEO of SugarCRM, said the new edition helps the company's growing OEM partner base to build repeat business.
Sugar Logic for Customization
With the Platform Edition, OEMs can embed SugarCRM into an existing system or rebrand and resell it as a white-label offering. The company noted that customized SugarCRM Platform Edition solutions can be developed and deployed on cloud platforms, avoiding lock-in for the customer.
As an example, the company pointed to Harte-Hank's database marketing-optimization tool, Allink Connect. That package, which includes SugarCRM, is a sales-force optimization solution for managing customer data, prioritizing leads and prospects, controlling sales and service work flows, and sharing the knowledge throughout an organization.
Laura DiDio, an analyst for Information Technology Intelligence Corp., said getting deeper into the OEM channel is a "must-do" for SugarCRM, as its own sales channel is not big enough for it to grow.
Competitive advantages for SugarCRM's commercial open-source software, DiDio said, include a relatively low price per user, customizability and openness. "But they have a long way to go before they can compete with SAP," she said.
Non-Coder Tools Coming in 2011
Open-source software can be quite robust and innovative, but it comes with an open-source community, which, DiDio noted, voiced some criticism of SugarCRM this summer when the company wouldn't release source code for some customization it had done. She said the customized improvements, which are not available in the open-source version, include search, user-interface improvements, and access control, plus improved performance.
Martin Schneider, senior director of communications at SugarCRM, said the Platform Edition will let OEM partners use and customize the functions they need for particular customers. "It's really about empowering OEM partners," he said. The newly available Sugar Logic, he pointed out, gives them previously unavailable tools.
Schneider said those tools are currently directed at developers and available only to OEMs, but in November the Sugar Logic tools will be available to anyone as part of a general 6.1 release. Sometime in 2011, he added, the tools will include functions designed to be used by non-coders.
SugarCRM is a leading provider of commercial open-source CRM software. The company said SugarCRM apps currently have more than 600,000 users in 80 languages, with more than 6,000 customers. This week, it's conducting a CRM Acceleration Tour in Europe, consisting of free, single-day sessions with business leaders to talk about the future of CRM and the effect of such developments as social media. It's also expected to soon release a native iPhone CRM app.