A CRM application designed by following open source technology would gain fast popularity. A class of CRM business applications was needed that built on a commercial open source business model.
The SugarCRM team created an open source project called Sugar Sales -- powered by the LAMP software stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP). "The LAMP stack is so readily supported, it allows Sugar Sales Professional to be deployed for a minimal fee with little to no administration. It has proved to be a responsive, stable and customizable technology that meets our complex application requirements," says Jacob Taylor of SugarCRM.
Sugar Sales manages the efficiency and effectiveness of sales activities, with expanded interactions between support, marketing, and billing. "Sugar Sales was developed by leveraging the combined ideas and contributions of CRM developers worldwide. We instantly had product insight that would have cost millions in R&D to attain if we didn't interact with the open source community while designing Sugar Sales," says John Roberts of SugarCRM.
September 2004 became an important milestone with the introduction of the commercial version of the open source product. Sugar Sales Professional delivered advanced functionality, support and upgrades for a reasonable price. Many companies who require support or advanced functionality find the product mission-critical to manage their business, and leverage the visual source provided to alleviate vendor and technology lock-ins.
The open source version of Sugar Sales continued to develop and progress. Sugar Sales received the honor of Project of the Month from Sourceforge.net, the heart of the global open source community. The project's growing popularity in downloads, the constant praise from the public and the loyal open source community were all critical factors in attaining this distinction. "We were very pleased that we were recognized as Project of the Month. It shows the commitment that the open source community has for our project and our reliance on our community to make us successful," says Clint Oram, Open Source VP and Co-founder of Sugar CRM.
Based on the open source architecture, Sugar Sales Professional became an instant success inside the SMB market. Within two months, the application won its first 50 customers, as the majority of companies were already using the open source version and were excited to buy Professional.
In addition to the 2.0 release offering the same sales force automation functionality as more expensive, closed source competitors, a professional deployment option was introduced: a self-service installation, an appliance called the Sugar Cube, and lastly, a hosted application called Sugar On-Demand. All provide the same visual source accessibility and support packages.
Rounding off 2004, SugarCRM announced its partner program, where IT providers who've proven their knowledge and dedication to the open source project are named as authorized resellers and hosts.
The company will continue its fast pace in 2005 with the introduction of Marketing and Service solutions which integrate into Sugar Sales. This technology will be reinforced by newly-hired development and support personnel. Several forward-thinking business applications will be introduced during the first half of 2005, advancing the SMB IT performance.
Companies can rely on the same high standards in performance, open source development, and advanced user interfaces which Sugar Sales delivered in 2004. The product strategy will remain driven by the open and straightforward communications among customers, the open source community, and the product.
"We are extremely pleased with what we've accomplished in 2004. As to 2005, we have only just begun to release new innovative open source based business applications with exceedingly low TCO -- which will offer immediate gains while managing your core business operations," says John Roberts of SugarCRM.
SugarCRM brings commercial open source customer relationship management applications to companies of all sizes.