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Sugar CRM Review

Company Information:
  • Founded in April 2004 in Silicon Valley, CA, the company is small but nimble and growing. It retains an experienced management team with strong venture capital backing.
  • SugarCRM is offered under the Mozilla Public License and the GNU-GPL license and has taken a lead among the approximately 20 open source CRM applications. It provides complete access to the underlying source code for clients to control their own direction.
SugarCRM Software Information :
  • Sugar Enterprise is natively built on the LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL & PHP) open source stack. However, ever since the version 4.5 release in August 2006, the application also runs reasonably well on Microsoft's Windows Server operating system and SQL Server database.
  • SugarCRM offers several deployment options, including on-demand, on-premise and appliance-based solutions to suit customers' security, integration and configuration needs.
  • SugarCRM's open source architecture allows companies to customize, integrate and extend the CRM application with in-house technical resources.
  • The open source version is freely downloadable, however, one of the commercial versions will be a better choice for most organizations due to their increased feature sets.
  • SugarCRM provides two commercial products - Sugar Professional and Sugar Enterprise.
  • Sugar Professional is a step up from the Sugar Open Source and includes support for sales force automation (SFA), marketing and support. Sugar Professional is priced at $40.00 per user per month.
  • Sugar Enterprise offers additional functionality (Advanced SQL Reporting, Advanced Project Management, Offline Client Sync), greater scalability and support for Oracle 9i and 10g. Sugar Enterprise is priced at $449.00 per user per year.
  • Sugar Cube is a plug-and-play CRM appliance positioned on the inside of your firewall. Sugar Cube 3005 is priced at $7,995 plus user license fees.
  • Support fees vary by number of support cases.
  • About 40 percent of SugarCRM's customers use the hosted version delivered from its data center in Santa Clara, CA.
CRM Software Products and Modules:
  • Sugar Sales Management includes lead, account and opportunity management.
  • Marketing Automation includes campaign management and email marketing.
  • Customer Support includes case management and incident tracking.
  • Reporting
SugarCRM Strengths:
  • Affordability. This solution can be a great fit for budget conscience organizations capable of investing additional time in their CRM product.
  • Open source customization. A commercial open source solution capable of on-demand, individual control (this may be a major positive or a complete turn off depending upon your tolerance for open source business applications solutions).
  • Good program. Available source code, good documentation, training programs and a relatively active community provide the hallmarks for a successful open source effort.
  • IP socialism. A collaboration of community participants and free of vendor lock-in (although possibly subject to employee lock-in if the guy who wrote all the customization wants a raise).
SugarCRM Weaknesses:
  • Open source. While open source acceptance has grown, it is far from commonly accepted among business applications champions. Perhaps more important, one of the core tenants of the SaaS value proposition is to reduce or eliminate the in-house IT resources needed to support business systems - not hire additional programmers in order to go into the software customization business.
  • Small business (only) solution.
  • Poor reporting. Pipelines, forecasts and reporting in general are very poor.
  • Missing or limited system administration tools - such as account merges, mass modifications, flexible security models,
  • Ease of use
SugarCRM Customers:
  • While SugarCRM has achieved over 1 million downloads, the number of customers is a small fraction. In early 2006, the company claimed to have 1,200 paying customers and expected to have 3,000 customers by year-end. We are aware of no large (measured is user count) customers.
SugarCRM Competitors:
  • Commercial competitors: Entellium and
  • Open source competitors: Anteil Open CRM, CampWare Cream CRM, CentraView CRM, ComPiere CRM, Dark Horse Centric CRM, Ohioedge CRM, Open-App SellWin CRM and Open SourceCRM Project.
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SugarCRM Review

Proving that you don't have to be anti-Microsoft to succeed in an open source movement, a significant amount of Sugar's growth is attributed to its partnership with Microsoft in 2006 which created better interoperability between Sugar and Microsoft's Windows Server operating system, Active Directory and SQL Server database. While most SugarCRM installations remain on the LAMP stack, the percentage of new licenses moving to Microsoft has risen from 30 percent before the version 4.5 release to 45 percent in mid 2006.

SugarCRM is placing an emphasis on European growth. Clint Oram, the company's cofounder, has relocated with his family to Dublin, Ireland to open the company's first European sales office and assume the role of General Manager of Sugar Europe.

Its open source product set has been widely adopted across Europe, particularly in France, Germany, Ireland, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, according to company statistics. Also, about one-quarter of its commercial customers are located in Europe, and more than 30 percent of Sugar Open Source downloads take place in Europe. We suspect this is in large part due to the more prevalent anti-Microsoft movement more common outside the United States.

However, the intrigue of CRM open source may have had its moment, when it was first introduced a few years ago with much fanfare. "I don't see them on a short list of deals in which, [Oracle's] Siebel and SAP are competing," Yankee Group analyst Sheryl Kingstone told CRM Buyer. Firms most inclined to adopt open source CRM are those that want to support the technology and business model or those that don't want to put a lot of money in CRM in the first place. Open source CRM has less than one percent of the overall CRM model, she estimated.

Our own informal observations support the prior comments. We see less momentum toward open source business solutions and we notice that a majority of the open source customers seem to be small business organizations.

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