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Juergen Haas

SugarCRM - The Open Source Customer Relationship Management System

By July 26, 2007

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Company wide software projects, such as setting up enterprise resource planning (ERP) or customer relationship management (CRM) systems, tend to be extraordinarily expensive compared to the functionality they offer. Besides the initial software purchase, companies often have to spend large sums for consulting services for software specialists required to integrate the software package with the company’s IT infrastructure. The alternative of writing the software from scratch has the obvious drawback of requiring a substantial software development effort.

The solution to this dilemma is to develop such software as Open Source projects.

This is exactly the vision of SugarCRM. SugarCRM has been developing a customer relationship management software package, also called SugarCRM, with the help of interested parties in the Open Source community. The Open Source version of the system, called Sugar Open Source, is a production-ready fully supported CRM system, and can be downloaded for free. Since the software is Open Source, companies can customize or extend the system as needed with relatively little cost. Alternatively, SugarCRM provides advanced features and technical support for a fee.

The company offers an open-source stack "FastStack" consisting of the Apache Web server, PHP, MySQL, and its own applications. SurgarCRM works well with Microsoft's Windows Server and sales representatives can synchronize their contacts between Outlook and the SugarCRM software.

In response to criticism that the current license of Sugar Open Source is not consistent with the definition of Open Source, the company has announced that it will release the next version, expected in September, under version 3 of the GPL.

Since its inception in 2004 SugarCRM Inc. has been growing rapidly and opened an office in Dublin in March, Ireland, to better serve its European customers which make up about 25% of its customer base.

The software can be downloaded here.

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