By Renee Boucher Ferguson  |  Posted 2008-02-08 Print this article Print


Q: How much of the SugarCRM community development goes back into the commercial SugarCRM product?

A: It varies on how you look at it. As a company, as a project, we did author SugarCRM from scratch. We didn't harvest it, we actually wrote it. And we continue to do that, but we chose to open-source license under GPL v3. It's usually completely the opposite - harvest, then create a license. We actually wrote it. In terms of our core platform, we do write and manage 100 percent of it. On the other hand, we designed a platform that is very extensible, to support a lot of extensions. What you get is a core team in Cupertino building a rock-solid foundation as a plug-in-based architecture and SugarForce that makes it really easy for developers to build and add on to our code.

Q: What is the incentive for developers to contribute to your open-source community?

A: Why should a business developer contribute to a business application? That's not the case. If you look at CRM, it's a viable part of any company, any business. When you're dealing with customer relationships, customer experiences, you bet IT and you bet the business folks are laser-focused on providing a superior customer experience.


The issue is that up until this point they've always been dominated by proprietary, lock-in software vendors like or Oracle. Why do we have to do this? Why can't the customer be in control? Why can't we add a feature if it doesn't exist? This conference is showing this is a much better approach. As we've been getting larger, our events are getting larger. It's really more validation acknowledging that there are a lot of smart people in the world outside of Silicon Valley.

Q: There have been a lot of anecdotal and analyst research that suggests CRM implementations still fail at an alarming rate. Does open source CRM do anything to alleviate that situation?


A: I think Sugar solves a lot of those issues. I am not sure if open source does. We're in the fourth generation of open source and every generation is based on newer technology. Ultimately, you're dealing with sales forces that are not accountants. What they're looking for is user experience. Do employees really adopt an application and treat the app as their friend? If they do, they can get great power. That's where Sugar comes from; Sugar CRM is your friend. It's also a friend of that company - as end users embrace it more, senior management gets visibility.



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