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OEMs Get a Lot of SugarCRM Poured on Them

By Erika Morphy CRM Buyer ECT News Network
Sep 30, 2010 11:45 AM PT

SugarCRM has rolled out OEM Platform Edition, a new product for its software vendor and distribution channel. The release doesn't further SugarCRM's open source-based functionality. Rather, the company is repackaging the latest version of Sugar 6, which came out this summer, in a format and with tools that will allow partners to enhance it with their own customizations, white label it, and then resell it.

OEMs Get a Lot of SugarCRM Poured on Them

"This is less about technology and more about announcing to the world that we are attacking new markets," Martin Schneider, senior director of communications for SugarCRM, told CRM Buyer. "We are anticipating our partners will go after sub-verticals that we never could with this platform."

Common Strategy, Unconventional Approach

It is not unusual for vendors to rely on their distribution partners to expand an application's footprint. Companies from Microsoft to NetSuite, to cite just two examples, use their channels not only for sales but also for customer service and implementation.

"This strategy is all about expanding appeal and reach -- and that is true for every software vendor," China Martens, an analyst with the 451 Group, told CRM Buyer.

"They all have pressure to appeal to specific industries with verticals and micro-verticals," she said.

SugarCRM has taken a slightly different tack toward implementing this strategy, however, by giving its partners tools so extensive that they can almost rebuild the app from scratch for customization purposes, said Martens.

"SugarCRM is a SaaS offering, but it is also commercial open source, which gives it more options," she observed.

From Sugar's perspective, being embedded in other applications -- one of the things the tools allow developers to do -- can give the company a nice additional revenue stream, remarked Martens.

The Offering

Sugar Platform Edition gives OEMs full access to Sugar source code and developer tools.

Besides the platform, SugarCRM also rolled out Sugar Logic, a new set of development tools to create new processes and interfaces on the platform.

Developers can also leverage SugarCRM's open cloud deployment model to offer their own cloud-based custom products.

Because SugarCRM is based on open source, developers always had some of this functionality -- to a certain degree. However, they were writing the applications from scratch, and upgrades oftentimes were difficult to implement, Sugar's Schneider said.

"What we have done is package up the PHP and JavaScript libraries to create a developer-focused scripting language that will shorten the time and cost of building dynamic process-oriented applications, and make upgrades safe," he explained.

Getting Ready to Deploy

ISVs set to use the application include DataSync, Expert Business Development and White Springs.

There are any number of new applications that these companies could create, Schneider said, including home mortgage origination tools, insurance claim management applications, and automotive dealer management systems.

The tools are device-agnostic, he pointed out, meaning the partners can also create mobile applications -- something Sugar has not pursued to a great extent up to now.

"I could see a partner building an OEM tool just for field service in a particular industry," Schneider said.

Sugar is readying for a more aggressive push into mobile with its own native iPad and iPhone application, expected within the next several months.

"It will be one of our growth areas," Schneider said, together with a stronger push into global markets and social media.

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