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SugarCRM Courts OEMs, Plans iPhone, iPad CRM Apps

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Posted September 30, 2010 By Paul Shread     Feedback

The open source CRM vendor plans an easier development environment and native mobile apps, but users will have to pay for them.

Open source CRM vendor SugarCRM is making a play for the OEM market and also planning a native CRM app for Apple iPhone and iPad users.

The new OEM Platform Edition is aimed at ISVs and distribution partners who embed SugarCRM's CRM functionality into business suites and vertical market offerings. SugarCRM also announced Sugar Logic, a new set of PHP and JavaScript development tools for creating customized user experiences on the Sugar platform.

Sugar Platform Edition gives OEMs full access to Sugar source code and developer tools, and they can also use SugarCRM's open cloud deployment model to offer custom solutions in the cloud.

SugarCRM senior communications director Martin Schneider said Sugar Platform Edition is in response to growing demand from partners like DataSync, Expert Business Development, White Springs and Harte-Hanks, which uses CRM for its Allink Connect database marketing optimization tool.

Sugar Logic will help those OEM deployments. The set of PHP and JavaScript libraries further extends SugarCRM's workflow and business logic tools. SugarCRM developers and partners can use Sugar Logic to build user-facing applications "in an upgrade-safe manner, without hard coding," the company said.

Sugar partners could use the code to create custom applications such as home mortgage origination tools, insurance claim management applications, automotive dealer management systems and other industry-specific tools.

Sugar Platform Edition and Sugar Logic are available now for OEM partners, and Sugar Logic will be made generally available for Sugar Professional and Enterprise Edition users in November. But it won't be available for open source users, continuing a trend that began with the release of SugarCRM 6 this summer.

Schneider said the ease-of-use features in version 6 created the OEM demand that led to the Platform Edition. "Customers love it because it's easier to get up and running," he said.

SugarCRM 6.1 Will Go Mobile

Schneider also provided a glimpse of the upcoming SugarCRM 6.1 release. The biggest new feature will be native mobile apps, starting with the iPhone and iPad, with BlackBerry and Android apps planned for later.

Once again, though, those features will be limited to enterprise users. Open source users will have to be content with SugarCRM's browser-based mobile functionality.

The company will also update its Sugar Feeds social networking tool — similar to Salesforce.com's Chatter — to add improved LinkedIn and Twitter integration.

SugarCRM began as a SourceForge project and surprised its founders with the speed at which it caught on, and a business was born. Schneider said the company's open source core helps it undercut CRM rival Salesforce.com by 30 percent or more.

As CEO Larry Augustin noted in a blog earlier this year, "This mix of Open Source and commercially licensed software offerings has allowed us to build a successful business while creating an innovative, award winning, affordable, and open CRM solution."

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