Open source CRM builds commercial support

Enterprises on the lookout for an alternative to proprietary CRM applications can take a step to open source and get commercial support from local service providers.

Sydney-based Insightful Solutions expanded its support last week for the open source SugarCRM with its Enterprise Edition. This follows an announcement earlier this year by another open source consultancy, Custom Technology, of a distribution agreement with SugarCRM Inc to support the software locally.

Built on the LAMP - Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP - environment, SugarCRM clams to have all the features of an enterprise CRM system - without the high licence fees.

Insightful will sell Sugar Enterprise Edition from $590 per user per year, including technical support. Its features, beyond the Professional edition, include Oracle 9i support, an Offline Client, advanced reporting, and a module loader for installation of third-party extensions.

Marc Englaro, Insightful Solutions business development manager, said the advanced capabilities of the new Enterprise Edition open the SugarCRM platform up to a much broader audience.

"The new Sugar Enterprise opens the door to businesses with more advanced needs that are looking for a proven, low-cost, alternative to proprietary CRM programs," Englaro said.

Custom Technology's managing director Gordon Hubbard said the cost of SugarCRM should be significantly less than traditional CRM products and gives end users more control with source code access.

Hubbard said it can be used without any customization.

"Trying to integrate a closed system can be difficult [so] being open source gives huge advantages," he said.

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