Open source CRM, VoIP join forces down under

Disruptive technology set to crack proprietary PABX market

US open source PABX vendor Fonality has acquired Sydney-based open source CRM provider Insightful Solutions with an aim to provide an integrated business communications and information platform.

Fonality's VoIP systems are based on the open source Asterisk PABX and Insightful Solutions is a SugarCRM support and development provider.

Insightful Solutions founder Marc Englaro said the company has already done a lot of integration work with Asterisk and other PABXes so the acquisition is a good opportunity to bring an integrated solution to a market dominated by incumbent vendors.

"We have done this for existing customers on a case-by-case basis," Englaro said, adding all 15 Insightful staff have stayed on and the engineers are working on integrating the VoIP and CRM software.

The first fully unified products are expected to be available here early next year as some of the components Fonality uses in its PABXes is still awaiting approval from local government regulators.

As part of the deal, Fonality will also begin selling Insightful's SugarCRM managed service offering, dubbed FonalityCRM.

FonalityCRM is integrated with PBXtra and trixbox Pro and provides click-to-call dialling, agent screen pops, telephone campaign management for outbound sales teams, among other features.

Englaro expects the Fonality brand to be adopted locally in favour of the Insightful Solutions name, and he is now general manager of Fonality's CRM division.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed, but Englaro said it was a combination of cash and stock options.

Initially, Englaro will target local small businesses and enterprise branch offices who he believes are not being provided with this scope of technology by the traditional PABX vendors.

"We're bringing more functionality to the market at a lower price," he said.

Fonality CEO Chris Lyman said telephony and CRM have a "naturally concentric" relationship and believes the Insightful acquisition will accelerate the unified offering to the global SMB marketplace.

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