The Sugar CRM collaboration tool is Qontext
When I talk to people about Sugar I am frequently asked to explain what difference (if any) open source (OS) makes. Usually the fact that a software application is OS means very little to the end user in their day to day work. (please no flames from any true believers who might read this post).
This month I saw a very real example of how OS makes a difference.
For proprietary CRM systems (like SFDC and MSCRM), the addition of an added feature requires a product management group to develop a plan, integrate that plan within the architecture, unit test, regression test, release in beta, create a release candidate, and eventually add the feature to a point release of the product itself. The process, if executed perfectly and without flaw or delay can take months. Sometimes years.
In the OS world, it happens much more quickly.
Sugar and its partners (like BrainSell) have heard for some time that customers want a collaboration tool within their CRM (much like Salesforce.com’s Chatter tool). Rather than develop the feature directly in Sugar, developers took an existing collaboration tool called Qontext and embedded it within the Sugar tool. This took weeks rather than months and let Sugar satisfy a customer need (and a competitive requirement) faster than any other product could.
How it affects the end user is obvious. You want something, you get it. Besides that, since you have access to the code (it is Open Source after all) you can add your own feature requirements. Think your add-on is killer? Sell it. You have that option with open source. Try writing a MSCRM add on without paying your dues to Steve Ballmer.
For more on Qontext within SugarCRM, visit the CRM Outsider’s blog post.
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