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February 05, 2009

SugarCRM Announces Partner Management, Marketing Improvements

By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor


SugarCRM's (News - Alert) cofounder and vice president of product management, Clint Oram, said at the company's SugarCon conference in San Francisco earlier this week that the open source vendor will add new marketing and partner management capabilities to an upgrade of its CRM software due out by about the end of the year.
According to industry reports, SugarCRM version 6.0 will be released in beta by about October and made generally available by the end of the year. Oram said the product's final configuration is dependent on "feedback from the beta test."
What Oram did say at the conference was that Version 6.0 will have better lead generation tools, including, according to industry reports, "a scoring tool that looks at how potential clients have responded to past marketing campaigns along with data such as their job title and company size. It will also coordinate multi-step marketing efforts, where prospects are approached through various campaigns -- e-mail, telephone, Web advertisements -- that are sometimes linked to each other."
For those who've been asking for increased partner management capabilities there will be, Oram said, an application to let a company's partners access their SugarCRM system, register deals or ask for marketing funds, among other functions. "It will provide separate views for partners and securely restrict access to information that's relevant to them," Oram said.
A few days ago, TMC reported that SugarCRM announced a partnership with Tata Communications (News - Alert). Under terms of the agreement, Tata Communications will now offer SugarCRM's On-Demand CRM services to small, medium and large enterprises in India.
Tata officials said they felt SugarCRM's product offered their customers "greater control and lower risk" for their CRM deployment by delivering via the cloud or software-as-a-service model.
Industry observers at the conference said that SugarCRM is still "a relatively young product and some of its capabilities are quite basic," pointing to the need for a better calendaring application, among other bells and whistles. Project management is something else SugarCRM users say they would like to see improved, according to industry reports. citing the need to "prioritize our resources," Oram said calendaring and advanced project management, full-text search and other requests aren't going to happen before version 6.5 in 2010.

For more, check out the Open Source CRM channel on TMCnet.

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi



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