Open-Xchange, SugarCRM Collaborate to Challenge Microsoft
Two prominent open source applications providers — Open-Xchange and SugarCRM — are partnering to integrate their collaboration and customer relationship management software. The move comes as Open-Xchange recruits SaaS partners and on-premise channel partners to battle Microsoft Exchange. Here’s the scoop.
First, let’s keep things in perspective. The VAR Guy isn’t suggesting that Open-Xchange can topple Microsoft Exchange anytime soon. Still, Open-Xchange seems to be gaining momentum in some European and North American customer settings as a cost-effective alternative to Exchange. And Open-Xchange’s decision to leave the SaaS market to partners has earned loyalty within the channel ranks.
The New Deal
Now comes word of a partnership with SugarCRM. The relationship is expected to be announced Oct. 20. According to a draft press release viewed by The VAR Guy, The Open-Xchange/SugarCRM integration…
“enables users to gather and aggregate data from their social network profiles (such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Xing), as well as their SugarCRM application, to store it in an Open-Xchange address book as well as share it with others. This information can then be moved to the SugarCRM application. In addition, the SugarCRM data imported into Open-Xchange can be accessed from smartphones, or published to the Internet.”
That entire paragraph is a fancy way of saying Open-Xchange and SugarCRM hope to integrate with social networks to compete against Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Dynamics CRM. At least that’s The VAR Guy’s spin on the situation.
Sounds promising. But again, let’s keep the news in perspective. SugarCRM earlier this year landed on The Open Source 50, which tracks the open source industry’s most promising channel partner programs. But more recently, SugarCRM changed CEOs and has been fiddling with its pricing model — even as SugarCRM partners with Microsoft in some areas.
And let’s not forget: A long list of MSPs and VARs are mulling hosted Exchange and hosted SharePoint options, including offerings from growing service providers like Intermedia and mindSHIFT.
Meanwhile, Open-Xchange has stepped up its channel partner program — hosting its first partner summit earlier this month in Europe. The company in February 2009 said it pushed beyond 10 million paid users. Many of those users, in fact, involved channel partners hosting Open-Xchange for end-customers.
Next up, channel partners will be able to investigate the Open-Xchange/SugarCRM integration. The VAR Guy will be poking around the industry to check out early partner reactions.