SugarCRM: Are Partners Still Sweet for SugarCon?
New Year. New CEO. New Partners. That’s the situation at SugarCRM, which is set to kick off its annual SugarCon partner, customer and developer conference on April 12 in San Francisco. So, what can channel partners expect from SugarCon and the open source CRM provider? Here are some clues.
First, the back story: It has been nearly a year since SugarCRM co-founder John Roberts resigned. Initially, The VAR Guy was stunned and depressed by the news. He doesn’t like it when CEOs leave the companies they start…
Still, Roberts ultimately was replaced by Larry Augustin, a well-known entrepreneur and executive leader in the open source world. The guy is sharp. For Augustin, SugarCon 2010 represents an opportunity to prove the CEO change was a wise one.
No doubt, Augustin has his fans across the open source industry. And SugarCRM has at least eight partner-related surprises in store for SugarCon, The VAR Guy hears.
Without giving away the entire story, here are some clues about SugarCRM’s next moves:
- Think Developers: A next-generation SugarCRM platform? Hmmm… Sounds highly likely. Perhaps something that’s more accessible to developers? Right again…
- Think Mobile: More than a PC and server applications, SugarCRM increasingly will involve mobile applications. And The VAR Guy thinks the story will evolve beyond traditional notebooks, netbooks and smart phones… Steve, can you pass SugarCRM that tablet?
- Think Cloud: It’s safe to expect some partnerships here…
From Developers to VARs
Sure, most of SugarCon will focus on software developer relationships. But it’s safe to expect SugarCRM to maintain its channel emphasis going forward.
Even before SugarCRM strengthened its partner program in March 2010, the program was in pretty good shape. For 2009, roughly 70 percent of SugarCRM’s revenue came from partners, up from 65 percent in 2008. The company now has about 250 channel partners, up from about 150 in 2008, according to The VAR Guy’s second annual Open Source 50 survey. (The survey, which tracks the most promising open source partner programs, closes April 16 and complete results will be announced in May 2010.)
Also of note: SugarCRM CEO Larry Augustin recently told The VAR Guy that the open source CRM provider would largely leave the SaaS market to channel partners. It’s safe to expect Augustin to update that vision during SugarCon.
No doubt, SugarCRM faces mounting competition. As SugarCon kicks off, rival Salesforce.com will be taking the stage at Google’s Atmosphere conference — a cloud event designed for 400 CIOs. Also, Microsoft continues to polish its Dynamics CRM offerings, with more cloud functions expected soon.
Still, SugarCRM’s Augustin has a knack for motivating SugarCRM’s developer and channel partners.