SugarCRM Strengthens Channel Partner Program
Open source software companies continue to strengthen their channel partner programs. The latest example involves SugarCRM’s new Open+ Partner Program. But SugarCRM isn’t alone. The VAR Guy has a hunch that several open source partner program announcements will surface this week. Here are the details.
First, the big picture: In 2009, most open source channel partner programs were still in their infancy. Sure, companies like Red Hat and Novell have worked in and around the channel for quite some time. But The VAR Guy’s 2009 Open Source 50 survey revealed most open source application providers were just getting started with Partner Programs.
Fast forward to 2010, and those partner programs seem to be gaining critical mass. Let’s start with SugarCRM, then broaden the conversation to a range of companies and technology distributors.
SugarCRM says its Open+ Partner Program includes:
- A market development program that provides SugarCRM channel partners with SugarCRM expertise and resources for business planning, business development activities, event execution, market positioning and sales delivery.
- Greater access and support for SugarCRM’s Open Cloud platform and enabling technology to help build, manage and maintain next-generation cloud solutions for customers.
- A new referral program that rewards partners for each qualified lead referred to SugarCRM.
- Improved partner engagement services offering partners streamlined lead generation, distribution of leads, and deal registration; as well as centralized marketing collateral partners can leverage as they go to market with Sugar-powered solutions.
- New customer reference program to spotlight partner success stories and aid the sales engagement process.
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 (April 12-14, San Francisco).
True believers in the SugarCRM partner program include Levementum, a solutions provider that has deployed multiple customer applications in Amazon’s cloud.
Of course, it’s always difficult to measure the true success of partner programs — especially open source partner programs. Alas, the vast majority of open source companies remain privately held, so pinning down specific channel dollar figures is tricky.
Still, The VAR Guy has started work on the 2010 Open Source 50 survey, which should provide a healthy reality check.
Meanwhile, there are anecdotal signs of success in multiple areas. The Open Source Channel Alliance (launched by Red Hat and Synnex) is learning to walk. And earlier this week, Synnex agreed to distribute Digium’s SwitchVox unified communications system, which is based on Asterisk, the open source IP PBX. Tech Data’s Open Tech initiative promises to further connect open source with VARs and a major distributor. And executives from open source companies are vowing to work more closely with channel partners.
Executives Reach Out to Partners
Among those making channel-centric statements are:
- Alfresco Chief Marketing Officer Ian Howells
- Compiere Executive VP Field Operations Allen Lovett
- Digium CEO Danny Windham
- Ingres CEO Roger Burkhardt
- Jaspersoft CEO Brian Gentile
- Pentaho CEO Richard Daley
- SugarCRM CEO Larry Augustin
- Zimbra VP of Business Development Andy Pflaum (Note: VMware now owns Zimbra)
No doubt, more channel moves are coming. The VAR Guy expects a few more open source companies to make partner announcements in the next few days.
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