May 11, 2010 Yann Gourvennec , Customer Experience
It's not everyday you get to meet such an interesting entrepreneur as Larry Augustin. The newly (2009) appointed CEO of the Open source leading CRM provider SugarCRM was kind enough to talk to Orange Business Services about free software, open source and the future of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) at a meeting at a hotel yesterday in Paris, France.
How do you sell service on top of a piece of software when it's labelled free software? That was a bit of a conundrum. This is why Larry Augustin, a former venture capitalist who has been part of the board of Sugar CRM since 2005 decided - with a few other like-minded people - to coin the phrase Open Source in order to indicate that if free software meant that software sources could be used and revised by third party, it didn't mean that it all came at no cost.
SugarCRM is indeed one of the leading solutions in terms of Open Source CRM and offers a versatile platform which makes it possible for customisation to take place. 85% of the core is made available through its Sugar Community Edition whereas additional functionality is offered via 3 different versions of the software: Express, Professional and Enterprise.
SurgarCRM was created when "three guys left Epiphany and decided to create the next generation of CRM in order to take advantage of Open Source". This is why SugarCRM is aiming to be "lightweight, modern and based on web technology". Needless to say that, because of this Web technology backbone, enabling social marketing within CRM is almost natural. SugarCRM is downloaded 60,000 times every month and it's no surprise that this popularity is helping the software company very quickly throughout the world.
Strangely enough, Europe plays a very important role in that international development and - yet another surprise - it's not in the UK that things are taking off faster but in Germany, France, the Nordics and Italy. The European headquarter for SugarCRM is located in Munich.
More detail in that interview with Larry Augustin:
I specialize in information systems, HighTech marketing and Web marketing. I am author and contributor to numerous books and the CEO of Visionary Marketing. As such, I contribute regularly on this blog for Orange Business Services account on cloud computing and cloud storage topics.