CorraTech, an open source software services firm, introduced Opensuite, a pre-beta release of its latest open source endeavor.
The project is an open source-based integration of — for now — three of the leading open source applications in rich e-mail, document management and CRM.
“This is a pre-packaged integration; it is not repacked applications,” Ron Bongo, CEO of CorraTech, told CRM Buyer.
CorraTech will introduce additional business application integration packages called “Business Process Packs” and deepen the functionality of this first release with such features as open source project management software or an open source customer help desk application, he said.
Mimicking a Suite
This first Business Process Pack provides single sign-on and allows users to manage multiple workflows linking e-mail, documents and accounts to the CRM system.
It is built on a service-oriented platform to deliver the server-to-server middleware layer functionality necessary to integrate these separate applications. For instance, Centric CRM, Zimbra and KnowledgeTree are supported in the first Business Process Pack released on Monday. Centric and Zimbra are based on Java; Knowledge Tree is a PHP (hypertext preprocessor) code base. Integrating them on the platform, however, was a painless task, Bongo said.
A typical use case would be a sales rep who fields an e-mail that comes in through the Centric CMR application. The sales rep sends back an agreement to the customer to sign, which the customer does and forwards it back to the company. That agreement is stored in Knowledge Tree; the e-mail exchange is tracked and stored in the CRM system.
In short, the transaction follows the same path as it would in an integrated suite application.
Open source application interoperability has been a focus of the industry for some time, Bernard Golden, CEO of Navica and author of Succeeding with Open Source, told CRM Buyer. One goal of the Open Source Alliance, for instance, was to develop easier integration among the various open source offerings.
What CorraTech is doing, he said, is more focused on developing business opportunity.
“Zimbra, for instance, just got acquired for a lot of money. So, it is smart to figure out a way to wire it into other applications. Integrating rich e-mail and CRM has a lot of potential,” he said.
Opensuite also serves as a reminder that open source continues to gain traction. “So the surrounding services are becoming more and more important as a result,” Golden concluded.