SugarCRM, a provider of commercial open source CRM software, is expanding its reach to Europe — an essential step for any small, high growth software company more than a few years old.
The company is opening its European headquarters in Dublin, Ireland. Company cofounder Clint Oram will be the general manager of Sugar Europe.
“The establishment of Sugar Europe signifies the importance of Europe as a key driver in the success of our commercial open source model,” Oram stated.
“Our strong partner base throughout Europe, the advanced multilingual capabilities of our application, and the embrace of open source by European governments and businesses has pulled us quickly into the European markets,” he added.
Besides establishing a local presence in Europe, SugarCRM is also localizing support materials for the French and German markets, expanding its on-demand infrastructure there and launching a campaign to raise awareness of the platform in Europe.
Pushing into Europe is a smart move for the company, Rebecca Wettemann, vice president of Nucleus Research, told CRM Buyer.
“There’s still a lot of opportunity in the CRM market in Europe, particularly for low-cost flexible solutions that can be easily integrated with other applications,” she noted.
“Given Sugar’s open source model and delivery as both a hosted and on-premise solution, they should be able to attract new partners that can help them identify key growth opportunities in the European customer base,” Wettemann added.
Already Making Headway
SugarCRM has already made significant headway into these markets, the firm reported.
Its open source product set has been widely adopted across Europe, particularly in France, Germany, Ireland, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, according to company statistics. Also, about one-quarter of its commercial customers are located in Europe, and more than 30 percent of Sugar Open Source downloads take place in Europe.
As in the United States, SugarCRM is claiming wins in Europe against competing on-demand firms such as Salesforce.com.
Dublin-based customer Fineos, a provider of componentized software applications for the insurance, government social insurance and banking industries, chose SugarCRM over Salesforce.com, according to Jarlath Dooley, director of business operations for Fineos.
“For our demanding sales management process conditions, Sugar was just plain better,” he said.
A Peaked Business Model?
However, the intrigue of CRM open source may have had its moment, when it was first introduced a few years ago with much fanfare.
“I don’t see them on a short list of deals in which Salesforce.com, [Oracle’s] Siebel and SAP are competing,” Yankee Group analyst Sheryl Kingstone told CRM Buyer.
Firms most inclined to adopt open source CRM are those that want to support the technology and business model or those that don’t want to put a lot of money in CRM in the first place. Open source CRM has less than one percent of the overall CRM model, she estimated.
In spite of these trends, SugarCRM has continued to develop its application with the higher end users as a target base.
At the beginning of the year, it added multichannel marketing and business analytics functionality to its Sugar Open Source, Sugar Professional and Sugar Enterprise product lines.
New features included a campaign wizard to set up and execute a campaign; a campaign manager to track the opportunities generated and closed by the campaign; automated lead capture, which integrates Web leads into SugarCRM and better management of e-mail marketing, online advertising, newsletters, search engine marketing, list rentals, telesales programs, webcasts and traditional advertising.
The new functionality also allows users to generate ad-hoc, multi-module reporting to analyze marketing, sales and customer support. These reports can be displayed in multiple formats such as pie charts or line graphs.
SugarCRM is built on the LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) platform. It was one of the first open source CRM companies to come to market.