SugarCRM held its tenth user group meeting in San Francisco this week and by all indications it was a great success. The meeting attracted more customers than ever before, some from as far away as India and the vendor ecosystem was well represented too. There were eight (count ‘em) tracks with a total of 88 sessions over two days. Paul Greenberg gave the Day 2 keynote and he was brilliant as usual. Dan Lyons from Newsweek was very funny as he forced us to look critically at the warts on our industry. http://bit.ly/OzyWn
By most objective measures you have to say that Sugar is on track and gaining altitude in the CRM market. The company is aided by the fact that it is the biggest dog in the open source CRM space. I’ve been a fan of SugarCRM for a while though the business model seems difficult but at least there’s a for profit model as well as the open source one.
Open source may be a great model for larger efforts like Wiki’s and operating systems but I had my doubts about applications like CRM. But from what I have seen of the partner ecosystem and the company’s growth, it appears that open source is working at the application level too. I think there’s an opportunity in open source because it stands as an alternative to purely commercial SaaS solutions. The challenge for open source won’t be from traditional license software but from commercial SaaS because it may appear to offer a cost advantage.
It may be less costly from a TCO perspective to buy into commercial SaaS but the issue of potential vendor lock-in will make that solution unattractive to some. The open source movement therefore acts as a counter balance to the SaaS industry and as long as there is open source, or some other viable — I mean multi-tenant based cloud — solution it will help make the whole market more accommodating which should be good for everyone.