SugarCRM goes folksy with Mickos philosophy

Simple by necessity


MySQL chief executive Marten Mickos is surely regarded as a rainmaker among the entrepreneurial wing of the open source movement.

Not only did his company pick wisely when it came to endorsing an open source technology, it also convinced a major, publicly traded entity to part with $1bn for no discernable return - despite its own challenges in making money.

The secret of Mickos' success is surely his penchant for keeping it simple - to do one thing and do it really well. In this case, it was the database.

The philosophy, in Mickos' words, is to "stick to the knitting".

That's a motto chief executive John Roberts appears to now be living by for his open source company, SugarCRM, as he thinks things have worked out for the best as far as MySQL and Sun is concerned.

SugarCRM is looking for success of its own, planning an IPO within the next two years. With the customer relationship management (CRM) vendor struggling to get out from under the shadow cast by Salesforce.com, and the markets tipping against tech IPOs, SugarCRM is also sticking to the knitting to succeed. In this case, the knitting is CRM.

That means no vague, platform-on-demand strategy and no concocting a meta-data-based programming language such as Apex.

"Salesforce are talking about a platform play, we are still committed to CRM - it's a huge category," Roberts told Reg Dev during a recent interview. "To abandon the CRM market, which seems to be what they are doing, is a reaction to not having anything new to offer. For us, we will always be committed."

As to Salesforce.com's Apex, Roberts said SugarCRM is sticking with PHP. "They call themselves a platform but they still have to create programming languages, but that doesn't help or benefit the customer," Roberts said.

Of course, Roberts' tune might change once he becomes answerable to shareholders demanding growth, pushing the company into areas he doesn't want to go.

Roberts' pragmatic stance is partly due to circumstances. The latest edition of SugarCRM, version 5.0, shipped later than planned thanks to an additional round of code reviews. SugarCRM, which is growing, also remains smaller than Salesforce.com and is lacking a comparable ISV ecosystem.

SugarCRM has 500 modules, 3,000 customers, and 160 employees although it claims 4.5 million downloads and support from 12,000 developers - the standard two metrics used to measure one's "success" in open source. That compares to Salesforce.com's 750 applications on its AppExchange marketplace, 2,070 employees, and nearly a million subscribers at 38,000 organizations.

That IPO, meanwhile, will likely have been pushed out given the current state of the markets and the fact SugarCRM's investors will want a return on their investment.

There is uncertainty, meanwhile, over the future state of the software-as-a-service CRM market if, indeed, Salesforce.com is offering itself up to Oracle for purchase.

Roberts, though, is upbeat. He claimed the release of SugarCRM 5.0 marks the "end of the beginning" for his company, by offering a scalable CRM product and service with shareable modules, and that SugarCRM is now out of its "start-up phase". That phase, according to Roberts, included adopting "different approaches" and covered last year's spat over the attribution license, resolved when SugarCRM adopted GPLv3.

"The commercial open source business model people are still figuring it out. We stopped figuring it out a few years ago. The one major change would have been attribution a few years ago... we went with [GPL] v3... there is peace and harmony in the open source world," Roberts said. ®


Other stories you might like

  • Prisons transcribe private phone calls with inmates using speech-to-text AI

    Plus: A drug designed by machine learning algorithms to treat liver disease reaches human clinical trials and more

    In brief Prisons around the US are installing AI speech-to-text models to automatically transcribe conversations with inmates during their phone calls.

    A series of contracts and emails from eight different states revealed how Verus, an AI application developed by LEO Technologies and based on a speech-to-text system offered by Amazon, was used to eavesdrop on prisoners’ phone calls.

    In a sales pitch, LEO’s CEO James Sexton told officials working for a jail in Cook County, Illinois, that one of its customers in Calhoun County, Alabama, uses the software to protect prisons from getting sued, according to an investigation by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    Continue reading
  • Battlefield 2042: Please don't be the death knell of the franchise, please don't be the death knell of the franchise

    Another terrible launch, but DICE is already working on improvements

    The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition on New World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system for gear drops is also infuriating and tedious, but not something we were able to address in the column. So bear these things in mind if you were ever tempted. On that note, it's time to look at another newly released shit show – Battlefield 2042.

    I wanted to love Battlefield 2042, I really did. After the bum note of the first-person shooter (FPS) franchise's return to Second World War theatres with Battlefield V (2018), I stupidly assumed the next entry from EA-owned Swedish developer DICE would be a return to form. I was wrong.

    The multiplayer military FPS market is dominated by two forces: Activision's Call of Duty (COD) series and EA's Battlefield. Fans of each franchise are loyal to the point of zealotry with little crossover between player bases. Here's where I stand: COD jumped the shark with Modern Warfare 2 in 2009. It's flip-flopped from WW2 to present-day combat and back again, tried sci-fi, and even the Battle Royale trend with the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone (2020), which has been thoroughly ruined by hackers and developer inaction.

    Continue reading
  • American diplomats' iPhones reportedly compromised by NSO Group intrusion software

    Reuters claims nine State Department employees outside the US had their devices hacked

    The Apple iPhones of at least nine US State Department officials were compromised by an unidentified entity using NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, according to a report published Friday by Reuters.

    NSO Group in an email to The Register said it has blocked an unnamed customers' access to its system upon receiving an inquiry about the incident but has yet to confirm whether its software was involved.

    "Once the inquiry was received, and before any investigation under our compliance policy, we have decided to immediately terminate relevant customers’ access to the system, due to the severity of the allegations," an NSO spokesperson told The Register in an email. "To this point, we haven’t received any information nor the phone numbers, nor any indication that NSO’s tools were used in this case."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021