E-commerce software vendor Ariba and open-source CRM software developer SugarCRM will link their applications to IBM's LotusLive collaboration services under deals the companies disclosed Thursday.
The announcements come the week before IBM's Lotusphere conference in Orlando where the company is expected to tout what it describes as broad adoption of its LotusLive public cloud services, including e-mail, Web conferencing, social networking and collaboration,
"This is the first time we've had a deep integration with a complete collaboration service," said SugarCRM CEO Larry Augustin, in an interview. "A big part of our vision is making CRM more social and more simple."
Integrating SugarCRM's Sugar customer relationship management applications with LotusLive will allow sales representatives to collaborate with customers and prospects, according to the companies. A Sugar user, for example, could access LotusLive directly from the Sugar application's Shortcut Bar and run online meetings with customers and share documents directly from the Sugar interface.
Salesforce.com, a SugarCRM competitor, offers its own Chatter collaboration application and has been touting its capabilities in conjunction with the Salesforce CRM software. But SugarCRM's Augustin described the Salesforce CRM-Chatter combination as more for collaboration within an organization -- a "Facebook for inside the enterprise," he said -- while the Sugar-LotusLive combination is focused on communications with customers and prospects outside of a company.
"We don't feel the need to develop another Facebook," he said.
Last year IBM and Salesforce developed links between the Salesforce CRM application and LotusLive.
SugarCRM has more than 7,000 customers, many of which are small and mid-size businesses. Integration with LotusLive will provide the company with an entre to larger companies who use IBM products, said Martin Schneider, senior marketing director at SugarCRM.
The Sugar-LotusLive integration also will be a boon for SugarCRM's partners, Schneider said. He pointed to New York-based Intricity, a gold-level SugarCRM partner that develops business intelligence and data warehouse solutions. Schneider said Intricity, which also works with IBM's Cognos business intelligence software, could run the LotusLive collaboration services in conjunction with SugarCRM and Cognos.
IBM has been actively enlisting channel partners to work with its LotusLive cloud services.
Ariba will link its Ariba Discovery service, which provides access to more than 325,000 sellers in more than 400 business categories, to LotusLive. That will help buyers and sellers collaborate through Web conferences, online meetings, and sharing documents, according to the companies.
SugarCRM and Ariba expect to complete the integration work between their applications and LotusLive by mid-2011.
Last month the CRN Test Center selected the LotusLive iNotes on-demand application as the most innovative software productivity tool for SMBs in 2010.