SugarCRM Strengthens IBM Alliance, Builds Links To Lotus Collaboration Apps

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SugarCRM, which is holding its SugarCon conference for customers, partners and developers in San Francisco this week, also improved Sugar's integration with a range of IBM software and disclosed that it has acquired a CRM application developed to run on IBM Lotus Notes.

"Sugar 6 [Spring 2011 release] empowers our developer and partner networks to build new and innovative solutions on top of the world's most flexible and scalable platform," said Clint Oram, SugarCRM co-founder and chief technology officer, in a statement.

SugarCRM launched the initial Sugar 6 software last November.

The new Sugar release specifically extends the application's Sugar Logic, the set of development tools SugarCRM debuted last year for building custom applications on the Sugar platform. The enhanced Sugar Logic simplifies the customization process and includes new workflow automation capabilities for developing process-centric applications, said product marketing director Martin Schneider, in an interview.

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"Partners will really like Sugar Logic, with its customization capabilities and business processes," Schneider said.

The Spring 2011 release of Sugar 6 offers more in the way of collaboration and social networking capabilities thanks to new links to IBM, Google Docs, Cisco WebEx, InsideView and Citrix Online software.

Topping that list is improved integration with the IBM Lotus Collaboration application suite, thanks to the iExtensions CRM software SugarCRM acquired from iEnterprises Inc. for an undisclosed sum. That technology will provide native CRM support for the Lotus Notes platform and offer a Notes e-mail and calendar plug-in, as well as a Sugar Connector for synchronizing data between Sugar and Lotus Domino servers.

SugarCRM first disclosed its intention to develop the links between Sugar and LotusLive earlier this year.

IBM and SugarCRM also announced general availability of Sugar for LotusLive, a version of the CRM application that works with IBM's cloud-based Lotus software. SugarCRM and IBM have also developed connectors between Sugar and IBM's Cognos Business Intelligence Suite and WebSphere Cast Iron integration software.

And SugarCRM has joined IBM's Global Alliance Portfolio in a move Schneider said offers opportunities for both vendors' channel partners.

On the Mobile computing front, additions to the Sugar 6 application provide support for the Android mobile operating system and RIM's BlackBerry, and native support for Apple's iPad. (Sugar already supports the Apple iPhone.) The CRM application also has new offline synchronization capabilities and a new HTML5-based charting engine for creating dashboards and reports for mobile devices.

As part of the iEnterprises acquisition, iEnterprises CEO John Carini will join SugarCRM as vice president of collaboration solutions. The iEnterprises company itself will continue to sell the iEnterprises framework as a certified VAR in the SugarCRM Open Partner Network.

The Spring 2011 release of Sugar 6 will be available later this spring priced at $30 per user, per month for the Professional Edition and $50 per user, per month for the Enterprise Edition. SugarCRM also offers an open source community edition of its application.