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Open Source SugarCRM Scores Big with BT

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From the 'it's not what you know, it's who you know' files:

SugarCRM the open source customer relationship management (CRM) software platform provider announced today a very large reseller agreement with one of the world's largest telecom providers -- BT (formerly known as British Telecom).

BT will offer its customers SugarCRM's commerical offerings of Sugar Professional and Sugar Enterprise - either as an on-site deployment or over the web as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).

"The combination of BT's
incredible reach in the UK market and SugarCRM's
industry-leading CRM solutions makes this a perfect partnership for the
UK market," said John Roberts, CEO of
SugarCRM in a statement. "This alliance strengthens our
global reach and further exhibits SugarCRM's
momentum as a global provider of business applications."

The fact that BT is now offering SugarCRM to its customers doesn't automatically mean that they'll all magically now become users, but it does open up a massive new sales opportunity for the open source CRM.

It also potentially opens up a vast storehouse of innovation for the broader SugarCRM community as well.

Let me explain my rationale : SugarCRM (like MySQL) has a dual-source model with community and commercial offerings. While Sugar Professional and Enterprise are on the commercial side, they are both still based on the an open source core (and with SugarCRM 5.0 that core is GPLv3 licensed).  As the demand and needs of BT's customer base for SugarCRM grow, I would hope (and expect) that there will be improvements to SugarCRM and those improvements will become manifest in the community core (and therefore benefit the community as a whole).

Certainly open source software on it own can generate users, but the reality of the modern IT marketplace is that you really need to have partners (like BT for SugarCRM) to really take off commercially.

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