Open Source CRM vendor SugarCRM has a lot of free community users. In fact, Martin Schneider, Director of Product Marketing at SugarCRM told me that they have 500,000 users, which is quite a lot for a CRM product. The problem is that those users are not necessarily generating any direct revenues for SugarCRM as a professional open source company.
In order to migrate some free users to being paid users, SugarCRM this week revised its pricing model and added a new entry level paid solution called Sugar Express. Schneider attempted to argue that the new Sugar Express as a hosted service would actually be cheaper for a small business user to run than trying to run it on their own (Sugar Express starts at $7 a user per month).
Speaking of hosted solutions, before this week, Sugar used to called its hosted solutions Sugar On Demand but now they’ve rebranded their offering to take advantage of the new hot term in IT, the cloud.
When I asked Schneider what the difference was between Sugar On Demand and the Sugar Cloud, he admitted that it’s really just a, “mild evolution” of what Sugar had already been doing. The Sugar Data Center Edition that I wrote about last year is being rebranded as well to include the word ‘cloud’. Funny how SaaS, on demand and data center now all just mean ‘cloud’ isn’t it?
Branding issues aside. SugarCRM is continuing to advance its open source project. Currently they are at version 5.2, though Schneider noted that a version 5.5. is in the works.