We thank every Sugar user who has helped make these past 10 years a tremendous success for us all.
In recent years, we have also put much thought into our mission as a company and how open source fits into that mission. Open source, software-as-a-service and subscription billing have all radically changed the software landscape these past 10 years. These are three different, but interconnected, paths to delivering world-class business solutions for our customers; solutions that give our customers control over their IT destiny. We see open source as a critical component of continuing to deliver that control to our customers, but we also believe our primary mission is to deliver world-class CRM solutions to companies of all sizes around the world. Our mission is about CRM first.
This of course has raised questions about the strategy here at SugarCRM regarding open source CRM. As many have noted, we have not released a version 7 of the open source licensed Sugar Community Edition while we have done so over the past three months for the commercial Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate editions. This is a conscious decision that represents the evolution SugarCRM is undergoing.
In the course of the past five years, we have surveyed tens of thousands of Sugar Community Edition users and found that we see two types of users of Sugar Community Edition: 1) developers that wish to build on an open source CRM platform, and 2) users, generally first time CRM users, that are looking for a free/inexpensive CRM solution. We don’t believe that the current Sugar Community Edition serves both audiences effectively. We envision an open source solution targeted exclusively for developers. And, we also envision a simpler way for first-time CRM users to find and use CRM.
Several options related to version 7 of Sugar are under evaluation to better serve open source developers and first-time CRM users. As a result, SugarCRM will continue to support, maintain and deliver the open source Sugar Community Edition with version 6.5, but has no plans at this time to release a version 7.
We welcome your input on how you would like to see us deliver these next solutions for the two audiences. Over the course of the months ahead, we look forward to defining and introducing the next era of CRM leveraging your feedback.
Clint Oram, CTO & Co-Founder
SugarCRM Inc. and SugarCRM Open Source Project
That is the driving vision at SugarOutfitters. We have been busy building and cultivating a vibrant ecosystem for SugarCRM over the past couple of years that is empowering every user of CRM. From the helpdesk to the sales team to marketing. Even those that you don’t typically associate with using a CRM. Everyone in today’s business world is crucial to building long lasting relationships with their customers.
We get and understand the evolution that SugarCRM is undergoing right now. It’s both a very exciting and very challenging time for all of us in the SugarCRM community; SugarCRM the company included. Providing people with world-class tools and world-class service is no easy job.
Our members span across all editions ranging from Enterprise to Community Edition, range from Fortune 5 to Fortune 500,000, and come from many different walks of life.
But...they all have one thing in common. They want top-notch solutions that just work.
Now what does that mean to the two biggest types of Community Edition users, as you defined them? Naturally, it is a two-sided answer as new-to-CRM users and developers can many times have drastically different objectives.
New-to-CRM users, whether they be promising startups or mom-and-pop shops, need a CRM solution to both enable them right this moment and at the same time grow as their business grows. How do we see this working? Definitely not by continuing to provide CE as-is today. It’s a dead end for two big reasons. 1) There is no direct path to grow beyond CE to the next level of needed features 2) Due to the antiquated nature, both UI-wise and functionally it is a big turn off to new CRM users who then turn to other CRM providers.
The solution? Get them using the best editions of SugarCRM right out of the gate. Give them the user experience that they both deserve and need. Besides the obvious reason of getting them more deeply embedded in SugarCRM, it allows for them to more easily grasp the full capabilities and benefits that CRM can bring to their organization.
How? By offering a Starter program much like Atlassian has done. It doesn’t need to be free and we don’t believe that is in anyone’s best interest to make it so. Especially for the small business or first-time CRM users. But there needs to be a low enough barrier to entry to make it successful. Here is a link to Atlassian’s wildly successful Starter Program: https://www.atlassian.com/software/starter/overview.
An approach like this is a huge growth engine that is currently untapped in SugarCRM’s current state.
And then we get to the developers. We deeply believe that developers are a crucial member of any ecosystem. They help to make the impossible possible for every size and type of company out there. From improving and automating processes to creating integrations to coming up with unthought of utilities. Developers help to bring companies tremendous value by either decreasing the cost to do business or increasing profits. Who doesn’t want that?
In our opinion, open-source SugarCRM is not going away. It’s far too important to SugarCRM’s overall strategy (especially for the enterprise). The question is now at what participation-level with SugarCRM do I need to be at to have access to the code. Is it an official partnership, a paying Pro+ customer, any developer in the world?
The less barriers put in place to access the source-code, the more potential the platform will have.
A platform is key to making any ecosystem grow exponentially. A platform consists of many parts. It includes a great framework, great developer resources, and a marketplace to enable everyone. With a marketplace partners and developers have immediate access to customers of the platform, and conversely, customers are provided with a deep selection of value-added components making the entire platform a more attractive option. The collaborative nature of how a marketplace functions, between the application platform, end users, and solution providers, are essential to the growth and value of a company like SugarCRM.
We are doing our part to fill that marketplace void. However, to make this ecosystem successful we need to be assured that developers will continue to have the resources and tools they need to create the next killer idea. Every user depends on it.
The answer is not an easy one. Which is why there hasn’t been an answer yet. We don’t believe it’s a fork. As soon as you fork, it’s not SugarCRM. It’s another company with another set of issues with users being the unfortunate casualties.
The question comes down to this; What’s the plan for enabling developers in the new Sugar 7 world?
You have ridden the backs of the developer community for their contributions, bug-fixes, feature suggestions (and developments) and much more. Many developers have created an entire business model around your product offerings and now you give this news while trying to portray yourself as caring about their future.
Yes, the developer community has ridden the back of SugarCRM to create some truly great offerings for themselves and SugarCRM. But that is what SugarCRM encouraged. And now ...
I am going to suggest you stop using the term open source to describe SugarCRM and its "evolution".
Open source is about community and collaboration.
How many of your thousands of developers did you involve in the creation of version 7?
How many developers and / or customers did you talk with before deciding to destroy the old forum?
How many of your developers or customers did you involve in the selection, design and launch of this, your new forum?
How many developers and customers did you consult before announcing you will no longer support a CE version 7?
This is NOT an open source, community-based methodology you are following.
This is a company that is deciding, in a cavalier fashion, what is right for its partners/developers and its customers.
Other companies in the IT space have done that. Some have even had good revenues and profits - some for many years. But the end result is a community that loathes them and is just waiting for a viable alternative to come along so the customers and developers can turn their back and watch the comeuppance occur.
I have only been involved with SugarCRM for 5 years. In that time I have recommended it to many and always said that the company had enough faith in their product to give away a "starter kit" and when the customer evolves, the product, in its commercial form, can evolve with them.
Not-for-profit companies, start-ups, and home businesses all have benefited, and when/if they grow, SugarCRM can grow with them.
You have the right to determine your business model.
But please have some integrity and own your decision. Don't continue to use the term "open source" when you violate the premise of the term. And don't pretend to solicit our input when you have demonstrated that you will do what you think right, regardless of how many "partners" you hurt in the process.
The way in which you have made this transition will leave many, including me, with a very sour taste in my mouth.
If you want to have a small one-time fee for a CE-like version of 7, fine. Not everyone wants a subscription service. I recently asked how I could contribute some small amount of $ to SugarCRM each time I installed a CE version of SugarCRM CE and was told this was not the way the community worked.
Support your developer community with great documentation, great forums, and a high-quality product where we don't spend our time trouble-shooting bugs.
Or continue down the path you have outlined, and assume you can abandon the community and have the community stay with you.
As a long term community member with some 3.000 contributions and about the same number of customers under my belt I might add a few thoughts of my own.
OS originally was a geeky thing - developers developed for their own benefit and got excited if they could help their peers. No commercial interest whatsoever. This whole idea was picked up by some smart people who simply added (payable) enterprise grade support and liability AND kept the community intact by keeping the product OS and FOC. Great idea and carried out with self consciousness and balls.
The business application space is entirely different because none of the managers or sales people out there (the users) is going to develop a single line of code. The symbiotic behavior can only be achieved by letting other people (the developers) participate in the results of the company's marketing efforts (= making money) and in turn getting paid through contributions, bug fixes and 1000s of man years worth of testing.
In Sugar's case this worked quite well for some time. I have to give them that. But at the same time they made horrendous mistakes:
- The sales channel was (is?) badly maintained and even worse compensated.
- Enterprise grade support (or shall I say support in general?) never really existed and if it did it was a very sad story
- The commercial versions just added a few gimmicks but nothing of substance. The real burning issues for larger entities were never touched. Email functionality, campaign management, deep (server to server) integration with Exchange, project management, ERP integration just to name a few
- The add-on space was never captured and monetized. One should have looked at Apple or Google to learn how developer contributions can create billions in revenues
- Single persons outran them when it came to certain "Pro" functionalities - teams, reports, workflow engine, quotes and invoicing are all better in CE and much much cheaper or even free of charge.
My advice? Leave everything as it was before this announcement but fix the errors above. Grow balls. Fire the top management.
You can't solve your problem with larger entities by scrapping the best product you have. Just make a mediocre commercial offering a competitive one. Deliver value for money! And let us hook the smaller entities with an excellent but less powerful CE version.
If you continue like now the community will die.
I am new to SugarCRM. Only a month. I am actually still evaluating it for my company. we know we need a CRM but not sure which one will truly work for us. We also looked at cost and granted even the paid versions of SugarCRM are cheaper than the others, its still a lot for a small company like ourselves.
I am concerned with this twist in the business. There are functionality you just don't have in the paid versions that we need so it will require myself to do those features. I am also a big believer in 'not reinventing the wheel'.
I have been reading a lot on the forums and seemed like you had a good loyal group of ppl. I hope you are not shooting yourselves in the foot.
I am not sure who is making the decisions but non-developers sometimes all they see is the $$ or the instant lost of $$. We have liked SugarCRM because of the structure and loyalty to the developers and community.
I feel that if you stop the growth of the community, it will cost you more in the long run and eventually you will be like the others. your development costs will increase. you have all these people developing new options, testing, getting your CRM into areas of business you never thought of. This in turn increases you visibility, allows you to provide a more durable product and increases your overall sales while keeping your development costs low.
But I am sure you have thought all that thru and are not concerned with any of it.
of Sugar Community Edition users and found that we see two types of
users of Sugar Community Edition: 1) developers that wish to build on an
open source CRM platform, and 2) users, generally first time CRM users,
that are looking for a free/inexpensive CRM solution" What a load of BS!! Would you kindly share your survey results? Many of my customers are experienced users frustrated with inflexible products at inflated prices...get a grip Clint
I share your views about the need of the CE/OS version of SugarCRM.
Not for company or my customers.
The current pricing of the commercial versions combined with the marginal functional upgrade they offer above CE (as stated by iscon) was a great push for our "SAP Cloud" range.
People will just move on.
But OS fading away has potential to be the back breaker for Sugar Inc.
You want to be Salesforce now?
Well then you are about 8 years too late.
Even with 40M in your pockets.
Instead of focusing your strengths you seem to try to improve on your weaknesses and battle rivals on their turf.
Every $5 motivational speaker can tell you what's wrong about that.
OS is what kept you popular beyond US borders.
Because people were able to translate, adapt and customize unrestricted on premise.
OS kept you popular despite the yesteryear UI, the buggy core functionality and non existent enterprise level support.
OS and on premise going away == US business only.
OS and on premise going away == Less customers streaming towards your product.
In the course of the past five years, we have surveyed tens of thousands of Sugar Community Edition users
That's interesting, I wasn't surveyed - anybody here was?
Sugar - don't get me wrong.
I just love you and would hate to see you go away.
See you in 10 years from now...
SugarCRM could become the best CRM and most popular CRM solution if they just fully embraced open source. Make your money off hosting, consulting, customer handholding. Let the community drive your product to the top.
I've already felt that the SugarCRM CE 6.X releases were treated largely as a second class product. Themes anyone? The trend is worsening for 7.X. Based on what I've seen I don't see a positive outlook for the next 10 years.
I suppose you and your people were quietly waiting for the moment to do this for years - thanks.
I was just recommending it to our Customer - who was very interested in trying a demo of it - at our expense.
I have even done development around it, which is very scary considering this sudden change in direction.
I agree that having used the words "Open Source", you have misrepresented yourselves, and expect you will be asked to court, and may have to compensate many in class action suits. You have also set yourself on the path to having nobody trust your word in the business or technology community again. I hope your immediate gains are enough to keep you going without such trust in future.
It might be hard if you have that entrepreneurial spirit - but so do other scammers and Ponzi schemers. Please don't start any more ventures - we will be keeping an eye out for you - you are now notorious.
Hopefully, SugarCRM will change their minds and follow a Redhat/Centos model. If not, others like SuiteCRM will fill-in the gaps.
On the availability topic. Sugar Community Edition (CE) is absolutely available for download today and will be indefinitely into the future. As an open source product, it never goes away. You will always find the SugarCRM project on SourceForge.net and will always be able to download the product from there.
On the support topic. SugarCRM Inc. will continue to support and maintain Sugar Community Edition v6.5 through it’s full life cycle along with all other Sugar 6.5 editions. We are expecting to support and issue maintenance releases to v6.5 through summer 2015 when v6.5 hits it end-of-support period. As of this post, the sixteenth patch to v6.5 (v6.5.16) is the most current maintenance patch of Sugar Community Edition. And we will continue to distribute Sugar Community Edition from SourceForge.net indefinitely, even after the support period ends.
On the open source license topic. A few comments have been made about the interaction of open source code and commercially licensed code. To clarify that topic, Sugar Community Edition has always been authored and distributed under an open source license, most specifically the AGPLv3 since 2010. The commercial editions of Sugar (that’s Sugar Professional, Corporate, Enterprise and Ultimate) have always been authored and distributed under a commercial license. This means that there is no direct license connection between the open source and commercially licensed products.
Again, thanks for the feedback and keeping the conversation largely constructive. While we understand everyone may not agree with the decisions we have made, we want to ensure we are in a position to effectively serve the majority of our end users for the foreseeable future.
You are intelligent. I don't think there can be any doubt about that. You have been part of building something extraordinary and you have undoubtedly done very well financially from that.
I do not agree with all the decisions you are making now, but that does not mean I think you are stupid. It may just mean that the way we look at the world is different.
I would ask that you please have the same level of appreciation for us when you post to this thread.
You know that the comments you made do not address the real issue at hand.
I don't know if you are being coached by some media-savvy person to say the things that you just said, but I would ask that you stop listening to them and start thinking for yourself. And start showing some respect for people who have put hundreds if not thousands of hours into helping SugarCRM build success.
SugarCRM deciding to discontinue the CE edition starting with v7, and the way in which that announcement has been (and is still being) handled, is very bad news for many developers, evangelists and many more stakeholders in this community.
Not acknowledging that and trying to spin the positive is disingenuous - at best.
You have the ability to make decisions for your company.
Please own your decisions, and the impact they have on others.
But no matter how you and the company spin it: you are leaving the community out in the cold.
A community that I think was critical in making the product what it is today.
Your company is now going in a direction where you throw away your differentiator and compete with solutions where you are too little / too late.
I wish you good luck. Unfortunately: without me.
PS. Do you have details of the "surveyed tens of thousands of Sugar Community Edition users". I have not seen that survey and I would have been glad to share my thoughts.
You can see from the comments on there, even Greg Soper was happy :-)
"We welcome your input on how you would like to see us deliver these next solutions for the two audiences. Over the course of the months ahead, we look forward to defining and introducing the next era of CRM leveraging your feedback."
Here's my input as a potential purchaser: I own a 10-person manufacturing/engineering company, trying to grow. I think a CRM is a good way to improve our sales processes and our customer service. 6 of us (the front-office and engineering side) would use the CRM system. A month ago, I wasn't involved in the CRM space and had never heard of SugarCRM.
I use LAMP as much as I can in my business, but I'm not a purist, I use commercial software where I need to. I use Quickbooks Enterprise on Windows for accounting, tax, customer, vendor, and payroll functions.
Using Clint's definition, I'm a new user looking for an relatively inexpensive CRM system. I'm very comfortable with technology, so I'm fine hosting the solution internally (on Ubuntu under the free VMWare ESXi product). I can't pay $2520/year for a CRM solution. I'm not saying it's a bad value, just not to me. I installed Sugarcrm CE in about 30-minutes. The fork in about 10.
Working through the math, I'm paying about $15/user/month for Quickbooks Enterprise. I'm paying about $10/user/month for Wrike, the cloud based Project Management system we use. I can't pay $2500/year for a CRM system. My profit level doesn't support it. And for me, I'd value it at free-$5/month if I host it myself, and $5-$10/user/month for a cloud-based software. $35/month is too much for me. $70 is out of the question.
If money was no object, I'd go with SalesForce. It has most of the market, bigger community, no maintenance, and a partnership with Intuit. With Sugar's pricing virtually identical to Salesforce, there's no reason to go with Sugar.
So to me, my choices are:
Salesforce: Market leader, but outside my budget
Sugar Pro: Follower, but same price as Salesforce
Sugar CE: End of Life, not an option
Method CRM: Not enough information
Suite CRM: Installed and seems to work OK, not sure of long-term future. Similar/better features than Sugar Pro/Salesforce Pro.
From a license perspective, I don't have enough information to make a conclusion. I take Clint and his team at their word that they are abiding by the letter and spirit of the Open Source licenses (GPL/AGPL). If the company did 99% of the development, Sugar can do whatever they want. I look at open-source as take and give. If you take what others have contributed, you're obliged to give your changes back to others.
If Sugar Corp took a significant amount of work from others, but is now using fine-print to avoid giving their changes back, to me that's distasteful and dishonest. If others didn't have much to give, going closed-source is fine.
Bottom line for Clint & Sugar, please come up with a pricing model for someone like me. I absolutely understand 'price discrimination" and that you feel CE is cutting revenues. For me, I don't need support or hosting, while it would be nice, it's better for me to do it myself.
I'd like to to give Sugar some money for a solution that fits my needs. My BATNA is SuiteCRM for free, hoping they'll add functionality going forward.
Sugar's plans for the community edition.
What are the plans of Sugar for the community edition? Right now it is one version behind and it is not so advertised on the homepage. Is it going to disappear or will it receive an update to version 7 soon?
We chose the CE because given the specificity of our business we needed to introduce a significant amount of custom coding and needed to host on our own servers for security reasons. We are also a small business and costs were a huge concern at this stage. Even so, at no time would we not have paid SugarCRM a fee for their support or products to the tune of say $100/mo or so. In other words, we did not expect it all to be free and, in fact, during the customisation process employed many paid developers from the Community and then posted back the solutions into forums to help others.
Why? Because we bought into the concept of Open Source and the core idea of Community. People helped us to customise and innovate and we helped "back". We are in the business of helping people and the Community nature of SugarCRM just stood out so clearly from ALL other options - be it SalesForce or others.
So lets summarise: a) we were small and poor but we would have paid and b) we nurtured the Community by paying developers and posting the work we purchased back into SugarCRM for free, and c) Community was a selling point of SugarCRM and its infinite "customisability" as well - a HUGE selling point too.
Having invested more than a year designing a special product for our company based on SugarCRM we found out that you have a) decided not to support the Community any longer and b) that you use cheap corporate lingo and slick corporate communication tactics to weasel your way out of telling the truth and keeping things "flexible" for yourselves and that c) coincided with you getting some financing from investors (Why did you take that money if you KNEW that it comes with strings attached? you could have asked the Community to donate and you would have raised $10mio in a month!).
So bottom line: you have severed your connection with us as a company and our growth will not benefit you any longer unless you stand fully behind an open-source product and invest significant effort into supporting it. The Community was your Investor for years and by migrating to new Investors with a new set of covenants is good old fashioned breach of trust. And that raises red flags for any company that would consider a long term future with you.
I hope you make the right decisions now and start being attractive again to us, the tech start ups and other companies that are a) small and growing at 25%+ b) need customisation and c) have a "Code of Principles" based on community and trust.
Looking forward for a sugarCRM version 7 for the community edition :)
So you've got a bunch of new investors in who have decided that they need to make SugarCRM profitable, by hook or by crook. That's penny wise and pound very, very foolish. You can't beat Salesforce at its own game, and it's silly of you to try. You should try to do what you have done well and to expand upon it.
Okay, since you seem to lack imagination on this point, let me help you. You sell license keys to unlock advanced features of the software, including multiple simultaneous users. Everything (meaning EVERYTHING) is open source. That includes your Outlook plugins and plugins to other systems.
If someone forks your features and makes a version with everything enabled and does an end-run around your business model, you need to have the confidence to know that the people you're aiming to make money from want to pay to get an "official" version, which is the only way their questions will be authoritatively answered. You need to sell yourselves as a SERVICE company. Go look at RedHat for ideas on how to do this. Opening a phpBB forum and leaving it unmanned is NOT the way to do it.
You start accepting source code patches again instead of just roundfiling them. You work with the open source community instead of throwing their work away.
If you don't think I'm right, feel free to burn through that $40M until you learn this lesson the hard way. You CANNOT build a business from screwing over your open-source contributors. The value in your company sure isn't in the crap-ass tangle of source code that constitutes SugarCRM.
$40M will hire a bunch of programmers but it won't buy you a clue. Your only possible value proposition lies in the community of people working with you OUTSIDE the company.
Please get sane soon. Best of luck, kids.
I was just talking about implementing sugarCRM with two of my coworkers, one being a programer (willing and able) to customize SugarCRM to do more of what we would like. We were thinking about integrating it more to our systems to provide more usefulness in what we were hoping to implement. Doing some research I found a plugin that integrated with one of the systems we were already using and was a little exited to start the process of setting it up and starting to work on it. after looking more into the site seeing that there was a supported platform release for 7.2.x article in the documentation but when I register to download the community edition i get 6.5.17 that was last updated 3 months ago I started wondering and asking why. So I came accross this article and feel said that it may not be the one we want after all.
I can't justify implementing SugarCRM if it is going to end in less than a year.
I can't justify using a product that can't be developed and customized by our programmer.
I can't justify to my boss why we would pay for 10 licences at $4,200 when there are only 6 people in the company.
I would be more willing to use SugarCRM if itwas at lease 7.2.0 that was the CE
Maybe a crowdfunding campaign would help with costs but you might as well just setup a donation button because it did have a very good community that would have helped in many ways. The sooner the community is happy the more people you will retain.
I am a young CEO of small business (11 employees and growing) we do real estate investing and have grown to love SugarCRM CE. Since implementation in 2011 we have hired 2 full time developers to further customize our CRM and website to do exactly what we need. We are almost at a point in our business where we have the budget for the latest and greatest CRM tools available via the enterprise version, but are not quite there yet. Without SugarCRM, CE we would have never grown our business at this rate, because our business is so relationship heavy. You and the SugarCRM team have been a huge part in allowing me to pursue the american dream and I am so grateful for that.
I think the below structure would allow for your investors to remain happy with their expectations of huge profits and stay true to the SugarCRM brand and the open source roots that gave it life.
1. $1,000 per download/version update for 1 production and 1 sand box license for unlimited users.
2. Two customer service packages to purchase for CE support.
- business hours for unlimited ticket requests and 1 hour of phone time per month
- business hours for unlimited tickets and unlimited phone time
3. Always release updates and maintain Sugar CE as open source, but have it be 3 years behind in features, versions, and update from the commercial SugarCRM.
- This will be enough time to keep CE relevant, but leave users longing for the awesome new features that are available in commercial SugarCRM and maintain the confidence that there is a future in businesses and developers continuing to invest in SugarCRM.
This is exactly like the iphone business model. Some people think it is a no brainier to go to Verizon and get the free iphone 4s with there two year contract, while others think it is a no brainier to go to Verizon and pay $200 for an iphone 6.
This model will allow the open source community to continue to thrive and back SugarCRM while giving the user the option to be behind the times for free or pay for the latest and greatest commercial SugarCRM.
The decisions made were for profit because that is what allows the world to go round, but sometimes the cost of boosting short term profits can be the death of business if they lose sight why the brand was created and how to preserve that. Hope this helps.
- In Progress