IBM connectors sweeten Sugar 6 proposition

SugarCRM has announced updates for its Sugar 6 platform that integrate features of IBM's Cognos Business Intelligence suite, LotusLive and WebSphere
Written by Ben Woods, Contributor on

Enterprise customer relationship management specialist SugarCRM has integrated popular IBM LotusLive, Cognos and WebSphere features into Sugar 6, the latest version of its software suite.

Available immediately, Sugar 6 now includes connectors for the IBM Cognos Business Intelligence suite and IBM WebSphere Cast Iron for SugarCRM platform. The update, announced on Tuesday, also brings SugarCRM for LotusLive to general release, allowing customers to make use of LotusNotes' collaborative web conferencing and document-sharing capabilities within SugarCRM. The LotusLive integration is available to SugarCRM and IBM customers, the company said.

The integration of SugarCRM and LotusLive allows deeper levels of collaboration across company boundaries, making the process of supporting your customers and building loyalty easier and more effective.
– Sean Poulley, IBM

"Social businesses are more engaged with their customers, partners and colleagues," Sean Poulley, vice president of social business cloud at IBM, said in a keynote speech at SugarCon 2011 in San Francisco, where the announcements were made."The integration of SugarCRM and LotusLive allows deeper levels of collaboration across company boundaries, making the process of supporting your customers and building loyalty easier and more effective."

The IBM Cognos integration with Sugar 6 allows customers to access advanced reporting, analytics and dashboards across their CRM data. According to the company, this can give greater insight into sales, customer support and marketing activities.

Integrated features

New in the integration is the ability to populate the Sugar platform with data from legacy or third-party platforms via the WebSphere Cast Iron integration.

As well as integrating features of well-known IBM products — the result of a partnership agreement between the two companies, announced in January — Sugar 6 integrates other popular collaboration tools, including Cisco WebEx Meeting Center, Citrix GoToMeeting and Google Docs, from the Sugar 6 interface.

SugarCRM has also bolstered the Activity Stream features of Sugar 6, adding the ability to reply to individual posts, view user profile photos within posts and merge a Sugar user's Facebook news feeds and Twitter streams that the user follows. The feature is based on draft specs of the Activity Stream format, which a number of companies — including MySpace, Windows Live, Opera and Gowalla — have already adopted with the aim of syndicating social activities.

Sugar 6 Professional is available for $30 (£18.41) per user, per month. The Enterprise edition costs $50 per user, per month. The company said the new features "will be generally available this spring". As part of the collaboration, IBM is offering all SugarCRM customers a free 30-day trial of LotusLive.

Android and BlackBerry support

On Tuesday, SugarCRM announced updates to Sugar Mobile, adding compatibility with Android and BlackBerry mobile devices. It also launched a new native iOS app for the iPad, which joins the existing Sugar Mobile iOS app that was launched in 2010 for the iPhone. Regardless of platform, functionality stays the same; namely, offline synchronisation and HTML 5-based charting.

The apps allow access to core Sugar modules. SugarCRM said it expects to make these new apps available this spring.

On 5 March, enterprise CRM software rival Salesforce launched Service Cloud 3, which allows users to analyse and keep track of status notifications and posts across socially-orientated services, such as Twitter, Facebook, blogs and forums.

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