One of my more interesting and frustrating projects for a software company involved integrating and customizing multiple databases, including their CRM, Call Center for support, and bug/defect tracking for all releases of their software.
The goals were simple. The Sales team wanted to initiate sales tracking with accurate sales forecasting, plus an effective lead generation along with an email marketing campaign.
The Sales database was linked to their Support database which was linked closely to their bug/defect tracking database for version control.
The results? Better reporting and an increase of $3 Million in sales.
They used Saleslogix for their CRM, SupportLogix for their Call Center, bug/defect tracking was open source Bugzilla, and one of the tools used to generate fancy reports was Crystal Reports. There was a lot of massaging and cleansing of data, and scripts were used to automate repetitive tasks. At the end of the day, any user could go to the UI interface and get the information they needed.
This was 2002.
6 years later, we have better software, and Open source is much more widely accepted.
If you are using SugarCRM, and need to integrate your data with other applications in your organization, this press release may be of interest to you:
Apatar Accelerates Customer Data Integration Between Open Source SugarCRM Package and 3rd-party Applications
New Apatar connector enables companies to integrate SugarCRM suite with databases, flat files, other CRM/ERP applications, and top Web 2.0 destinations, all without coding.
Chicopee, MA – Apatar, Inc., the leading provider of open source software tools for the data integration market, today officially announced connectivity to the SugarCRM open source suite. The new SugarCRM connector is designed to integrate data between the popular customer relation management system and a variety of 3rd-party data sources, allowing for this data to be filtered, validated, and cleansed. Provided with Apatar’s drag-and-drop interface, the SugarCRM connector does not require coding skills and can be deployed by almost any business user.
Solving the biggest client data management challenge
Extracting and normalizing customer data from multiple sources is the biggest challenge with client data management, according to the Aberdeen Group. With the new SugarCRM connector, Apatar enables its users to easily link customer information between databases (such as MySQL, Microsoft SQL, Oracle), files (Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, CSV/TXT files), applications (Salesforce.com), and the top Web 2.0 destinations (Flickr, Amazon S3, RSS feeds).
“The SugarCRM connector will help us exchange data between our existing CRM system and Zimbra open source messenger, saving thousands of dollars and reducing implementation time,” said Mark Gordon of Sonoma Creative, a full-service Web development company. “Upcoming Zimbra and SugarCRM integration will also allow us to adopt new advanced capabilities into our own Zimbra-based products,” he added.
Integrate quality data without any coding
According to Gartner, corporate developers spend approximately 65 percent of their effort building bridges between applications. With Apatar’s visual toolset, SugarCRM users can perform even a complex data integration job without having to write a single line of a code. Upgraded with the new SugarCRM connector, Apatar simplifies the integration process and allows both users and developers to synchronize data between the SugarCRM suite and other on-premises or on-demand data sources and applications.
While supporting SugarCRM data formats and types, the new connector does not require any manual coding or software developer skills, enabling even a non-developer to easily design and perform all of the required transformations. Prior to entering into SugarCRM, data can be filtered, validated, and cleansed using Apatar’s data quality capabilities. Apatar effectively eliminates data duplication, supports e-mail and postal addresses verification, and more.
Both the SugarCRM system and Apatar’s new connector are distributed as open source products. There is no doubt that many companies will significantly benefit from downloading and using these tools for free.
Completely Open Source
In today’s enterprises, most data integration projects never get built. The ROI (Return on Investment) on the small projects is simply too low to justify bringing in expensive middleware. Apatar entered this market as an open source vendor bringing the ease of drag-and-drop data integration to the companies that previously found proprietary data integration, ETL, and EAI software tools expensive and difficult to implement.
“The open source community provides business users with an option to avoid a vendor lock-in,” noted Renat Khasanshyn, CEO and founder of Apatar. “But what users of open source software really like is the total cost of ownership. When you don’t have to pay license fees for database software, data integration, and business intelligence software, this alone makes a healthy difference to your bottom line.”
Apatar Open Source Data Integration features and benefits:
– No coding! Visual job designer and mapping enable non-developers to design and perform transformations, shortening implementation time.
– Distributed under an open source model, reducing integration and maintenance costs
– Connectivity to SugarCRM, Salesforce CRM, MySQL, Oracle, MS SQL, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Access, GoldMine, DB2, Sybase, PostgreSQL, dBase, EnterpriseDB, Vertica Analytic Database, vTiger, InnoDB, Openbravo ERP, Compiere ERP, .CSV, XML, RSS, ATOM, HTTP queries, POP3, LDAP, FTP, WebDav, Autodesk Buzzsaw, any JDBC data sources, Amazon S3, Flickr, StrikeIron and CDYNE data quality Web services, and more
– Job scheduler and synchronization automate the data integration process.
– Improves data quality with a variety of verification, filtration, and validation features
– Platform-independent, runs from Windows, Linux, and Mac OS
Supported SugarCRM editions include version 5.0.0 or earlier for Windows, and version 5.1 or earlier for Linux/Mac OS.
SugarCRM connector Web demo: http://apatar.com/demo/web_demo_3/Apatar_SugarCRM_Connector.htm
Pre-built SugarCRM integrations: http://www.apatarforge.org/datamaps/search-for-datamaps-29.html
Apatar services for SugarCRM: http://www.sugarexchange.com/product_details.php?product=428
SugarCRM connector user guide: http://www.apatarforge.org/wiki/display/GUI/Apatar+Connector+for+SugarCRM
SugarCRM is the world’s leading provider of commercial open source customer relationship management (CRM) software for companies of all sizes. SugarCRM easily adapts to any business environment by offering a more flexible, cost-effective alternative than proprietary applications. SugarCRM’s open source architecture allows companies to more easily customize and integrate customer-facing business processes in order to build and maintain more profitable relationships. SugarCRM offers several deployment options, including on-demand, on-premises and appliance-based solutions to suit customers’ security, integration, and configuration needs. For more information, call (408) 454-6900 or 1-87-SUGARCRM toll free in the US, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit http://www.sugarcrm.com.
Apatar is the leading provider of open source software tools for the data integration market. With powerful Extract, Transform, and Load (ETL) capabilities, Apatar enables its users to easily link information between databases (such as MySQL, Microsoft SQL, Oracle), applications (Salesforce.com, SugarCRM), and the top Web 2.0 destinations (Flickr, Amazon S3). Apatar provides support, training, and consulting services for its integration solutions. Headquartered in Western Massachusetts, Apatar operates a development center in Minsk, Belarus. Apatar is currently used by 5500+ organizations and individuals worldwide. For more on Apatar, please visit www.apatar.com and www.apatarforge.org.