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Rapidly expanding customer relationship management company SugarCRM announced integrations with IBM, including support for IBM DB2 database software and a move to IBM SmartCloud Enterprise.

IBM Integrations

SugarCRM version 6.3 rolled out last November, promising more admin controls and integration with third party apps. The company also enjoyed 69% year-over-year growth in 2011 in all regions, with reported plans to expand in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

According to SugarCRM's announcement, its CRM is the first and only one to run on IBM SmartCloud Enterprise. The new deployment comes with a big branding effort: SugarCRM Private Cloud, Powered by IBM. The company says that the integrations are intended to provide businesses greater visibility into sales, marketing and support while also offering a scalable cloud infrastructure that can grow as the business expands.

IBM Struggles with Social

At SugarCon 2011, SugarCRM CEO Larry Augustin and Sean Poulley, VP, Social Business Cloud, IBM led the keynote address, “The Future of Business is Open." IBM and SugarCRM were also offering tighter integration with IBM Lotus Collaboration products, including LotusNotes and LotusLive, which allows a collaboration environment within Sugar. Back then we predicted, "The IBM SugarCRM partnership will also likely strengthen SugarCRM's position within enterprise clients and make IBM appear a bit more agile in social enterprise space."

On the other hand, we also wondered how well IBM understands "social CRM" after the company released its "From Social Media to Social CRM" report last March. Our author speculated that IBM was confusing social media with social CRM. IBM's closer relationship with SugarCRM -- a company that has a firm grasp on customer relationship management and all things social that go with it -- might help it leverage social business opportunities it missed in the past.