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Today is the last day of the fifth annual SugarCRM conference, SugarCon 2011. The momentum continues with more sessions, announcements and networking opportunities.

Sugar Plays Nice with Partners

Yesterday, SugarCRM announced its friendlier relationship with IBM and the acquisition of iExtensions, a company that provides CRM software for Lotus Notes. IBM is making a big investment in SugarCRM. The partnership will likely benefit both companies. IBM gets a CRM platform that can target customers of various sizes, and SugarCRM becomes more attractive to enterprise customers and improves its competitive position against larger competitors such as SaaS powerhouse Salesforce.com.

  • Additional IBM integrations
  • Improved mobile support for Android, Blackberry and iPad
  • Improved support for cloud-based deployments
  • More support for global markets via improved native language support
  • Support for Oracle 11g -- supporting Sugar’s enterprise market play

It appears that SugarCRM is drinking its own sweet, sweet Kool-Aid. The increased focus on integration will likely make it easier for customers to leverage the platform with existing tools and deepen their relationship to SugarCRM.

Social Business, Open Source, Big Data, the Cloud

In addition to all the announcements, attendees are actually attending sessions at SugarCon. Today’s agenda features 40 breakout sessions and two keynote addresses. SugarCRM is tightly embracing the concept of social business, which provides many opportunities but also significant challenges. SugarCRM customers aren’t just adding a few fields to the platform; they are trying to figure out how to combine the data stored in their CRM system with the constant streams of activity data, photos, check-ins and purchases from customers and partners.

Today’s conference topics range from the business-focused “The Socialization of the SMB: How the Little Guys are Getting Bigger in the Age of the Collaborative Relationship” to the deliciously technical, “MySQL and SugarCRM -- a Powerful Open Source Combo That No One Can Neglect.”  Attendees can take a break from sessions to stroll through the solution showcase. The tradeshow includes industry leaders, such as new buddy IBM, and smaller vendors such as OneLogin that offer pre-packaged SugarCRM products and services.

As SugarCon 2011 concludes, it will be interesting to see whether conference buzz accelerates interest in the platform as a social business tool for larger organizations. SugarCRM has a lot of stiff competition, but it seems prepared to take the challenge.