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Customer relationship management (CRM) provider SugarCRM is taking a larger role with the OpenSocial Foundation, boosting that organization's focus toward the enterprise. The company announced that two of its executives have taken leadership positions to further the development of social business open standards.

SugarCRM’s Chief Technical Officer Clint Oram will become a member of the board, and the company’s community manager, John Mertic, has been appointed secretary. In a statement, the OpenSocial Foundation’s president, Mark Weitzel, said that the Foundation was “pleased to have SugarCRM as the open source leader in the CRM industry join the board.”

OpenSocial: The Next Gen

The Foundation is currently working on the next generation of the OpenSocial standard for social integration in the enterprise, providing industry guidelines for social-enabled applications. Other members include Jive Software, IBM, Yahoo, Google and MySpace. The standard is built around APIs that allow developers to access functions and data, and was originally designed for use with social networks, including profile information, friends information, activities and news feeds.

Established in 2008 in a joint effort by Google, Yahoo and MySpace, the Foundation was widely seen at its inception as an alternative cross-platform initiative to the Facebook Platform.

The organization has been gaining strength among companies offering enterprise products, including IBM and Cisco. The addition of SugarCRM executives to the Foundation’s leadership provides another impetus for OpenSocial to become a key standard for many social business applications.

Open Social Business Solutions

SugarCRM provides an open-platform, Web-based CRM solution. SugarCRM’s Oram said that “open source CRM gives organizations the flexibility to connect with customers any way that works for them,” since the product can be customized by users. The SugarCRM Open+ Partner Project has more than 200 development organizations, which the company said improves the product faster than would be possible with a proprietary CRM. Popular additions get integrated back into the core application.

Oram told news media that, “unlike the proprietary models for social business solutions that are being touted by legacy CRM vendors,” his company is working with Jive, IBM and others to “develop open social business solutions that integrate and interoperate between best-of-breed solutions.”