November 5, 2007
Chris Lyman over at Fonality spoke with me last week about FonalityCRM
, a new offering that came about with the acquisition of Insightful Solutions Pty Ltd
., a SugarCRM Gold Partner based out of Australia. Insightful has created enhancements to the popular open source SugarCRM application. What Fonality has done is to integrate SugarmCRM's Sugar Professional with Fonality’s PBXtra and trixbox Pro IP-PBX applications, hence the name FonalityCRM. By doing so it gives you the ability to perform click-to-call dialing, agent screen pops, and telephone campaign management.
The acquisition is interesting from the perspective that now Fonality is no longer simply an IP-PBX vendor. They are now a hosted service provider. True, their current IP-PBX already uses a hybrid-hosted model, which some may consider 'evil' in a Bizarro vs. Superman kind of way
, but Fonality has taken the hosted IP-PBX model to another level. Within their data centers they are now hosting their own copy of the open source SugarCRM application and offering it as an enhanced service to customers that also use trixbox and PBXtra. The advantage is the integration with the phone system that this provides, including storing call records in the CRM database, screenpop, click-to-call, etc. For SMBs that are looking for an easy to manage phone system AND an easy turn-key CRM application that integrates with their phone system FonalityCRM foots the bill perfectly.
Chris pointed out this as one example of how a hosted-hybrid approach has some advantages over strictly CPE solutions. It will be interesting to see if Fonality adds other hosted applications via acquisitions or developing it themselves. One obvious fit would be to host the accounting application.