SugarCRM's 4.5, Kintera, Epicor, RightNow's Excellent CRM Milestone

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
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SugarCRM's 4.5, Kintera, Epicor, RightNow's Excellent CRM Milestone

By David Sims

The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is Cannonball Adderley's Somethin' Else. Must get more of this man's music:

SugarCRM Inc., a vendor of commercial open source customer relationship management (CRM) software, has announced the beta release of Sugar 4.5, its popular CRM product.

Sugar 4.5 introduces such new functionality as personalized views, internationalization and support for Microsoft Windows Server products.

This marks the eighth major release for the company in two years. Since that time, Sugar Open Source has been downloaded over 800,000 times and localized into more than 40 languages, company officials claim, adding that "more than 5,000 developers have contributed over 220 extensions -- ranging from email response and presence awareness applications to Voice Over IP (VoIP) and computer telephony integrations."

SugarCRM has a "community" of probably around15,000 members, and is used by about 800 commercial customers.

4.5 uses AJAX technology throughout the application, which lets end users drag, drop, edit, add and remove objects from pages within the application based on what information they really need and want. AJAX is heavily used in the revamped Sugar Studio, letting all users control the look, feel and accessibility of the application.

And following a five-month technical collaboration with Microsoft, Sugar 4.5 offers what Sugar officials are calling "improved support for Microsoft's Internet Information Services Active Directory and Microsoft SQL Server."

The company is promising to release a new Sugar distribution under the Microsoft Community License beginning with Sugar 4.5, under a license that's part of the Microsoft Shared Source Initiative.

SugarCRM officials are particularly proud of 4.5's enhanced sales forecasting, with quota assignment, scenario planning and forecasting worksheets designed "to allow reps to provide more realistic commit amounts and provides managers the ability to roll-up accurate forecasts across teams and territories."

There are also integrated forums, threaded discussions integrated into Sugar modules for information-sharing on any topic across Accounts, Bugs, Cases, Opportunities, and Projects.

Sugar Suite 4.5 is currently available to review on the Community Preview, a demo instance of the application with the new functionality for the general public to test and experience. Hit it at

The Beta release of Sugar Open Source 4.5 is currently available at The general availability release of Sugar Open Source, Sugar Professional and Sugar Enterprise, will be available in August.

There are milestones, and there are milestones. Delivering your two billionth anything is a milestone, and RightNow Technologies has announced that it has delivered its 2,000,000,000th customer interaction since 2003.

RightNow is available in seventeen languages and is used by companies ranging from Global 2000 corporations and large federal government agencies to entrepreneurial companies and outsourced contact centers.

RightNow announced its 1,000,000,000th interaction in October 2005 -- which means it delivered its second billion interactions in less than a year. Okay, we'll be looking for the three billionth, what, around Christmas.

Kintera Inc. has announced the launch of a new national Web site for existing client Big Brothers Big Sisters of America ( and several pilot sites for local Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies using Kintera's social CRM system on the Kintera Sphere technology platform.

Yeah, this flies a bit closer to PR than news, but First Coffee is very much in favor of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America program, so there you are. You get to hear about it. And if you don't have your own kids you should volunteer, too. Don't gimme this "I don't have the time" stuff, check in with them and see how much / little time can make a huge difference to someone who needs a huge difference made in their lives. If you're reading this odds are someone invested a good chunk of time into you, the least you can do, feel good about yourself, get more out of it than you put in, okay, end of sermon.

But you honestly do get more out of it than you realize.

Using a virtual account structure within Kintera Sphere, the new Web sites feature consistent branding across the organization and its piloting agencies, and use the Kintera social CRM system to enable and capture online donations, recruit volunteers -- such as you -- to become Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and enroll children in the mentoring program.

Before this national Web site and pilot agency sites, each local Big Brothers Big Sisters agency housed its Web site individually. You can imagine the data hell that resulted. But now BBBS can create information, branding and interactive Web features once -- and repeatedly share them with agencies across the country. The platform enables sharing of information and interactive features from the national office to agencies, and among the agencies themselves.

The eight pilot sites are local agencies in San Francisco, San Diego, Cleveland, Charlotte, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Puget Sound, Wash., North Texas and Southeastern Pennsylvania.

With more than 450 Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies operating in the United States, several hundred of them are expected to join the Kintera Sphere technology platform following pilot phase completion, and benefit from the consistent branding and online capabilities available using the social CRM system.

Much as business CRM does, Kintera's constituent relationship management system unites constituents' online and offline experiences into one database, giving nonprofits and constituents with a total view of the constituent's relationship with the organization.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America also recently launched a new organization-wide intranet, Agency Connection, which uses the Kintera Sphere technology platform. Agency Connection will allow for customization of content based on user identity and draws upon the national intranet, extranet and local intranet to provide relevant, up-to-date content.

So go throw your name in their system.

Epicor Software Corporation has reported its financial results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2006, with net income falling from $30 million in Q2 2005 to $7.1 million.

Total revenues for the second quarter grew 40.2% to a record $99.5 million, compared with $71.0 million in the prior year's quarter. Excluding stronger than expected total revenue contributions of $22.0 million from CRS Retail Systems Inc., which was acquired on December 6, 2005, total revenues increased 9.1% to $77.5 million.

For the second quarter, the company reported GAAP net income of $7.1 million or $0.12 per diluted share, compared with $29.6 million, or $0.52 per diluted share, in the prior year's period, which included the positive impact of $0.35 per diluted share related to a non-cash income tax benefit due to the release of a deferred tax valuation allowance.

In the second quarter of 2006 non-GAAP earnings were $11.2 million, or $0.20 per diluted share, compared with non-GAAP earnings of $12.9 million, or $0.23 per diluted share, in the same period last year.

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