Since becoming the GroupWise Product Manager I have spent some time investigating the integration of GroupWise with various CRM systems. A couple of weeks ago Omni-TS announced SugarCRM integrations - SugarCRM is a very popular open source CRM system. It seems to be a very complete solution that does some smart things without your users needing to either install anything, or even think about the CRM system - a lot of the data is sucked over automatically. The question is which one should be next? There is a survey on coolsolutions that we would love all of you with a CRM need to fill in - this will help Novell and Omni to target where to go next.
Hello, Roger. Good to hear that you filled out the survey. We are looking to receive as much feedback as possible on this subject.
The objective of Omni's Riva CRM Integration Strategy is to create a platform that allows all CRM products to integrate transparently with GroupWise - at the server level. It just so happens that we chose SugarCRM as our first target. Our research and market analysis regarding integration between "Microsoft" and CRMs showed us that "default" integration is usually very minimal and is always delivered with some type of link to the Outlook client. This type of integration requires that the individual user decide what should or should not be synchronised between his/her Outlook account and the CRM on an individual email or contact basis.
Any time you look for a more integrated Exchange solution, there are additional charges and servers that need to be purchased. For example, if you want to integrate Exchange with Maximizer at the server level (rather than at the individual Outlook account level), you need to purchase the MaxSync module on a per-user basis, install extra Windows servers and SQL servers, pay for additional server and client access licences, ... "Integration with Microsoft Exchange Server requires MaxSync add-on product (additional fees apply)."
What Omni proposes with our server-based strategy is to provide transparent integration between the target CRM and GroupWise - no client changes, no changes to GroupWise, no additional servers, no changes to the CRM, no changes in how the users interact with GroupWise or the CRM. The Omni CRM integration agent does all of the "magic" on the server side.
I look forward to further discussion on CRM integration with GroupWise and receiving your feedback directly on our strategy.
The same is true for SugarCRM as they have been a member of the Novell Market Start program for years and keep turning up to BrainShare without the smallest amount of intergration to Novell's product set!!
As Flyingguy has indicated the intergration issue has always been a problem with Novell'a API's rather than with the CRM venders. The GW client has rather a complex mix of APIs that are focussed more on what you need to write the client than what is needed to enhance the client, while until 7.01's fully cooked SOAP API there was little that could be coded to work against the server.
How about CentricCRM. It's open source, mostly java and uses alot of SOAP. Seems it would be fairly easy to me....(being a non-programmer that is) The weird part is they are a part of Novells Market Start program and I saw something about them working with Novell on the openpr blog. But still no integration with Groupwise.
Good comment there Roger, this is a BIG issue. GW shops very often need to pay for 3rd party intergration that are free for Exchange. I understand that this is a big problem for Novell to convince 3rd partys to support GW but you guys need to try harder...
It's good to see that there is some movement in this direction at long last and having used Omni's products in the past I'm sure that they will have a good product at time of release.
The one issue I have is with the survey and Novell's lack of focus on the whole subject over the last few years. Any firm deploying a CRM system (Salesforce, SugarCRM etc) is expecting good integration with their mail system as standard, not as an additional cost and all the major CRM systems provide this out the box for Outlook.
You can see how bad this can get with Salesforce, there is one vender (linkpoint360) who does a fair GW to SalesForce integration product, but as its a small market they have to charge quite a high annual subscription. By the time you factor these additional costs in it becomes very hard to defend GW over Outlook/Exchange.