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Open Source CRM Increasing in Popularity, OSA Finds

January 07, 2008

San Francisco-based Open Solutions Alliance, which describes itself as a "vendor-neutral consortium" dedicated the interoperability and adoption of open products, has released its findings of the 2007 Customer Forum Series.

"Interoperability between open products" tops the list of requirements among customers and channel partners who are deploying these products, the OSA found after meeting with more than 100 customers in five cities throughout the United States and Europe.

Dominic Sartorio, President of OSA, said the findings represent an opportunity for the OSA "to out-Microsoft (News - Alert) Microsoft" by offering "a fully interoperable suite" of business tools.

"If we can help our members' products work well together it makes it easier for our channel partners to sell open-source software and it will translate into more revenue for vendors and even more options for customers," Sartorio said.

Non-technical interoperability issues, such as how to support and manage integrated products being sourced from multiple vendors, were also raised at the forum.

Other findings from the Customer Forum Series show that the most widely used open-source applications included the application server Jboss, the commercial databases MySQL and Postgres, and the Eclipse development platform. Software products such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Content Management (ECM) applications are also increasing in popularity.

This past summer the OSA announced the availability of its first interoperability prototype. The OSA's debut prototype included specific standards and best practices for delivering a Common Customer View across open applications.

The CCV prototype integrates data from diverse front-office, back-office and planning applications to present a complete view of customer activity and interactions. It was built, tested and demonstrated with products from Adaptive Planning, Centric CRM, JasperSoft, Openbravo, Talend and Unisys (News - Alert).

"The OSA was formed this year to address interoperability among open solutions. The CCV prototype is the first major fruit of our collaborative labors," said Barry Klawans, OSA spokesperson and CTO at JasperSoft (News - Alert) at the time. "We see the adoption of open solutions increasing, and with it the demand for these point products to work together."

According to a SpikeSource user survey conducted recently, business customers rank "acquiring new customers" and "increasing customer loyalty" above all else.

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David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To see more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

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