Apatar, which sells open source software aimed at the data integration market, has officially announced connectivity to the SugarCRM (News - Alert) open source suite.
Apatar officials say the new SugarCRM connector is designed to integrate data between their customer relation management system and what company officials describe as "a variety of third-party data sources, allowing for this data to be filtered, validated, and cleansed."
One feature Apatar officials are playing up is their drag-and-drop interface -- the SugarCRM connector does not require coding skills and can be deployed by almost any business user, i.e. tech naifs, i.e. -- in the eyes of many IT departments -- the marketing department.
Apatar officials refer to an Aberdeen (News - Alert) Group study which found that "extracting and normalizing customer data from multiple sources is the biggest challenge with client data management." They don't specify exactly which Aberdeen report they're talking about; it's probably the 2006 study finding that "companies that achieve a return on investment from customer data management (CDM) come from different industries but have notable similarities," according to industry observer Hannah Smalltree.
In that report, author Leslie Ament, director of customer intelligence research with Aberdeen, said above-average and best-in-class companies attain greater than 20 percent annual improvement in retention rates, revenues, data accuracy and partner/customer satisfaction rates, according to Smalltree.
With the new SugarCRM connector, Apatar lets users link customer information between databases (such as MySQL, Microsoft (News - Alert) SQL, Oracle), files (Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, CSV/TXT files), applications, and what company officials call "the top Web 2.0 destinations -- Flickr, Amazon S3, RSS feeds," et al.
"The SugarCRM connector will help us exchange data between our existing CRM system and Zimbra (News - Alert) open source messenger, saving thousands of dollars and reducing implementation time," said Mark Gordon of Sonoma Creative, a Web development company.
According to Gartner (News - Alert), corporate developers spend approximately 65 percent of their effort building bridges between applications. Apatar officials contend that with their visual toolset, SugarCRM users "can perform even a complex data integration job without having to write a single line of a code."
Both the SugarCRM system and Apatar's new connector are distributed as open source products. Supported SugarCRM editions include version 5.0.0 or earlier for Windows, and version 5.1 or earlier for Linux/Mac OS.
David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David's articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi