Jigsaw and SugarCRM…Open Data for an Open Application

SugarCRM and Jigsaw are now working together to provide company data for sales organizations free of charge…think of it as a great way to get Hoover’s-type data without jumping through hoops or paying to access data.

This is pretty cool for a number of reasons…

First, Jigsaw is opening to doors to data that for the most part was offered only through proprietary methods. It is further evidence that the philosophy of “free” is moving into all areas. And it breaks down the barriers to really smart CRM, where a CRM system is loaded with data about specific customers, augmented by external, pre-qualified data. CRM systems are getting more and more inclusive of the types and sources of data they include, and Jigsaw data is just one of the many ways to create a richer experience for CRM users, but also generate a more intelligent sales methodology in any organization.

Second, I think this move by Jigsaw represents another era of open source in some ways. Jigsaw is opening up data, while companies like SugarCRM and MySQL opened up source code. These are VERY different models and movements in many ways.  BUT…they do represent a sort of evolutionary scale. I see the open source movement as such, now that Jigsaw (and to some extent other players like InsideView) are making open data initiatives:

Open operating systems–>Open databases/systems management –>Open applications–>Open data

…or something like that. The point is, open source, or at least the concept of “openness” has permeated the enterprise from top to bottom, and will cause even more disruption and change than we have already seen. I like that.

Finally,  Jigsaw and SugarCRM are the only product tandem in this whole deal that are both truly open. The other CRM partners Jigsaw is working with are all closed source. Boo.  With the Sugar/Jigsaw alliance, customers can test run SugarCRM or the Jigsaw data and then make a decision to buy. We are both earning the sale, and this is an important shift. The open data and open evolution described above is a technology shift, but the shift in how technology providers do business is even more profound. It cannot be discounted – what it means for a software provider to actually earn each customer’s business every year.