Why Open Source?

I’m often asked why we chose to build a commercial open source company. “Why open source?” is a frequent question as customers and partners seek to find out what makes SugarCRM tick. The answer is that we didn’t choose “open source”, rather we chose “open”.

In 2004, when we started, you may remember that there was a massive customer backlash in the software world to closed, proprietary, dishonest software company practices that locked customers into expensive solutions that didn’t really solve their problems. We wanted to build a different type of software company.

Open source projects were radically changing the face of software development at the time. Open source projects build products hand-in-hand with users around easy-to-evolve source code in a free, open, transparent, hyper-collaborative way. Today that’s called crowdsourcing. In the past, it was called open source. At SugarCRM, we wanted to create a company that embraced the same ideals and techniques of open source projects. We wanted to build an open company that builds open source software and collaborates with its customers and partners in an open way.

So the real question in there is not “Why open source?”, but rather “Why open?” And the answer to that question is at the core of SugarCRM. The purpose of SugarCRM as a company is to create wildly successful customers. The way you create customers is to solve their problems. Now, solving a customer’s problems can be a tricky business. You have to know your customer well. You have to build a relationship with your customer. In fact, what you really want is to build a partnership with your customer. A partnership is the most productive, trusting and valuable type of customer relationship achievable.

At SugarCRM, we believe the best way to build a partnership is to be transparent, accountable and collaborative. In one word, to be open.  Here’s the simple formula behind why we chose “open” as the founding principle of SugarCRM.

Openness drives accountability.  Accountability builds trust. Trust is the foundation of a relationship.

An open, accountable and trusting customer/vendor relationship creates a true partnership.

That’s why we chose open. To be the best possible partner to you, our customer.

–Clint

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