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SugarCRM and the media as a lagging indicator of success

SugarCRM just won an award for being the best open-source CRM solution, but such awards pale in comparison to winning customers.

SugarCRM is CRM Magazine's top open-source CRM solution in its 2008 Market Awards. While excellent, the real test for SugarCRM and other open-source solutions is when we're not only named as the best open-source solution, but also the best overall solution, proprietary or otherwise.

That's why I prefer to hear how SugarCRM was chosen by Parade Magazine as its CRM solution. Or to see that H&R Block and AXA are both customers.

This is the sort of market award that matters most. When customers vote with their wallets it trumps any other award. These are the types of awards that open-source vendors like SugarCRM are increasingly winning, which will eventually bleed over into media awards like CRM Magazine's. The media is often a lagging indicator of success. Customers are a leading indicator.

On the other hand, sometimes the media is early to the hype, and then leaves just when the story starts to get interesting. Such is the case with JBoss, as I noted yesterday. JBoss got tons of press early on for being disruptive. Now that it's winning customers in droves, however, no one is talking about it (except for Red Hat's accountants, who are happy to count the cash.)

In both cases, customers matter most. It's good to see SugarCRM win this award, but it's much better to see it win customers.

Disclosure: I am an advisor to SugarCRM.