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Fonality acquires Insightful to tightly integrate SugarCRM with VoIP

Fonality just brought VoIP and open-source CRM much closer together.

Fonality , a leading open-source Asterisk-based VoIP phone system vendor, announced today that it is acquiring Insightful Solutions, a distributor of SugarCRM-based customer relationship management (CRM) software, to merge telephony and CRM for the small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) market.

While the deal is being struck with Insightful, the company that should primarily benefit (beyond Fonality) is SugarCRM, since the FonalityCRM bundle of Fonality plus Insightful means that more copies of Sugar Professional will be shipped with Fonality's PBXtra and trixbox Pro IP-PBX applications. Insightful has been a SugarCRM Gold partner for some time, and has been active in modifying and improving SugarCRM's code. It hosts more than 1,000 seats throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

Of course, the real beneficiary of a deal like this is the end customer. My own company has been looking for a way to integrate CRM (We use SugarCRM), VoIP, and our messaging system (It's looking like Zimbra). We're trying to eliminate the inefficiencies caused by jumping between isolated systems.

With this Fonality + Insightful/SugarCRM solution, customers will benefit from a unified solution that connects employees with presence management, instant messaging, fixed and mobile calling, and provides a single 360-degree view of customers and business partners.

Given SugarCRM's technology role in this deal, I'm surprised that SugarCRM wasn't involved in the press release. However valuable Insightful's technical understanding of SugarCRM, it's still SugarCRM's code that sits at the heart of this acquisition.

Having said that, it's perhaps telling that open source enables a close relationship with SugarCRM...without a close relationship. Most of SugarCRM's code is open, thereby enabling Insightful to build expertise that would be difficult to achieve with a proprietary product.

At any rate, maybe Larry Augustin's board seats with Fonality and SugarCRM can broker a closer connection in the future. :-)

Disclosure: I am an advisor to SugarCRM.