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SugarCRM Announces Express Edition

by Bill Harrison on March 5, 2009

3 minute read

SugarCRM just introduced a new product called SugarCRM Express. Clearly targeted as a competitor to Salesforce.com's Team Edition, SugarCRM Express is a low-cost way for small organizations to get started with CRM easily and inexpensively. Express is a hosted version of SugarCRM's existing Community Edition, the open source product that can be downloaded for free from Sugar's website. But what makes Express a great offering is that it is bundled with SugarCRM's plug-ins for Outlook, Word, and Excel. Before Express, customers could purchase this plug-in's a la carte. But now the only way to get them is to purchase a commercial version of SugarCRM, either Express, Professional, or Enterprise.

I think Sugar needed a low-cost product like this. The existing commercial versions of Sugar (Professional and Enterprise) are great products but they are fairly expensive so lots of companies choose to use the free Community Edition rather than forking out extra money for all the extra features in Pro. With Express, companies looking at the Community Edition can get a hosted version very inexpensively and benefit from all of the capabilities of the Microsoft Office plug-ins.

SugarCRM Express comes in two sizes. $499.00 per year for 1 to 5 users or $799.00 per year for up to 10 users.

The big problem with Express is going to be the 10 user limit. Sugar's goal is clearly to target Express as an entry-level product and then migrate customers to its more sophisticated (and expensive) big brothers. But for Express customers, moving from user 10 to user 11 is an expensive proposition. A company making that move today would see an increase in cost from $799.00 ($79/user/year) for 10 users under Express to $3,960.00 ($360/user/year) for 11 users on SugarProfessional. This huge cost increase results from the 10 user limit on SugarCRM Express. Any user wishing to add an 11th user must migrate to SugarProfessional at $360/user/year even if they don't need the extra SugarPro features.

It will be interesting to see how Sugar handles this dilemma. I know that Salesforce has made some exceptions to the 10 user limit in certain cases when customers complained about the huge cost increase. Maybe Sugar will make some of the same compromises.

But even if they don't, the Express product seems to be a step in the right direction for customers looking for a low-cost CRM with big CRM features.