Building an Open-Source CRM for Tourism with Telematika and Apatar

by Ludmila RadzevichNovember 3, 2008
Learn how Wild-East Marketing integrated SugarCRM in three quick steps, while achieving compatibility with the internal system and eliminating possible issues.

Wild-East Marketing GmbH, one of Germany’s leading service provider for online booking systems (OBS), decided to implement the open-source SugarCRM.

“SugarCRM is the world’s leading provider of commercial open-source customer relationship management (CRM) software for companies of all sizes. SugarCRM easily adapts to any business environment by offering a more flexible, cost-effective alternative than proprietary applications. The open-source architecture allows companies to more easily customize and integrate customer-facing business processes in order to build and maintain more profitable relationships. The system offers several deployment options, including on-demand, on-site, and appliance-based solutions to suit customers’ security, integration, and configuration needs.“


Implementing SugarCRM in three steps

For Wild-East Marketing, Telematika set up a three-step integration model, which would make sure that the company gets a CRM as quickly as possible and that it gets fully integrated with all company departments and software systems. The secondary target of the CRM implementation was to eliminate as many data isles as possible.

Step 1 was setting up a basic SugarCRM and customizing it to the everyday needs of Wild-East Marketing. This included the import of all existing customer data from the “Combit Address Manager,” all Outlook instances, and Access databases. Internal communication was greatly improved by using a shared calendar and an Outlook/Thunderbird plug-in, which enables all employees to access a complete communications history with each customer.

Furthermore, the team at Telematika implemented and enhanced the “Projects” module, substituting “eProject.” The management is now customer- and account-related, and each CRM user can be assigned to project tasks, get notifications on every relevant change to his/her project, etc.

Step 2 was developing a small business ERP package called crmXP. It extended SugarCRM Community Edition with the following modules:

  • Products
  • Product Catalogue
  • Price books
  • Quotes
  • Orders
  • Invoices
  • Cockpit

crmXP allows Wild-East Marketing to trace the complete customer life cycle throughout the company. The secondary target was emphasizing the distinction between B2C and B2B, which was realized by a flexible business model template engine for the “Orders” module.

The crmXP package

Step 3 was synchronizing the live data from Wild-East Marketings OBS with the extended SugarCRM. Besides the address data from customers, which would be organized and used for e-mail campaigns from SugarCRM, it was required to fetch all bookings, reservations (as “orders ”), and invoices, so the CRM system can show “who booked what and paid when” anytime. The synchronization had to be flexible and expandable by Wild-East Marketing employees, so engineers at Telematica decided to go for an ETL solution. Compared to other tools, Apatar was preferred because of its easy-to-grasp and intuitive handling, as well as a broad range of connectors and excellent support through the Apatar team.

The Apatar data map

Apatar enabled Telematika to easily connect and synchronize SugarCRM extended by crmXP with the Wild-East Marketings DATEV system (invoicing), the OBS, and some other MySQL and XML sources for statistics and Google AdSense.

Instead of creating one giant data map for all the synchronized information, the team set up a single data map for each module and arranged them with Apatar’s scheduling tool. That way, it’s easily possible for Wild-East Marketing employees to modify and update single imports if necessary.

Using the “Cockpit” module, Wild-East Marketing has a powerful business intelligence tool at hands that can generate real-time reports with a mouse click and show conversion rate, hit rate, and ROI of campaigns. It can also order summaries per quarter/month/year, as well as many other customer-, order-, or product-related information, and turn it into any kind of charting, which can be used as a flash object on a website, for presentations in PowerPoint or Impress, or in many other ways.

The crmXP Cockpit module

Future developments will open up the CRM to customers and enable them to track the status of their reservation. Furthermore, they will be able to file a case (i.e., complaint) into a ticketing system.


Further reading