Projects of the Month - November 2006
Description of projectThe Asterisk VoiceRD Integration patch enables outbound dialing from SugarCRM through an Asterisk or Novacoast VoiceRD server. Asterisk Int.PRO 1.0 is now available at http://www.voicerd.com/products.php.
Please describe Novacoast -- its location, its core business, how large, how long in operation:
Novacoast is an IT professional services firm. We are headquartered in Santa Barbara, CA and deliver services nationally. We currently have 90 employees in 15 states. This month we are celebrating our 10th anniversary, having prospered through Y2K, the dot com, and the dot bomb.
We employ highly skilled engineers who develop practices based on best-of-breed technologies. Examples are desktop management, identity management, and open source. We have developed rapid deployment methodologies (RDs) which are the implementation of complex technologies in a short time period for a fixed fee.
The pratices grow out of very good engineers solving practical, every day problems. We originally installed Asterisk when we purchased a company in Cincinnati, as a way to get everyone on the same phone system. The benefits were so huge that we developed an RD around Asterisk and called it VoiceRD. We have since added significant value by integrating Asterisk with SUSE Linux, security, identity management, and SugarCRM. This gives us a complete stack from the hardware up to the user applications.
What is your role in Novacoast and how long you've been in this role? How long at Novacoast?
I'm VP of Development at Novacoast. I've been in this position for six months. I've been with Novacoast for five years. I started as a developer, writing web based business applications and LDAP directory integration software for clients. As the our development team grew I started managing the group. At any time we can have ten or more client projects going on. Our team is now fifteen developers and along with our consulting projects we contribute to numerous open source projects, and develop the first enterprise ready VOIP solution, VoiceRD.
What about prior to Novacoast -- what experiences did you bring to Novacoast?
I went to the College of Engineering at University of California Santa Barbara, majoring in Computer Science. From there I went on to be a developer for the campus IT department. During this time every campus in the country seemed to be working on building an LDAP directory. I was involved with the planning for the directory at UCSB as well as some of the coding.
As the directory market grew organizations started to find themselves with several directories and a need to synchronize the growing number of accounts. Novacoast needed a resource to help their customers find programmatic solutions to the problem. I was introduced to Paul Anderson, CEO of Novacoast, and the rest is history.
You have 4 projects in SugarForge. What was the genesis of them?
Our sales forces lives in SugarCRM. We needed to make access to their data and tracking of the sales cycle as effortless as possible. We started to take all of the sales related tasks they perform all day and integrate them into Sugar to build a complete Sales force and call center solution. The VoiceRD project allows the team to dial out of SugarCRM, track and record their calls, and set up follow up tasks. The Novell Groupwise integration synchronizes any scheduled call, meeting or task created in SugarCRM to their Groupwise calendar and Blackberry. The Alfresco integration allows the sales force to associate working documents with their accounts.
VoiceRD is clearly the runaway hit. Why do you think this is so?
Enterprise VOIP systems are generally expensive, closed source, and and don't integrate well with other technologies. The market is starting to realize you can get a lot more for less by implementing a open source VOIP PBX. The success of this project is clear indicator of where the future of phone systems are going.
What advice can you offer other SugarForge developers?
The best advise I can give to any developer is to deliver early and often. The open source community is surprisingly forgiving when it comes to bugs as long as they know you're continuing to work on building a better solution.
When will you provide your 5th project?
Currently we are working on improving our existing projects. There are still a lot of features on the roadmap for Groupwise and Alfresco integration. As for new projects, well, we are looking at SAP integration for our large customers. We are seeing a lot of larger enterprise embrace SugarCRM, and SAP is coming up in more conversations. We are also looking to synchronizing our SugarCRM contacts directly to the Blackberry address book. That project will be purely for the appeasement of our always traveling sales team.
Past Projects of the Month