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I am writing a web based application that needs to have some elements of CRM in it but I cannot use an of-the-shelf CRM to do what I want. (Honestly we have been through it all and it will not work).

Now while Tasks, Calls, Meetings and Notes are straightforward the idea of reinventing Mail and Calendars seems a waste of time and effort and also unproductive as most users already have their own and it simply adds to the complexity of my application and hacks users off.

My thoughts are going around using Outlook and or GMail/iCal and or Mac Mail/iCal and or Thunderbird and importing the relevant data or if possible integrating it into the application.

Any thoughts? Anyone got any experience of this can point me in a few directions.

N.B. Not looking for an answer as too complex just some pointers and thoughts. Thanks.

p.s. We did look at Sugar CRM as the basis for our project and it is useful to get best practice from but as I say it was not useable due to how we are structuring our software, not Sugar's fault.

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Similar to what Wyatt has said, have you looked into the Outlook and Gmail APIs? Especially in the case of email clients, I would consider implementing broad APIs that can work with Outlook/hotmail on your mobile/tablet and PC. Also, you should consider what devices/software the company supports. No need for gmail integration if they're using Outlook/hotmail, etc. –  Joe Aug 23 at 20:52

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My general thought would be to create a "Messaging" and "Events" subsystem which could take input from email and/or subscribe to iCal as appropriate. Main theory being people have lots of tools and devices they like to do email from and the app probably more needs to reflect email status and hook into that information flow rather than actually be an email client. Same theory applies to calendar except calendar is a much, much stickier problem.

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