There are a variety of benefits associated with Open Source CRMs, but how do you know if such a service is the best choice for you and your business?
The most tangible benefit is that with Open Source CRM there is little to no cost, since most of the code the software uses is publicly available. The second and almost as important benefit is that it allows modification of the original source code in order to best fit your needs.
There are also a few drawbacks to using Open Source CRM. While Open Source software will reduce initial costs, it will not have anywhere near the same degree of support available from a commercial vendor. Open Source CRM also has fewer built-in functions than a commercial CRM. While not always the best option in the right circumstances an Open Source CRM can provide low-cost, reliable and customizable solution for your organization.
Here are five of the top Open Source CRMs.
#1 – Sugar CRM
Sugar CRM is a leader in the open source CRM arena. The software offers a variety of functions such as a personal homepage, shared calendars, project management and email clients. Sugar CRM is easy to use, so you will not have to spend time and money on long training sessions. There is a fee associated with some of the premium features such as site customization and software support. This popular solution is used by a variety of successful business such as Loomis, uShip, Hilco Global, and USAFact.
Gartner has recognized Sugar CRM calling them a “visionary” company: “SugarCRM continues to innovate its product lines, as well as leverage its open-source heritage for ecosystem development. SugarCRM’s cloud-neutral strategy enables customers to run and move between SugarCRM deployments on a variety of cloud infrastructures.”
#2 – Fat Free CRM
As its name would suggest, Fat Free CRM is all about delivering the basic functionality that your business needs. It does not have as many features as some of the other CRMs on this list, but the interface is very easy to use and there are a variety of additional plugins available for download. Fat Free CRM aims to deliver a high level of performance and ease of use for the features that businesses are most likely to use. They are not interested in complicating their software with extraneous capabilities that will only be used by a small portion of users. Some of Fat Free’s features include group collaboration, campaign and lead management, and opportunity tracking.
#3 – vTiger
vTiger boasts Sales Force Automation, inventory management, marketing automation and customer service as some of its standard features. Additionally vTiger recently released a new cloud-based version of its software with all of the same customizability as the download version. This is something that sets it apart from other Open Source CRMs. With more than 1.5 million downloads already, vTiger is a rapidly growing force in Open Source CRM and it has seen some great results. Using vTiger, eLobe was able to increase lead conversion by 25% and Contus improved conversion rates by 30% for a $70 000 increase in monthly revenue.
U.S. Foodservice the 10th largest privately held company in the USA uses an open source CRM: “The
Centric CRM platform continues to grow in popularity, with major customer deployments taking place at some of the world’s most respected companies.”
#4 – Open CRX
This CRM is designed with the specific goal of accessibility. Its functions include managing accounts, tracking workflow, help marketing products, and sales management. Open CRX is designed so that even employees without a business background can make use of its many functions. That makes it great for providing functionality without a lot of training or learning time. Some of Open CRX`s many partners include Jegas LLC, Infoglobe and Interition Ltd.
#5 – XRMS
XRMS is an Open Source CRM aimed at small to medium-sized businesses. It also includes Salesforce Automation and HR Management as an added bonus. In addition, XRMS is compatible with a variety of databases such as ADOdg and Microsoft SQL Server. This CRM is compatible with a range of options, but it may require some customization to get the full value out of it. XRMS uses its customer community for support, making it a great low-cost option provided you have the resources to make use of this support.
Gartner released findings that more than one-half of IT organizations use open-source software, based on a survey of 547 IT organizations from 11 countries.
Open Source does not mean an inferior product. There are a variety of free or low-cost CRM options that work just as well as their traditional paid counterparts. While Open Source CRM may not have the same level of support as paid CRM, it offers a high degree of customizability so that you can design the right solution for your business. With some searching and a little bit of programming, Open Source CRM will be able to meet all of your expectations and more.
Michael is the Lead Author & Editor of CRMSimplified Blog. Michael established the CRM blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to CRM.