For companies that feel restricted by standard Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms, there are a wide variety of “open source” platform providers on the market.
An open source platform is a software product that allows customers to write code intended to customize specific functions or modules within the software platform.
This type of option is not recommended for everyone, but there are some companies that occupy a unique business space or have very specific and unique software requirements that can’t find what they need in a standard software product. If they are wiling to invest in an in-house IT programmer, then an open source customer management software option makes sense.
If a opensource CRM is critical to a business owner’s needs, they might be able to find an open source CRM provider that offers programming at a reasonable rate. Either way, open CRM gives a business owner the kind of flexibility they need to run the business as they envision it without the software package creating log-jams in business flow.
Best Open Source CRM Software Packages
Aside from the overall strength and reliability of a software platform, any open source CRM comparison should take into consideration the ease at which programming changes can be made. In that regard, here are a few of the best open source CRM options available.
With SugarCRM, the client is getting both the best open source option as well as one of the better CRM solutions in general.
This full service CRM has all the fully integrated modules, including sales tracking and lead generation, customer service contact tracking, mobile apps, marketing option and powerful analytics complete with an easy to use custom report writer.
Within this product, clients will find the search function to be among the most efficient available, making it easy to locate information. For programmers, the software is compatible with MS SQL, MySQL and Oracle databases. The “community” version’s affordable pricing ranges from $35-$150 per user, depending on features.
- As an open source solution, the ability to customize links to social media is quite efficient and easy.
- For a complete package, the pricing is highly competitive,
- The entire reporting and report writing functions are weak and cumbersome.
- The product seems to be intended for smaller companies, lacking features and depth that larger companies would require.
With SugarCRM established as the primary target, SplendidCRM has much of the same functionality, but is written in a Microsoft-centric environment.
As such, the software provides much of the power found in Microsoft products. This company’s report writing capabilities are superior to those found in SugarCRM. Also, this software package is easily integrated within the Microsoft Azure cloud platform.
Programmers who have expertise using the C# and Microsoft SQL language will find programming changes easy to incorporate. The target customer group for this product is small businesses and potential resellers who are ready to make programing changes to add a proprietary twist.
- Integration with the Microsoft line of products and tools provides strength and familiarity for Microsoft users.
- Priced at $10-$40 per user for the “community” version, it is much more cost-effective than SugarCRM.
- Lack of innovation and scalability keeps this product from being used by mid-large size organizations.
The real strength of this platform is its focus on a specific industry, the non-profit/political campaign sectors.
As such, much of the focus is on business functions specific to those endeavors such as fund-raising, donor interaction, contribution tracking and most importantly, specialized report writing requirements.
The “marketing” module allows for the writing of newsletters and promotional information that can be sent out to donors with minimal effort. The programming language is compatible with Drupal, Joomla!, or WordPress, common programs used by the non-profit sector.
As for pricing, it has been kept affordable in recognition of a non-profit’s normal budget constraints.
- For the non-profit sector, this platform comes as close to a perfect solution as one could expect with functionality.
- Donor interaction is comprehensive and well-connected throughout the different modules.
- If a non-profit is expecting analytics, they will be disappointed to find very little available.
- The report writing function is very weak.
Finally, a solution that works well for mid-size companies.
The Xtuple solution actually works well for retail and manufacturing companies that need some inventory tracking capabilities and normal business functionality.
The software offers great flexibility, which includes being compatible with different cloud platforms. The user interface is already one of the easiest to use within the industry, allowing for quick and efficient navigation and search with just a click of two of the mouse.
For clients interested in a “Total cost of ownership” pricing model, Xtuple is one of the least expensive versions on the market.
- The manufacturing component makes the software platform attractive to the private consumer product sector.
- The software’s flexibility and user-friendly environment sits atop of the industry.
- The company is currently addressing social media compatibility that is currently missing.
- The current integrated cloud capabilities are very weak forcing customers to seek other cloud solutions.
Choosing the Right Open Source CRM Solution
With major web-based CRM platforms such as Salesforce and Oracle available on the market, the most compelling reason to select an open source CRM option is to take advantage of the ability to customize features and modules to meet specific business needs.
Most of the open source CRM providers offer basic functionality. So when it gets down to choosing the best option, companies will want to consider the provider’s reputation, the software’s flexibility and the extent to which the software would need to be programmed.
They would also want to make sure that the software is compatible with a programming language that is easy to use and integrate with current IT functions.