Open Source CRM: Is it the best choice for your company?

I’ll have the chance to share many more thoughts on this soon, but wanted to share a good article written by Pam Baker, and published over at InsideCRM. Here are some excertps:

No One Has Ever Saved His Way to Good CRM

Such savings in today’s bleak economy cannot be ignored. But neither can customer relations be compromised.

“Today’s organizations face tight budgetary constraints while having to service their customers better than ever,” said Jitterbit’s Sehayek. “CRM is critical to improving those customer relationships, but its associated costs must be reduced.”

As strong an argument as lower initial costs may be, it’s neither the first nor best business case for open source CRM. “It’s not the low cost-of-entry organizations have in adopting these technologies, but also in the way they are architectured and sold,” said Sehayek. “Open source offerings may not have every bell and whistle of, say, a CRM system like Siebel. However, they provide the needed functionality. Their newer service-based architectures enable organizations to invest [in] and consume the application services they need versus purchasing a product where only a fraction of the functionality is useful.”

It is open source’s flexibility, agility and scalability that are most appealing to businesses today. “Open source software has benefited key applications most visibly in its dominance of the infrastructure space — think Linux, Apache and JBoss,” said Peter Vescuso, senior vice president of marketing at Black Duck Software. “Now compelling projects are creating offers for the next level up, the vertical application space. For example, Asterisk in telephony, MySql for databases and Drupal for content management, among others. CRM’s many open source projects include SugarCRM, Concursive and Hipergate.”

So: Open Source or Not?

John McMahon, CEO of Extentech said the best thing to consider when thinking about open source CRM is to weigh the benefits versus the risks. He said the benefits include:

  • Free licensing
  • Ability for full customization
  • Active support forums
  • Retaining control of your data
  • Very little vendor lock-in

On the other side of the ledger, there’s:

  • Lack of project support
  • Projects may “die on the vine”
  • UI and features may lag proprietary products

The good news is that CRM is becoming more affordable with the addition of open source.

You can read the full article at:  The Open Source CRM Argument: Where Does Your Company Fall?

The Top 10 Open-Source CRM Solutions according to Inside CRM

Open-source software is not for businesses who want out-of-the-box complete applications, but it makes sense for companies that want to tailor every aspect of the CRM experience from the ground up.

CRM buyers might have very few choices were it not for open-source applications. The CRM field is dominated by huge players such as Oracle Corp. and SAP, and the open-source model is perhaps the easiest way into the CRM market for new companies. Open-source CRM projects have been proliferating; SourceForge Inc. lists 369 active open-source CRM projects. The following 10 open-source CRM solutions have risen to the top of the list.

via The Top 10 Open-Source CRM Solutions – Inside CRM .