12 Open Source CRM Options
12 Open Source CRM OptionsCRM isn't limited to products from Microsoft and Salesforce.com. There are plenty of open source CRM options as well.
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Talk about customer relationship management (CRM) software and you'll probably be thinking about on-premise software packages or software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings from big companies like Salesforce.com, SAP, Oracle or Microsoft.
But there are plenty of viable open source CRM solutions in addition to these commercial CRM offerings.
Like other variants of open source software, many open source CRM apps come in free "community" editions as well as commercial open source editions that include additional features and support.
Specialist third party consultants also offer paid support and help with open source CRM implementation. They can also customize the open source code to match your organization's requirements.
Given that most CRM systems - proprietary or open source - include many of the same key features, the value of open source CRM systems comes from the fact that they can easily be customized because the source code is freely available, according to Greg Soper, managing director of SalesAgility, a consultancy that specializes in providing services for the popular SugarCRM open source product.
Rather than trying to choose a commercial CRM product that offers most of the features you need, it makes more sense to pay a consultancy such as his to add the precise features you need to an open source CRM product, Soper contends.
"Why not get the open source software that you plan to use for free, and then use the money that you would otherwise have spent on proprietary license fees to modify the open source software to meet your needs more closely?" he asks. "Why pay for software that is the same for all users when you can pay to have something that is unique?"
Here are 12 open source CRM solutions worth a closer look.