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What Is Open Source CRM Software?
CRM tools are used to track all of a company’s sales, marketing, and service-related interactions with current or potential customers. Traditional, or proprietary, CRM tools are fully developed and ready to use as soon as the software is installed.
Open source CRM software is different. It’s built using open source code that’s available to the public for use and modification. Open source CRM software is completely customizable, enabling modification of everything from the software’s interface to its specific features.
Businesses can use open source CRM software to tailor a custom CRM solution that fits their specific goals and workflows.
Open source CRM use cases
Open source CRM software is used by businesses of all sizes and across all markets. There are many reasons why a business may choose open source versus a traditional CRM.
For example, a business may use several niche apps that they want to integrate with the CRM. While a traditional CRM may not allow integration with these apps due to vendor conflict or some other incompatibility, open source CRM software enables businesses to custom-build any integration they require.
Open source CRM also supports businesses in growth mode. This type of CRM is often free or offered at a low cost, allowing new businesses to reap the benefits of CRM without the financial investment. Plus, businesses can customize the CRM to fit their current workflows and make changes as their business models evolve.
Learn about other open source enterprise solutions: Best Open Source Network Monitoring Tools
What Are the Key Features of Open Source CRM Software?
The key features of open source CRM software are similar to a traditional CRM solution. For example, an open source CRM tool provides:
- Workflow automation: The tool uses predetermined triggers to perform tasks that move work forward without human intervention.
- Lead management: A feature used to capture, qualify, analyze, and nurture incoming business leads.
- Reporting: Reports showcase data insights pulled from information stored within the CRM. Businesses can use reports to show project progress, revenue, and more.
- Contact management: A feature used to capture and store contact information for customers and leads.
- Marketing automation: Open source CRMs use automation to manage and complete marketing campaign tasks across various channels.
Pros and Cons of Using Open Source CRM Software
The pros of open source CRM software
- Customizability: Open source CRM software is fully customizable. Businesses can alter the software’s source code to manipulate specific features, add integrations, or customize the user interface.
- Supportive community: Open source solutions often feature online communities for developers and users. Through web-based message boards and other tools, such as social media groups, open source software users can share troubleshooting tips and optimization ideas. This is beneficial for businesses just getting started with a CRM.
- Free or low cost: Open source CRMs are helpful for businesses looking for free CRM software. Many CRM tools are offered for free or for a much lower cost than traditional CRM tools.
- Scalability: Upgrades can be quickly applied to open source CRM software as businesses grow and change; there is virtually no maximum modification limit.
The cons of open source CRM software
- Skilled developers needed: Open source software typically requires the work of a skilled developer who can add or manipulate code during implementation and for periodic maintenance.
- Some security concerns: Open source code is just that—open. According to Google, “there’s no official resource allocation and few formal requirements or standards for maintaining the security of that critical code.” Open source CRM software may be less secure than traditional CRM solutions; however, it depends on the tool. Businesses should dive into security features before selecting any software solution.
- Lack of support: Free open source (FOSS) software rarely has the dedicated support team that traditional software does. Support is mostly provided via online forums or email. However, this also varies by vendor.
The Top Five Open Source CRM Platforms
1. Odoo CRM
SuiteCRM is a robust alternative to Salesforce. SuiteCRM includes features for businesses to manage and improve their customer relationships. Features include sales, marketing, reporting, and automated workflow features.
Vtiger enables marketing, sales, and customer service teams to manage customer relationships using a single, unified view. Vtiger is a great solution for support teams, as the platform provides a built-in help desk feature.
EspoCRM is offered as a self-hosted solution or cloud-based solution. Included features range from sales automation and email management to customer support and analytics.
Not sure if you want to get started with open source or proprietary CRM software? Do some additional research with this guide: Best CRM Software and Tools.