Open Source CRM Comes of Age
Few categories of open source software have seen so much solid teamwork and rapid development as customer relationship software (CRM) projects. As evidenced by huge proprietary players such as Salesforce.com, CRM implemented on the web as an on-demand tool for teams of co-workers also creates substantial business efficiencies. If you have a business and haven't looked into some of the top open source CRM offerings lately, here's a look at what you can start doing.
Concursive is now offering a completely free, open source 100-user CRM system to everyone. The company's ConcourseSuite 5.0 ConcourseSuite is notable in that it offers flexible deployment options. You can have it implemented as a hosted traditional SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) application, where it works on the web for mobile employees and office employees alike. (This is similar to how Salesforce works.) Or, alternatively, you can implement it as a standalone, in-office installation, where a team can use it as central database-driven application.
If you're interested in Concursive's offering, you can sign up for it here. You can also find a PDF case study on a business that uses the suite midway down the page here. The company gets revenues from supporting CRM solutions in businesses with more than 100 employees, but the open source, 100-worker offer is free.
Of course, no discussion of open source CRM offerings would be complete without mentioning SugarCRM. SugarCRM is for businesses of all sizes. It supports sales force automation, marketing campaigns, support cases, project management, calendaring and more. It also supports MySQL and SQL Server. Sugar CRM was also recently named best open source CRM technology by CRM Magazine.
Looking for another choice? I've used SplendidCRM extensively. It's free and open source, and is particularly good at producing snazzy charts that you can add annotations and business logic to. Take a look at the home page for the many recent additions made to it by its community, and many screenshots. It also generates PDFs of customer orders, invoices and more, and is available in many languages.
For many types of businesses, there is no need to front up the substantial fees required for proprietary CRM applications such as Salesforce. Give some of these open source alternatives a try.