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Open source CRM software: Short Summary

Lucy Kart
Open source CRM software: Short Summary

Customer relationship management (CRM) software has become an indispensable tool for businesses of all sizes to manage relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers. CRM helps streamline processes related to marketing, sales and customer support. Traditionally, businesses had to invest in expensive proprietary CRM software. However, open source CRM solutions have emerged as a cost-effective alternative in recent years.

What is Open Source CRM?

Open source CRM software refers to customer relationship management applications that are available for free or at low cost and allow users to view, modify and distribute the source code. The code is made freely available under an open source license. Businesses can customize the software as per their specific requirements without being locked into a particular vendor. Major open source CRM platforms include SugarCRM, vTiger CRM, Odoo, etc.

Advantages of Open Source CRM

Lower Upfront and Maintenance Costs

Proprietary CRM platforms usually involve substantial licensing fees and additional costs for customization, upgrades, plugins, etc. Open source CRM solutions have no licensing fees and businesses only need to pay for optional support plans or custom development costs. This significantly reduces the total cost of ownership.

Freedom from Vendor Lock-in

With proprietary Open source CRM Software, businesses are dependent on a single vendor for any changes, upgrades or customizations needed. Open source CRM gives more flexibility as the source code can be altered by in-house developers or third-party agencies if required. There is no risk of being locked into a particular platform.

Access to Latest Features

Open source communities continuously update and improve the code base with new features and functionality. Businesses get access to the latest innovations at no additional cost. This helps future-proof the investment made in CRM.

Security and Scalability

Many open source CRM platforms are tested by large developer communities over time, making them robust and scalable to handle high volumes of traffic and data. Security issues are also addressed quickly through community updates and support.


With access to source code, open source CRM can be easily tailored as per complex and unique business processes and requirements. This delivers a highly customized solution without dependency on vendor resources for modifications.

Disadvantages of Open Source CRM

Lack of Dedicated Support

While open source CRM platforms provide community support forums, there may not always be timely resolutions for critical issues from development communities. Businesses need to invest in support agreements from service providers for priority assistance.

Skills Requirement

Significant in-house technical skills and resources are required to install, integrate, customize and manage open source CRM solutions over time. Not all businesses may have those capabilities.

Fragmented Ecosystem

The open source landscape includes many dispersed platforms and solutions at different maturity levels. Businesses need to carefully evaluate options to pick the right platform fitting organizational needs and technical capabilities.

Choosing the Right Open Source CRM

When selecting an open source CRM, businesses should assess factors like the platform's maturity and user base size, features and functionality required, code extensibility and customizability, availability of commercial support, integration capabilities, security, mobile access and more. Trial versions and robust evaluation processes help identify the most suitable solution. Additional aspects like adoption cost, skills needed, roadmap for future enhancements should also be evaluated to ensure long term viability of investments made in open source CRM.

Popular Open Source CRM Options

Some of the top open source CRM options used by small, medium and large businesses globally include:

- SugarCRM: One of the earliest and most feature-rich solutions with good customization abilities and commercial support available. Popular among mid-size enterprises.

- vTiger CRM: User-friendly platform suitable for small businesses with core set of marketing, sales and support features. Actively developed community edition.

- Odoo: A robust all-in-one ERP and CRM platform favored for its broad functionality and tightly integrated modules. Requires technical expertise.

- Piwik PRO: Analytics and marketing automation focused open source CRM best for data-driven marketing teams.

- Pentaho CRM: Built on Pentaho business analytics and best for sales and marketing automation with predictive modeling capabilities.

- Redmine CRM: Lightweight and simple CRM designed for agile project management and customer interaction tracking.

Open source CRM offers compelling total cost of ownership benefits compared to proprietary solutions for many SMBs and even large corporations. With advancements in open source technologies, these platforms now provide feature-rich capabilities at par with paid counterparts. While open source CRM requires certain in-house skills, the flexibility, security and frequent updates have made it a preferred choice for dynamic and cost-conscious businesses. Proper evaluation helps identify the right open source CRM fit.

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Lucy Kart
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