TechsPlace | A CRM or customer relationship management system helps in developing and nurturing meaningful relationships with the customer. Whether big or small, every company can benefit from a well developed CRM system. But quite often the high cost of enterprise grade CRM systems takes them beyond the reach of majority of the organizations as only a handful of companies with good money can afford such advanced, feature rich systems.
The open source CRM market was first opened with the launch of Sugar CRM and today after more than a decade we have almost a dozen good open source CRMs to choose from.
Here is a brief overview of the advantages and disadvantages of open source CRM software or open source developments services, to help you take an informed decision when purchasing one.
Free of Cost
The foremost reason why everyone considers opting for open source CRM is because, generally most CRM systems are free. The source code is free which can be modified according to your requirements. In fact you can save some money by modifying the codes yourself and saving on the license charges.Also new versions are offered time to time that has no extra cost..
A CRM software, deals with managing customers and customer management differs vastly from industry to industry. So it is very difficult to build a one-size-fits-all CRM software, which contains all the features required by any industry. But as open source CRM is customizable, the source code can be altered. They need not have to pay for loads of irrelevant features which they will never use.
Usually when you opt for paid CRMs, you have to pay an initial cost and adhere to the license for at least a number of months. Open source CRM does not require that. You can use it till the time it is suitable to you and drop it if it’s not working any longer.
Open source CRM is easy to manage and can be installed at multiple locations according to your requirements without any monetary repercussions. You don’t need to keep a count or monitor it for license issues.
Another advantage to opt for open source CRM is the developer community behind it. Everyone has access to the source code. So it is possible for anyone to fix bugs, and add new features using collective experience. As a result the software keeps getting better as time passes by.
You do not need as many resources for the implementation of the system as is required in other traditional software(s). You can explore the existing codes to understand the product better and can suggest various improvements which might suit your organization best.
Installing open source CRM is easy, but CRM support and maintenance is not. The proper maintenance of open source CRM requires a lot of technical expertise. The user interface of open source CRM is not user-friendly. So, you will need consultants and expertise to choose and customize the right CRM for you. Also resolution of the bugs takes a lot of time.
No central support system
There is no specific place which you can approach with the issues you are facing regarding your open source CRM. All of your solutions or support is going to be from various forums which aren’t always accurate and can take a lot of time to respond to your queries. The other way is to hire experts which again adds to your expenses.
Open source CRM can almost cover all the basic needs of your business, but it might not suit your business if you are looking for full fledged CRM solution. The functionality of open source CRM is limited to an extent and has several shortcomings. By investing further, you can either hire CRM developers to add new features or get ready made plugins for your unique requirements.
Not entirely free
Though it may appear that open source CRM is entirely free, it is not actually. There are many hidden costs in it. The source code is available to all. But if you need to change the code according to your requirements, you will have to incur developer costs and continuous upkeep costs. To run the CRM system you will need to invest in server and firewall infrastructure which may cost a lot of money.
Open source CRM is a major trend in the software and whether to opt for it or not is entirely a decision based on the requirements of a business or entity. Even though open source CRM has many limitations, it is still preferred by many businesses to enhance their relationship with customers. Open source CRM is a major trend in the software and whether to opt for it or not is entirely a decision based on the requirements of a business or entity. Therefore, if you are looking forward to opt for an open source CRM for your organization, you must study all its advantages and disadvantages carefully.