Why Your Company Should Consider Open-Source CRM

Customer Resource Management (CRM) solutions are available from diverse vendors with versions available that specialize on businesses of any size and in any number of industries and services.  More small- to medium-sized businesses are considering an upgrade from using basic contact management software, to using an open-source CRM solution because their revenues and sales have grown at a rate that exceeds the limitations of the existing software.  This is just one of many reasons companies today are considering making the move to open-source CRM.  There are also several good reasons why a company should not consider this option, as it may not be the right fit for everyone.

One of the primary reasons growing companies turn to open-source CRM  is a reduction in costs and the avoidance of high licensing fees that come with the purchase of CRM software for small businesses.  Finding the right open-source CRM for your business can result in higher sales and a higher close ratio for potential sales. Customer service functions can be greatly improved with the implementation of open-source CRM,  helping to drive customer satisfaction and loyalty. CRM implementation best practices provide powerful tools for management to easily identify best practices in sales and marketing to drive demand for products and services.

But, a number of other factors need to be taken into consideration when looking at open-source CRM.  The majority of open-source CRM solutions are aimed at small- to medium-sized businesses, and the technical support provided is a reflection of that.  Open-source providers typically charge significantly for services as it is their sole source of revenue, and also boast a developer community composed of their users.  Medium-sized businesses with a number of different locations in other countries will need to find CRM software that supports more than one language and can handle the different formats in which dates are displayed.

These are all excellent reasons to deploy an open-source CRM solution in your business, but when evaluating these products keep in mind that some technical expertise will need to be in place in your company or readily available to make the products viable.  Companies that have had success implementing open-source CRM also had other open-source packages in place such as Linux operating systems, PHP, LAMP, and MySQL platforms and an on-site technical staff to support them.  Without this infrastructure and IT expertise in open-source implementation and maintenance, an open-source CRM implementation will be difficult and problem-plagued at best and a complete disaster at worst.

Small businesses consistently rate low cost as a primary consideration in the purchase of an open-source CRM solution.  With formidable license fees for most licensed CRM software, many small businesses simply lack the funds to invest in the software and needed infrastructure.  Many small businesses looking for a long-term solution have had success with open-source over the alternative of on-demand CRM.  The start-up costs are higher for open-source, and it takes considerably more time to get it up and running, but in the long run open-source CRM will cost less as a business grows and prospers.

It is of vital importance for any business considering an open-source CRM solution to carefully evaluate company needs and compare them to the available products on the market to find the best possible match.  An open-source solution is best for companies with experience in hosting and maintaining other open-source products and that have the technical expertise to customize the software for specific business needs.