CRM has long been considered among the most complex software projects around. An entire Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) industry has emerged to provide an alternative to on-premise CRM deployments to specifically to help reduce this complexity.
In addition to traditional on-premise and SaaS sourcing options, however, CIOs have another choice with open source CRM.
SugarCRM is one of the better-known open source CRM systems, but there are a number of applications that give IT departments greater choice for customer engagement – without siphoning your funds first.
1. Tine 2.0
Tine 2.0 is an open source project that combines groupware, CRM and ERP into one system. The project was originally inspired by eGroupware, but was later redeveloped. Tine 2.0 is Web-based and focuses on “usability and correctness” and its developers perform unit tests and usability work on most of the code base.
Features include support for contacts, tasks, CRM and VoIP integration. The VoIP module allows the administration of Asterisk phone servers and CTI features like click-to-call. A time tracker, ActiveSync integration and a rights management system are also included.
PhpBMS is a CRM and billing system released under a generic “business management software” (BMS) label. The application is developed on the popular LAMP stack and is designed to be an integrated business management system for SMEs.
Among its feature set, PhpBMS can do order management, client and prospect tracking, and fulfil accounts receivable needs. Sales order processing, recurring invoices, PDF billing documents, and e-mail list management is also catered for.
Vtiger CRM is another CRM package developed with PHP and MySQL. It evolved from SugarCRM with the addition of sales force automation (SFA) features.
The standard account and contact management features are there and vTiger can also be used as a groupware package to track daily tasks, meetings, and e-mail messages.
Version 5.1 was released in July last year and claims some 700 bug fixes and more than 150 feature enhancements (and performance improvements) over the previous release.
Plug-ins are available for integration with popular business software tools like Outlook, Office, Firefox and Thunderbird. vTiger CRM is available for Linux and Windows.
Licence: vtiger Public License
OpenCRX is a CRM suite developed in Java. In addition to the standard sales and marketing automation features, openCRX adds a number of messaging and business management applications.
OpenCRX is Web-based, but integration with groupware clients allows message and contact management to be done with a desktop app like Outlook or Thunderbird. An issue tracking application allows bugs to be managed, and a Java API and a REST-service API makes OpenCRX available to third-party applications.
OpenCRX is platform-independent and supports a range of enterprise databases including Oracle, SQL Server, MySQL and PostgreSQL. For security, access controls allow restricted access based on user profile, role or team.
Hipergate is another open source CRM system developed in Java and, like many others, aims to provide CRM and groupware functionality in one system.
Modules provide Hipergate with specific functionality, including contacts management, project management (including support for a ticket tracker), e-commerce, content management, e-mail lists and a corporate library.
Common features to all modules include role-based security, hierarchic data management, queries and reports and a job scheduler.
Commercial support is available through Hipergate services.
For more articles in this series, be sure to check out:
5 open source security projects to watch
5 open source network management projects to watch
5 open source virtualisation technologies to watch
5 open source VoIP softphones to watch
5 open source billing systems to watch
5 open source office suites to watch
5 open source IP telephony projects to watch
5 open source help desk apps to watch
5 enterprise open source wiki apps to watch
5 open source project management apps to watch
5 free project management applications you must try