Top 9 Open Source CRM Systems

Choosing the right open source CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software for a company can be a time consuming process.

It requires a great deal of technical research, developer resources as well as collaboration / time with leadership and department heads to make sure all the moving parts of the business are being addressed.

This type of investment of time and resources is often impossible to orchestrate in a small(ish) to mid sized organization. Open source CRM solutions are frequently selected to cut cost, as commercial enterprise CRM solutions can be very expensive.

Finding The Best Open Source CRM Software For The Job

The problem is, the open source CRM software is selected by someone who may not have all the information they need to make the best decision for the operational (and organizational) functions of the business. Usually it’s a combination of a VP or Director of Marketing in league with an IT manager / director (with very little time) just trying to go along to get along.

Nothing good ever comes from a major, company wide business decision made in a silo. Click To Tweet

This hap hazard approach results in many businesses choosing the wrong open source CRM.

The Best Open Source CRM Systems By Search Popularity

This should not be used as the final numbers on exactly how many people are actively using these systems and total market share. It’s meant to provide a visualization of how popular one system is over the other.

SugarCRM Community Edition

The SugarCRM Community Edition is among the best customer relations management applications and open source CRM systems available today. It provides many functions that allow maximum management for business and client relationships.

Program functions include a personal home page, activity management, contacts, accounts, project management, campaigns, web-to-lead forms, dashboards, cases, email clients and marketing, leads, opportunities, bug tracking and shared calendars.

SugarCRM Community Edition Benefits

  • Easy to Use

SugarCRM is easy to learn and understand. It does not require employees and managers to undergo training because the functions are quite simple. It has an integrated group of more than 40 tools for users to choose from.

  • Affordable

SugarCRM is among the cheapest programs available for companies. It does not require fees for licensing. However, users need to pay in order to customize the site and for any support required.

SugarCRM Features

The software is easy to install and provides downloadable plugins. It has pre-built dashboards and allows particular data to be accessed only by specific users.

The software also allows users to save client information in bulk for better storage. There are also a number of features that SugarCRM provides.

  • Sales Force Automation
  • Sales Tracking
  • Client Service Tracking
  • Advanced Reporting
  • Flows and Invoice Creation
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CiviCRM

CiviCRM is a CRM system that provides non-profits a complete, open source platform for constituent / donor management, but it is used and customized to provide CRM functionality for organizations in a wide range of industries.

Their vision, as provided on their website says…

That all organizations – regardless of their size, budget, or focus – have access to an amazing CRM to engage their contacts and achieve their missions; that they own their data and their code; and that they can modify and extend their CRM without restriction.

CiviCRM is built in the PHP programming language, with a standard HTML, Javascript and CSS front end. It is important to note that the code has been continually built on since it was established in 2005. Like many older open source projects, that means there are less than optimum, legacy coding standards.

In short, the code base is not modern and elegant – but it works. If you were looking for the leanest, most modern solution, look elsewhere. If code quality is not important, it should work just fine for you.

The project has modules / plugins / extensions for all major open source Content Management Systems like Joomla!, Drupal and Wordpress – which makes it much more approachable and cost effective.

The software offers the following core features:

  • Configurable & Customizable
  • Accounting Integration
  • Contacts
  • Memberships
  • Case Management
  • Events
  • Email Marketing
  • Advocacy Campaigns
  • Contributions
  • Peer-to-peer fundraisers
  • Reports

CiviCRM Benefits

  • Easy to Use

One of the biggest strong points of CiviCRM is it’s ease of use. With support for all major open source Content Management Systems, the barrier to entry is drastically lower than other stand alone CRM systems.

Sending emails and other alerts, setting up event and donations pages, compiling reports and other standard functions needed by Non-Profit organizations are all very easy to do.

  • Customization / Extensibility

Another strong point of the software is that it allows people to use and customize its many functions depending on their purpose.

You can enable components, rearrange menus, and modify options within your lists to suit the specific needs of your organization.

The program can also function as a tool for advocacy during fundraising and other charity events. This makes CiviCRM distinct from most other open source CRM systems, as it was built for the needs of non-profits.

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Zurmo

Zurmo is a new addition to the company’s continuously developing line of CRM systems. It is an online program that can be accessed through mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

The application also comes with social and gaming options.

Zurmo Benefits

  • Custom Software for Each Client

Zurmo can be compiled with just the features / modules the company who is using it needs. The software also allows users to add games and other entertainment options to increase consumer response.

It can also be used in different languages including Spanish, French and German.

VISIT WEBSITE




VTiger

VTiger is a CRM program that is suitable for companies that want many functions. It allows users to manage sales, inventory, customer support and service, marketing and other business processes.

It comes with a number of functions that are necessary for company management and development.

VTiger Benefits

  • Easy Activity Management

The program allows users to manage and organize their calendars and schedules. Users can opt to receive email notifications and activity histories. They can also share their schedules with other users.

  • Increased Productivity

VTiger is simple and easy to use in order to provide companies with more time and attention for their business. The users can utilize automatic lead management and conversion.

It’s also one of the few CRM systems that allows users to customize product catalogs, price lists, vendor lists and purchase orders.

VISIT WEBSITE




Fat Free CRM

Fat Free CRM is among the best CRM systems for small and medium-sized companies. It can be installed with complete features at no cost. It allows users to manage leads, accounts, contracts, quotes and sales pipelines.

The program comes with a number of benefits that provide users with a large range of options without spending anything.

Fat Free CRM Benefits

Fat Free CRM provides many benefits for web-based management. It allows users to send mass emails, create tickets and manage meetings all in one program. The software also provides customized access depending on each user’s role.

VISIT WEBSITE




Sourcefabric

Formerly Cream CRM, Sourcefabric has created a suite of the best CRM software for media organizations. With their “Built for journalists, by journalist” mantra, the focus of the software suite is intended to provide a single, end to end solution for news and media organizations.

There are 6 highly ambitious projects in their suite of products:

  • Airtime – Airtime is an easy to use open source software platform for media and news organizations that lets you broadcast streaming radio on the world wide web.
  • Citizen Desk – Allows you to drag and drop various citizen reports submitted from SMS messages and social media.
  • Newscoop – The open source Content Management System Newscoop helps you share content with third-party sites and apps via a REST API and more.
  • Live Blog – A plugin for Superdesk that provides a means for ensuring that blog content is indexable by search engines.
  • Superdesk – Meant to be an open source end-to-end news creation, curation, production, distribution and publishing platform.

It also comes with features that include options for customer service and support, sales automation, email marketing and excellent design templates. The software can also be customized in other languages as well.

Strengths & Benefits

The suite of software from Sourcefabric comes with many advantages for companies that are involved with media looking for an industry specific, top down solution. It has options that cannot be found in any other open source platform.

Weaknesses

Support and community are questionable. Not that it’s bad, it’s just the software is not widely adopted and the community os somewhat small. Also, the system is complex and can be pretty involved to set up and get running correctly.

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OpenCRX

OpenCRX is one of the best CRM systems organizations and events. It provides functions that allow users to manage sales and market their products.

The software lets users send emails, manage accounts and products, use sales pipelines and track workflow. OpenCRX is also affordable and requires minimal fees for customization options.

OpenCRX Benefits

The software is specifically designed for easier access and management. It allows people to use the program without the need for training or technical skills. The program even allows users with no corporate background such as charitable associations to manage their own account in a professional manner.

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EPESI

EPESI is a great addition to the world of open source CRM systems with a number of features and functions. The basic application and additional features of EPESI CRM comes at no cost.

It provides users with a lot of functions that allow them to control and manage their company. The software has intuitive features that lets users access the program easily.

The software features can also be extended at an affordable cost. This is suitable for companies that want advanced sales, management and customer service functions.

VISIT WEBSITE




MyITCRM

MyITCRM is an online computer program that is suitable for companies that focus on service and repair. The software lets people manage and track products and services provided. It allows users to store information on customers in order to have it ready for the next order.

Users can also provide information that includes locations and directions through Google maps. As with other CRM systems, they can also manage work orders and create invoices.

Companies can also accept online payments by credit card, Paypal or other means with the pre-built functions.

VISIT WEBSITE




Conclusion

The important thing to remember when selecting an open source CRM software is that you need to consider the entire organization and operational structure. That takes time. There is no way around it. If you do not have the time to invest in making the right decision, don’t be surprised if the financial impact and overall adoption is marginal.

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Analytics & AdWords certified growth engineer with over a decade experience in making businesses successful. I own and operate AXZM and often speak at top national industry conferences on the topics of strategy, design and marketing technology. Work with me or learn more about me here. Follow me @nawlready

9 Comments

Leave Comment

 

    • Jaspal
    • May 14, 2014
    Reply

    Hi Steve,

    Very useful list and breakdown. I have skin care clinic and looking for an open source platform that I can use to build upon. The closest commercial platform that I have found is e-clinic.co.uk. Any suggestions on what open source choice I should take. Thanks in advance for your help!

    • Elise
    • April 8, 2014
    Reply

    Great list, Steve, thank you. And Yammer and other salespeople, please stop commenting, we’ll be sure to NOT patronize you.

    • Leonard
    • May 21, 2013
    Reply

    Hi Jonathan,

    Have you tried Yammer? It is not CRM but more on the side of a business social network.

  1. Reply

    Hey Steve: I thought this was a really good survey of CRMs. I’m looking for one for just basically keeping up with my network, something that isn’t for sales and contracts, just for keeping in touch better. If you have any suggestions I’d like to know if you have any ideas or updates.

    • Reply

      Have you tried Highrise?

      It’s something I’m using and is pretty good to keep on top of contacts better.

    • Cloud Lee Sanders
    • April 18, 2013
    Reply

    I suggest that every one here check out Sales Boom CRM system, it might not be an open sourced one but it would still handle all your work flow effectively at very competitive price!

    • Randy
    • April 11, 2013
    Reply

    I notice that Zoho CRM is not listed. Is there a eason for this omission or does it just not stack up?

    • Ray Stoeckicht
    • January 31, 2013
    Reply

    Thanks for including Zurmo to the list. There are many solid open source CRM applications in the marketplace today. A few years ago, you could not say that. Appreciate you putting the list together.

    • John
    • January 30, 2013
    Reply

    You should also check out X2CRM – the new compact open source sales and marketing CRM system.