Open source CRM

Discussion in 'Hardware - PCs, Consoles, Gadgets' started by alloydog, Feb 14, 2012.

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  1. I've been asked to look in to setting up a CRM for our company. Since I've never even used one before, I don't really know what's good and what's not - I got "volunteered" for the job because I'm more "good wiv pootas" than the others...

    I've done a few "Googles", and it seems sugarCRM is pretty well respected. But I was wondering if anyone else had any comments/views. The only criteria I would put on it is that it must run on Linux
     
  2. Bad CO

    Bad CO LE Admin Reviews Editor Gallery Guru

    This is something we've looked at a number of times for a variety of different projects. We've tried SugarCRM, Salesforce and a couple of ticket response systems.

    My initial thought would be to ask you what need your company sees the CRM filling? Is it a shared list of email/phone contacts, a relationship manager, a ticket response system or a marketing tool? Will it need to integrate with other systems such as email, ecommerce or accounting/billing software? As an example, linking SugarCRM to Outlook is only available on the commercial versions at some pretty significant expense!

    There are also some fairly challenging cultural issues involved in this area as a CRM is only as good as the information that goes into it. Getting people to record phone calls, emails, conversations, etc is pretty tricky.

    In the end we gave up using SugarCRM and Salesforce. The only thing we now use is Ticket Response System called OTRS which is an excellent way of managing a group mailbox.
     
  3. Another thumbs-up for OTRS. A particularly painless way of trying it out (plus a lot of other very useful apps) is via a Turnkey Linux VM http://www.turnkeylinux.org/all You can also find Android and iphone apps to interact with OTRS.
     
  4. I project managed a Sugar CRM implementation (the free version - we paid $40 for a manual) into a SME which had no CRM at all. We used it for classic sales & marketing functions, including full end to end pipeline management. It is very versatile and you can add bespoke modules, so for example we used it to manage various stages of Solution implementation. It was also very good at dealing with scheduled reporting.I would absolutely recommend it to a company which has little or no budget - lets be honest salesforce et al are bloody expensive. You do need someone with pretty good SQL knowledge. I am now at a Blue Chip company using Siebel and I so wish for the Sugar days, when I could sit with the IT geek and design, implement and roll out a new module just a day or so after the requirement had been identified.

    Of course, as Bad CO says you really do need to have a good idea of what your goal of the CRM tool is and if you have little experience of CRM before then you really could get yourself into a pickle.
     
  5. Then you clearly don't appreciate the commercial applications of OSS solutions. Which is fine by me - what you don't know won't hurt you.
     
  6. Bad CO

    Bad CO LE Admin Reviews Editor Gallery Guru

    We're big fans of OSS and ARRSE is entirely run using the epic combination of LAMP. Having said that I do actually think he's got a point in the particular area of CRM software.
     
  7. I disagree, I've spent almost 10 years in Operations / Sales Operations and I can assure you that Sugar CRM free version was delivering entirely adequate functions for a £2M per year SME, of course it took a bit of work and investment to design and implement the modules, but that Company was acquired 5 months ago and most of the stats in the M&A pack were derived from the source data in Sugar.
     
  8. Open source - Problem with that is like building ARRSE on Wordpress - might work for a while but will fall oer eventually
     
  9. Bad CO

    Bad CO LE Admin Reviews Editor Gallery Guru

    Two interesting and contrasting observations there!

    The suggestion that OSS isn't scalable just doesn't stack up though. There are plenty of massive websites built using OSS .... like Facebook for example, and they don't get much bigger than that. ARRSE uses Linux, Apache, Mysql and Php which copes pretty well with our 6 million page impressions per month - plus another 500k from the iPhone App.
     
  10. Six million page imps? - Have you bought your duplex yet at Brownsea Island - you should have !
     
  11. At enterprise level, every commercial CRM I've encountered has been an over-engineered nightmare, favoured only by beancounters. Then again, I'm biased as I depend on FOSS for my livelihood.
     
  12. Astute observation there, fella. Now name something that won't.
     
  13. I depend on CREST for mine, I love CRM.
     
  14. Thanks for the comments & such. I'll check out OTRS as well as others. Our servers run Ubuntu, hence the Linux requirement. I prefer open source stuff, as it is usually easier to get help - Just because you pay for a service, doesn't always mean it'll be worth the money. But if someone can recommend a paid-for service that they think it is well worth it, then we can consider that.

    And yes, I'll press da management for more specifics as to what they want to do with it.
     
  15. MS Dynamics - integrates well with Outlook... SQL backend if you want to code up fancier stuff... and its not too pricey.

    Won't work with Linux of course though...