To choose or not to choose an open source CRM, that’s the dilemma.
Deciding which customer relationship management (CRM) system is best suited to your business or enterprise is no easy task, especially considering the sheer number of options on the market today.
If you are interested in customer service and satisfaction, you need CRM software. Now, if you are not sure what an open source CRM platform is all about,what the best options are in 2021, and want to discover the advantages that this type of tool brings to your company or enterprise, this article is for you. Join us to compare the best open source CRM software so that you can make the right choice for your business or enterprise without wasting valuable time searching for information all over the internet.
Let’s get started!
What is an open source CRM?
Open source CRM software is a kind of blueprint that allows users to create their own customised system tailored to their needs. In this sense, because the code is public, it is possible to edit and distribute it freely.
The aim of such open platforms is that, because any programmer can work on the code, the application is gradually improved until it is bug-free.
However, unlike most proprietary CRMs, you will need a programmer to modify the code of the open source solution or platform. If you have the right people on your team, an open source CRM platform is an excellent choice for your business.
Our selection criteria
In order to make the following comparison, Appvizer has taken into account the following selection criteria:
- the versatility of the tool:
- The automation of tasks,
- Customer support,
- sales funnel management,
- contact management,
- the added value proposition, either in terms of interoperability with other software or complementary functionalities;
- the user-friendliness and ergonomics of the tool;
- the integrability of the software,
- the popularity among users,
- the cost-effectiveness of the solution.
Who is the software for?
EspoCRM is an open source CRM for all types of companies and sectors:
- commerce and e-commerce,
- banks and insurance companies,
- real estate,
- education, etc.
Unlike Dolibarr, EspoCRM focuses mainly on customer relationship management, with advanced features and a rather nice design for open source.
Finally, the software has a cloud version subject to subscription, with various formulas.
It remains a free tool if you deploy it yourself locally. There is no limit to the size of your database, and you can develop the code according to your requirements.
In its basic version, EspoCRM covers most CRM needs:
- sales automation
- sales opportunity management,
- calendar and shared calendar,
- mass marketing, etc.
With the extensions, the Sales Pack or the Advanced Pack (all paid), you can strengthen the software by adding additional modules. These include, for example:
- Stock management,
- VoIP telephony,
- analytical reports,
- workflow management, etc.
EspoCRM allows a high degree of customisation. In particular, you can :
- choose your views,
- create entities or fields,
- customise message templates, etc.
As far as support is concerned, all you have to do is ask your questions on the EspoCRM community forum to benefit from free support from developers or users.
The software supports 26 languages.
It has a rather modern and responsive design.
EspoCRM is constantly evolving, with new features being developed every two months.
Our opinion on the software
Once again, the tool can be complex to learn at first sight… open source obliges.
Nevertheless, its functionalities and its possibilities of evolution will seduce companies that choose to turn to free software.
Finally, many EspoCRM users emphasise its intuitiveness and ease of use (once the tool has been installed and configured), due in particular to a rather pleasant interface and navigation.
Who is the software for?
VTiger is an open source CRM inspired by SugarCRM, since it is an evolution created from the app’s code.
Rather modern, the tool is more particularly intended for VSEs and SMEs. While it is sales-oriented (as expected of any good CRM), it is also support and customer service-oriented. Consequently, it is a very complete software for customer relationship management in the broadest sense.
For once, VTiger offers a hosted version in the cloud, available as a subscription plan.
The open source version of VTiger is free if you install it yourself on your own servers.
The solution includes many features to optimise your sales, but also your customer relations, such as:
- contact and lead management,
- sales pipeline management,
- HelpDesk management, with conversion of customer emails into tickets,
- stock and price catalogue management,
- dashboards to monitor your performance in real time, etc.
This CRM system can be built according to your needs thanks to the numerous integrations available:
- telephone, email or SMS,
- More than 200 extensions available on the VTiger marketplace (calendar synchronisation, RSS feed subscriptions, etc.).
You benefit from regular updates and the deployment of new features.
This open source solution allows fine control of user access, thanks to the assignment of roles and profiles by administrators.
VTiger also has a large community of users and developers to support and evolve the tool.
The software is available in 25 languages.
If you want to move to the cloud without paying extra, there is a Pilot version of VTiger, which is quite comprehensive in terms of features and is completely free for up to 10 users.
Our opinion on the software
VTiger is known for its ease of use and its large community. It is therefore perfectly suited to young companies who wish to embark on the adventure of open source CRM.
The tool is also very customisable and scalable, thanks to the new extensions that are regularly developed and that will complete your basic version if necessary.
Who is SuiteCRM for?
SuiteCRM is an open source CRM inspired by SugarCRM, since it is an evolution created from the latter’s code.
The software is more particularly intended for VSEs and SMEs, but it works perfectly also with big societies and companies.
There is no need to manually perform updates or manage maintenance requests thanks to the SaaS model of this application.
Whether running on Linux, Mac or Windows, Suite CRM can be used anytime, anywhere thanks to its SaaS model, which is easily accessible via an internet connection. This means you always have access to core functions such as account and contact management and opportunity management. The software data is stored directly at SuiteCRM, ensuring its secure storage.
The strengths of SuiteCRM :
- completely free open source software, based on the open source version of Sugar CRM,
- help with installation and learning by a very active community of users, who regularly enrich the tool’s functionalities,
- the integration of a project management tool,
- the creation of emailing campaigns,
- a clear and uncluttered interface for efficient reading of relevant information in the database, easy detection of opportunities and better management of prospects and customers.
Our opinion on SuiteCRM
SuiteCRM is a helpful solution for increasing sales. The software provides a clear view of the processes that affect sales and customers, as well as elements that enable the identification of new opportunities.
With its Open API and its extensive catalogue of plugins, SuiteCRM integrates seamlessly with other solutions, such as Outlook, WhatsApp, Zoom, Facebook, Gmail, Quickbooks, LinkedIn, and many more.
Comparison table of the best open source CRM software
|Software name||Target||Major strengths||Price|
|SuiteCRM||VSEs and SMEs, large groups||Functional, interactive and easy-to-use interface||Free in its self-hosted version|
|EspoCRM||All types of companies and sectors||High degree of customisation||Free in its self-hosted version
From €12/month/user for its cloud version
|VTiger||VSEs and SMEs||Complete customer relationship management||Free in its self-hosted version
Free for its Cloud Pilot version, up to 10 users
Advantages of an open source CRM
These are some of the main advantages of choosing an open source CRM for your business:
- Its flexibility and adaptability allow you to meet the needs of your business, as well as having a totally unique and customised tool.
- Reduced costs, or even free of charge.
- Most open source CRM applications can be managed at no additional cost.
- Constant updates thanks to the 24/7 collaboration of numerous programmers.
- The scalability of the tool allows it to grow with your business.
- No long-term contracts are required, so if you don’t find what you need in the software, you can look for another one without further commitment.
- ownership of your CRM. Even if the software producers decide to abandon the project, your CRM will continue to work.
How to choose the best open source CRM for your company
As we have said previously, when choosing your open source software there are many features to take into account. However, these three are the most basic and relevant:
- the cost of the tool: look for a tool that fits your budget.
- the ease of customisation: even if you have a highly skilled team, a tool that is easy to customise will save you time, and therefore money.
Finally, remember to choose your tool according to your needs and taking into account the time you are willing to invest in developing and customising it, because time is money and this factor is essential when choosing.
If you still haven’t decided which CRM software to choose, we invite you to take a look at our directory and evaluate all the options that Appvizer has for you.