As with all areas of enterprise software development, customer relationship management (CRM) has both proprietary and open source offerings on the market. Notice that we chose to say “proprietary and open source” rather than “proprietary and commercial.” There is a misconception that open source is non-commercial, non-profit software. However the “free” nature of it refers to distribution of source code (think of it more like “free speech” than “free of charge”). Getting real value out of open source software often requires licensing and service expenses. However, it is true that open source solutions still tend to offer lower costs. It is then worthwhile to make a general feature and service comparison and see which type of CRM solution is the best fit for a business model.
Let us take a look at Sage CRM and vTiger as an example, as both are comparable in terms of price po int. Furthermore, both are offered as on-premise and cloud-based applications. Sage CRM is available as a cloud service for $39/month, while vTiger on Demand is offered at $12/month. That difference is so close that we must take into account the potential productivity gains of the two.
The inventory management of vTiger is considered to be very strong, as is the default ability to weave orders into the process flow. Sage CRM, however, also has very intuitive default user features and the very useful ability to use “wave activities” to give users an easier and finer-grained tracking when managing campaigns.
What is often a deciding factor in the choice between open source and proprietary software is service. Of course, vTiger’s front end is considered rich, intuitive, and simple, making it strong from a usability perspective. What is typically a large endeavor, however, is an on-premis e vTiger install. Built upon the LAMP stack, it requires more than just a passing familiarity with web development to execute. In situations such as this, support and stability tend to be an issue and ongoing maintenance can typically require in-house expertise, somewhat defeating the purpose of choosing a third party solution. Sage CRM combines ease of use with world-class customer support available from Monday through Friday that gives 48 hour turnaround, and also offers extra tiers of support for a fee.
Making the correct choice in CRM solution for your organization may take the guidance of an experienced IT consulting partner such as Unisoft Systems, located in Vancouver, BC.