What makes Open Source CRM better than Free CRM
By Katy Robinson
Perhaps the two words most commonly thrown around in the world of CRM are the very two you just saw in the title. “Open Source CRM” and “Free CRM”, often mistaken as two ends of the same thread, but the reality of the situation is quite the contrary. The difference between the two is large enough for them to occupy two ends of a spectrum but an instant google search for either would involve the other. Let’s break down what these two terms actually entail and why you should always pick an Open Source CRM.
A CRM platform from one of the big five vendors can be a little too steep for a majority of organizations over an extended period of time. Therefore, organizations often opt for an alternative that is easy on the finances and gives them the functionality they need. This is where things start to get tricky because the majority of these Free CRM platforms are packaged in a way that makes them more appealing in comparison to an Open Source CRM but the reality of the situation is that these Free CRM are devoid of all major functionalities and come with features limited to a certain number of users and storage space. The customer ends up paying a lot more in the long run than the total cost of an Open Source CRM customization and integration. Read on for reasons that make Open Source better than Free CRM.
Source Code Access
Source Code is the treasure chest when it comes to CRMs. With the source code in hand, you can have any number of CRM integrations and modifications you want and can bend the CRM functionalities to your will to maximize the investment you’ve made in it. The dedicated developer community also adds to an excellent support system ensuring timely bug fixes and code corrections. However, in the Free CRMs, the access to the source code is not provided. What you get is limited functionality with updates and upgrades available at a cost that ultimately adds up into a lot more in comparison. For example, let’s say you have an open source CRM in SuiteCRM, you can add any number of custom workflows and sales/marketing automation. But in a Free CRM platform, you would have to pay the vendor to do this.
A number of Free CRM versions come with a hidden limitation on the number of users that can access the platform. You can only leverage the most out of your CRM if you’re using it on a company-wide scale; that’s how you increase efficiency, consolidate data, and automate tasks to increase the overall productivity of your business. You can’t do any of those things if your CRM is only accessible by users you can count on your fingertips. The majority of free CRM platforms allow 2-5 user access which basically beats the purpose of having the CRM. This is an essential functionality and as your business grows you’ll find yourself paying for it again and again. So why not opt for an open-source CRM instead that comes with no limitations by default.
Enterprise Level CRM
With an Open-Source CRM, you get an enterprise-level CRM that comes with all functionalities and features along with an option to scale and customize it at will. Open-Source CRM also lets you use the API, bringing more flexibility to your business operations. Whereas the Free CRM platforms seldom allow you to access API and that too at a cost.
It’s pretty obvious that these free CRM versions from proprietary CRM vendors add very little value unless you’re a startup that needs limited CRM functionalities. The core CRM features do not come packaged into these free versions and organizations end up having to pay more than they would with an open source CRM. An open source CRM, on the other hand, is an enterprise-level CRM that lets you customize and modify the platform according to the needs of your business.