How far can open source CRM get?

How far can open source CRM get?

Summary: Despite their support and even their own hosted solutions, there remains something roll-your-own about open source CRM. That's where Intel's money comes in. By scaling Centric, the hope is, a competitive market dynamic can be restored.

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Centric CRM logoNews that CentricCRM is getting a capital infusion from Intel Capital leads again to the inevitable question, how far can open source get in the CRM market?

It's a tough road. Customer Relationship Management is more than mission-critical. The title describes your business right there.

So there are big bucks involved, as well as big risks. If you're a big company you've probably got those bucks invested in Oracle. Maybe SAP. Following its acquisition binge of a few years ago, probably Oracle.

On the low end there's the hosted model, led by Salesforce.com. Despite some well-publicized outages, the company keeps moving forward, and if you're not in the Fortunate 500 it can be a sound, even safe choice.

Then there's open source, the only way in which CRM start-ups can elbow their way into the market today. SugarCRM, SplendidCRM and now Centric have proven there's a place in the market for this (if you read your license carefully). But how big a place? Even the vendors can't say.

Despite their support and even their own hosted solutions, there remains something roll-your-own about open source CRM. That's where Intel's money comes in. By scaling Centric, the hope is, a competitive market dynamic can be restored.

But where does this leave you, with your few dozen or few hundred employees, your tight budget, your crying need for a CRM solution, and those big Oracle price tags?

In the end you have to look someone in the eye. Got a database guy you can trust? Does that guy (or gal) trust Centric, Sugar or some other open source CRM project?  (There's a bunch of them.) Are you willing to bet your company on them?

Then go for it. And let me know how it goes. We can write the story on your IPO tombstone. Or the other kind.

Topics: Open Source, Enterprise Software

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4 comments
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  • vtigerCRM

    This is one of the very good completely Open Source CRM, but most of the talks about Open Source CRM packages, never mention this, I'm always surprised??

    Maybe you can help!!
    deep@...
  • CentricCRM is not Open Source

    CentricCRM is not under an OSI-approved (http://opensource.org/licenses/) open source license. In fact, their license (http://www.centriccrm.com/ProjectManagementFiles.do?command=Download&pid=56&fid=344&view=true) is flagrantly proprietary and will not allow distribution in any form.
    mattflaschen
  • This is not open source by any stretch of the imagination

    Okay so you can dispute the "Exhibit B" crap because it is new territory. However this software is clearly not open source. I refer you to its license: http://www.centriccrm.com/ProjectManagementFiles.do?command=Download&pid=56&fid=344&view=true

    Particularly:

    "
    You may use, copy, modify, and make derivative works from the code for internal
    use only.

    You may not redistribute the code, and you may not sublicense copies or
    derivatives of the code, either as software or as a service.
    "

    On WHAT PLANET is that open source!!!

    I also have to say, I really have no respect for you in particular as a journalist/blogger/whatever. It isn't personal or JUST THIS article (ex: http://linuxintegrators.com/acoliver/blog/2006/12/08/x-0291.html), it is that none of your articles are researched at all and generally seem like half-baked regurgitated press releases.

    It took me awhile to take any of the ZDNet "weblog" stuff seriously because I prejudged it based on your stuff. I really wish you would spend more time on your articles, and definitely read a bit deeper than what the company says about itself.
    acoliver
  • Keep "Newspeak" Out of Open Source

    We should support the OSI?s efforts to preserve the purity of the open source concept and encourage ? if we can ? vendors to do the same by using real open source licenses like GPLv3. There are, of course, many open source licenses, but as long as they adhere to the essential principles of the OSD that?s not a problem. So far the OSI has done a good job in deciding what licenses meet those principles. Vendors should avoid rocking the boat just to make a few bucks.

    I agree with Danese Cooper, secretary and treasurer of the OSI board, when she says that the term ?open source? is being abused. This has to stop. Such abuse leads to confusion, and that only plays into the hands of the enemies of free/open source software. Don't let "open source" be a vicitm of Orwellian Newspeak.
    mannyamador