Tech Solution: Open-Source CRM

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Companies often have concerns when buying CRM from a traditional vendor: How much control can they really maintain, relying on the vendor for updates? Will they be able to customize and tweak solutions based on shifting business needs? Typically, once a company signs a contract with a vendor, it’s bound by the parameters of the document, no matter how its operational needs may change going forward. However, open-source CRM -- built around programming code that’s open to the public, as opposed to proprietary code -- may provide the desired freedom, enabling users to modify products to their own liking, and allow flexibility of use.

ConcourseSuite 5.0 from Concursive (formerly Centric CRM)

Delivery Model: hosted on-demand, hosted appliance, managed appliance, and on-premise

Price: Yearly seat fees per user are $400 ($600 for hosted on-demand); yearly per server fees for hosted appliance ($36,000) and managed appliance ($6,000) delivery models also require a $1,000 installation fee.

Business Benefits: This complete front-office solution combines marketing and customer service, online presence management, and team collaboration on one single platform. To maximize ease of use, the solution also provides the ability to customize or add features through a flexible "portlet" plug-in architecture.

Functionality: ConcourseSuite enables companies to run public Web sites and e-commerce catalogs from one application, as well as to interact with customers using Web 2.0 and other social-networking capabilities. The solution also enables the capture of all customer, Web, CRM, Enterprise 2.0, and transactional data in one database, which helps deliver scalability and ease of use.

Contact: Concursive at 1-757-627-3002; or visit www.concursive.com.

MPower Open

Delivery Model: either client/server or hosted

Price: No license fees. Support: $100 per concurrent user per month up to 20 users; special pricing for more users.

Business Benefits: This open-source CRM software suite for nonprofits gives users freedom and control to customize the product to fulfill an organization’s exact needs, including automating and streamlining day-to-day operations, aligning business processes with industry best practices, and providing an integrated view of constituents individually, as segments, and as a whole. The solution’s open technology enables users to customize source code to develop features as needed.

Functionality: MPower Open enables "moves management," advancing constituents to deeper relationships with an organization to increase their value (e.g., cultivating a first-time donor to become a recurring donor). Functionality includes rich contact management (including address validation), reporting, advanced analytics, and integration with leading technology systems used by nonprofits.

Contact: MPower at 1-800-562-5150; or visit www.mpoweropen.com.

Sugar 5.0 from SugarCRM

Delivery Model: either on-demand or on-premise

Price: Professional-grade solution: $40 per user per month (on-demand); $275 per user per year (on-site). Enterprise-grade offering: $75 per user per month (on-demand), and $449 per user per year (on-site).

Business Benefits: The solution’s platform capabilities provide the ability to customize the software to meet exact requirements across marketing, sales, and support. Sugar 5.0 also includes Module Builder, which allows nontechnical users to capture all pertinent information for users and managers to either build modules from scratch or combine existing or custom objects into a new CRM module.

Functionality: The solution’s metadata-driven user interface combines the benefits of CRM with the ability to incorporate new features in future releases. Sugar 5.0 also introduces the Ajax Email Client, which tightly integrates with Sugar’s CRM functionality. Additional charting features provide the ability to display multiple dashboards on a single homepage.

Contact: SugarCRM at 1-408-454-6940; or visit www.sugarcrm.com.

Contact Editorial Assistant Christopher Musico at cmusico@destinationCRM.com.

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