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Open Source CRM – The Other Side of CRM applications

Updated: Oct 3, 2023

We recently evaluated CRM software applications for a client who wanted to avoid incurring user licence costs and has a team of in-house developers that he wanted to utilize for CRM configuration, customization and day-to-day management of the application. With the requirement set, we started evaluating Open Source CRMs as an option. The following piece throws light on open-source CRMs as an alternative to proprietary licensed CRM applications and lists down options that are available in the market

What is an Open Source CRM

An Open Source CRM software is a business application whose source code is available for change or customization. The free version is available without any user licence restriction and can accommodate unlimited users. However, some well-known open-source CRMs have licensed versions as well. A ‘community edition’, as it is generally called, is available for developers and coders to alter.

What Does Open Source CRM Offer

An open-source CRM offers all the basic functionalities that a licensed CRM offers including lead management, sales pipeline, customer service, marketing automation & contact management.

Open Source CRM Vs Proprietary CRM

Proprietary CRM applications are fully developed, closed CRM applications. These applications do not allow any change at the code level and offer greater functionalities out of the box, which is complete and does not require any code-level changes. Implementation partners configure/ customize the software within the available framework.

Open Source CRMs provide a basic template of all functionalities mentioned above. Developers can completely change/customize and build new functionalities and modules on top of the template. Implementation companies also build new products and offer custom integrations which can be sold as off-the-shelf products by these companies.

Proprietary CRMs also have a cost associated with a user. Most proprietary CRMs are priced on a per-user per-month model with an upfront annual commitment or are discounted when the subscription is annual. Open-source CRMs do not attract a licence cost/product cost. Having said this, popular open-source CRMs do offer licensed versions of their applications.

When to Choose an Open Source CRM

Open Source CRMs You Can Evaluate


Odoo is a suite of open-source business apps that cover company needs: CRM, eCommerce, accounting, inventory, point of sale, project management, etc. Odoo CRM comes with the following features

– Leads

– Opportunities

– Contact and Customer management

– Communication (Email marketing and communication)

– Reporting

Odoo also offers a proprietary (Enterprise version) of its software.

Suite CRM

SuiteCRM is an open-source Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software solution that provides a 360-degree view of customers and business. Making it easy for Sales, Marketing and Customer Service departments to discover key information that will help you grow, retain and delight customers. Features include:

– Sales

– Marketing

– Activity Management

– Case Management

– Dashboards

– Reports

– Workflow

– Configuration Studio

*All information above has been compiled from the respective websites

As part of our CRM consulting services assignment, we evaluated the 2 products mentioned above. Other popular open-source CRM software options include Vtiger, OroCRM, CiviCRM and more… To conclude as a CRM advisory services firm we suggest if CRM software licence cost is the only concern, one should also evaluate the free or the lower grade versions of the proprietary/licensed CRMs as well and do a thorough comparison against the business needs and available budget to spend.


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