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  1. #1

    opensource CRM programs: comparison and opinions

    The only one of those I’ve seen is Sugar and that only as a demo. It seemed pretty useful but , as usual with these things, the cost isn’t in the base package but in the customisations and the danger with these is most of the opensource packages have "partners" who do the customisations which are often not well documented or are proprietary so , if the partner goes out of business, you are left in the lurch . Our IT/Accounts people regularly get companies pushing this sort of thing but have stuck rigidly with Sage for some time. Better the devil you know, etc.
    Having said that Sage have done some really nice updates recently particularly for mobile use.

    Sorry I cant be of more help.

  2. #2
    @ Dr Strange: thanks to your answer, I understand your point but I think this is realistic for smaller "homemade" systems, not extensively used and maybe which don’t respect the standards.
    Soon I will post my comparison summary.

  3. #3
    During last 2 weeks I worked on Vtiger Free 6.3.0 and VTECRM Community 15.05. I already know and use these software but mostly in previous versions, so I want to get the "state of the art" of them now. I know that recently they have been updated and improved. CRM are almost a passion for me I’ll try Sugar after, now I begin comparing these two systems that are very similar.
    Here you are the links if you are curious:
    VTE: www.vtecrm.com/products/vte-on-premise/download/
    Vtiger: www.vtiger.com/open-source-downloads/

    1. Comparing general tools and browsing
    Graphic interface and navigation logic: are very similar so it’s easy to compare the two systems.
    Modules included as default (modules I can access, not just tools): Vtiger 30, VTE 35.
    Menus: are very similar, but in Vtiger there’s only the module menu, not a tools menu like in VTE, which I think is very useful to access the personal tools from everywhere in the CRM (especially notifications, emails, talks). In both the systems I can customize the main menu, Vtiger’s has more shortcuts to common settings tool.
    Customization of the graphic theme: better on Vtiger (I can choose from 9 colors), but that’s not so important.
    User preferences: quite similar as well, but VTE’s user can define for which modules and which kind of record changes the notifications are enabled or disabled. As default the notifications are internal (a panel from the tool menu) so they are not invasive and I can mark them as read/unread (like emails).
    Round 1: VTE wins thanks to its tools menu and user preferences.

  4. #4
    Summary of Round 1 (useful for a quick view)
    Number of accessible modules: VTE 35, Vtiger 30
    Graphic theme and menu customization : VTE less, Vtiger more
    Modules menu with modules and areas: VTE yes, Vtiger yes
    Tools and shortcuts menu: VTE yes, Vtiger no
    Notifications setting per user: VTE yes, Vtiger no

    2. Comparing the tools on data
    As I said before, VTE and Vtiger are quite similar, so I’m finding many functions on both software: data assignation (propriety) to a user or group of users, mass editing on selected records, control of duplicates with merge function, import and export of data via csv, simple and advanced research within a module or between modules, simple filters to extract lists of records, quick creation of related records, the change-log of the record, attaching documents to a record (for example the customer’s sheet).
    There are also considerable differences in the data management between VTE and Vtiger: VTE provides more functions.
    Related contents menu (data in the other modules that are linked with the one you are on): both systems have it, but only VTE provides a dynamic menu which shows a) the number of related records (for example I read Quotes 3 if there are three quotes related to the customer), and b) the descending order of modules according to their content. This means less clicks to find and access contents.
    Advanced filters: based on dynamic data ranges or reports, provide more options to extract lists of records.
    Personal notification of changes on filters and records: within each record or filter I can enable notifications that I receive every time a change happens (does not matter the assignation), useful for work lists (like: alert me when a new lead appears in the list).
    Clicks needed to view, open, add contents: I noticed that are less in VTE, more in Vtiger.

    Summary
    User’s (or group of users) propriety: VTE yes, Vtiger yes
    Mass editing: VTE yes, Vtiger yes
    Duplicates control and merge: VTE yes, Vtiger yes
    Data import/export (csv): VTE yes, Vtiger yes
    Simple and advanced research within a module and between modules: VTE yes, Vtiger yes
    Related contents menu within each module: VTE dynamic menu, Vtiger static menu
    Simple filters to save lists of data: VTE yes, Vtiger yes
    Advanced filters (temporal and based on reports): VTE yes, Vtiger no
    Personal notification of record changes: VTE yes, Vtiger no
    Personal notification of filter changes: VTE yes, Vtiger no
    Quick creation of related records: VTE yes, Vtiger yes
    Changes history (change-log): VTE yes, Vtiger yes
    Attaching documents to records: VTE yes, Vtiger yes
    Number of clicks to open contents: VTE less clicks, Vtiger more clicks

    Round 2: VTE wins, no doubt.

  5. #5
    3. Comparing the personal tools
    This area involves calendar and email.
    Shared calendar: both Vtiger and VTE allow users to share their calendar according to the privileges. I add an event (specific day and time) or a task (sort of memo), they can be private or public. Events/tasks are related to a CRM record (for example the customer), providing a history of the activities. From the record I can add a new event/task which is automatically linked.
    Speaking of functions, the two systems are very similar but again VTE proves to be smarter. I just need to see the "box" of the event and click the link to access the related content, without opening the full form. The drag & drop on the calendar is better. I can move back and forth in weeks, months, years through a quick mini-calendar. And I can invite other users but also contacts (for example a customer) to an event. These shortcuts are certainly a plus.
    Let’s see the email module. Very similar: it supports IMAP, I can do all the common actions I have to do on emails, I can save email templates, create/relate records starting from the email, and so on. The main difference is about sharing an email between VTE users, without forwarding and sharing comments about the emails too. This is a big plus. Another trick is the "multiple sending" mode which respects the privacy of each recipient (sort of advanced BCC).

    Summary
    Calendar module with shared agenda between users: VTE yes, Vtiger yes
    Distinction between event and task: VTE yes, Vtiger yes
    Event/task archived in the related record: VTE yes, Vtiger yes
    Quick link to event/task and record: VTE yes, Vtiger no
    Inviting users and contacts to an event/task: VTE yes, Vtiger only user
    Public/private visibility of event/task: VTE yes, Vtiger yes
    Quick research between weeks-months-years: VTE yes, Vtiger no
    Email module: VTE yes, Vtiger yes
    IMAP supported: VTE yes, Vtiger yes
    Creating or link a record starting from an email: VTE yes, Vtiger yes
    Share and comment email with other users: VTE yes, Vtiger no
    Distinction between single or multiple sending mode: VTE yes, Vtiger no
    Email customized templates: VTE yes, Vtiger yes

    Round 3: VTE wins again, more endearing calendar and excellent email sharing.

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