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Why Open Source CRM is bad for your business?

Open source CRM gathers a lot of attention as it seems like the holy grail – a system that can be changed at will by your developer, because that developer has access to the source code. On the surface this can sound like a no-brainer – until you experience it for yourself, and you realize that some things are too good to be true.

  1. Open source CRM is not Linux. Linux is a great example of open source software that works. First it is written by developers, for developers. Software developers are like artists and their canvas is the database, operating system, server, code, etc. Linux is the canvas on which they practice their art. This is unique to products like a database or an operating system because it is a unique situation where the creators are creating a product for use strictly by others in their own profession. The standard becomes much higher, and the community that supports it much larger and well informed, and the need to impress ones peers in the developer community is a driving force for good. CRM on the other hand is a business application, for Business Users in Sales, Marketing and Support , not IT people. When you turn the reins of your CRM over to a community of Software developers, you get a CRM written by developers, for developers. This is not a winning proposition as the disconnect in needs vs deliverables gets easily fragmented within most company departments, how can this be expected to live over a loosely managed community of developers? It is the CRM that suffers in the long run and most businesses don’t have the time to waste risking their growth to an Open Source experiment.

  2. No Security. Having your CRM open source means hackers have access to the source code running on your system and, therefore will always be able to discover vulnerabilities in your system faster than they can become repaired. Since the community of developers in Open Source CRM is so tiny as compared to other open source development communities such as Linux, there is no chance of making the system secure, ever.

  3. In this case the hacker can be a competitor looking to steal your customers by gaining invaluable information from your database, or a hacker that wants to gain access to your customer information for identity theft, credit card fraud, etc. This type of hacking is usually done and the tracks erased so that you are not even aware it occurred. This is much more dangerous than the type of attack to bring down your servers so you can’t service your customers because the object of the game is to get in, steal your data and get out undetected so you can come back every month and do the same thing.

    Open Source CRM gives the criminals the blueprint to the bank. In fact, since the hackers themselves can develop code for the Open Source CRM (as they too are talented developers) then it is like asking the criminals to help you plan and build the security system of the bank. God forbid your business ever be held responsible for having customer data stolen, but just imagine for a second having to answer this question in court ‘So you kept your confidential customer data stored on a system that, by definition, and that you knew the source code was publicly available on how to access the data on that system?

  4. Innovation is not on your terms. In open source CRM the development community dictates the innovation of your CRM system and there is no one driving force for consultation and development of your CRM system and strategy. This community development agenda can diverge from what your business needs and keep you constantly off track. Businesses succeed best when they have the ability to innovate at will, and on their own terms, as the market dictates. Being held to an agenda that is not your own can never win out over putting the control in the hands of competent business professionals. Cloud CRM has been developed by Business professionals, for business professionals – in an intuitive fashion and with built in workflow that works, but also with the ability to customize the CRM system to each business, with the click of a button. This puts the power in the hand of the business, not the community.

  5. Changing the code breaks the system. Ironically, the ability to tinker with the source code of Open Source CRM means that it may not be compatible with future releases and your code constantly breaks. This is bad news because it says every time you try to innovate, your business is penalized with downtime and can’t take advantage of the innovation of future releases. Businesses should be focusing on delivering an amazing customer experience, not being good software development houses. Any time spend developing and modifying source code of a CRM is taking mindshare, and valuable time away from the growth of the business. Having a developer tinker with your Open Source CRM code is like hiring a mechanic to tinker with your car all the time, whether it needs it or not. The result is when you lose reliability and uptime because the car is constantly being worked on. You can’t win the race if your car is constantly in the shop being worked on.

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