How To Choose A Customer Relationship Management System
The days of managing contact information with Outlook are long gone. Today CRMs are at the heart of many companies communication systems. The decision IT departments have to make is not whether to adopt a CRM but which one, as a search for ‘Top Nonprofit CRM systems” shows 87 versions to choose from.
Establishing your criteria
At Samu we concentrate on Open Source (OS) solutions as a first choice, this therefore cuts this list down. We also choose ‘Cloud’ or server based systems, to allow multiple users access from as many devices as possible. A system should, ideally allow easy customisation, as few systems are a perfect fit out of the box and be well supported by documentation. A strong community for support is an added advantage. Many CRMs were first written a long time back. Although they have been upgraded the code base still remains old, leading to code bloat, awkward interfaces, leading to poor user experiences (UX). so a modern code base is a distinct advantage. This is certainly the case with one of the most famous OS CRMs, Sugar.
Until recently we had been using VTiger, an OS fork from Sugar. Although VTiger meets many of the criteria we set it still suffers from a fair few drawbacks for developers, particularly as the ‘community version’ is out of synch with the ‘supported’ version. This fragmentation has led to many basically essential aspects of a modern CRM being available only via third party developers, at a cost. A further issue with this is you that have to rely on these developers keeping up to date with VTiger developments, or you may end up with a module not supported in the future. This is not how open source operates efficiently. So we have been looking around for alternatives.
A Different Path
Ever since we started Samu we have been looking at CiviCRm and although feature rich we consider it’s poor UX is a distinct disadvantage. Recently we have started to utilise the awkwardly named X2CRM. X2CRM was founded in 2011 by John Roberts. Prior to founding X2CRM, John Roberts was a co-founder and CEO of SugarCRM Inc. this ensures that it has a modern code base, taking up fewer resources – important for running on a server, and is responsive, so usable on mobile devices.
X2CRM is an open source CRM software platform for “marketing, sales, customer service and other custom applications powered by an easy to use workflow engine and process management framework. Manage your clients with an endlessly customizable, powerful app, and boost your productivity like never before.” System administrators have “the flexibility to customize and extend X2CRM with the intuitive development tool, X2Studio. X2CRM’s platform tool set”.
Even from our initial experiences of using X2CRM during the last two weeks it seems apposite to move over to this system for us and for our clients.