Should You Use an Open-source CRM?

Managing relationships has increasingly become a top priority for businesses and individuals across sectors. Excel spreadsheets and minimal systems no longer serve the multi-faceted needs of people to stay engaged with their contacts.

That is where personal CRMs come in to make note-taking, scheduling, and contact organization easier and more efficient. However, some find personal CRMs somewhat restrictive, and look for alternatives that allow them to shape their software in a manner that, more specifically, suits their organization and their needs. 

That is precisely what open-source CRMs do. Their codes are publicly available and can be configured by users and shared within organizations. For these reasons, they are considered to be more flexible, customizable, and somewhat more affordable. Alternatively, professionals use personal CRMs such as Covve that are specially designed tools that make relationship building more efficient and more effective. People also use free personal CRMs such as leveraging Excel or Microsoft Outlook to create their own yet minimally functional personal CRM. 

Let’s take a look at some of the leading open-source CRMs and personal CRMs currently creating buzz according to the likes of Forbes,, and Indeed, and Medevel, a leading technology blog led by medical doctors who also code.

Leading Open-source CRMs

SuiteCRM: Research indicates that the current reigning open-source CRM is SuiteCRM as it excels in assisting in sales, service, and marketing. As a robust open-source CRM, it includes sales automation, marketing campaigns, and extensive support management. It features an easy-to-navigate user interface and can easily be integrated with other tools. Most importantly, it enables teams to develop tailored workflows and customized, real-time dashboards.

One drawback observed from various sources is that SuiteCRM lacks support, leaving queries to be answered by community support.

Odoo CRM: Coming in a close second is Odoo CRM. It is more along the lines of a business management platform which hosts its own CRM module and boasts 10,000 applications to connect with right off the bat. As its CRM is modular, it enables teams to select their preferred features, taking customization options to new heights. It is a top choice among small to medium sized businesses. One of its greatest advantages is that the CRM is free.

Despite its extensive features and integrations, its complexity in setting up requires experienced developers. Akin to SuiteCRMs challenge, it lacks appropriate support, making it challenging to resolve specific issues and bugs. 

OroCRM: Oro is primarily a B2B ecommerce platform since 2012, with OroCRM as one of its core products. This makes it the ideal CRM for ecommerce platforms and retail businesses. Its core highlight is its reporting engine, making it easy to track everything related to sales and customer habits. It offers various integrations with a multitude of third-party tools, including eBay, Amazon, Mailchimp, and more. Its performance-centric dashboard allows teams to better monitor what works, and what doesn’t.

However, just as the previously mentioned open-source CRMs, it lacks the much needed support from Oro, leaving the community to do the heavy lifting when problems arise. Additionally, OroCRM does not have a mobile app, making accessing the platform more difficult and limited.

Open-source CRMs are incredible tools for businesses of all sizes. They allow teams to optimize and personalize their dashboards, the way data is stored, and how it is displayed. Their extensive flexibility and cost-effectiveness make them an attractive tool for businesses to better keep tabs on their performance and customers, just as they choose to.

However, the lack of support, necessary software development knowledge, and, as seen in Synopsys’ 2023 Open Source Security and Risk Analysis report, open-source code bases are more prone to cyberattacks. Combining this risk factor with a lack of support from the various open-source tools could make any organization second-guess these tools. Despite concerns regarding open-source codes, organizations ensure to encrypt and protect code bases from cyberthreats using advanced systems.

Open-source Personal CRMs

Aside from CRMs for businesses, there are open-source personal CRMs for individuals to use, too. According to Medevel, there are 11 open-source personal CRMs to look out for that may fit various personal networking needs.

Monica: Starting with Monica, the leading open-source personal CRM, users gain access to their own contact, events, and relations tool. They can store, organize, and enable note-taking features for contacts and interactions. Monica places great emphasis on taking on the responsibility for remembering important details about contacts. Written with PHP, beginners and novices in programming may find it easier to set up their ideal personal CRM compared to other, more complicated languages.

Personal Management System: The Personal Management System app is more of a one-stop-shop for an individual’s needs. From monitoring and executing payments and bills, to managing passwords, contacts, multimedia, tasks, and even shopping lists. It features a user-friendly dashboard and is compatible with many browsers including Google Chrome and Firefox. It does come without a warranty, however, raising alarms regarding their liability.

Keep in Touch: A minimal open-source personal CRM designed to perform basic contact and interaction details, simplifying contact management processes using the preferred Python framework – Django, and supports Trello cards integration as well. The only trouble is that the developer who built Keep in Touch has not updated it since 2021 and users rely on the community to resolve issues they face.

Try Bespoke Personal CRMs

While open-source CRMs offer personalization and are cost-effective, they are often lacking in powerful features found in bespoke personal CRMs like Covve. Here at Covve, our personal CRM app offers all of the contact storing, organization and management features, as well as advanced and user-friendly note-taking and tagging tools. Users can personalize the way their contacts are organized based on their location, occupation, hobbies, interests, and more, granting users greater personalization options.

Covve also ensures the utmost protection of users’ data, offers tracking tools to analyze how well users’ relationship building habits and practices are performing for them. Our personal CRM app also includes reminders that gently nudge users to reach out to contacts to maintain lasting relationships. 

In case a user may feel uncomfortable with follow-ups and reconnecting, Covve also boasts an AI assistant that helps draft emails and messages, and even suggests prompts using the latest news to reach out based on a particular contacts’ interests and occupation.

Open-source personal CRMs are great for individuals with minimal networking needs and for those who prefer personalization over extensive features and tools. However, the more advanced your network becomes, and the faster it expands, the more important it is to have a versatile and reliable tool to serve those needs.

Updated on 30 Nov 2023.

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