It attracts a lot of attention because it appears to be the holy grail of customer relationship management systems: a system that can be changed at will by your developer because he has access to the source code. The fact that this is true may appear to be a no-brainer on the surface – until you have firsthand experience with it and realize that some things are simply too good to be true.
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Open source CRM is not the same thing as Linux. Linux is an excellent example of open source software that is both functional and reliable. It is written first and foremost by developers, for developers. Software developers are similar to artists, with the database, operating system, server, code, and so on serving as their canvas. Linux serves as the canvas on which they paint their masterpieces. These products, such as databases or operating systems, are unique in that they are being developed solely for use by others who are engaged in the same line of work as the creators of the product. It becomes much higher, and the community that supports it becomes much larger and more informed, and the desire to impress one’s peers in the developer community becomes a motivating force for the betterment of the community. Alternatively, CRM is a business application that is designed for Business Users in Sales, Marketing, and Support rather than IT professionals. When you hand over control of your customer relationship management system to a community of software developers, you get a CRM that was written by developers, for developers. This is not a winning proposition because the disconnect between requirements and deliverables is easily fragmented within most company departments; how can it be expected to survive over a loosely managed community of developers? In the long run, it is the CRM that suffers, and most businesses do not have the time to waste by putting their growth at risk as a result of an Open Source experiment.
There is no security. Hackers will always have access to the source code running on your system if you choose to make your CRM open source. They will always be able to discover vulnerabilities in your system faster than they can be repaired. The fact that the Open Source CRM development community is so small in comparison to other open source development communities, such as Linux, means that there is no chance of making the system secure at any point in the future.
If the hacker is a competitor looking to steal your customers by gaining valuable information from your database, or a hacker looking to gain access to your customers’ information for the purposes of identity theft, credit card fraud, or other fraud, the hacker can be either of the two. This type of hacking is usually carried out with the tracks being erased so that you are not even aware that it has taken place. This is far more dangerous than the type of attack that brings your servers down and prevents you from providing service to your customers because the goal of the game is to get in, steal your data, and then get out undetected so that you can come back every month and repeat the same process.
Open Source CRM provides criminals with a blueprint to the bank’s operations. In fact, because the hackers themselves are capable of developing code for the Open Source CRM (as they are also skilled developers), enlisting their assistance in planning and constructing the bank’s security system is analogous to asking criminals to assist in planning and constructing the bank’s security system. God forbid your company is ever held liable for customer data theft, but just imagine having to answer the following question in court: ‘So you kept your confidential customer data stored on a system that, by definition, was publicly available, and you were aware that the source code for accessing the data on that system was publicly available?’
Innovation does not operate on your timetable. There is no single driving force for consulting and developing your CRM system and strategy in an open source CRM environment; instead, the development community dictates how innovative your CRM system will be. This community development agenda can diverge from what your company requires, causing you to lose sight of your goals on a regular basis. Businesses thrive when they have the freedom to innovate at their leisure and on their own terms, rather than being forced to do so by the market. The option of being forced to follow an agenda that is not your own will always lose out to putting control in the hands of competent business professionals. Business professionals developed Cloud CRM specifically for business professionals – in an intuitive manner with built-in workflow that works, but also with the ability to customize each CRM system to each individual business with the click of a button. Because of this, business has the power, rather than the community, to make decisions.
Changing the code causes the system to malfunction. Contrary to popular belief, the ability to tinker with Open Source CRM’s source code means that it may not be compatible with future releases, and your code may become constantly unstable. This is bad news because it implies that every time your company attempts to innovate, it will be penalized with downtime and will be unable to benefit from the innovations of subsequent releases. Businesses should be concentrating on providing an exceptional customer experience rather than on being excellent software development houses. Any time spent developing and modifying the source code of a CRM diverts attention away from the development of the company and away from the growth of the company. Having a developer tinker with your Open Source CRM code is analogous to hiring a mechanic to work on your car all of the time, regardless of whether it is in need of repair. As a result, you will experience decreased dependability and uptime as the vehicle is constantly being worked on. If your car is constantly in the shop being repaired, you will not be able to win the race.