What Happened To Open Source CRM Anyway?

Dmitry Davydov
January 24, 2016
Last updated: December 12, 2018
I first wanted to sensationalize the title a bit and call it ‘Why Open Source CRM Died’. That’s not entirely true, as many open source CRM systems are alive and kicking, but it certainly would grab people’s attention, because I think it’s a very interesting subject. But let me first start with a Google Trends slide.

I’ve shown it what feels like hundred times, typically to folks who want to be our CRM partners, saying that the graph demonstrates how quickly Bitrix24 grows (last year we grew close to 300% and that’s from a very considerable user base). And then one day a person on the other side replied that to him it showed that open source CRM glory days were over more that Bitrix24 was growing fast.

That got me thinking.

Ten years ago, heck, even five years ago, there were a lot of vendors that were convinced that they’ll make an open source CRM solution that’ll kill Salesforce. A few dared to actually to publicly make this prediction. But we know now that Salesforce biggest threat comes from Zoho, not SugarCRM, vTiger or any other open source solution.

So what’s going on with open source CRM and why is that open source solutions dominate some niches, like content management systems, but not this one?

First, you have to understand what ‘open source’ means. No, I am not taking about Wikipedia definition but rather what clients, vendors and partners are wishing for when saying ‘open source CRM’.

To end users ‘open source’ means free — almost no exceptions. It’s not about source code or idealistic world views or desire to customize software, it’s about not paying anything. That’s wh ere the problems start — first, you need finish reading the article in my Medium blog
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