Open-source CRM and ERP: New kids on the cloud

Make sure to read the full article below, this is my biased feedback.  I can happily admit my bias toward Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Azure and for profit software programming.  However, ComputerWorld tries to pull off being a news provider, which should (in a perfect world) not show bias.  It’s hard to believe you could have an industry write-up about cloud computing, CRM and the relationship between them without any mention of Microsoft offerings.  (just for grins I did a search on their site for anything Microsoft and stopped after the 4th page of returns where EVERY entry was negative and/or anti Microsoft, yes by all means have an opinion, but don’t present yourself as news when that is the case).

With that said…

For those that are unaware, the CRMOnline offering is pretty darn cool.  Are there a few differences between online and on premise, yup.  But it goes both ways with a recent online update.  So, you have a choice and get benefits (and maybe a few drawbacks) and can pick the scenario that best fits your model.  I’ve got a pretty sweet cloud success story. is run by CRMOnline and hosted in Azure. The user experience on the site is no different than if the CRM was on premise, if the thing was hosted in my basement or if all the content was hand-made ASP pages.

The ComputerWorld article talks about lack of service guarantees with cloud offerings and that is simply not true with the CRMOnline plus Azure combination. 

The article talks about the desire to “tinker with the code” and that is the expectation with open source.  Hmmm, I’ve seen loads of code tinkering in Dynamics CRM, I can talk xRM for days.

Let’s talk costs for a minute.  The article quotes some pricing for this open source CRM product called RightNow at somewhere between $140-$250.  That is per user, per month.  WOW.  Two users and you have a car payment or groceries for a family of four for a month.  And you get something you can’t “tinker” with.  CRMOnline runs under $50 per user per month.  And you get guaranteed uptime, unlimited support tickets, code tinkering (xRM anyone?), an extensive partner community for added support, and on and on.

As far as the concept of open source goes, I am on the fence.  I like to think of myself as open minded and I understand that even if I think a product or course of action is what I would do, others find their own solutions and that’s just fine.  I know that doing non-open source work pays my mortgage and my view might be skewed based on that.  The compensation models I have heard about for open source work seems to be less than honest (ie: make all your money supporting an inferior product to make money off the support services, outrageous subscription fees like above, etc).  I also tend to believe three’s no such thing as a free lunch and things that look too good to be true typically are too good to be true.

Maybe I’m the last one to the party as far as ComputerWorld’s very biased view of the computer world.  I can tell you they have lost a casual reader of their magazine.

Open-source CRM and ERP: New kids on the cloud

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