Four things to consider when implementing an open source CRM
Research shows that the implementation of many open source CRM systems fails to kick in effectively, leaving systems in place that are never fully operational because they don’t work as they should. Finding yourself in this position is devastating at it can take a large chunk of budget to retrieve them and turn the failed software system into one that will function.
Beware the 80/20 % rule
Unbelievably, up to 80% of open source CRM systems fail. Before you and your company fall foul to this worrying statistic, there are four things that you should bear in mind and make sure that you have in place before you jump into open source.
1. Do you have sufficient budget to implement an open source CRM?
You should be speaking to every department that will use the CRM and taking detailed notes. Ascertain how employees will use the system and concentrate on activities that will add value. If the new ‘free’ CRM is not going to improve the way they work, then it will not be paying for its keep.
Whilst the source code for open source CRMs won’t cost you anything, this doesn’t mean an open source software is ‘free’. Make sure you incorporate hardware costs and ongoing support, development and training into your budget. Users of the new CRM will need to be confident that they are using the new system correctly and your failure to allow for this may result in the system falling by the wayside. If management are not prepared to increase the budget to allow for this, you should re-think getting the new CRM system at all.
2. Plan the implementation carefully
Look at what you need the CRM to do and match it, choosing the most suitable modules. The simpler this phase of the project, the less risk of it going wrong. Implementation should be controlled, smooth and cause minimum disruption to current workflows. Organize your CRM implementation on a small scale, taking account of current processes and procedures. Get some of the users to use the system and see what they think of it and how they work with it. Their feedback will enable you to talk to the software provider about possible additions and omissions from the final version. Use this feedback to make changes. Don’t be fooled into putting in place changes that you personally think will be needed; take account of all other system users and let them guide you.
3. Development issues
When developing open source in-house, you are going to need access to a pool of ready-made talent or take on board the expense of outsourcing. This can be costly, so always decide which route you will take in advance and budget for ongoing customization and bug fixes.
4. Security threats
The nature of open source is that the source code is easily-accessible to everyone - and that means hackers as well as to developers and genuine users. However, because of this it may also be susceptible to being attacked maliciously. In order to prevent this you need to ensure that your development team are proactive when it comes to security threats, during the working period and after it goes live.
With all of this in mind and this information in place, you are far more certain of spending your budget on a free CRM system that will not only tick all the boxes but will actually be used. The golden rule is to plan ahead effectively, take account of the needs of every user and most of all, ensure that you have sufficient budget to get the system up and running as it should be.
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