What are your predictions on the demand for an Open Source CRM application?
This is a tough one. Open Source applications have obviously done well because of Linux but CRM is not a place there is a lot of traction. There are a handful of companies that produce Open Source CRM apps such as Compiere but I can't vouch for their value since I have no specific experience with them. Back in 2000, OpenSourceCRM.org was created to lobby for the open source CRM applications but as you can see by trying to access their website, they don't seem to exist anymore. As far as Linux-based CRM applications specifically, there is probably some future for it though I don't see it as a threat to the primary CRM vendors. Because Linux is backed by the IBMs of the world, there is applicability specifically to the small and medium business market, so I think there will be increasing interest in finding Linux-based CRM inexpensive or cheap applications in that domain. One thing that "regular" CRM has going for it is that the vendors normally provide a good set of customization tools such as PeopleTools for PeopleSoft. If that leaves price, there are "Gen-Z" companies such as a new one that has reached the horizon called J-Curve that has a customization tool that allows the customers' internal teams to customize the applications. So the issue of an Open Source CRM is by no means moot, but perhaps less important in the world of CRM than competition with an operating system.
For more information about the CRM industry, check out searchCRM's Best Web Links category Intro to CRM.
This was first published in June 2002