Cork/Amsterdam
10 September 2020

Crust Technology, the leading open-source Low-Code Development platform and Salesforce alternative, is being funded by the European Commission’s Next Generation Internet initiative to deliver the Corteza platform as a federated cloud solution for record sharing. Crust, the founder and full-time maintainer of the Corteza Project, will enable the platform to share select components of data layer or entire data models, on a one-to-many or many-to-many basis. The new features will allow business data, but also open data sets created by public sector organisations and academia to be shared more easily.

NGI zero logo

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Wikipedia defines economic violence as:

… a type of violence committed by individuals or groups preying on the economically disadvantaged individuals. In some circumstances the individuals may be service workers such as undocumented workers and food service workers, in others they may be spouses, or closeted gays. The World Health Organization defines it as being a form of collective violence, committed by larger groups towards individuals.

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and its resultant economic crisis there has, thankfully, been many a spotlight shone upon economic violence. Levels of domestic and gender-based violence have escalated while mental health indicators suggest some alarming trends. As national debts balloon, poverty is on the increase across the planet. Supply chains have been interrupted and structural change to resource distribution may be permanent – with potentially both positive and negative outcomes.

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Many providers claim to offer free CRM software. This is because is makes their offering seem more attractive. Unfortunately, there’s usually a catch. Is Hubspot free? Not if you want the really useful features. Otherwise it’s just a basic CRM. Is SugarCRM free? Not at all nowadays. Is Salesforce free? Not a chance. And let’s not bother exploring Microsoft Dynamics as a free company CRM.

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More than ever, organisations need to deliver a customer-focused approach. This is because markets are evolving at a staggering rate and will continue to do so well into the future.

  1. The health pandemic changes working practices and locations
  2. The economic crisis obliges organisations to be more competitive or attentive to their audiences
  3. The squeeze in consumer spending, which will be with us for a long time to come, means priorities are changing. And, they will continue to do so.

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Hubspot provides software products for inbound marketing, sales, and customer service. With regard to the CRM functionality, Hubspot gives details on their website the the core is free, and you have to pay for advanced CRM features. However, we sometimes forget that when we speak about “free”. We’re more often than not speaking in terms of software “freedom” and getting CRM software free of charge! Read more

One of the core features of Corteza is the powerful open-source Low Code platform. To clarify, this means that it’s a rapid development platform that allows you to create responsive business applications that run in the browser, without having to know how to write code. With the following 4 step plan you can make a fully functional record-based app for your business or organisation:

  1. Create a namespace
  2. Add modules
  3. Set up pages
  4. Insert charts

1. Create a namespace

In Corteza Low Code applications are called “namespaces”. You can create a new namespace by entering the “Low Code” tab inside Corteza and click on to the “Create namespace” button. If there are many existing namespace, like on the Corteza Community server, you might need to scroll down first. And then, you simply fill in the “name” field and hit “Save and close”.

Before you continue with step two, you need to enter your freshly created namespace.

List of namespaces (applications) on the Corteza Community Server

2. Create the modules

The second step is to create the modules. Corteza Low Code comes with a simple, yet extensive module builder. These modules could be seen as database tables, but in a non-technical way. This means that each module has a set of fields, which represent data you want to store. While most fields are straightforward (string, number,…), there is one special field with an important role: the record field. This record field allows you to link one module to another, creating a relationship between them.

A clear example is one from Corteza CRM, the powerful open-source CRM build with the Corteza Low Code platform. The “Account” and “Contact” modules are related to each other, because an account in the CRM can have multiple contacts. So, the “Contact” module has a Record type field that links to the “Account” module as in the screenshot below. This allows any contact to be related to a account. And if you want that a contact can be related to multiple accounts, simply check the “multiple” checkbox.

List of modules in Corteza Low Code

 

Fields in a module in Corteza Low Code

3. Set up pages

One you’ve created the modules you need to create the visual layer. These are called “Pages” in Corteza, and there are two types of pages:

  1. Record pages
    A record page shows data related to a single record in a module, which means that every module needs to have one record page.
  2. List pages
    These pages act like dashboards or record lists and show up in the automatically generated top menu.

The simple drag-and-drop page editor is the same for both page types. As a result, you select the type of block you want to show (record data, a list, a calendar, a chart,…), configure it and add it to the page.  After that, you can drag it to any position and resize it as you please.

For more detailed info, check out the extensive Corteza Low Code tutorial on opensource.com.

List of pages in Corteza Low Code

 

Adding a block to a page in Corteza Low Code

4. Insert Charts

Corteza Low Code comes with an advanced open-source chart creation tool. As a result it allows you to create the most used charts in custom business applications, such as line, bar and pie charts. For each chart you define the data source (the module), optional filters, dimensions and metrics, and the chart creation tool manages the rest.

Once you’ve created your charts, you can add them to any page in your own low code business application.

Example of a donut chart, made in Corteza Low Code

 

Example of a dashboard with charts, built with Corteza Low Code

Advanced Low Code features

Corteza Low Code also includes some advanced Low Code features, including access management for different user roles on modules, pages or even single fields, and advanced workflow automation. These two advanced Low Code features will be featured in the coming weeks on this blog.

Try it out yourself!

To summarize, you ony need to follow 4 simple steps to build your own custom business application. In addition, if you want to give it a go, check out the free Corteza Community Server. Log in, open the Low Code app and create your own namespace! Lastly, if you run in to any questions, ping the community for help in the Corteza Community Server messaging tab, or let us know in a comment here.

 

This is a common question, but a much better question is what should an open source CRM suite be? After all, there are quite a few choices out there on the market – including old stuff that pretends to be new and new stuff just not doing enough to be considered modern in any meaningful way.

Firstly, an open source CRM is a customer relationship management system where all of the software code is published in the public domain. In the case of Corteza, it’s all here: https://github.com/cortezaproject. If all the software is published, the idea is that it can never be taken away from you – whether you pay or not. A CRM suite is, after all, software upon which your business will rely for many years. Another advantage of this approach is that the software can easily be customized and there is usually a pool of providers with the required skills from which to choose.

The best free CRM is based on a Low Code platform

Nowadays, the best free CRM should be based on a Low Code Platform. Open source CRM can be complex and many of the business models underpinning them are based on the premise that you won’t be able to do more complex customization yourself i.e. they’re lulling you into a false sense of security. Corteza is an open source Salesforce alternative and firmly follows the “Lightning” Low Code model, even delivering some nice improvements along the way. The Low Code approach allows you to deliver a rich, company CRM which can evolve as your organisation changes with time – without the need for expensive external consulting at each step. Such a rapid application development model is essential for organisations trading in the modern economy.

Freely available CRM Documentation

Documentation is key too. A proper open source CRM should publish all its documentation and make it freely available – including back versions – with zero catches. There is risk in deploying a solution where the documentation may disappear from view at any given moment (e.g. if the vendor of your CRM suite is sold, merges with another company or goes out of business). Corteza documentation will always be available on our website.

Intellectual property must be managed by an independent software foundation

A core strength of Corteza is that all intellectual property is governed by the independent software foundation “The Commons Conservancy“. There can be no games played with the software code, no dual licensing and all back-versions will always be available. There are lessons to be learned from the SugarCRM disaster a number of years back where the SugarCRM Community Edition was abandoned and SugarCRM began closing off the source code to their CRM suite. Some “forking” happened of the older code base, but none even as remotely well-funded as the original SugarCRM effort. No such games can ever happen with Corteza.

Innovation drives Corteza forward

Being a true open source provider, living according to both the spirit and the letter of the law, keeps a software project on its toes. Corteza is looking forward to delivering smart apps for manufacturing, smart schooling, even more depth to its bpms tool, human resource management, ecological tools, making GDPR simplified and much more in 2020. Innovation drives Corteza forward and our research never stops. From applications of IoT to MDD models and on to AI in all its forms, we’re constantly seeking to understand where your organisation needs to go next. Being the very best of all free crms is a tough goal, but Corteza is uniquely structured and feature rich to deliver on that objective.

We are thrilled to announce that we have released the new documentation site for Corteza. The structure has been optimised and the content has been actualised. It now contains everything you need to know to install, set up and use the open-source digital work platform Corteza. The new structure also enables the community to contribute easier then ever before.

Structure

The documentation has the following structure:

1. Overview

The overview explains what Corteza is, and it gives a summary about the topics “Security”, “Architecture”, “Core Development”, “Deployment” and “Customization”. This chapter is recommended for all new Corteza users.

2. User Manual

The user manual has been created for people that use Corteza for their daily tasks, such as sales people, project managers, service agents, etc. It explains how “Corteza One”, the unified workspace, can be used to access applications and profile settings, and it goes in to details how to use “Corteza Messaging”, “Corteza CRM” and “Corteza Service Solution” are used.

3. Admin Manual

The admin manual is aimed at Corteza administrators, and explains how to manage an already installed instance of Corteza. The first part explains in depth features of the Corteza Admin Panel, and the second part is about Corteza Low-Code.
The chapter about Corteza Low-Code gives insights to admin users on how to create new business applications, and on how to modify already existing applications, such as Corteza CRM and Corteza Service Solution.

4. Management and Maintenance

Management and maintenance is the most technical manual, and it’s written for system administrators. It explains how to install and set up Corteza. Additionally, it gives an overview of the architecture, backup and restore methods, and technical requirements.

The technical requirements section is divided by client side (software) and server side (software, hardware, storage, network, domain and HTTPS/SSL Certificates).

5. Extending and Customising

Developers can learn here how to extend and customise Corteza. Automation scripts allow you to practically automate any process inside Corteza, and by using the API Corteza can interact with the outside world.

You can contribute to the documentation!

The documentation is managed in the Corteza github repository, enabling the community to contribute. Documentation is written in AsciiDoc format and processed with the open-source software AsciiDoctor.

These are the steps on how to contribute:

  1. Clone https://github.com/cortezaproject/corteza-docs.git
  2. Modify or add content
  3. Create a pull request

More detailed info on how to contribute can be found in the readme file.

If you are not familiar with Github, check out this manual.

Where can I find the documentation?

The documentation has been published under https://docs.cortezaproject.org, and is licensed under Apache-2.0.

Cork, Ireland.
13 November 2019

Corteza today announced the release of Corteza Service Solution, the free, open-source and self-hosted Salesforce Service Cloud alternative. Corteza Service Solution is a customer service desk, built on the Corteza Low-Code platform. It enables businesses to deliver faster and more personalised service to their clients, across multiple channels.

Customer service agents are provided with 360-degree overviews on cases, accounts and contacts, enabling them to provide the most excellent service quickly. Entitlements, detailed product info and the knowledge base are easily accessible, empowering agents with the means they need to boost customer satisfaction.

Service Solution home page

Advanced service desk insights are given, including where time is spent and what the related costs are. Key performance indicators are shown in charts on the home page, and the main dashboard and detailed insights are revealed in accounts or individual cases.

The release of Service Solution completes another important step in the growth of the Corteza platformsays Niall McCarthy, Chair of the Corteza Project and CEO of Crust Technology.We’re very proud to have delivered a completely free, enterprise-grade service desk to complement our CRM, Messaging and Low Code solutions”.

The enterprise-grade Corteza Service Solution is the best option for businesses that seek a highly customisable, self-hosted and trustworthy service desk solution. The code and all data in Corteza Service Solution are under your control and only accessible to those approved to do so.

The main features of Corteza Service Solution are:

  • Case Management
  • Account & Contact Management, including entitlements
  • Product management, including entitlement templates for products
  • Knowledge Base
  • Process Automation
  • Advanced role-based permissions
  • Notifications
  • Advanced reporting
  • Record importing and exporting
  • Mobile ready (responsive design)
  • Enterprise messaging (via Corteza Messaging)
  • Fully customisable, with a drag-and-drop page editor
  • 100% free and open-source

Screenshots:

Corteza Service Solution is added to the core of the Corteza Platform, next to the Unified Workspace (like Google G Suite), Messaging (like Slack), a low-code environment for rapidly and securely delivering records-based management solutions and CRM (like Salesforce).

To start with Corteza Service Solution, you can set up your instance. Migrating to Corteza Service Solution from a different service desk is, thank to the flexibility of Corteza and data import features, straightforward. To try it out online, or for help with installation or other questions, visit the Corteza community server.

About Corteza:
Corteza is the Digital Work Platform for Humanity. The Corteza project builds a 100% open-source, self-hosted cloud platform for growing your organisation’s productivity. It enables relationships and protects the work and the privacy of all those concerned. Corteza is developed entirely in the public domain, including its design considerations and processes. To download Corteza and for more information about the project, visit www.cortezaproject.org or follow @CortezaProject on Twitter.

Corteza Low-Code is an essential part of Corteza, the Digital Work Platform for Humanity. With Corteza Low-Code businesses and organisations can build custom records-based management applications, and create granular permissions that reflect their hierarchy.

Building an application is done in 5 simple steps:

  1. Define what data you want to save in the module builder
  2. Define how the records and list/dashboard pages look like
  3. Optional: add charts with the chart builder
  4. Optional: add automation rules
  5. Deploy with a click

Each step is carefully designed to be a simple task and provides the user with an exceptionally high level of flexibility. This means that a user can create and deploy a small application in moments, or create a complex system to manage complete departments.

101 applications

Thanks to the flexibility of the powerful Corteza Low-Code, you can build any record-based application. For example, we built Corteza CRM and Corteza Service Solution with Corteza Low-Code, and new applications are planned to be released, such as Education Cloud. Other applications that you could build with Corteza Low-Code are, for example:

ApplicationCategory
Construction ManagementConstruction
Permit ManagementConstruction
Call Center ManagementCustomer Service
Case ManagementCustomer Service
Admission ManagementEducation
After School Activities ManagementEducation
Assignment TrackerEducation
Attendance ManagementEducation
Course PlannerEducation
Education ManagementEducation
Library ManagementEducation
Parent PortalEducation
Program ManagerEducation
Scholarship ManagementEducation
Student PortalEducation
Teacher PortalEducation
Plant ManagementEnergy
Resource ManagementEnergy
Site ManagementEnergy
Business Finance TrackerFinance
Corporate Travel ManagementFinance
Expense ManagementFinance
Loan ManagementFinance
Personal Finance TrackerFinance
Budget ManagementGovernment
Document ManagementGovernment
Inspection ManagementGovernment
Hospital ManagementHealthcare
Laboratory ManagementHealthcare
Operation ManagementHealthcare
Patient ManagementHealthcare
Patient PortalHealthcare
Applicant Tracking System (ATS)Human Resources
Approval ManagementHuman Resources
Benefits AdministrationHuman Resources
Employee OnboardingHuman Resources
Employee Self-Service PortalHuman Resources
Human Capital Management (HCM)Human Resources
Human Resources Information System (HRIS)Human Resources
Human Resources Management System (HRMS)Human Resources
Payroll ManagementHuman Resources
Time and Attendance ManagementHuman Resources
Appointment ManagementIT and Administration
Conference Room BookingIT and Administration
Incident TrackerIT and Administration
IT Asset TrackerIT and Administration
Project TrackerIT and Administration
Seat BookingIT and Administration
Tasks DoneIT and Administration
Time TrackerIT and Administration
Visitor ManagementIT and Administration
Airplane Fleet HubLogistics
Container ManagementLogistics
Parcel Delivery ManagementLogistics
Public transport HubLogistics
Rental Car ManagementLogistics
Shared Vehicle ManagementLogistics
Taxi Fleet HubLogistics
Train ManagementLogistics
Truck Fleet HubLogistics
Vehicle Maintenance ManagementLogistics
Country Office ManagementNon-Profit
Crowdfunding ManagementNon-Profit
Donor ManagementNon-Profit
Event ManagementNon-Profit
Volunteer PortalNon-Profit
Distributor ManagementOperations
ERPOperations
Facilities ManagementOperations
Inventory ManagementOperations
Maintenance TrackerOperations
OperationsOperations
Order ManagementOperations
Repair ManagementOperations
Vendor ManagementOperations
Vendor PortalOperations
Property ManagementReal Estate
Rental ManagementReal Estate
Material Workspace ManagementRestaurants
Recipe ManagerRestaurants
Restaurant ManagementRestaurants
Campaign ManagementSales and Marketing
Client PortalSales and Marketing
Content Review and Release TrackingSales and Marketing
CRMSales and Marketing
Franchise ManagementSales and Marketing
Partner ManagementSales and Marketing
Partner PortalSales and Marketing
Point of SaleSales and Marketing
Product CatalogueSales and Marketing
Quotation ManagementSales and Marketing
Camping ManagementTravel and Tourism
Hotel ManagementTravel and Tourism
Tour Operator ManagementTravel and Tourism
Travel Agency ManagementTravel and Tourism
Vacation Rental ManagementTravel and Tourism
Waste ManagementWaste Management
Affiliate ManagementWeb
Article Management (SEO)Web
Link Management (SEO)Web
Site Network ManagementWeb

The table above is just a short list of what you can build with Corteza Low-Code!

Are you interested in developing a custom application? Log in at the community server at https://latest.cortezaproject.org, create your app in the Low-Code tab and start building. If you have any questions, let us know on the Messaging tab on the community server, and we can answer them!