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.
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
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.
The documentation has the following structure:
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 Cloud” 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 Cloud.
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:
- Clone https://github.com/cortezaproject/corteza-docs.git
- Modify or add content
- 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.