The traditional model for growing a global business includes acquiring and consuming your competitors. It’s a fast way to increase market share and decrease competition.
But what happens when you have a competitor that is fast consuming your business but can’t be acquired?
That’s the dilemma facing Salesforce, Microsoft, Oracle and the other major CRM vendors.
We did a quick calculation that SuiteCRM had created a $9bn hole in the CRM marketplace. As the article properly states, it could be more and it could be less. But what is certain is that the hole is growing and it’s growing rapidly.
Our aim is for 500,000 downloads in 2017. If each was monetised in the way suggested in the original article, that creates an $18bn hole. A very small portion of that sum makes its way back to the SuiteCRM projects through consulting, support and bespoke development revenues. Those revenues are invested in growing the development team and improving the product. Improving the product and growing the team means more software of a higher quality will be released as open source.
It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Increased downloads translates to more revenue that is invested in more software released as open source. This in turn leads to more downloads. It’s an upward vortex that is consuming the air that proprietary vendors breathe.
Traditionally there would be a swift end to this problem. Acquire SuiteCRM and shut it down.
But SuiteCRM is open source. It is a many-headed Hydra. If you cut off one head, another two heads will appear. The code will be forked. You can’t kill an idea.
Here at the SuiteCRM project we are naked in our ambition. We want to be the most deployed, most loved and most engaged CRM application on the planet. We will achieve that by adhering to our core belief that open source is in the best long-term interest of our customers and of the computer industry. We have pledged on countless occasions that every line of code released by the project will be open source and we are happy to restate that here.
Open source stimulates greater innovation for customers as budgets are freed from the heavy burden of costly licences. Open source stimulates higher quality software as tens of thousands of developers pour over the source code finding, reporting and fixing bugs. Open source creates greater ecosystem innovation as creative engineers have access to the source code and extend the functionality in imaginative ways that increase the attraction of the core product. The open source ecosystem based on open code and open standards naturally lends itself to self-reinforcing integrations so that SuiteCRM becomes a platform with integrations to the rich world of open source collaboration suites, ERP applications, marketing automation, billing and pricing, e-commerce and the myriad of other rich open source solutions that are emerging.
The question many people will ask is “What’s in it for you?”.
The answer is simple. We’re growing a great company. It will never be a behemoth like Salesforce or Microsoft. The lack of licence revenue will ensure that. But it will create high quality jobs for thousands of software engineers, consultants, systems integrators, innovators and others. Some of these will be employed by the project. Most will be created in the greater open source ecosystem.
The SuiteCRM project is creating a different kind of company. We have a value system that is customer-centric. It is based on the understanding that open source creates companies that must have customer care at the centre of every engagement point. From consulting to support and everything between. We have a vision of 100% customer retention. Ultimately we won’t achieve it, it’s an impossible dream. But the values that sustain the vision, uphold the service levels we deliver to our customers.
Dream big, think long-term.
I’ll conclude with my favourite quote of the year, from a biography of Ghenkis Khan:
“Move with haste. Slowly”.