This morning, my Linked in folder contained an email from Bpm online offering me a free copy of Forrester’s Q4 CRM Suites for mid size companies. According to Wikipedia, Forrester is “an American independent technology and market research company that provides advice on existing and potential impact of technology, to its clients and the public”.
I have very strong reservations about these “independent” technology research companies. Forrester is the smallest of the three major firms (Gartner & IDC are the market leaders). High on the list of criticisms of all three is the opaque link between their commercial relationship with the companies they review during their “independent” research and the resulting review. Put bluntly, it has been suggested that the more money that a vendor spends commissioning “independent” reports, the higher their eventual review score are likely to be.
They also have a history of getting it spectacularly wrong. Gartner, in 2006, stated that “Apple should quit the hardware business”. How did that particular bit of advice work out?
Enough about my cynicism of about “independent” research firms and onto the Forrester report. Neatly titled “Forrester Wave: CRM Suites for Midsize Organizations, Q4 2016”, it contains 36 pages of research focused on “11 CRM solutions worthy of consideration by midsize organizations”.
It contained all the usual suspects – Salesforce, Dynamics, Oracle, SAP etc. It did not contain SuiteCRM. No surprises there (even though SuiteCRM is among the most deployed CRM solutions globally). We don’t commission any “independent” research from any of these firms.
It did however contain SugarCRM. It was at this point that my jaw dropped a little.
Before I explain why, just consider that these research companies position themselves as authoritative experts. They “research” using some of the finest minds in the industry in order to produce high value trustworthy output. That’s the theory anyway.
So, onto the SugarCRM part of the report. It starts: “SugarCRM’s open source model — unique among vendors we evaluated”.
Hold it right there. There were 5 analysts working on this report and reports are apparently peer reviewed before being released. And yet they still produce rubbish like this. It is three years since SugarCRM abandoned open source and this report states that their open source model is “unique”. There is nothing open source about SugarCRM’s model. They are a run-of-the-mill proprietary vendor.
They did produce one sentence which I wholeheartedly agreed with. In the preface they stated:
“The landscape of CRM solutions has matured and converged as a result of merger and acquisition activity. These vendors offer solutions replete with features and functions. Every vendor can just about tick every box”.
Which summarises quite neatly the SuiteCRM proposition. When “every vendor can just about tick every box”, we’re in commoditised business logic territory. Customers can acquire any one of these CRM applications confident in the knowledge that they are paying to enter the walled garden of proprietary vendor lock-in.
Forrester and the other research companies need to wake up to the fact that the world has moved on from their world view of proprietary and predatory software vendors. Today’s customers have the choice of engaging with open source solutions like SuiteCRM that are replete with features and functions that can just about tick every box. They choose to do so in increasing numbers.
As the business leader at one of our large globally-scaled customers said, “SuiteCRM is a game changer”. What he meant was that he was able to acquire enterprise-class CRM business logic, deploy to his own infrastructure, modify the application to suit the business processes and have complete control over every point of the lifecycle. They don’t pay any license fees, they enjoy a close and supportive relationship with the SuiteCRM project and the cost of their 800 seat global deployment is staggeringly low. Greater control, complete freedom, great software, access to the source code and world-class vendor support.
Now, that’s unique and that’s game changing. It’s a box no other vendor in the Forrester list can tick.