What do the one of the world’s largest auto and truck parts manufacturer, the world’s largest manufacturer of simulation products for automotive and aerospace, the world’s largest liquid chemicals logistics company, one of the world’s largest power companies and the world’s largest supplier of speciality dyes to the textiles industry have in common?

If you read the headline to this article, then you’ll already know the answer. They have all opted for the open source SuiteCRM application for their strategic global CRM requirements.

In each of the selection processes, SuiteCRM was competing against the major vendors. Typically Salesforce, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP. Somewhat ironically, SugarCRM was also in the early mix for two of these implementations but, as we are increasingly finding, they drop off the selection list early in the process.

Each of the implementations is global in reach, strategic in intent, multi-language, multi-currency, contains complex and extensive business process modelling and has a large user base.

Technology alone doesn’t win business. The enterprise is demanding of its suppliers (rightly so). The project had to demonstrate that it had the people, processes, understanding, experience and the capability to deliver. That we won the business and delivered the projects on-time, to-specification and to budget strongly suggests that it does.

In each of the projects, the major benefits were quality, implementation costs (typically 15-25% of Salesforce’s cost) and speed of innovation. Simply put, these clients got their projects up and running faster and at considerably less cost than they would from the usual suspects.

The icing on the cake is that the ongoing run costs are considerably lower too. They win on the swings and on the roundabouts. With high quality support governed by strictly adhered to SLAs, they’re also experiencing service levels that they find refreshing, especially those clients that have migrated from Salesforce.

In general, in the last 12 months, there has been an appreciable uptick in enquiries from large companies. In particular, since the launch of SuiteASSURED, we’re seeing compliance driven organisations in finance and pharmaceuticals, for whom the lack of indemnities and warranties in open source was a major barrier to entry, coming to the table in larger numbers to discuss strategic programmes of work.

Their motivation for doing so has some common themes: The perception that they are overpaying for commoditised business logic is a major factor, particularly where the requirements are non-complex but the license costs remain consistently high. Their disillusionment with the constant upward pressure on costs and their inability to scale user numbers without taking the license hit. The lacklustre and complacent support delivered (Salesforce seems to suffer most here) and last, but not least, the openness, choice and transparency of open source was a refreshing change from their usual vendor lists.

The dam is bursting in the open source CRM stack. The winners are the customer. Faster, better, cheaper. More rapid innovation, more openness and transparency, no complex license matrices to negotiate, no linear cost impact on scaling user numbers. It’s the way CRM should be and it’s what open source does.