Vtiger CRM is an open source CRM application that was forked from SugarCRM with the intention of being a fully open source CRM application with comparable functionality to SugarCRM and Salesforce.com. It offers reporting, a customer portal and an Outlook plugin in its free edition, whereas those functions are in paid versions of the other CRM applications.vtiger was launched as a fork of version 1.0 of the SugarCRM project launched on December 31, 2004.vtiger is built on the AMP (Apache, MySQL, and PHP) stack with code from other open source projects such as SugarCRM. The core development team of vtiger CRM is based in Bangalore, India.vtiger CRM

Features of  vtiger CRM

Over 100 000 businesses are using vtiger CRM On Demand to manage Sales, Support and Marketing.In its most recent version 5.4.0, vtiger offers all the usual CRM functions:

a) Sales automation (customizable product entries, inventory management, quotations, billing, and trouble ticketing)

b) Customer support & service functions, including a customer self-service portal

c) Marketing automation (lead generation, campaign support, knowledge bases)

d) Gmail Bookmarklet-With Gmail Bookmarklet feature you can add any mail from your gmail to vtiger CRM.

e) Inventory Management

f) Teams & Access Control

g) The feature ‘Recycle Bin’, for vtiger is much similar to the one in an operating system. In an operating system the recycle bin will hold the files or folders deleted from the file system whereas in vtiger, the recycle bin will hold all the deleted records of an entity module.

e) Excellent customer support backed by committed vtiger team.

f) PDF document generation via theTCPDF library

In addition, vtiger features multiple database support, security management, and various web forms. The project is available in over 15 different languages.Interface similarities between vtiger and the CRM module of the Zoho Office Suite have been noted, however, this seems to be attributable to common corporate sponsorship, not to a common software code base.

Available add-ons

All available free and commercial add-ons are listed at market place at vtigercrm.com. Most advertised are extensions for Microsoft Office, Outlook, Exchange Server and Mozilla Thunderbird. Usually they cover functionality for synchronization, deeper integration with other applications, and additional features. Available extensions can boost desired functionality of the application in your preferred area and are good way of customizing the basic edition of vtiger CRM.

Mobile CRM

vtiger offers CRM Mobile applications available for iPhone (works on iPad and iPod Touch as well) and Android with app for Blackberry coming soon. These applications are available on AppStore or Android Market for $19.99.  These applications allow access to Contacts, Accounts and Leads and more. Practically everything important is included. We did not have chance to try these applications yet so we didn’t evaluated them as part of this article. What is interesting is the fact that vtiger does not mention possibility to access application via browser of mobile devices. This might mean that the functionality is not supported.

Key Benefits

a) 100% Open source

b) Integrated set of over 40 tools

c) Freedom to modify installations to meet unique business needs

d) Enhances marketing efforts

e) Customer portal is available

g) NO high, user-based / license pricing

h) Presence in more than 10 countries to take Care of any physical support

i) Increases customer satisfaction

j) FULL vtiger CRM functionality (all options)

k) UNLIMITED users

l) UNLIMITED traffic.

m) International and Multilingual

n) SSL Secured – 128bit encrypted web access

o) On-Demand and On-Site deployment options

p) Short implementation times and quick ROI

q)1 GB redundant storage. Data stored securely and locally

r)  Integrated Microsoft Outlook®, Office®, Mozilla Firefox® & Thunderbird®

s)  Web Portal for customers and partners

t)  Integration to ERP systems

How much does vTiger CRM cost?
  • Starting from: $12.00/month
  • Pricing model: Subscription
  • Free Trial: Available

 How to Use Vtiger

With vtiger CRM, you have the choice on how you want to run your CRM system

a) On-Demand – A fully outsourced solution, secured and backed-up, provided by Nexell, in Switzerland.

b) On-Site – An in-house deployment, running on your own internal infrastructure

 Who are the typical users of vTiger CRM?

Freelancers, Large Enterprises, Mid Size Business, Non Profits, Public Administrations, Small Business can use it.vTiger CRM offers the following support options: FAQs, Online Support, Phone Support, Video Tutorials

                                                              SugarCRM or Vtiger.Sugar CRMhttp://service-push.com/sugarcrmandvtigercrm/

Vtiger is entirely free- Unlike SugarCRM that has a paid version, vTiger is entirely free and depends on volunteer work of the community that supports it.

SugarCRM has more advanced functionality–Sugar Suite is considered to have more advanced features and that is why is used by organizations from all sizes and industries. Vtiger on the other hand is adopted largely by small and medium-sized businesses.

Vtiger loads faster–Maybe thanks to the less complicated functionality, vTiger is considered the faster application of the two.

Vtiger has more intuitive interface– Being extremely easy to use is perhaps one of the most important advantages of vTiger CRM. On the other hand, SugarCRM has very customizable User Interface and Workflow to compensate for that disadvantage.

Vtiger upgrade is easier– Although both applications are considered to have tricky upgrade process, vTiger is the easier one.Upgradation in SugarCRM  is very resource consuming process.

 6 Tips to enhance your vTiger CRM Implementation and Experience

Tip 1. Outgoing Server:

vTiger offers a full email system that covers all aspects of email communication including Mass Email, Individual Emails. Email Notifications, Wordflow Emails, Email/PDF Invoices and more. To send email however, you must setup the Outgoing Server from the Settings/Other Settings menu. The most common settings are for Gmail:

  • Server Name: ssl://smtp.gmail.com:465

  • Username: your_gmail_user@gmail.com

  • Password: your_gmail_password

  • From Email:your_email@yourdomain.com (or your gmail account)

  • Requires Authentication: Yes

You can also use your regular SMTP settings:

  • Server Name: mail.yourdomain.com

  • Username: info@yourdomain.com

  • Password: your_email_password

  • From Email: your_email@yourdomain.com

  • Requires Authentication: Yes

vTiger – Version 5.4 has an issue with some SMTP server configurations. If you find that your outgoing server settings are being rejected, you should make a small change to a PHP file. You will require FTP access to vTiger to make this change:

Using any text editor like Notepad (never use Word for editing HTML or PHP files), open the file:

/modules/Emails/class.phpmailer.php

Find the following line:

$this->Mailer = “smtp”;

Change “smtp” to “sendmail”

Note: This should be around line 247 if you’re using a PHP/HTML editor.

Save the file and your Outgoing Server settings should now work.

Tip 2. How you view your data:

If you’re used to seeing related modules displayed in a single page, for example having Company/Organization record being displayed on same page a Contact Records, Potentials, Emails etc., then you may be frustrated with the default view presented by vTiger CRM; which has a ‘More Info’ tab for the related modules. However, with a single check box you can switch to the Single Pane View. Just go to: Settings/Other Settings/ Default Module View/ Enable Singlepane View.

Tips 3. Importing data to vTiger CRM:

vTiger features and excellent import facility for most modules. You can import directly into Leads, Organizations, Contacts, Opportunities and more. When doing so you should ensure that the data is saved in CSV format with dates formatted to yyyy-mm-dd. Microsoft Excel has a nasty habit of converting telephone numbers (and other large numbers) to scientific notation when saving to a CSV file. Open Office spreadsheet doesn’t do this so you might consider using Open Office for converting data.

Most database and CRM systems feature an export facility that outputs to the CSV or Excel file format. Some systems export from the specific module (companies, contacts etc) whereas others (like SalesForce) require a custom report to be created and export directed to Excel or CSV format.

Tip 4. Workflows:

Workflows automate the scheduled tasks to streamline your business processes. You can assign a workflow to any module and to any record or field update. A workflow can be triggered when a record is created, updated, saved, reassigned or just about any update at a field level. Once a condition is set to trigger the workflow, a task is assigned. The task can send an email, create a todo or event, update a field, send a text message, invoke a custom function and more. So for automating regular processes, Workflows are key!

Once you have created your conditions and tasks, the automated processes will run quietly in the background.

One of the key workflow tasks is to send email but you will notice when creating the email task that a note is displayed, ‘NOTE: You should have Workflow cron script configured’.

Cron definition from Wikipedia:

Cron is the time-based job scheduler in Unix-like computer operating systems. cron enables users to schedule jobs (commands or shell scripts) to run periodically at certain times or dates. It is commonly used to automate system maintenance or administration, though its general-purpose nature means that it can be used for other purposes, such as connecting to the Internet and downloading email.

Many vTiger systems are hosted on Linux based servers and the CronJobs feature is often disabled. Rather than getting involved in enabling the scripts which can be a very time consuming business for the non-programmer, you can subscribe (for next to nothing) to a CronJob service. I use www.setcronjob.com which manages multiple sites and provides feedback and reporting all for just $10 per year.

Tip 5. Webforms:

One of the frustrations for many websites is the duplication of effort required to process a feedback/contact form. Most forms send an email which includes all the relevant data but that data has to then be manually entered into a database or just printed and filed. vTiger CRM features a webform facility which created a custom form directly linked to fields within the Leads module. Once you have selected the required fields, the form creator provides HTML code to embed into your website.

At the time of writing, the webform is pretty basic in format but this can easily be enhanced simply by editing the code in an HTML editor like Dreamweaver or a free open source alternative like NVU (http://net2.com/nvu/).

Tip 6. New User Setup:

As previously mentioned, vTiger is a multi-user system. When a new user is added, vTiger automatically sends an email to that new user with their username, password and link to login. The email itself however is very basic and not particularly polite. You can however easily change the message by a simple edit to the PHP file. You will need FTP access to the file and a text based editor to edit it. Do not use Word as your editor!

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