There's customer relationship management and there's games, right? Not for an open-source project called Zurmo, which believes the two belong together.
On Wednesday, Zurmo announced Beta release 0.6.6 of its application, which includes the first phase of "gamification" and a new user interface.
'Making CRM Fun'
The intent of the Zurmo CRM application, according to the organization, is both to encourage user adoption and, in its words, to make "a lackluster category of more appealing to users." Several of the Zurmo developers have backgrounds working with SugarCRM.
Zurmo cofounder and Community Manager Ray Stoeckicht said in a statement that one of the main goals is "making CRM fun," encouraging instead of forcing usage.
"The lack of intrinsic motivation to use CRM systems is a major failure in our industry that we intend to fix," he said.
To do so, gamelike elements are included throughout the app. There are points awarded to CRM users for every action performed, rewarding use of the system and business best practices.
Badges are delivered for accomplishing specific milestones, such as establishing more leads or winning more opportunities, or for system use, such as login frequency.
Points lead to higher levels, which are available both as general levels and as category-specific ones. Categories include New Business Sales, Account Management, Time Management, and Communication. A leaderboard shows top performers.
'High-Quality Sales Force Automation Tool'
There's also the gamelike tension of Challenges. Users and managers can challenge each other to accomplish specific tasks, and bonus points are available for challenge completion or when a higher category has been obtained.
In addition to the game elements, the new release includes a new user interface, designed by Theresa Neil, author of the book Designing Web Interfaces. Zurmo cofounder and Lead Architect Jason Green told news media that the intent was to develop an intuitive interface that "reduces clicks and is also beautiful."
Key CRM functionality includes contact management, deal tracking and activity management. The organization says that it doesn't intend to fight and win a features war, but that the goal is "a high-quality sales force automation tool."
On its Web site at zurmo.org, the organization acknowledges that there are already many CRM applications. But, it says, "we still see companies struggling to implement a CRM application."
Zurmo is being built using three development frameworks -- Yii, RedBeanPHP, and jQuery -- and it's available under the GPLv3 open-source license. The intent is to deliver an open-source product with all features at no charge, instead of the "freemium" model of a basic version with additional premium features at various prices.
Zurmo is still determining its business model, which might include fee-based support, customization, and hosting. The organization expects a release candidate to be available by July, and a "general audience" release by September.
Posted: 2012-06-01 @ 1:55pm PT
Also checkout X2Engine.com CRM. It has a great UI and uses the New BSD open source License.
Posted: 2012-06-01 @ 11:32am PT
Thank you for write-up. We really believe CRM can be improved and having been a part of hundreds of implementations, we know the common pitfalls. Our intention with Zurmo is to curb these trouble areas and develop a CRM application that will create an enjoyable experience for the end user.