Vtiger CRM test drive

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We’ve been recently looking for a self-hosted CRM solution that would, at a bare minimum, provide these features:

  • Proper email management. Emails should be sorted by organization/contact, with possibility to link to projects, tasks, tickets and so on. Manually attaching emails to their correspondents would be something we can live with, even though it would be nice to have it done automatically.
  • Sane inventory management. Ability to track inventories by serial number (and preferably a few other custom fields) is a must. We sell accounts on some forums and would like, for instance, to have something like Item: Tumblr aged account; PA: 32; Login: blah; Pass: foo. This means only one “master” record gets created, and stock gets increased/decreased when we add new accounts/sell them.
  • Proper PO/invoicing system. We need, at a bare minimum, the ability to register incoming PO’s, convert them to invoices, and edit the invoice template. Payment gateway integration would be nice, but it’s not an absolute must.
  • Ability to interlink multiple entities. We’d like multiple A-relates-to-B connections. For instance, it would be useful to be able to link multiple organizations to a project as a whole, or to individual tasks/milestones.

I must sadly say that vtiger doesn’t quite offer these.

  • Email is buggy. I’ve had emails sent through Outlook that won’t link to the contacts. Linking sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t, for no apparent reason.
  • Inventory management is awful. I’ve skimmed through some forums, and developers say that it’s not a feature they’ve been focusing on, so there’s no chance to have it done in the near future. What I don’t like about the current system is that I cannot have a product ProdX with two items in stock and different serial numbers. The way vtiger does it is to create two different product entries, which is highly redundant.
  • Given that the inventory system doesn’t match our needs, I haven’t done a deeper analysis on the sales modules. Vtiger allows you to register POs and has invoice abilities.
  • No multiple interlinking whatsoever. I’m doing a project right now where I have to email a list of organizations about a topic. There is no way to have all emails connected to both the respective organizations (or their contacts) and the project. As a matter of fact, I barely found this multi-linking feature in any CRM — Epesi is one of the very few that does it properly.

So no, Vtiger isn’t going to be our chosen CRM. I’m not saying it’s bad (it’s actually a rock-solid CRM system), it just doesn’t match our needs.

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