I offered my advice to a correspondent who asked for advice on data mapping between old and new data models for a membership system. They are a smallish non-profit. I did some research which I hope you find interesting or useful. My advice is shaped by my experience which includes as you can see, a lot of time in corporate IT. My attitude and judgements are shaped by  this experience. i.e. my judgements might be too expensive for a charity.

I recommend that you should look at sugarcrm, which was open source, widely used and means that it’s requirements are based on a broad set of needs and that people to help you as staff or not should be available. I am unclear of it’s open source status, and thus whether free version are available any more.

I also run query on google on cheap crm software and found this, http://shawngraham.me/blog/affordable-crm-solutions-for-small-business; the reviews aren’t great but they all charge monthly but it’s not clear if this is soley software rental or includes hosting.

I strongly recommend the use of a data dictionary.  When I say strongly, I mean it. Do not do this with spreadsheets, or other desktop MIS, it will break. I spoke of aristotle meta data repo which has a very expensive cloud hosting options but the code is free. I had second thoughts and so had a brief poke around and found this catalogue of data modelling tools on wikipedia.

Much of this implies using Azure or AWS. AWS is more popular and flexible, Azure is in my view easier to use, particularly if you have microsoft skills inc. AD. You might also consider the use of Office 365 and Azure probably integrates better than that.

I ran a query for free CRM software and came across this article,


It documents that SugarCRM have issued an “end of life” notice for their “Community Editon” i.e. the free one. It expired several years ago.

I quite the look of Neon CRM.

Today, I found this, https://civicrm.org/explore-civicrm while looking for a potential casework solution for my Union branch. It’s open source (GNU AGPL v3) but don’t think they offer it as SaaS. (Business Opportunity?)

Image Credit: Handwritten C R M by Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 at http://www.thebluediamondgallery.com

2 Replies

  1. I came back to this the day after I posted it here. It seems that SugarCRM no longer do free. I added the “free query result”.

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