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Maintenance Release for OroPlatform and OroCRM CE 1.10.13 and Enterprise Edition 1.12.13 Are Now Available

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Maintenance Release for OroPlatform and OroCRM CE 1.10.8 and Enterprise Edition 1.12.8 Are Now Available

Introducing further maintenance releases for older versions of Oro products – which we’ll naturally be doing for a while to support our customers who haven’t migrated to the newest version yet – we’d love to remind you of the availability of the much awaited release of OroCRM and OroPlatform 2.0.

But until you decide to upgrade to the 2.0 version offering you a robust suite of enhanced tools, we want you to stay content with your current software version and announce the maintenance release for OroPlatform and OroCRM CE 1.10.13 and Enterprise Edition 1.12.13. It provides regular bug fixes and performance improvements.

For the complete list of enhancements, please visit our GitHub repositories or simply follow the links below (please first log into GitHub):

* The links lead to private GitHub repository, open to the OroCRM EE users only.

If you are already using one of our older versions, you can use the upgrade instructions to update to the latest version. Clone instructions can be found here.

Please feel free to give us your feedback or leave comments in our forums. We hope you enjoy this release and find it useful.  

Choosing the Right CRM Type for Your Business, Part I: Open Source vs Proprietary

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types-of-CRM-blog

Choosing a viable CRM solution for a business boils  down to understanding what software type matches your company’s objectives. The wrong product  choice may result in costly mistake for the business. In order to prevent these mistakes, it is important to assess the advantages and disadvantages of various CRM distribution and development models and measure those against your own priorities to determine which option is going to work best for your company for the long haul.

To help you refresh and weigh all the merits of different CRM solution types, we start a two-series blog highlighting their general pros and cons. You can factor these points into your final decision on adopting a CRM system. The first part of our CRM types series focuses on open-source vs proprietary applications.

The Pros

Pros for Open-Source CRM

Many of the benefits of an open-source CRM are found in the open nature of its source code. The flexibility and extendibility of open-sourced software are also major benefits along with the advantages listed below:

Customization

With the open-source CRM, customisations are easy, it’s just a matter of tweaking the open source code. Every company can modify and upgrade the product to perfectly tailor it to their own objectives.

Independence from vendor

Open-source CRM users are free from vendor lock-in and are immune to any vendor restrictions, commitments or requirements.

Integrity and scalability

The possibility to integrate your customer relationship management software with virtually any external system or tool is one of the greatest advantages of an open-source CRM.

Quick bug fixes

Because open-source communities consist of many contributing developers from all around the world, bugs are being detected, reported, and fixed faster. Since developers can, at anytime, access the code, they are also able to apply their own improvements if necessary.

Pros for Proprietary CRM

Security

Proprietary CRM systems are still considered to be less vulnerable to security issues due to their closed code. However, the question whether they can outperform their open-source counterparts in terms of security is questionable since open-source development communities constantly monitor their software for any security holes and breaches.

Single vision for the product

Sometimes proprietary CRM software built with a single product vision in mind can specifically address industry-related requirements which comes in handy for niche businesses. If product’s flexibility, scalability and customization capacity are not mission-critical for the company, and out-of-the-box functionality is enough, proprietary CRMs may bring you a better user experience. However, if you eventually crave for more features or extensions, and would want to tweak basic functionality to fit your business’s needs exactly, it will be difficult if possible to adjust the proprietary CRM solution.

Full stack

Once in a awhile small businesses may opt for  the “full scale” offerings provided by  proprietary vendors, in the first place  due to  the fact that it enables a faster start, even though the costs may sometimes be higher. To go up and running quickly is most often critical for start-up companies, as they don’t have to plan for scalability yet, but rather need an out-of-the-box solution that would cover their basic needs for the moment. Big proprietary software brands usually have the capacity to come up with a full stack solution, offering the whole portfolio of related business apps.

The Cons

Cons for Open-Source CRM

Limited support options

Unlike the proprietary product users, when facing problems, the open-source CRM consumers are usually unable to contact a 24/7 customer support center. However, most innovative open-source CRM vendors (OroCRM is one of them) are responsive to their client needs and offer commercial enterprise models that offer professional customer support.

Basic out-of-the-box functionality

Proprietary CRMs are usually filled with all sorts of features that are supposedly useful for the majority of their customers. Open-source CRMs (this doesn’t really refer to commercial enterprise-level versions) are typically designed to provide businesses with the most essential functions needed to get started. Using this foundation companies can then modify their CRMs and scale functionality according to their own business needs.

Cons for Proprietary CRM

Vendor lock-in

By adopting a proprietary CRM, you have to deal with a high probability of vendor lock-in. It will cost your company a fortune to switch to another product if you get unhappy with the current closed-source CRM, especially if you have signed up for a “full stack” solution.

Total cost of ownership

The proprietary systems are typically rather expensive to acquire and keep. The total cost of ownership (TCO) often includes hidden fees for updates, upgrades or advanced features.

Closed code

Closed-coded software can not be  iterated, modified or debugged unless the vendor is contacted. Furthermore, the customer have to wait for the issue to get fixed, which may take an unpredictable amount of time. The product’s closed source code also prevents users from making custom changes to address specific business requirements (if necessary).

Summing Up: Going Open-Source or Proprietary?

A proprietary CRM application might be right for you if your organization is not concerned about the applications’ initial costs or a high TCO (total cost of ownership), if you’re sure your software won’t require any further customizations despite the business growth, if you don’t plan to integrate with a lot of external products (proprietary vendors mainly provide smooth integrations between their own solutions and a small number of other big names), and if the idea of the source code being unavailable to the general public looks appealing to you. However, if you appreciate a products flexible functionality and adaptability to the varying needs of a business, consider embracing an open-source CRM instead.

Stay tuned for the second part of our series on the types of CRM software unveiling advantages and disadvantages of the systems hosted in the cloud and on-premise.

Changes to OroCRM and OroPlatform Versioning

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release-2.0-Oroplatfrom-OroCRM

To follow up on this month’s announcement of the recent OroCRM & OroPlatform 2.0 release, the Oro team looks forward to our community leveraging the new features and improved capabilities found in the newest version.

Previously, our naming convention for Community (CE) and Enterprise (EE) versions of OroCRM have been different for the same release. For example, OroCRM CE 1.10 and OroCRM EE 1.12 would be a part of the same release cycle.

However, we found this confusing and, from now on, we will be unifying our CE and EE releases to follow the same naming convention.

Therefore, the naming convention of the new 2.0 release for Community and Enterprise editions will be OroCRM CE 2.0 and EE 2.0.

To download the latest product versions, please, visit our GitHub repositories below (please make sure you are logged into your GitHub account):

To catch up on the most important 2.0 release advancements of OroCRM and OroPlatform, please refer to our recent release announcement post.

Feel free to get in touch with us in case any questions or product inquiries arise.

HandLab Uses OroCRM to Increase Sales

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handlab uses orocrm

Founded in 1996, HandLab is a complete orthotic solutions company.  They provide medical devices to individuals and medical professionals as well as educational resources to hand therapists. The company  provides clinical products to solve problems and was built on the philosophy of making the complex simple.

The Challenge

HandLab is a multi-channel business that sells online to consumers, small businesses, medical practices, major medical facilities, and wholesalers.  They wanted a CRM that would allow them to improve customer service, retention, and conversion. HandLab needed to:

  • Obtain a comprehensive 360° view of their customers and centralize customer information for sales follow-ups, superior customer service, and accounting of customer payments and credits
  • Extract and sync information from Magento for improved record keeping. Since Magento’s segmentation and reporting capabilities didn’t meet HandLab’s needs;  they required a much better report generation tool
  • Centralize marketing data and the tracking of all actions taken by the sales team to convert leads and opportunities into sales.

The Solution

HandLab evaluated SalesForce, MS Dynamics and OroCRM.  They selected OroCRM as the best fit for their multi-channel business.  In addition, deep integration into Magento and the ability to gather data from all customer touch points finally gave them the comprehensive 360° view of their 35K+ customers they needed.  In addition:

  • They got the flexibility they needed to customize to their exact needs. Better tracking of customer payments and credits resulted in no losses for bad debt since integrating OroCRM.
  • HandLab significantly improved customer service and retention as a result of having all customer information  in one location. HandLab  takes pride in answering every call without the typical phone tree frustration.
  • Centralized customer data with customer segmentation and reporting capabilities allowed HandLab to improve communication efforts, marketing, and conversions as it gears up to increase sales by 20% in 2017.

New Improvement Within Oro Products: Oro PHPStorm Plugin

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oro php storm plugin

OroPlatform functionalities are constantly revised for enhancements and refined by our valuable Community members, so is the entire suite of Oro products. New features have been implemented and different development approaches have been introduced in order to bring revolutionary experiences to our clients so that they could take full advantage of numerous opportunities our business app development platform offers. The latest improvement is the availability of our Oro PHPStorm Plugin.

What is Oro PHPStorm Plugin?

Our new improvement, Oro PHPStorm Plugin, is an advanced supporting tool that will hugely benefit application developers. The tools has proved to be very efficient when used by our teams internally which is why we’ve decided to incorporate it into our Oro products.

Oro PHPStorm Plugin is an extension designed to enrich the functionality of the existing Integrated Development Environment (IDE) where the PHP developers create code. With the help of Oro PHPStorm Plugin, it’s possible to significantly  speed up the features development process.

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What are the benefits of this tool?

Oro PHPStorm Plugin helps to use features available in OroPlatform straight from the IDE, without needing to constantly validate your code against developer guides. This saves precious time and effort for Community members who are not yet familiar with OroPlatform’s features. The tool ensures error-free coding when developing OroPlatform features  since it checks the code as it’s typed and highlights errors enabling quick fixes.  

In more detail, Oro PHPStorm Plugin provides:

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Autocompletion and high level validation for the YAML configuration files

The plugin autocompletes elements and their values in config files available in OroPlatform-based applications. This helps to quickly grasp the file structure and select exact combinations to be added in each line or parameter. In case of input mismatches, the tool alerts any errors that need to be corrected. Here is the entire list of the YAML configs used in OroPlatform.

Autocompletion for entity methods added dynamically during the application execution

The Oro PHPStorm Plugin suggests dynamically added methods and properties. This allows developers to understand what methods or properties are actually present in the Entity class without having to investigate the code to validate this information. This kind of autocompletion is applicable to the Entity Extend feature.

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Version, Install and Upgrade

Oro PHPStorm Plugin supports applications based on the 2.0. version of OroPlatform and is available in the official JetBrains repository. Developers are welcome to install and upgrade it using the PHP Storm capabilities.

Feel Free to Contribute!

Oro PHPStorm Plugin is an open-source tool available in our public repository meaning everyone can contribute and extend it. Here you can learn about the contribution rules.

We hope you found this information useful. Should you have any questions about the plugin, leave a comment in the section below or post on our forums.