Review of a number of free, specialized systems

There
are a number of systems out there that don’t really fit into any
category but are useful and could be used as a platform for
development. Below are a few.
SugarCRM

http://www.sugarcrm.com/crm/

An Opensource, PHP/MySQL CRM (Customer
Relationship Management) tool. CRMs are for managing and tracking
marketing campaigns, client communications, and, mainly, the entire
sales process. Things is sort of an “opensource” salesforce, though
Salesforce may be better. Recently, it allowed for an individual to
extend SugarCRM by creating custom modules, which is VERY useful.

 

Benefits
Easy to use
Easy to extend
MANY features
Easy to install
CostDoesn’t integrate with as much software as Salesforce

Hosted version costs money, but you can get it on your own server too.

OrangeHRM

http://www.orangehrm.com/

A tool for managing human resources. Costs
money for full features and doesn’t have every feature you can think
of, but does timecards, does healthcare stuff, and is relatively
inexpensive. Is PHP/MySQL and could be integrated with phone systems
and things to do INCREDIBLE stuff, such as letting people mark
timecards through their cell phone… etc…

 

Benefits
Opensource
Cheap/Free
Easy to figure out
Has Helpful Technical Support
CostMaybe doesn’t have all the features your client will need out of box

not sure if it allows for templating

Phreebooks

http://www.phreebooks.com/

A free, PHP/MySQL accounting system. Not
perfect… but gets the job done. Quickbooks online is probably better,
but if for some reason you felt the need to integrate an opensource
accounting system with another piece of software, this might be the way
to go.

 

Benefits
Free
A number of reports
Does what it needs to do
CostNot use friendly…
reporting is difficult
Not always pretty
dropdown menus are funky

Moodle

http://moodle.org/

A tool for doing online classes. Could be
used by colleges, universities, bible studies, or a host of other
groups. Could also be used by businesses to train staff. Integrates
with tons of tools. Huge community. Entirely PHP/MySQL.

 

Benefits
Large Community
Virtually Bug-Free
Many Addons
Many templates
Lots of Integration
CostNone

Zoho

http://www.zoho.com/

Though not PHP/MySQL based, it has a
number of useful tools that can be used as an alternative to google
technologies. Also, has tools for converting MS Access databases
DIRECTLY OVER into Zoho database systems. The advantage, of course,
being that multiple users can access it at once! Might be able to
develop custom solutions using “Zoho Create” otherwise can make client
love you by getting them setup and moved to Zoho.

 

BenefitsLarge Community
Virtually Bug-Free
Easy to figure out
Relatively inexpensive
Backed up regularly!
CostCosts a little bit of money.
IfByPhone
http://ifbyphone.com/
Though not PHP/MySQL based, it has a number of phone tools. Namely, it as an “API” for creating phone-based applications. This could be integrated with something like PHP or ASP. I believe it is SOAP or some proprietary XML-based protocol. It comes equipped out of box with tools for
call queues, call lists, click-to-call (client types in their phone number and it calls you), etc. Very useful if you want to make a website/application that uses phone systems.
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