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Is Drupal CiviCRM the Right CRM Interface for You? An Analysis.

Is Drupal CiviCRM the Right CRM Interface for You? An Analysis.

Are you looking for a CRM interface for your website? If yes, then it is possible to manage the CRM of your website with a simple open source relationship management system software like CiviCRM.

The best part is that CiviCRM is available for installation as a standalone software or as a component along with content management systems like Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress. It may also be installed as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).

Let’s take a detailed look at the benefits offered by CiviCRM, its features and how it can work seamlessly with a Content Management System (CMS) like Drupal.

Web-Based Synchronisation

CiviCRM is a web-based application which is a great advantage, as it can be easily installed and utilised by you with the help of an internet-enabled computer system.

It synchronises seamlessly with various CMSs for effective web-based relationship management, especially for school, church and other charitable or non-profit organisations.

As CiviCRM is developed by the community Hive Mind, you may not get instant direct support for any related issues. However, there are plenty of help forums that provide solutions for various CiviCRM based problems.

Key Features

Online Fundraising and Donor Management

It can manage and keep track of all the contributions or donations to your organisation from your constituents from a single screen within the application.

Fundraising

You are empowered to create customised web pages quickly in order to accept online donations. You also get access to updated details of every donation and relevant contact with no chance of data entry errors.

Online Membership Management

With CiviCRM, you can easily manage the online sign ups, renewals and membership summaries for your organisation.

Membership

It enables you to configure any number of membership types as well as customise membership rules and status.

It is also possible to create customised web pages for self-service membership sign up and renewal. You can break down the membership summaries by date (month), membership type, number of contributions, contact information and the total contribution.

Online Event Management

CiviCRM offers you the functionality of creating customised web pages to manage online events or meeting registration for your organisation and then track the number of people who registered as well as the number of active participants.

Online Mass Mailing Management

With this CiviCRM app, you can create or develop newsletters to be distributed to different members directly from your website instead of having to create the group mailing list manually.

It thereby saves a lot of time. You can keep your constituents engaged with timely newsletters for everyone or personalised emails targeted at only a certain group of members.

Thus, CiviCRM assists you with email marketing, social media marketing as well as personal email campaigns.

Integration with Drupal CMS

In comparison to other large CRM applications, CiviCRM may not offer a similar level of data analysis and reporting.

However, it does offer a free alternative to maintain data records of a wide variety of information related to the constituents of your organisation.

Drupal CiviCRM

It can easily be configured to work with your existing business processes as well as seamlessly customised according to your specific business requirements. Furthermore, it is a free CRM component that is designed to integrate and work with CMSs, such as Joomla, Drupal, and WordPress.

However, it is more popularly known for its integration with Drupal. This is because Drupal provides most integration options for CiviCRM and because the Drupal community is more of a developer community, which can handle the technical challenges easily and add to the CiviCRM documentation.

Your website enables you to create roles for site users and grant them permission to execute different tasks, such as edit, view, delete, administer contacts or access specific information.

The Drupal permission settings determine which tasks a specific role will perform and what information it can access. They override any access control setup in CiviCRM, which means that if the CiviCRM settings restrict access to contacts, but the Drupal permission settings allow complete access, then the particular user role will have complete access to contacts.

The Drupal Views module enables you to display website content and CiviCRM integrates with it in order to allow CiviCRM data to be publicly displayed on your website.

When we tried to combine them together for a client’s website, we had to do some configuration, as our CiviCRM and Drupal belonged to different databases.

The Final Verdict

All in all, CiviCRM has several features working in its favour, especially if your business is a non-profit, advocacy or a charitable organisation that has a website CMS like Drupal. It does not involve any licensing fees and so you can add users without any incurring additional costs.

However, you do require certain technical skills to ensure a seamless setup and maintenance of this CRM tool.

So have you explored Drupal CiviCRM before? Do you have any point to share? Please feel free to leave your comments below and thanks for reading!

 

A Detailed Comparison of Magento Editions – Enterprise vs. Community

A Detailed Comparison of Magento Editions – Enterprise vs. Community

First launched in 2008, Magento is arguably one of the most popular and widely used eCommerce platforms that powers hundreds of thousands of online stores, and can be downloaded for free.

eCommerce

Tailored according to your specific eCommerce needs, this open source platform offers maximum performance and scalability, with advanced out-of-the-box capabilities, packed in a bundle of multiple editions two of which are Magento Enterprise and Magento Community.

Aside from the fact that one is free and the other is not, both Magento editions seem equally beneficial. Some businesses, however, prefer one to the other.

So, what is the difference between the two, what features does one have, that the other doesn’t, and how they perform against each other on different parameters is what we’ll discuss in detail today.

The purpose of this comparison is to ascertain which version is suitable for your organisation depending on what stage it is in, and future requirements.

Size of the Business

The first and perhaps the most important differentiator between the two Magento editions are the size and scale of the business.

Consider the amount of sales you make every month, the size of the inventory, the number of SKUs, and the market growth your business is experiencing.

With faster indexing process, speedy checkout feature, ability to handle large number of products, flexibility and better support for international business, Magento Enterprise is a real game changer in this scenario if you have lots of products or inventory.

Modular Code Base

On a core, technical level, though, those of you who are not afraid to get their hands dirty building and maintaining a website, Magento Community might be the best fit.

For those who need more control over the environment and need to leverage extensions and custom coding to meet your customer’s expectations, Magento Community has an amazing array of features that include code level access to files.

Unlike Enterprise or other Magento platforms, the Community’s code runs on your web server, and that ensures that your sensitive data and information stay secure and inaccessible to external agents.

Performance Enhancement

When it comes to performance enhancement, Magento Enterprise is an obvious winner. Every upgrade in the system is making this platform exponentially better and faster at re-indexing.

Performance

Unlike Magento Community that could take around 10 to 20 minutes to process a newly added product, Enterprise does it almost instantly.

Budget and Investment

If you are looking to start with an eCommerce solution on a limited budget, then Magento Community is your best bet.

Budget

Image credit: Flickr

It is relatively easier to set up and flexible for web developers and designers to work with. With a wide assortment of solutions within the edition and the ability to customise certain features without any cost, Magento Community is just the right solution for small-sized businesses and startups.

Even if some amount of investment is required in future development or modules, it will be far less than the amount of money required to develop an eCommerce system from scratch.

However, for those of you who need something more robust and unorthodox, and if money is not a problem and you want a more professional looking eCommerce solution from the start, then without a doubt, Magento Enterprise will win the race.

Comparison Chart

Here’s a comparison chart that we’ve designed to determine the right fit for your business with a sharp focus on the key differentiating elements of both the editions.

Magento Compare

While all the current solutions that Magento is offering are beneficial for businesses, every edition is designed to meet certain business needs.

Magento Community may very well be a good starting point with little or no investment, but for a long-term solution for a larger business with higher online sales, Magento Enterprise offers reliable professional support and is the right way to go.

It is important to keep this factor in mind that Magento is a large eCommerce system that is not well suited for every kind of business. It is best to obtain an expert’s advice on choosing the right system for your business to reap the right results.

So, before you delve into the world of Magento and begin to explore your options, don’t forget to request an unbiased professional opinion on the choice you wish to make.

Is your organisation currently using an eCommerce solution? What were the major limitations that made you consider Magento eCommerce solutions? Let us know in the comments below, and thanks for reading!