Introducing CRM Core

CRM Core is a set of modules for managing contact records within a Drupal site, providing support for contacts, relationships and activities. It provides the basic tools organizations need to effectively track the relationships they maintain with people, along with a framework for extending that support to handle other use cases.

Our team has been working on CRM Core the release of Drupal 7, keeping in mind the idea that Drupal now has the potential to be a lot more than a CMS. Originally started as a proof of concept, this set of modules has grown to become a solution we have used when working with groups that don't work well with traditional CRM approaches. Now that it is being used by a number of organizations, we wanted to share some information about the system and how you can put it to work as a solution for managing contact information.

What is it and What Does it Do?

A common challenge many organizations face is handling personal information collected over the web. While it's fine to simply store contact information in a table or email, these approaches don't really provide a lot of value to people looking to understand the way others work with their group over time. Sophisticated contact relationship management tools, called CRM systems, are commonly employed to centralize the collection of information about people interacting with an organization, and allow it to be presented in a useful form.

We prepared a video that demonstrates the basic tools that come with CRM Core, to showcase what you get out of the box when installing the modules.

In this video, Chang Xiao, one of Trellon's technical leads, shows many of the key features that exist in the platform. CRM Core ships with support for managing contact records, activities, and relationships, along with some basic search tools that can be refined using Views to accomodate more sophisticated reporting needs. All of these are shown in the video, along with some of the tools that are in place for customizing the system to create your own contact, activity and relationship types.

Why Doesn't It Support X Feature?

Designed to be extensible, CRM Core has been built with a pretty simple idea in mind: provide the basic tools everyone needs and avoid feature bloat. We really wanted to build something that can be used in the widest number of cases, without forcing people to deal with features they don't have a use for.

To that end, CRM Core is designed to allow people to build small, useful applications that are portable and can easily be shared just like the core modules. Using features, developers can easily export extensions to CRM Core to provide support for other ways of interacting with contacts. There are a number of features under development by Trellon, which we plan on releasing soon, and there are other developers in the community who are working with the core modules and plan for releases of their own.

For more information and getting involved with the project, please visit http://drupal.org/project/crm_core.