Strategy: Free is always good.  The free open source, shareware version helps companies with extra low cost IT resources to structure a simple base to create their own CRM from.   For larger deployments or companies with more complex or B to B needs, this is often not the best choice.   If you wish to go down the path of custom development it is best to start with a Design Audit   to lay the framework and prioritize the project.

Sugar CRM started as a free open source system. It gained considerable momentum against Salesforce and other expensive CRM systems.

The free side of sugar CRM often disappears as soon as you consider the time, training and expertise costs to get sugar CRM working right for organizations with more than a few users. Good sugar CRM consultants are rare and often pricey. Sugar CRM open development community offers considerable value if you have free IT resources with extra time to sort through the good and bad apps and customizations. Sugar CRM is now offered as also a paid version for larger user bases. If you have very limited number of users (ie. less than five), and are on a very tight budget then the free option of sugar CRM might just be right for you. If you’re tired of the high costs of Salesforce, you may also consider sugar CRM.  Microsoft CRM and sugar CRM continue to take a large number of ex salesforce customers.