||It has been suggested that this article be merged into Epesi. (Discuss) Proposed since May 2013.|
|Stable release||1.5.6 / March 3, 2014|
|Written in||PHP 5.x|
|Type||Customer Relationship Management|
EPESI is an open source, PHP/Ajax framework for rapid development of web based, database driven applications. The framework includes a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) multiuser application. EPESI has modular design and is created entirely with epesi framework. It runs on any operating system with http server with php 5.x and MySQL or PostgreSQL database server on the server side and any modern browser like Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari and any operating system: Windows, OS X, Linux, on the client side. Internet Explorer (version 8 and 9) is supported, however user's experience is not as good due to lack of support of open standards by Microsoft, especially HTML5 and CSS3.
EPESI framework and EPESI CRM application is released under MIT license. This simple license allows other developers not only create additional modules, but build entire custom applications upon this framework and distribute them as either open source or commercial software.
Between 1995 and 2006, Teknaspan Corporation, a small IT consulting company run by Janusz Tylek, was providing computer-related services in the Greater Philadelphia metropolitan area. Many of its customers - mostly small, local companies - were looking to share easily information especially in remote offices. Setup based on Microsoft's Exchange Server, Outlook and Sharepoint was too expensive and difficult to set up and manage and did not meet with a good response.
In the same time period, Internet connection became a norm and mature, free and open source software like Apache, MySQL and PHP became available. Teknaspan started offering open source solutions to its customers, among them SugarCRM. This application was difficult to set up, upgrade and most of all - difficult to extend its functionality. After experimenting with a number of other solutions like dotproject, mantis, and many other open source solutions, it became clear that there is a need for a modern framework with a set of reusable components upon which an application can be developed.
At the beginning of 2006, Teknaspan Corporation was acquired by another IT consulting company. Janusz Tylek left Teknaspan and formed Telaxus LLC, a small software startup company focusing on development of web-based applications. The reusable, modern framework with the latest standards like AJAX, HTML5 and CSS3 was born. The result is a cumulative experience of over a 10-year period working with over 400 small companies from many different industries.
The original requirements were:
- 100% web based (no client installation needed)
- run on any web server (Apache, IIS, Windows, Linux - LAMP/WAMP stack)
- use the most popular web scripting language supported - PHP
- provide a database abstraction layer - AdoDB, which has drivers for MySQL, PostgreSQL and many others
- include authentication and permission library - phpGACL
- have a set of reusable components (modules)
- use of other mature and open source application (for example Roundcube as e-mail client)
In the summer of 2006, the work on the framework started after a meeting of Tylek (jasiek) and Pawel Bukowski (shacky), who designed the first set of modules. By the end of 2006, the first commercial application was released - a warehouse management system. In May 2007, the core of epesi framework was released as open source software and published on Sourceforge. It included Record Browser - CRUD engine, designed by Arkadiusz Bisaga (ethnar), which is a high-level database abstraction layer, handling not only Create/Read/Update/Delete operations, but also handling automatic pagination, lazy delete, full record history, sorting, filtering and more. During the next twelve months, the application was expanded with customer relationship management (CRM) functionality and this package is now available as EPESI. It was met with a great response from end users as a viable alternative to well established products like SugarCRM or vtiger. It was translated by users into many languages: Czech, English, Estonian, French, German, Greek, Italian, Lithuanian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish and Swedish.
Since the first release published on Sourceforge, epesi has been downloaded over 30,000 times (as of January 2012).
Epesi is one of the top 12 open source CRM software by "Cost Effective Software Reviews"
EPESI framework takes advantage of robust and mature some third party libraries like database driver ADOdb or jQuery. The framework allows rapid development of new modules, especially when utilizing Record Browser - an advanced module that automatically generates views, limits queries, stores historical data, etc.
The dashboard approach allows every user customize his or her workspace using applets - mini view of data stored in the module. For example an applet may show only phone calls to be returned today.
One of the most advanced and powerful feature is a Watchdog utility, which allows a user to subscribe to a record (or category of records) and have the system monitor it for you. This way a user receives a notification (Subscriptions applet) when a record was changed by another user - a meeting was canceled, a phone number or an address was updated, a project status changed from Completed to Billed or even when a note was attached to a record.
Every record can have an unlimited number of notes or attachments in any possible format.
EPESI incorporates Roundcube IMAP e-mail client and provides true single instance message archiving. When a user receives an e-mail it can be archived into epesi system. An e-mail message is extracted from e-mail client and stored in the database in e-mails table. Attachments are stored as files with reference links. Then a link to this e-mail (or e-mail with attachments) is created under history of two contacts: a sender and a recipient. This way the e-mail becomes a public note for all users to see. This reduces e-mail traffic - instead of forwarding coworkers an e-mail with attachment resulting in megabytes or gigabytes of wasted space a single instance of this e-mail is sufficient. Additionally any number of reference links can be created in as many modules as needed (for example a meeting or a task can have reference links to this e-mail) and there is almost no overhead.
EPESI is available as open source application and distributed free of charge. The base version which can be downloaded from SourceForge download includes the epesi framework and set of modules providing CRM functionality:
- Shared addressbook (Companies and Contacts)
- Shared calendar
- Task list (To Do)
- Phone Call tracker
- Project tracker with Bugtracker
- Sales Tracking
The functionality of epesi can be extended with Custom modules (created by end-users for example) or by installing additional Premium modules. Most Premium modules are commercial and require a license fee.