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  • #1002726
    marvelit
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    • Total posts: 169
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    Business contact manager is only a contact list really. It has a few more in depth fields but is not good for monitoring anything specific.

    ACT is quite a good product and alot of my clients use it and are happy with it.

    One thing to remember people, is that if you want to invest into this sort of software, you are going to have to invest into your IT infrastructure if the data is kept on site.

    Make sure you have a disaster recovery solution in place (ie. backup of some sort etc.)

    I recently have a client of mine’s server go down, and they lost everything. They didn’t follow my recommendations and it ended up costing them 5 thousand dollars to repair. Luckily I got their data back, but it cost them 5 grand! This also does not include the amount of downtime they had, and loss of revenue due to not being able to access data and for wages for 15 – 20 people who couldn’t work.

    So in reality, it was way more than the invoice they got from me.

    #1002727
    bg09
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    • Total posts: 1
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    Arthur,

    Just out of curiosity why do you want it to integrate with Outlook? Many CRM packagaes can do what Outlook does plus much more. If you are looking at expanding the capabilities of Outlook then I would recommend dumping it completely. Most CRM’s can import your Outlook contacts and much of the data. Anyway, some good ones to look at are GoldMine, salesforce.com, sugarCRM, MS CRM (this is usually for bigger businesses), Maximizer, and SalesLogix (this is used primarily by IT companies, not sure what you do). Good luck in your search.

    #1002728
    Anonymous
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    Devan, post: 1679 wrote:
    Arthur,

    We currently use SugarCRM in house. We host the open source version on our own linux box here. To get Outlook connectivity, you have to purchase the SugarNetwork package from them, which allows you to sync emails/contacts with sugar and also do mail mergin with Word etc. I think it was around $150 per user for the SugarNetwork package.

    BTW – I agree with Adam here. I actually DO write software for a living, and I cannot understand the reluctance for some people to pay for software which will make them a profit. We have one client who enthusiastically told us that our software was saving him around $500 per week, and in the same breath said that he thought the $2000 we charged him for it was excessive!!! Hmmm.

    Cheers,
    Devan

    Could you tell me if you have set up sugarcrm to integrate with your accounting package, because that is an issue for us, and if so, how did you do it. thanks. [email protected] 03 9525 9086 Toni Bikhara

    #1002729
    Adam Randall
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    • Total posts: 382
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    bg09, post: 7687 wrote:
    Arthur,

    Just out of curiosity why do you want it to integrate with Outlook? Many CRM packagaes can do what Outlook does plus much more. If you are looking at expanding the capabilities of Outlook then I would recommend dumping it completely. Most CRM’s can import your Outlook contacts and much of the data. Anyway, some good ones to look at are GoldMine, salesforce.com, sugarCRM, MS CRM (this is usually for bigger businesses), Maximizer, and SalesLogix (this is used primarily by IT companies, not sure what you do). Good luck in your search.

    The best type of CRM integrates with outlook and has a 2 way near realtime sync with appointments and the to do bar.

    If I put an appointment in outlook it is in my CRM and if I put an appointment in my CRM it appears in my outlook.

    #1002730
    Rod Sprenger
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    • Total posts: 3
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    Hi There,

    Polymorphic Solutions is an Australian IT company that sells ChilliDB. ChilliDB is a powerful CRM offered as a hosted web application that is quite cheap, very easy to use, integrates with outlook and is designed for Small and Medium sized businesses. I’m more than happy to give anyone a demo over the web and a free trial to see if it suits your business.
    We use it in-house and its superb!
    We think its superior to ACT, but we may be biased :)

    Our web site http://www.chillidb.com

    cheers

    Rod

    #1002731
    peppie
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    • Total posts: 525
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    I have just been having a look at the site you quote Rod, but I have a couple of problems with it straight out.

    First, I have absolutely no idea what “Divisions” are supposed to be. And second, I can find nowhere on the site that mentions price for the service/s.

    The text somewhere mentions it is useful for small business, but I can find no explanation of whether my small business (1 man show) will benefit. And the price issue, I am always wary when a business is not prepared to state pricing up front.

    Maybe you can clarify these issues, since I gather you are part of this business.

    #1002732
    Rod Sprenger
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    • Total posts: 3
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    Hi Paul,

    thanks for the feedback. The website is still a work in progress, but I always like to hear first impressions so we can improve it.

    ChilliDB is offered at $50 per user per month.

    The Divisions of General Practice are one of the market segments we operate in and are a group of territory based NGO’s that support GP’s around Australia.

    As to whether it would suit your business, that will depend on your requirements. Its design is centered around contacts, organisations and communications rather than a sales approach based on sales pipelines and marketing campaigns.

    I’m happy to supply details for a login to the freely available trial system we run. Just PM me if you want to take a look.

    Regards

    Rod

    #1002733
    Craig
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    • Total posts: 7
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    You might like to look at our software, Acanotion Help Desk / CRM Software. It makes keeping track of your clients and service you provide to your clients simple, easy and is available to download and trial in your own environment.
    http://www.helpdesksoftware.com.au

    #1002734
    openondemand
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    • Total posts: 2
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    We’ve just launched a new service that provides a hosted CRM package. We are actively looking for feedback and would like to provide a free account to anyone that is willing to talk to us. Please check out http://openondemand.com or contact ryan AT openondemand DOT com

    We are also setup to allow you to export all your data with a single click should your needs ever outgrow our service, so you don’t need to worry about loosing any data.

    #1002735
    Samith
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    • Total posts: 187
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    I think Sugar CRM is the open source leader, there’s a large community to support you if you encounter any difficulties and to tailor it to your needs. I can’t think of any other free product.

    #1002736
    openondemand
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    • Total posts: 2
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    The system we use is built on vtiger, which I think provides a much better open source model.

    #1002737
    MOATGroup
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    • Total posts: 7
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    Hi Arthur,

    Good to see here that so many people have recommended hosted solutions, which I would also suggest, however, you asked about a desktop client.

    To be honest, anything that is free in terms of CRM, I would assume lacks some functionality. Having used the majority of CRM solutions in the market at one time or another (no IT company seems to have the same systems), one that I keep coming back to for simplicity and ease of use is Act! by Sage. I first used this as Version 3 back in 1995/96 and to be honest it has got a lot better since then.

    Sage also own Saleslogix and have their own CRM, both good products and depends on the functionality you require. If you reviewied Maximiser, I’d try and push you away from it, based on historical support and also it wasn’t very easy to use in the old days.

    Act has great integration to outlook nowadays as well.

    Another is MS Dynamics CRM – not a bad solution, but being MS has its usual issues sometimes.

    Goldmine is an old and tested product, but haven’t used this for years.

    Have a look at this site for a bit more information:
    http://www.comparecrm.com/

    One key aspect that’s really being missed is working out what you need from the CRM – is it just a contacts DB (if so use Outlook), if it’s more then you need to define what that More is..

    I wouldn’t skimp and save on a solution that controls my customer data, too business critical.

    I would also suggest to have a look at online solutions – provides access anywhere etc, this further expands your horizons to include:
    SugarCRM
    Netsuite
    Siebel / Oracle on Demand
    Sage CRM
    Telstra TSuite – MS Dymanics CRM

    Feel free to email me if you’d like more advice or to pick my brain, I enjoy discussing Business Systems with people, but do believe you need to pay for it. All up, I’d trial ACT! – new version 2010 seems really good.

    Many thanks

    Marcus
    ITS Group
    MOAT Group
    Bugbat.com.au

    #1002738
    Rod Sprenger
    Member
    • Total posts: 3
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    This is such a broad area and judging by the number of responses, its easy to see how people can become very confused when choosing a CRM. I’ve been a user of a few myself – Siebel, Salesforce, Sugar and Imis and each one had good things and bad things about them. I’ve finally found a company that makes a CRM for the not for profit market here in Australia that did what I wanted, so I joined them and now run the company. (ChilliDB)

    Its important to note there are generally two flavours of CRM, sales based and service based. The Sales based ones like Salesforce, Sugar, Siebel etc are designed to follow the sales cycle from start to finish and manage the relationship of the customer from propsect to client. Great products if you’re a sales oriented organisation.
    Service based CRM’s focus more on the membership, fundraising, case management and activities relating to carrying out a service for your clients.

    You’ll need to decide what your organisation really does before making a commitment. Here is an article I wrote in the NFPN Magazine – completely unbiased towards any CRM, that explains a little more about choosing the right CRM.

    http://www.nfpmanagement.com.au/August2009/index.html

    Cheers

    Rod

    #1002739
    danbeebee
    Member
    • Total posts: 31
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    Hi,

    There is the new MYOB ClientConnect CRM package.

    This sits within Outlook and integrates with your MYOB package.

    There’s some information here.

    #1002740
    Ken Wood
    Member
    • Total posts: 54
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    Louise Masters, post: 8741 wrote:
    Could you tell me if you have set up sugarcrm to integrate with your accounting package, because that is an issue for us, and if so, how did you do it. thanks. [email protected] 03 9525 9086 Toni Bikhara

    I have been away from the forums for a while and have only just seen this post. It might be relevant in the context of this discussion to mention that we have developed a tight integration between SugarCRM and MYOB.

    Actually we wrote a whole Accounts Receivable module for SugarCRM, so all the transactions go into Sugar first and we sync them across to MYOB from there.

    Storing transactions in the CRM opens up a lot of possibilities for reporting (e.g. sales by affiliate, sales by customer location etc) and marketing strategies (e.g. target customers who’ve bought product X but haven’t bought Y, target customers who spent more than $Z in the last quarter etc).

    If it’s of any interest then you can read more here: http://www.smallbusinesscrm.net.au/sugarcrm

    Cheers,
    Ken

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