Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Liz McMillan, Akhil Sahai, Elizabeth White, Ruxit Blog, Dana Gardner

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Java IoT, Linux Containers

Microservices Expo: Blog Feed Post

Our B Review of Base CRM

A small business CRM worth looking at

We review small business CRM software all the time. Sometimes we find great systems. Sometimes not.

More typically, we find systems like Base CRM, a well designed and promising system that’s almost there (but not quite). Read on for our full review.

The Quick and Dirty Verdict

Base is a web-based CRM built by Future Simple, a venture-backed, Chicago based software company. As small business CRMs go, Base is pretty damn good: it’s easy to use, includes some neat features (client spaces!), and boasts an awesome mobile app. Unfortunately, the expensive pricing scheme, lack of calendaring, and limited integrations are all serious drawbacks. We’re giving it an 85/100, a respectable “B” on our grading scale. Read on for details…

Functionality = 28/30

Base’s feature list is quite good. Standout features include email integration (you can send and track emails from within your contact database), helpful premade reports, a straightforward permissions system, and an excellent mobile interface (one of the best we’ve seen, actually). Contact-related “activities” are limited to notes, deals, and tasks, which we like: no superfluous stuff here, folks. There’s also a unique “client spaces” feature which lets you share deal information with clients. We’re not sure how helpful this actually is – do prospects actually login to such things? – but it’s pretty interesting.

We’ve knocked a few points because the search functions aren’t great (don’t use Base if you have a huge, complex contact database), and because, more importantly, the calendaring sucks. Because activities are limited to tasks, there’s no quick way to block time out on your calendar for things like, oh, meetings. If you use Gcal, you can add the task, then click through and modify it in Google, which works as a workaround. Still…

Usability = 18/20 points

Base definitely takes a “less is more” approach to design (a relief to anyone accustomed to traditional CRMs). Navigation is generally intuitive and easily understood, though loading times weren’t great in our New York offices. Compared to much of the competition, Base’s usability is a big plus: you won’t have trouble training older reps on this.

Our deductions mostly have to do with the occasional design blip (see screenshots). Base is a young product – less than 3 years old – so these things are expected, but they leave the product with an unfinished feel. Mission critical software needs attention to detail – lots of it.

Security = 20/20 points

As far as we can tell, Base hasn’t suffered any security breaches, and the permissions system ensures admins have control over users. Base is hosted on Amazon’s EC2 servers, use SSL encryption, and automatically provides hourly backups. Standard (and secure).

Integrations = 5/10

One of Base’s main drawbacks is a lack of helpful integrations. Yes, there’s a decent Google integration, and there’s an excellent Dropbox integration, but users are otherwise left hanging. In an era where software is increasingly specialized, that’s not very cool. Without integrations, small business CRM, invoicing, accounting, marketing, and helpdesk tools (et al) become data silos (and cease being helpful). In our view, centralizing everything around the client – the person who makes you money – is one of the main functions of CRM, and Base disappoints.

A well documented API and the great Dropbox integration help out, but we’re still unhappy.

Price = 5/10

We’re also unhappy with Base’s pricing structure. There’s a free version, which is great for freelancers, but just about everyone else will want the $45/user/mo plan. That’s right, $45/user/mo, without which you lose sales forecasting and task automation. Now, we don’t know about you, but sales forecasting (how much upcoming revenue can we expect, given our current deals?) and task automation (pre saved sets of tasks, and triggered tasks) seem like pretty basic stuff. Most CRMs worth their salt offer those features at all price points – they’re some of the main reasons business owners want CRMs in the first place!

$45/user/mo is way too expensive for a small business CRM. 10 users would cost $5,400 a year – that’s nearly 4 times the annual cost of comparable products. No thank you.

Support = 9/10

Base has a vibrant user forum, which is a good sign, and a customer service request was promptly answered. No problems here – it’s clear they take support seriously, which we like.

We’ve knocked a single point because their partner program requires partners to become affiliates who have sold Base to 10 companies. Our dislike for affiliate programs is well documented, so we’ll leave it at that.

Conclusions

We like Base CRM – it’s a well designed, fully featured tool that many small businesses might find indispensable. We just don’t think it’s as good as it could (or should) be – limited calendaring, poor integrations, and a crazy pricing scheme make it something we’ll watch but not recommend.

VM Associates is a New York City based cloud computing consulting firm. We help companies transition into newer, better, smarter software. Contact us to talk about your business, the cloud, and how we might help.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Chris Bliss

Chris Bliss works at VM Associates, an end-user consultancy for businesses looking to move to the cloud from pre-existing legacy systems.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
Large scale deployments present unique planning challenges, system commissioning hurdles between IT and OT and demand careful system hand-off orchestration. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Smith, Senior Director and a founding member of Incenergy, will discuss some of the key tactics to ensure delivery success based on his experience of the last two years deploying Industrial IoT systems across four continents.
There will be new vendors providing applications, middleware, and connected devices to support the thriving IoT ecosystem. This essentially means that electronic device manufacturers will also be in the software business. Many will be new to building embedded software or robust software. This creates an increased importance on software quality, particularly within the Industrial Internet of Things where business-critical applications are becoming dependent on products controlled by software. Qua...
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 19th Cloud Expo and 6th @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Interne...
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to imp...
In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MangoApps provides modern company intranets and team collaboration software, allowing workers to stay connected and productive from anywhere in the world and from any device.
Basho Technologies has announced the latest release of Basho Riak TS, version 1.3. Riak TS is an enterprise-grade NoSQL database optimized for Internet of Things (IoT). The open source version enables developers to download the software for free and use it in production as well as make contributions to the code and develop applications around Riak TS. Enhancements to Riak TS make it quick, easy and cost-effective to spin up an instance to test new ideas and build IoT applications. In addition to...
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
"We've discovered that after shows 80% if leads that people get, 80% of the conversations end up on the show floor, meaning people forget about it, people forget who they talk to, people forget that there are actual business opportunities to be had here so we try to help out and keep the conversations going," explained Jeff Mesnik, Founder and President of ContentMX, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
“delaPlex Software provides software outsourcing services. We have a hybrid model where we have onshore developers and project managers that we can place anywhere in the U.S. or in Europe,” explained Manish Sachdeva, CEO at delaPlex Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
From wearable activity trackers to fantasy e-sports, data and technology are transforming the way athletes train for the game and fans engage with their teams. In his session at @ThingsExpo, will present key data findings from leading sports organizations San Francisco 49ers, Orlando Magic NBA team. By utilizing data analytics these sports orgs have recognized new revenue streams, doubled its fan base and streamlined costs at its stadiums. John Paul is the CEO and Founder of VenueNext. Prior ...
IoT is rapidly changing the way enterprises are using data to improve business decision-making. In order to derive business value, organizations must unlock insights from the data gathered and then act on these. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, and Peter Shashkin, Head of Development Department at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how one organization leveraged IoT, cloud technology and data analysis to improve customer experiences and effi...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm ...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
Big Data engines are powering a lot of service businesses right now. Data is collected from users from wearable technologies, web behaviors, purchase behavior as well as several arbitrary data points we’d never think of. The demand for faster and bigger engines to crunch and serve up the data to services is growing exponentially. You see a LOT of correlation between “Cloud” and “Big Data” but on Big Data and “Hybrid,” where hybrid hosting is the sanest approach to the Big Data Infrastructure pro...
"My role is working with customers, helping them go through this digital transformation. I spend a lot of time talking to banks, big industries, manufacturers working through how they are integrating and transforming their IT platforms and moving them forward," explained William Morrish, General Manager Product Sales at Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.
With 15% of enterprises adopting a hybrid IT strategy, you need to set a plan to integrate hybrid cloud throughout your infrastructure. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Steven Dreher, Director of Solutions Architecture at Green House Data, discussed how to plan for shifting resource requirements, overcome challenges, and implement hybrid IT alongside your existing data center assets. Highlights included anticipating workload, cost and resource calculations, integrating services on both sides...
"We are a well-established player in the application life cycle management market and we also have a very strong version control product," stated Flint Brenton, CEO of CollabNet,, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.