|By Chris Bliss||
|August 10, 2012 03:33 PM EDT||
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.
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.
There are several IoTs: the Industrial Internet, Consumer Wearables, Wearables and Healthcare, Supply Chains, and the movement toward Smart Grids, Cities, Regions, and Nations. There are competing communications standards every step of the way, a bewildering array of sensors and devices, and an entire world of competing data analytics platforms. To some this appears to be chaos. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate a...
Jul. 1, 2016 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,014
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 ...
Jul. 1, 2016 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 642
"There's a growing demand from users for things to be faster. When you think about all the transactions or interactions users will have with your product and everything that is between those transactions and interactions - what drives us at Catchpoint Systems is the idea to measure that and to analyze it," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York Ci...
Jul. 1, 2016 12:32 PM EDT
Apixio Inc. has raised $19.3 million in Series D venture capital funding led by SSM Partners with participation from First Analysis, Bain Capital Ventures and Apixio’s largest angel investor. Apixio will dedicate the proceeds toward advancing and scaling products powered by its cognitive computing platform, further enabling insights for optimal patient care. The Series D funding comes as Apixio experiences strong momentum and increasing demand for its HCC Profiler solution, which mines unstruc...
Jul. 1, 2016 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 654
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...
Jul. 1, 2016 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 628
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.
Jul. 1, 2016 10:45 AM EDT Reads: 541
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...
Jul. 1, 2016 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,062
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
Jul. 1, 2016 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 484
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
Jul. 1, 2016 09:49 AM EDT Reads: 226
The cloud market growth today is largely in public clouds. While there is a lot of spend in IT departments in virtualization, these aren’t yet translating into a true “cloud” experience within the enterprise. What is stopping the growth of the “private cloud” market? In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, explored the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences between wh...
Jul. 1, 2016 09:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,167
Ask someone to architect an Internet of Things (IoT) solution and you are guaranteed to see a reference to the cloud. This would lead you to believe that IoT requires the cloud to exist. However, there are many IoT use cases where the cloud is not feasible or desirable. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, will discuss the strategies that exist to extend intelligence directly to IoT devices and sensors, freeing them from the constraints of ...
Jul. 1, 2016 09:12 AM EDT Reads: 223
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. He cited examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He also highlighted how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable ...
Jul. 1, 2016 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 663
IoT offers a value of almost $4 trillion to the manufacturing industry through platforms that can improve margins, optimize operations & drive high performance work teams. By using IoT technologies as a foundation, manufacturing customers are integrating worker safety with manufacturing systems, driving deep collaboration and utilizing analytics to exponentially increased per-unit margins. However, as Benoit Lheureux, the VP for Research at Gartner points out, “IoT project implementers often ...
Jul. 1, 2016 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 778
When people aren’t talking about VMs and containers, they’re talking about serverless architecture. Serverless is about no maintenance. It means you are not worried about low-level infrastructural and operational details. An event-driven serverless platform is a great use case for IoT. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Animesh Singh, an STSM and Lead for IBM Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, will detail how to build a distributed serverless, polyglot, microservices framework using open source tec...
Jul. 1, 2016 08:30 AM EDT Reads: 775
The idea of comparing data in motion (at the sensor level) to data at rest (in a Big Data server warehouse) with predictive analytics in the cloud is very appealing to the industrial IoT sector. The problem Big Data vendors have, however, is access to that data in motion at the sensor location. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Scott Allen, CMO of FreeWave, discussed how as IoT is increasingly adopted by industrial markets, there is going to be an increased demand for sensor data from the outermos...
Jul. 1, 2016 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 546
CenturyLink has announced that application server solutions from GENBAND are now available as part of CenturyLink’s Networx contracts. The General Services Administration (GSA)’s Networx program includes the largest telecommunications contract vehicles ever awarded by the federal government. CenturyLink recently secured an extension through spring 2020 of its offerings available to federal government agencies via GSA’s Networx Universal and Enterprise contracts. GENBAND’s EXPERiUS™ Application...
Jul. 1, 2016 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 572
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
Jul. 1, 2016 07:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,315
"delaPlex is a software development company. We do team-based outsourcing development," explained Mark Rivers, COO and Co-founder of delaPlex Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jul. 1, 2016 07:15 AM EDT Reads: 719
"We work in the area of Big Data analytics and Big Data analytics is a very crowded space - you have Hadoop, ETL, warehousing, visualization and there's a lot of effort trying to get these tools to talk to each other," explained Mukund Deshpande, head of the Analytics practice at Accelerite, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jul. 1, 2016 12:30 AM EDT Reads: 762
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Andi Mann returns to 'DevOps at Cloud Expo 2016' as Conference Chair The @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo will take place on November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "DevOps is set to be one of the most profound disruptions to hit IT in decades," said Andi Mann. "It is a natural extension of cloud computing, and I have seen both firsthand and in independent research the fantastic results DevOps delivers. So I am excited t...
Jul. 1, 2016 12:00 AM EDT Reads: 623