|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.
Many banks and financial institutions are experimenting with containers in development environments, but when will they move into production? Containers are seen as the key to achieving the ultimate in information technology flexibility and agility. Containers work on both public and private clouds, and make it easy to build and deploy applications. The challenge for regulated industries is the cost and complexity of container security compliance. VM security compliance is already challenging, ...
May. 24, 2016 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 801
@DevOpsSummit taking place June 7-9, 2016 at Javits Center, New York City, and Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 18th International @CloudExpo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world.
May. 24, 2016 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 3,229
Just last week a senior Hybris consultant shared the story of a customer engagement on which he was working. This customer had problems, serious problems. We’re talking about response times far beyond the most liberal acceptable standard. They were unable to solve the issue in their eCommerce platform – specifically Hybris. Although the eCommerce project was delivered by a system integrator / implementation partner, the vendor still gets involved when things go really wrong. After all, the vendo...
May. 24, 2016 09:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,308
Small teams are more effective. The general agreement is that anything from 5 to 12 is the 'right' small. But of course small teams will also have 'small' throughput - relatively speaking. So if your demand is X and the throughput of a small team is X/10, you probably need 10 teams to meet that demand. But more teams also mean more effort to coordinate and align their efforts in the same direction. So, the challenge is how to harness the power of small teams and yet orchestrate multiples of them...
May. 24, 2016 09:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,779
SYS-CON Events announced today the Docker Meets Kubernetes – Intro into the Kubernetes World, being held June 9, 2016, in conjunction with 18th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Register for 'Docker Meets Kubernetes Workshop' Here! This workshop led by Sebastian Scheele, co-founder of Loodse, introduces participants to Kubernetes (container orchestration). Through a combination of instructor-led presentations, demonstrations, and hands-on labs, participants learn ...
May. 24, 2016 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,779
The initial debate is over: Any enterprise with a serious commitment to IT is migrating to the cloud. But things are not so simple. There is a complex mix of on-premises, colocated, and public-cloud deployments. In this power panel at 18th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the present state of cloud from the C-level view, and how great companies and rock star executives can use cloud computing to meet their most ambitious and disruptive business ...
May. 24, 2016 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,969
The demand for organizations to expand their infrastructure to multiple IT environments like the cloud, on-premise, mobile, bring your own device (BYOD) and the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to grow. As this hybrid infrastructure increases, the challenge to monitor the security of these systems increases in volume and complexity. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stephen Coty, Chief Security Evangelist at Alert Logic, will show how properly configured and managed security architecture can...
May. 24, 2016 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,945
Last week I had the pleasure of speaking on a panel at Sapphire Ventures Next-Gen Tech Stack Forum in San Francisco. Obviously, I was excited to join the discussion, but as a participant the event crystallized not only where the larger software development market is relative to microservices, container technologies (like Docker), continuous integration and deployment; but also provided insight into where DevOps is heading in the coming years.
May. 24, 2016 07:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,383
Admittedly, two years ago I was a bulk contributor to the DevOps noise with conversations rooted in the movement around culture, principles, and goals. And while all of these elements of DevOps environments are important, I’ve found that the biggest challenge now is a lack of understanding as to why DevOps is beneficial. It’s getting the wheels going, or just taking the next step. The best way to start on the road to change is to take a look at the companies that have already made great headway ...
May. 24, 2016 07:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,591
Agile teams report the lowest rate of measuring non-functional requirements. What does this mean for the evolution of quality in this era of Continuous Everything? To explore how the rise of SDLC acceleration trends such as Agile, DevOps, and Continuous Delivery are impacting software quality, Parasoft conducted a survey about measuring and monitoring non-functional requirements (NFRs). Here's a glimpse at what we discovered and what it means for the evolution of quality in this era of Continuo...
May. 24, 2016 06:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,384
You might already know them from theagileadmin.com, but let me introduce you to two of the leading minds in the Rugged DevOps movement: James Wickett and Ernest Mueller. Both James and Ernest are active leaders in the DevOps space, in addition to helping organize events such as DevOpsDays Austinand LASCON. Our conversation covered a lot of bases from the founding of Rugged DevOps to aligning organizational silos to lessons learned from W. Edwards Demings.
May. 24, 2016 06:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,296
SYS-CON Events announced today BZ Media LLC has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. BZ Media LLC is a high-tech media company that produces technical conferences and expositions, and publishes a magazine, newsletters and websites in the software development, SharePoint, mobile development and Commercial Drone markets.
May. 24, 2016 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,367
When I talk about driving innovation with self-organizing teams, I emphasize that such self-organization includes expecting the participants to organize their own teams, give themselves their own goals, and determine for themselves how to measure their success. In contrast, the definition of skunkworks points out that members of such teams are “usually specially selected.” Good thing he added the word usually – because specially selecting such teams throws a wrench in the entire works, limiting...
May. 24, 2016 05:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,426
SYS-CON Events announced today TechTarget has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TechTarget is the Web’s leading destination for serious technology buyers researching and making enterprise technology decisions. Its extensive global networ...
May. 24, 2016 04:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,000
Application development and delivery methods have undergone radical changes in recent years to improve scalability and resiliency. Container images are the new build and deployment artifacts that are used to ship and run software. While startups have long been comfortable experimenting with and embracing new technologies, even large enterprises are now re-architecting their software systems so that they can benefit from container-enabled micro services architectures. With the launch of DC/OS, w...
May. 24, 2016 04:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,286
Earlier this week, we hosted a Continuous Discussion (#c9d9) on Continuous Delivery (CD) automation and orchestration, featuring expert panelists Dondee Tan, Test Architect at Alaska Air, Taco Bakker, a LEAN Six Sigma black belt focusing on CD, and our own Sam Fell and Anders Wallgren. During this episode, we discussed the differences between CD automation and orchestration, their challenges with setting up CD pipelines and some of the common chokepoints, as well as some best practices and tips...
May. 24, 2016 03:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,209
As AT&Ts VP of Domain 2.0 architecture writes one aspect of their Domain 2.0 strategy is a goal to embrace a Microservices Application Architecture. One page 9 they describe how these envisage them fitting into the ECOMP architecture: "The initial steps of the recipes include a homing and placement task using constraints specified in the requests. ‘Homing and Placement' are micro-services involving orchestration, inventory, and controllers responsible for infrastructure, network, and applicati...
May. 24, 2016 02:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,558
Automation is a critical component of DevOps and Continuous Delivery. This morning on #c9d9 we discussed CD Automation and how you can apply Automation to accelerate release cycles, improve quality, safety and governance? What is the difference between Automation and Orchestration? Where should you begin your journey to introduce both?
May. 24, 2016 01:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,225
While there has been much ado about interoperability, there are still no real solutions, same as last year and the year before that. The large EHR vendors who continue to dominate the market still maintain that interoperability is all but solved, still can't connect EHRs across the continuum causing frustration by providers and a disservice to patients. The ONC pays lip service to the problem, but that is about it. It is time for the healthcare industry to consider alternatives like middleware w...
May. 23, 2016 10:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,404
The pace of innovation, vendor lock-in, production sustainability, cost-effectiveness, and managing risk… In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Dan Choquette, Founder of RackN, will discuss how CIOs are challenged finding the balance of finding the right tools, technology and operational model that serves the business the best. He will discuss how clouds, open source software and infrastructure solutions have benefits but also drawbacks and how workload and operational portability between vendors...
May. 23, 2016 07:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,720