Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Linux Authors: Lori MacVittie, Ruxit Blog, VictorOps Blog, Marco Meinardi, Carmen Gonzalez

Related Topics: SOA & WOA, Java, Linux

SOA & WOA: 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
Sensor-enabled things are becoming more commonplace, precursors to a larger and more complex framework that most consider the ultimate promise of the IoT: things connecting, interacting, sharing, storing, and over time perhaps learning and predicting based on habits, behaviors, location, preferences, purchases and more. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tom Wesselman, Director of Communications Ecosystem Architecture at Plantronics, will examine the still nascent IoT as it is coalescing, including what it is today, what it might ultimately be, the role of wearable tech, and technology gaps stil...
With several hundred implementations of IoT-enabled solutions in the past 12 months alone, this session will focus on experience over the art of the possible. Many can only imagine the most advanced telematics platform ever deployed, supporting millions of customers, producing tens of thousands events or GBs per trip, and hundreds of TBs per month. With the ability to support a billion sensor events per second, over 30PB of warm data for analytics, and hundreds of PBs for an data analytics archive, in his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Kaskade, Vice President and General Manager, Big Data & Ana...
In the consumer IoT, everything is new, and the IT world of bits and bytes holds sway. But industrial and commercial realms encompass operational technology (OT) that has been around for 25 or 50 years. This grittier, pre-IP, more hands-on world has much to gain from Industrial IoT (IIoT) applications and principles. But adding sensors and wireless connectivity won’t work in environments that demand unwavering reliability and performance. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ron Sege, CEO of Echelon, will discuss how as enterprise IT embraces other IoT-related technology trends, enterprises with i...
When it comes to the Internet of Things, hooking up will get you only so far. If you want customers to commit, you need to go beyond simply connecting products. You need to use the devices themselves to transform how you engage with every customer and how you manage the entire product lifecycle. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sean Lorenz, Technical Product Manager for Xively at LogMeIn, will show how “product relationship management” can help you leverage your connected devices and the data they generate about customer usage and product performance to deliver extremely compelling and reliabl...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is causing data centers to become radically decentralized and atomized within a new paradigm known as “fog computing.” To support IoT applications, such as connected cars and smart grids, data centers' core functions will be decentralized out to the network's edges and endpoints (aka “fogs”). As this trend takes hold, Big Data analytics platforms will focus on high-volume log analysis (aka “logs”) and rely heavily on cognitive-computing algorithms (aka “cogs”) to make sense of it all.
One of the biggest impacts of the Internet of Things is and will continue to be on data; specifically data volume, management and usage. Companies are scrambling to adapt to this new and unpredictable data reality with legacy infrastructure that cannot handle the speed and volume of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and president of Infobright, will discuss how companies need to rethink their data infrastructure to participate in the IoT, including: Data storage: Understanding the kinds of data: structured, unstructured, big/small? Analytics: What kinds and how responsiv...
Since 2008 and for the first time in history, more than half of humans live in urban areas, urging cities to become “smart.” Today, cities can leverage the wide availability of smartphones combined with new technologies such as Beacons or NFC to connect their urban furniture and environment to create citizen-first services that improve transportation, way-finding and information delivery. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Laetitia Gazel-Anthoine, CEO of Connecthings, will focus on successful use cases.
Sensor-enabled things are becoming more commonplace, precursors to a larger and more complex framework that most consider the ultimate promise of the IoT: things connecting, interacting, sharing, storing, and over time perhaps learning and predicting based on habits, behaviors, location, preferences, purchases and more. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tom Wesselman, Director of Communications Ecosystem Architecture at Plantronics, will examine the still nascent IoT as it is coalescing, including what it is today, what it might ultimately be, the role of wearable tech, and technology gaps stil...
The true value of the Internet of Things (IoT) lies not just in the data, but through the services that protect the data, perform the analysis and present findings in a usable way. With many IoT elements rooted in traditional IT components, Big Data and IoT isn’t just a play for enterprise. In fact, the IoT presents SMBs with the prospect of launching entirely new activities and exploring innovative areas. CompTIA research identifies several areas where IoT is expected to have the greatest impact.
Wearable devices have come of age. The primary applications of wearables so far have been "the Quantified Self" or the tracking of one's fitness and health status. We propose the evolution of wearables into social and emotional communication devices. Our BE(tm) sensor uses light to visualize the skin conductance response. Our sensors are very inexpensive and can be massively distributed to audiences or groups of any size, in order to gauge reactions to performances, video, or any kind of presentation. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Jocelyn Scheirer, CEO & Founder of Bionolux, will discuss ho...
SYS-CON Events announced today that GENBAND, a leading developer of real time communications software solutions, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's WebRTC Summit, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The GENBAND team will be on hand to demonstrate their newest product, Kandy. Kandy is a communications Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that enables companies to seamlessly integrate more human communications into their Web and mobile applications - creating more engaging experiences for their customers and boosting collaboration and productiv...
Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, had reached 30,000 page views on his home page - http://RobertoMedrano.SYS-CON.com/ - on the SYS-CON family of online magazines, which includes Cloud Computing Journal, Internet of Things Journal, Big Data Journal, and SOA World Magazine. He is a recognized executive in the information technology fields of SOA, internet security, governance, and compliance. He has extensive experience with both start-ups and large companies, having been involved at the beginning of four IT industries: EDA, Open Systems, Computer Security and now SOA.
From telemedicine to smart cars, digital homes and industrial monitoring, the explosive growth of IoT has created exciting new business opportunities for real time calls and messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ivelin Ivanov, CEO and Co-Founder of Telestax, shared some of the new revenue sources that IoT created for Restcomm – the open source telephony platform from Telestax. Ivelin Ivanov is a technology entrepreneur who founded Mobicents, an Open Source VoIP Platform, to help create, deploy, and manage applications integrating voice, video and data. He is the co-founder of TeleStax, a...
The industrial software market has treated data with the mentality of “collect everything now, worry about how to use it later.” We now find ourselves buried in data, with the pervasive connectivity of the (Industrial) Internet of Things only piling on more numbers. There’s too much data and not enough information. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Bob Gates, Global Marketing Director, GE’s Intelligent Platforms business, to discuss how realizing the power of IoT, software developers are now focused on understanding how industrial data can create intelligence for industrial operations. Imagine ...
Operational Hadoop and the Lambda Architecture for Streaming Data Apache Hadoop is emerging as a distributed platform for handling large and fast incoming streams of data. Predictive maintenance, supply chain optimization, and Internet-of-Things analysis are examples where Hadoop provides the scalable storage, processing, and analytics platform to gain meaningful insights from granular data that is typically only valuable from a large-scale, aggregate view. One architecture useful for capturing and analyzing streaming data is the Lambda Architecture, representing a model of how to analyze rea...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Vitria Technology, Inc. will exhibit at SYS-CON’s @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Vitria will showcase the company’s new IoT Analytics Platform through live demonstrations at booth #330. Vitria’s IoT Analytics Platform, fully integrated and powered by an operational intelligence engine, enables customers to rapidly build and operationalize advanced analytics to deliver timely business outcomes for use cases across the industrial, enterprise, and consumer segments.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Open Data Centers (ODC), a carrier-neutral colocation provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Open Data Centers is a carrier-neutral data center operator in New Jersey and New York City offering alternative connectivity options for carriers, service providers and enterprise customers.
When it comes to the Internet of Things, hooking up will get you only so far. If you want customers to commit, you need to go beyond simply connecting products. You need to use the devices themselves to transform how you engage with every customer and how you manage the entire product lifecycle. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sean Lorenz, Technical Product Manager for Xively at LogMeIn, will show how “product relationship management” can help you leverage your connected devices and the data they generate about customer usage and product performance to deliver extremely compelling and reliabl...
The explosion of connected devices / sensors is creating an ever-expanding set of new and valuable data. In parallel the emerging capability of Big Data technologies to store, access, analyze, and react to this data is producing changes in business models under the umbrella of the Internet of Things (IoT). In particular within the Insurance industry, IoT appears positioned to enable deep changes by altering relationships between insurers, distributors, and the insured. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Sick, a Senior Manager and Big Data Architect within Ernst and Young's Financial Servi...
The IoT market is projected to be $1.9 trillion tidal wave that’s bigger than the combined market for smartphones, tablets and PCs. While IoT is widely discussed, what not being talked about are the monetization opportunities that are created from ubiquitous connectivity and the ensuing avalanche of data. While we cannot foresee every service that the IoT will enable, we should future-proof operations by preparing to monetize them with extremely agile systems.