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The search for the best CRM / Project Management software (Why we chose Insightly)

The search for the best CRM / Project Management software (Why we chose Insightly)

Read the first post in this series called “Why we didn’t choose Project Place”

Read the second post in this series called “Why we didn’t choose Manymoon”

Insightly logo

If you’ve read the previous articles in this series you know that Project Place and Manymoon have been tried and turned down. The exciting finale is upon us and I will now tell you why we finally chose the Google Apps application Insightly to handle our opportunities, projects, customers and much more.

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The search for the best CRM / Project Management software (Why we didn’t choose Manymoon)

Continuing from part 1 “Why we didn’t choose project place”.

Manymoon logo

After scrapping Project Place I swiftly moved on to Manymoon. A cloud based project manager with alot of neat integration features with Google Apps making it possible to add documents from your Google Docs to your Manymoon projects and tasks. You can also add your tasks as events to Google Calendar.

I had visited Manymoon a couple of years ago before trying out Project Place and I must say that after having tried the later I liked Manymoon more. Where Project Place felt a bit bloated and slow, Manymoon was a bit more fluent plus it had more possibilities and more ambitions when it came to Google Docs integration.

The first issues I bumped into was when digging in to the user interface a bit more and experiencing the whole work process, it felt cluttered and unorganized. I had no issues in dealing with this, since having experience with many different types of software you learn to work around issues and ignore them if you know that the developers are not prioritizing this.

But keep in mind that I have colleagues that I have to introduce to this software and I have a very limited time to do so. They are used to the whole Microsoft Outlook look (I said look twice! uh, thrice) and they know how that works, they are comfortable in that environment. In this case for them, the change was bad.

Manymoon screentshot GUI

I tried on several occasions to introduce Manymoon, but in the end there were just too many options; too much to do; too many buttons and too many text links combined with these buttons. Manymoon seem to have an aspiration to introduce social media like (read Facebook) features and interaction into their application. Even though I really like that aspect, in their case it hurts them more than it helps them. It contributes to the clutter and hurts the useful CRM-side of the application.

There was also some confusion going on with the different levels when entering projects where the menu changes, confusing the user with new layouts and buttons and no obvious way back to the main menu. We could not continue with Manymoon.

My complaints aside Manymoon is very popular and has recieved good ratings on the Google Apps Marketplace, so give it a spin if you wish, perhaps you’ll befriend the interface more than we did. Also worth a mention is that Manymoon has just been aquired by Salesforce.com which might mean that they put more energy (read money and time) into improving their user interface. A big step for them nonetheless and I congratulate them on the success!

Coming up is my conclusion in the search for the best CRM / Project Manager for me and my colleagues.

Read the final post in the series called “Why we chose insightly”

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The search for the best CRM / Project Management software (Why we didn’t choose Projectplace)

Projectplace logo

I started the search for a good, flexible CRM, project and contact manager a while back. At the time I was working for a company that relied heavily on Exchange and Business Contact Manager and converting them to Google Apps at the time was not an option.

Back then we used a basic sharepoint based website where we entered information about inventory, projects and customers a solution that was less than ideal since it was bulky, fragile and not very mobile at all. I decided we needed a better solution that was more flexible and light weight. I went into the project with the same criteria that I always have; it needs to be easy to use, alot of export/import options, mobility, platform independent and active developers that respond to requests.

A first step was moving the projects out to Google Docs, a spreadsheet with information, easy to format, easy to share between users and it was mobile. However, in the long run I felt it was not a sustainable solution, I felt there was a huge need for a solution that was even easier, minimizing the risk of accidentally erasing stuff and presenting the information in a more organized way.

Due to the fact that the management at the time focused alot on big name references (references are good, but it’s not everything) I started using Projectplace. It worked alright apart from some issues. It was a bit pricey for a small/medium company, it was bulky, it had a useless iPhone application (no ability to add or edit projects) and they didn’t work or respond to feature requests in a satisfactory manner. Please note that I say was since this was about two years ago and I hope they’ve improved since.

Don’t get me wrong here, they responded to requests in their forums, but they always had some standardized marketing response to most of it; this is something you notice quite early on if you are as active as I am with a new application, I tend to stumble onto bugs and lacking features quite often. As you can probably imagine, my search continued…

Read the second post in this series called “Why we didn’t choose Manymoon”

Read the final post in the series called “Why we chose insightly”

read more