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…