opentaps CRM2: A New Way To Do It

If you’ve ever thought, “There’s got to be a better way,” take a look at opentaps CRM2.

The new opentaps CRM2 takes a completely different approach to opentaps 1.x or any other major CRM system out there.  Instead of having all these screens and forms for you to come and enter data, we’re bringing opentaps CRM to you:  We’re automatically capturing the discussions, emails, and tasks that are the back bone of your relationships with your customers, bringing them into the cloud, and helping you manage them there.

Oh, also: We’re making it as easy as possible for you.  There’s no big software package to download or install.  No database to set up and maintain.  No code base to merge and upgrade.  You don’t even have to ask your users to stop using their favorite email program.  You just sign up for an account, plug a few simple widgets into your existing opentaps instance, and synch up your users and emails.

Then just sit back and relax.  Everybody just keeps working as before.   But from your web interface, you’ll see all the emails and discussions back and forth between your company, your customers, and your vendors:

opentaps CRM2 Dashboard

opentaps CRM2 will even help you find the emails related to your orders, invoices, and payments automatically (and it would be very easy to get it to do the same for quotes, production runs, etc. — whatever your company works around):

CRM2 Discussion Thread

Sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it?  Our beta users have thought so for about a year now.  Why don’t you give it a try and let us know how it goes?

Who’s the Real Social Network: Email, Text, Facebook, or Twitter?

Ever wonder how people really connect these days?  Here are the numbers:

Daily volume of email, facebook likes, text/sms, tweets

Daily volume of email, facebook likes, text/sms, tweets

  • Emails: 182.9 billion per day
  • Text: 6 billion (Note: this is declining.)
  • Facebook: 4.75 billion Likes
  • Twitter: 0.5 billion

Even with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, old-fashioned email is still how most of us connect online most of the time.

Sources: radicati (emails), Expandable Ramblings/Facebook (Facebook), Forrester (text/SMS), Twitter (tweets).

 

A New Philosophy for opentaps

With the first widgets for opentaps 2 are some big changes: Not just a new look and feel or a new technical framework, but a whole new philosophy for building better software with open communities.   This philosophy could be summed up as:

Make opentaps Benefit the Maximum Number of People

Simple as it sounds, but unfortunately this is not how most business software is built: Most business software is very targeted to a small group of users, and their creators and consumers often focus more on features lists than actual usefulness.

For us, this philosophy required fundamental re-thinking about how we did things and three goals for opentaps:

1.  Make it Easy

opentaps should be easy: easy to set up, easy to use, and easy to extend.  It should be hosted so you don’t have to download and install anything.  It should work where and how you want to work.  Finally, if you know any programming, you should be able to extend it without learning a new framework or language.

2.  Make it Inclusive

We want as many people as possible using and extending opentaps.  This means no matter what your preferred tools — Java, .NET, PHP, Ruby, or Javascript, you should be able to work with opentaps.  To make this happen, opentaps needs to be more than just modular.  It needs to be independent, so that each part of it could be written and maintained by different developers in different languages.

3.  Make it Useful for Everybody

We’re not here just to build an ERP or a CRM.  We want to help any group, no matter how big or small, work together more effectively.  The first opentaps was good for big companies with teams of programmers or consultants.   We want the new opentaps to work for everybody.

Tell us how opentaps could make your organization work more effectively.  We’re listening.

The Opportunity in Business Software, By The Numbers

How well is software meeting the needs of today’s businesses?  Let’s take a look at the numbers:

Number of Businesses using Salesforce, Quickbooks vs. total US Businesses

Amazing, isn’t it?

As great as Salesforce.com and Quickbooks are, there is a big and unmet need for business software still.

Looking for Node.JS/Javascript/MongoDB Developers

We’re looking for developers who’d like to work with on server-side Node.JS, client-side Javascript/CSS/HTML5, and MongoDB database back end applications.

If this sounds like as much fun to you as it does to us, please contact us right away!  We’re really flexible and can accommodate part-time or full-time, remote or on-site.

Big Data, Manufacturing, and an Invisible Future for Software

There’s an interesting article in The Wall Street Journal about Big Data in Manufacturing.  Manufacturers are now leveraging sensors and scanners throughout the factory floor to collect data about everything from screw turns to temperature and humidity in an effort to improve quality.  My favorite part is actually this line:

In the past, some of that data had to be typed in, creating the risk of errors.

This is the future of software: invisibility.  The days of us sitting in front of a computer typing in data are numbered.  With the cost of data collection, storage, and analysis all plummeting, the software of the future will gather data seamlessly from your activities.  You will no longer have to tell your software what to do — it knows.  You will no longer have to put in strict relationships between data (this email is for this order) — it can figure it out.

One day, a six-year-old will ask you “Grandpa, did you really have to sit at a computer to order things online?”  What can you say?  Maybe “Yeah, but my grandpa had to shovel coal in the snow, so it wasn’t so bad.”

Looking for Java/OSGI, Javascript/CSS/HTML5, and MongoDb Developers

We’re looking for developers who’d like to work with on server-side OSGi Java, client-side Javascript/CSS/HTML5, and MongoDB database back end applications.  (See opentaps 2 framework.)

If this sounds like as much fun to you as it does to us, please contact us right away!  We’re really flexible and can accommodate part-time or full-time, remote or on-site.

Beware of the Noise in our Age of Big Data

Think that Big Data will solve the world’s problems?  Read The Signal and The Noise first.  This interesting books talks in detail about forecasting, including the good (baseball and weather), the bad (econonmics, politics, and earthquakes), and the very difficult (long-term climate change, terrorism.)  In the end there is a warning to all of us: with the explosion of data has come an explosion of noise, of spurious correlations which are not grounded in sound theories.  Think twice before you believe something because of “The Data.”

Has Google Android’s Open Source Business Model Failed?

Yesterday’s WSJ.com video “Tablet Wars: How Are People Using Tablets?” had a shocking statistic: 98% of the web traffic from tablets comes from Apple’s iPad.  Further, most of mobile commerce is from Apple’s iPhone:

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Mail Merge in Google Apps, Javascript, and Open Source

I followed this tutorial on how to do mail merge in Google Apps, and it taught me a lot about Javascript and the future for open source applications.

Doing mail merge in Google Apps was a lot of fun!  With a little copy and paste and about 15 minutes, I had was sending emails attached with customized letters as PDF’s.  Could programming always be this easy?

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