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Freshdesk: Review

Founded in 2010, Freshdesk has succeeded in becoming one of the most well-known cloud-based CRM softwares on the market. With a range of powerful customer-driven features, this easy to use CRM allows companies to offer a seamless, multi-channel support system across the phone, the internet, forums, social media, email, mobile apps, and more.

Intended Users

Freshdesk can be used for all company sizes, Small to Large. This CRM has the capability and robust features to keep up with any size organization.

With over 80,000 current customers globally, any type of company can benefit from Freshdesk. For example: SolarCity, 3M, Hugo Boss, Cisco, University of Pennsylvania, etc…

Based on the affordability and features, this CRM is suitable for the hospitality industry, retail environments (brick and mortar as well as online), IT, insurance, utilities, and other companies.

Deployment

  • Cloud, SaaS, Web
  • Mobile

One of the best parts about Freshdesk’s CRM is that it is entirely web-based, and data is stored in the Cloud. This makes capacity nearly endless, the speed extremely quick, and allows flexibility in accessing this CRM.

The supported OS’s (operating systems) include:

Windows, Mac OS, Linux, HP-UX, Solaris, Unix, IBM OS/400, Web Browser (OS agnostic)

Features

By offering a genuine multi-channel customer support system, this CRM can bring every customer conversation and put it into a centralized interface that is easy to read, easy to use, and organize. Your customer support staff can address issues and resolve trouble tickets with ease.

Customers contact through a variety of ways, from phone calls, email, contact forms, internet chat, social media, and applications, so Freshdesk makes sure that they are capable of helping address customer concerns in all of the ways customers contact you.

Freshdesk can help you:

  • Manage Multiple Groups, Escalation Procedures, Workflows
  • Multiple Products
  • Multiple Brands
  • Automate Multiple Processes
  • Automate Route Tickets to Appropriate Support Agents
  • Multi-Language and Multi-Timezone Capabilities

Customer Communication

Integrations

With Freshdesk, you can also integrate with other leading CRM softwares including:

  • Freshdesk
  • Pipedrive
  • Insightly
  • Nimble
  • Pipeline Deals
  • Salesforce
  • Solve
  • Zoho CRM
  • Batchbook Social CRM
  • Capsule
  • Collabspot
  • Highrise

Social Media App Integrations

With the ability to integrate into other CRM softwares and over 60 tools, Freshdesk CRM is able to pull up customer records and see customer history in an instant.

Security

Freshdesk CRM’s data center is EU safe harbor compliant and all plans include SSL Encryption to keep customer and company data safe. Servers are hosted in a world class data center with 24 hour security and surveillance. Freshdesk software is also continuously up to date with the latest security patches.

Plans and Pricing

Full pricing details here: https://freshdesk.com/pricing

There are 5 Freshdesk plan available: Sprout (free version), Blossom, Garden, Estate, and Forest.

Sprout Plan

The Free Version of this Freshdesk CRM is Sprout.

  • Price: FREE
  • Agents: 3
  • Email Ticketing
  • Reusable replies with canned responses
  • Automatic email notifications
  • Custom ticket views
  • Add tags to tickets, contacts, and solutions
  • Merge and split tickets
  • Add public and private notes to tickets
  • Add watchers to a ticket
  • Traffic cop
  • Assume identity of other agents
  • Send outbound email
  • Export tickets

Multi-Channel Support

  • Standard Phone Channel

HelpDesk Automation

  • Automatic ticket assignment using Dispatch’r
  • Time-triggered automations using Supervisor
  • Event-triggered workflow automations with the Observer
  • Multi-task workflows with one touch Scenario automations
  • Email commands

SLA Management

  • Business rules management through SLAs
  • SLA reminders
  • Escalation email for SLA violation

Knowledge Base

  • Email to knowledge-base
  • Ability to edit meta title, keywords, and description
  • Suggested solutions

Mobile Customer Support

  • Freshdesk for iOS
  • Freshdesk for Android
  • Mobile optimized HTML5 App

Ticket Forms

  • Customizable ticket forms
  • Dependent fields in ticket forms
  • Customizable popup and embedded Feedback widget

Reporting

  • Agent and group performance
  • Export reports

Customization

  • Custom apps
  • Public customer portal customization

Security

  • Single sign on
  • Single sign on with SAML
  • Advanced password policy for agents and customers

Apps

  • CRM Apps
  • Email marketing
  • Over 50+ Applications

Reporting

Blossom

  • Price & Users: $16 / Agent / Month
  • Email Ticketing
  • Reusable replies with canned responses
  • Automatic email notifications
  • Custom ticket views
  • Add tags to tickets, contacts, and solutions
  • Merge and split tickets
  • Add public and private notes to tickets
  • Add watchers to a ticket
  • Traffic cop
  • Assume identity of other agents
  • Send outbound email
  • Export tickets
  • Time tracking
  • Integrate customer satisfaction surveys

Multi-Channel Support

  • Standard Phone Channel
  • Multiple incoming and outgoing mailboxes
  • Add unlimited Twitter accounts
  • Add unlimited Facebook pages

HelpDesk Automation

  • Automatic ticket assignment using Dispatch’r
  • Time-triggered automations using Supervisor
  • Event-triggered workflow automations with the Observer
  • Multi-task workflows with one touch Scenario automations
  • Email commands

SLA

  • Business rules management though SLAs
  • SLA reminders
  • Escalation email for SLA violation

Knowledge-Base

  • Email to knowledge-base
  • Ability to edit meta title, keywords, description
  • Suggested solutions
  • Community Forums

Mobile Customer Support

  • Freshdesk for iOS
  • Freshdesk for Android
  • Mobile optimized HTML5 App

Ticket Forms

  • Customizable ticket forms
  • Dependent fields in ticket forms
  • Customisable popup and embedded Feedback widget

Reporting

  • Agent and group performance
  • Helpdesk in-desk report
  • Export reports
  • Save reports

Customizations

  • Custom apps
  • Public customer portal customization
  • Custom domain mapping

Security

  • Single Sign On
  • Single sign on with SAML
  • Advanced password policy for agents and customers

Apps

  • CRM Apps
  • Email marketing
  • Satisfaction surveys
  • Time tracking and invoicing tools
  • 50+ applications

Garden

  • Price and Users: $25 / Agent / Month

You receive everything from the Blossom plan, plus:

  • Freshdesk’s Integrated Live Chat

SLA Management

  • Multiple SLA policy
  • Multiple business hours
  • Product, group, and company level SLAs

Global Support

  • Multilingual Knowledge Base
  • Dynamic Email Notifications
  • Multiple Time-Zones

Multi-Product

  • Product level knowledge-base and community forums

Reporting

  • Ticket drill down in reports
  • Save reports
  • Schedule reports

Customizations

  • Full CSS customization
  • Custom domain mapping

Automated Tasks

Estate

  • Price and Users: $40 / Agent / Month

You receive everything in the Garden plan, plus:

  • Agent collision detection
  • Facebook in-sync app
  • Automatic ticket assignment within group (Round robin)
  • Dynamic ticket forms

Reporting

  • Performance distribution
  • Ticket volume trend
  • Top customer analysis

Customizations

  • Customizable agent roles
  • Complete layout customization
  • Access to FreshThemes gallery

Security

  • Custom SSL certificates (default free)
  • Helpdesk Restriction

Forest

  • Price and Users: $70 / Agent / Month

You receive everything in the Estate plan, plus:

  • Advanced Phone Channel
  • IP Whitelisting
  • Custom Email Servers

 

Free Trial

You can get started with Freshdesk for free for 30 days at: https://freshdesk.com/signup.

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Bitrix24: Review

Bitrix24 offers many solutions such CRM for sales and as a human resources information system (HRIS). With dozens upon dozens of CRM features for sales automation and sales team management, Bitrix24 is not just a great Customer Relationship Management software but a great choice for E-Mail marketing, analytics, keeping track of your sales cycle, and more.

Intended Users

With over 1 million organizations already using Bitrix24 for their CRM needs, this service is versatile and flexible for SMB’s (Small Medium Businesses) and non-profit organizations.

Deployment

  • Cloud
  • On-Premise
  • Mobile

call-center-free-mobile

Bitrix24 CRM is self-hosted, which means you can receive your own private cloud suite that is under your control only. In addition, you have access to Helpdesk, Idea Management, eLearning modules and other features that aren’t available to cloud Bitrix24 users. So, no worries if you cannot use Dropbox, Slack, Skype, Salesforce, and other cloud-only solutions in your organization.

private-cloud

With your private cloud, you can take advantage of the following features:

  • Video Conferencing
  • PBX (via Voxlmplant cloud server)
  • Bitrix24.Drive
  • Document Management
  • Desktop App with Document Sync
  • CRM
  • HRIS (Human Resources Information System)
  • Task and Project Management
  • Instant Messenger (XMPP server)
  • Helpdesk (not in Cloud plans)
  • eLearning (not in Cloud plans)
  • Idea Management (not in Cloud plans)
  • iOS and Android Apps

mobile_devices

Mobility

  • Web
  • iOS Apps
  • Android Apps

Mobile Features Link: https://www.bitrix24.com/features/mobile.php

security

Security

  • Two Factor Authentication
  • 256-Bit SSL Encryption
  • Bitrix OTP, WinAuth, FreeOTP, Google Authenticator
  • RSA Encryption
  • Web Application Firewall
  • Custom Backup Rules

Features Checklist

  • Project Management & Tasks
  • Gantt Chart
  • Task Dependencies
  • Employee Workload Management in Tasks

sales_funnel

  • Checklist
  • Counters and Roles
  • Task Reports
  • Report Builder

collaborative-crm

  • Automation
  • Templates
  • Workgroups
  • External Users
  • Tasks via Email
  • Real Time Communications

online-meetings

  • Instant Messaging
  • Group Chat
  • Voice and Video Calls
  • Screen Sharing and HD Video Conferencing
  • Mobile Apps
  • Desktop App
  • Document Management
  • Private & Shared Document

email-management

  • Easy Document Collaboration
  • Version History
  • Document Lock
  • Creating and Editing Documents Online
  • Editing Documents with Apps on PC
  • Integration with External Drives
  • Instant Search
  • Approval Workflows
  • Bitrix24.Drive for Collaboration
  • Central Entry Point
  • Cloud-PC Integration
  • Reports and Sales Funnels
  • CRM Dashboards
  • Quotes
  • Invoices Inside the CRM
  • CRM Website Forms

workflow-management

  • Open Channels
  • Mobile CRM
  • Email and Calls to Clients
  • Business Processes in CRM
  • Rights and Roles in CRM
  • Apps and Integration in CRM
  • Integration with your Website
  • Social Intranet
  • Activity Stream
  • Badges (social)
  • Photo Gallery
  • Collaborate by Email
  • Social Media Network Integration

maxresdefault

Free Version

The Free Plan from Bitrix24 is completely free for all users with no additional fees at all. The Free plan is best for micro companies and small businesses that need internal communications more than anything.

This platform is great for small groups of people who want security, flexibility, and upward mobility. Your small online shop or company’s sales department can use the Free Plan if you need a CRM for processing incoming needs.

You can sign up for free here: https://www.bitrix24.com/register/

Features

  • Users: Unlimited
  • Online Storage: 5 GB
  • Task Dependencies: 5
  • Integrated Email Accounts: 12
  • Business Card Scanner: 12
  • CRM Web Forms: 1
  • Open Channels: 1
  • Live Chat: 1

sales_funnel

Plans & Pricing

Plus Plan

Price: $39 / month

Features

  • Users: Unlimited
  • Online Storage: 24 GB
  • Task Dependencies: Unlimited
  • Integrated Email Accounts: 24
  • Business Card Scanner: 24 / month
  • CRM Web Forms: 2
  • Open Channels: 1
  • Live Chat: 1
  • CRM Records Conversions
  • Advanced Duplicate Search
  • CRM Change History
  • CRM Access Log
  • List View Exceeding 5,000 Records
  • Simultaneous Call to All Available Employees
  • Call Quality Evaluation
  • Call Source Tracking (Marketing)

 

Standard Plan

Price: $99 / month

The Standard Plan is for companies/businesses that have more than 12 people who require a united platform for teamwork and file sharing. If you need to allow third parties such as partners, clients, or suppliers to participate in tasks and projects, this is a good plan for you. It is also great for non-profits who have a large number of users.

This is Bitrix24 CRM’s most popular plan and features quite a bit more features than the previous plans.

Features

  • Users: Unlimited
  • Online Storage: 100 GB
  • External Users
  • Access Limit by IP
  • Your Own Logo
  • Workflow Automation
  • Document Lock
  • Task Dependencies: Unlimited
  • Custom Fields
  • Multiple Sales Pipelines: 2
  • Integrated Email Accounts: Unlimited
  • Business Card Scanner: 50 / month
  • CRM Web Forms: 4
  • Open Channels: 2
  • Live Chat: 2
  • CRM Record Conversions
  • Advanced Duplicate Search
  • CRM Change History
  • Backup Restore
  • CRM Access Log
  • List View Exceeding 5,000 Records
  • Simultaneous Call to All Available Employees
  • Call Quality Evaluation
  • Call Source Tracking (Marketing)
  • Custom Telephony Permissions

 

Professional Plan

Price: $199 / month

The Professional Plan is great for tracking working hours and the time spent by users on projects and tasks. You can use your own domain name for social intranet as well as managing meetings, events, briefing, etc…that need to take place to keep your business running efficiently.

This plan is all-inclusive and contains all of the features Bitrix24 CRM has to offer.

Features

  • Users: Unlimited
  • Online Storage: Unlimited
  • External Users
  • Access Limit by IP
  • Use Own Logo
  • Approvals (Expenses, Assets, etc…)
  • Workflow Automation
  • Time Management
  • Work Reports
  • Meetings and Briefings
  • Document Lock
  • Task Dependencies: Unlimited
  • Custom Fields
  • Multiple Sales Pipelines: Unlimited
  • Integrated Email Accounts: Unlimited
  • Business Card Scanner: Unlimited
  • CRM Web Forms: Unlimited
  • Open Channels: Unlimited
  • Live Chat: Unlimited
  • CRM Record Conversions
  • Advanced Duplicate Search
  • CRM Change History
  • Backup Restore
  • CRM Access Log
  • List View Exceeding 5,000 Records
  • Phone Call Recordings: Unlimited
  • Simultaneous Call to All Available Employees
  • Call Quality Evaluation
  • Call Source Tracking (Marketing)
  • Custom Telephony Permissions
  • Use Own Domain Name

bitrix24_logo

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Dynamics 365 by Microsoft

Dynamics 365 was announced recently as the next great generation of Microsoft’s Azure-hosted business services. From an ERP and CRM software perspective, Dynamics 365 is mostly a change to branding and bundling. While the ERP and CRM software hasn’t changed much, the message is clear that what were once separate applications are now morphing and being offered to businesses and companies in a more flexible consumption model (as a single package).

dynamics-365-products-released

Everything you need in one package

This new Microsoft business application bundling includes some new product names of what were previously called Dynamics AX, Dynamics CRM and Project Madeira arranged into two editions.

dynamics-365-business-edition

The Business Edition is intended for small and midsize businesses (SMBs) with less than 250 employees. The Business Edition Financials are born from Project Madeira, code name for the new multi-tenant, cloud ERP application built from Dynamics NAV. The Sales and Marketing applications come from Dynamics CRM, however, are limited with reduced feature sets in order to support a lower price point.

dynamics-365-enterprise-edition

The Dynamics 365 Enterprise Edition steps up beyond the 250 employee threshold. In this suite, Dynamics AX has been renamed Operations and Dynamics CRM has been componentized into Sales, Marketing and three Service suites. Dynamics 365 Enterprise supports cloud or on-premise delivery.

The Dynamics 365 Enterprise Edition also includes two new platform tools. PowerApps is a mobile-first service used to create device agnostic business apps using a visual designer. It includes many cloud services which facilitate quick connections among cloud apps. The demo suggests it can be used by Business Analysts, power users or what Microsoft likes to call citizen developers. However, my trial of this new product clearly demonstrated that once you get past the initial forms, deeper technical knowledge is required.

Microsoft Flow is a new workflow management tool that facilitates process automation using a visual design tool and a library of connected services that orchestrate data movement across Microsoft and non-Microsoft applications. It looks good for creating alerts and moving simple data, however, still doesn’t solve Microsoft’s ERP and CRM void of routing and approval processing.

mddyn365-4

Microsoft’s new AppSource is also part of the Dynamics 365 evolution. Despite a long history in supporting ISV (Independent Software Vendor) solutions, Microsoft has failed to keep pace in the online ecosystems that Salesforce pioneered with AppExchange. AppSource intends to change that. In fact, Microsoft hired key AppExchange talent from Salesforce in order to build a Dynamics 365 ERP and CRM rich ecosystem of third party industry, micro-vertical and niche solutions.

Dynamics GP and SL will remain standalone products and separate from Dynamics 365.

The overarching goal is to deliver a broader platform with more unified enterprise-wide cloud business applications. IMHO, this is long overdue. Dynamics AX and Dynamics CRM are both accelerating their market momentum, but with different customers in different markets. AX has been dragged down by an under-whelming internal CRM system. Microsoft’s new bundling will better facilitate AX customers acquiring the Microsoft CRM flagship product – Dynamics CRM. Similarly, Dynamics CRM continues to look for differentiation against arch rival Salesforce. Offering a vendor managed front to back office integration will help that cause.

Microsoft has long used an AX to CRM connector (the Dynamics Connector) but it has been notoriously unreliable. This new approach will put more stress on the Dynamics Connector and should be carefully vetted by customers seeking an enterprise-wide solution based on Microsoft’s flagship ERP and CRM products.

msdyn365-2

Competitive Positioning

Business applications have followed a consistent evolutional pattern over the prior 50 years. From mainframes, to client/server systems to cloud services, business applications have evolved from point applications (i.e. SFA) to application suites (i.e. CRM) to enterprise-wide suites (i.e. ERP). Microsoft is now getting in front of this inevitable curve and driving the transition from applications suites (ERP or CRM) to fully integrated, front-to-back office solutions (ERP with CRM).

Within the CRM market, this drive will have a chilling effect on primary competitor Salesforce who is without an ERP offering. Within the ERP market, this drive will deliver new competitive advantages against SAP and Oracle, who offer impressive ERP solutions but appear incapable of offering equally impressive CRM solutions.

Customers will reward those business software publishers that help them collapse technology siloes, lessen fragmented business processes and reduce system integration.

crm-office365-header

Dynamics 365 Pricing

I don’t normally blog about pricing, but in this case I believe Microsoft’s new consumption based procurement flexibility will benefit customers, and ultimately require competitors to respond.

Microsoft ERP and CRM applications can now be procured by work stream, or what the company sometimes calls function specific business process services. For example, the revenue cycle stems from lead to cash and thereby crosses both CRM and ERP functional processes. Customers can now procure a more limited set of application components to support just those business processes needed instead of having to procure full CRM and ERP suites.

Dynamics 365 Business Financials will run about $40 per user per month, or about $50 when bundled with the sales and marketing apps. Dynamics 365 Enterprise will start at about $115 without Operations (ERP) or about $210 with Operations. Prices may increase for add-ons such as PowerApps.

dynamics365_v3b

Alternative pricing plans are available for Apps, Plans and Team Members. An App is an individual work stream or standalone software component. A Plan is a collection of Apps. Team Members are light users permitted read access or minimal edit capabilities of all procured Apps. Business Edition Team Members cost $5 per user per month while Enterprise Edition Team Members are $10 per user per month. While I like the new pricing flexibility, Microsoft should be cautious that the new Dynamics pricing lies on a tipping point between creative flexibility and unnecessary confusion.

7

The Point is This

At this point Dynamics 365 is little more than a change in branding, bundling and roadmap. Microsoft is making a conscience decision to do away with the ERP and CRM monikers in favor of business process labeling. While the messaging is understandable, the industry at large has tried multiple times over to do away with the three letter acronyms. Yet decades later we still identify these business applications as ERP, CRM, SCM, HCM, MRP, MEP and so on. Maybe this time will be different. But I doubt it.

 

 

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