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Summary:

Kyliptix is a relatively new player in the software-as-a-service (SaaS) hosted CRM space. Last week, the company announced that they are giving away a scaled down version of their product, KiBS CRM, to individuals and sole proprietors. I gave the free application a spin…how does it […]

Kyliptix is a relatively new player in the software-as-a-service (SaaS) hosted CRM space. Last week, the company announced that they are giving away a scaled down version of their product, KiBS CRM, to individuals and sole proprietors.

I gave the free application a spin…how does it stand up to other hosted CRM applications? Perfect for the web worker?

The free individual user account gives users 10MB of space to track accounts, opportunities, leads, calendar items, tasks, contacts and files. The interface is functional, if a little too compact.

kyliptix3.gif

Aimed at small and medium-sized businesses as compared to Salesforce, the KiBS CRM application allows you to import records from SugarCRM, vTiger, ACT, .csv and Excel files.

Unfortunately, the free version is so crippled that it’s difficult to see its value, even if it’s free.

- You cannot customize fields.

- You cannot customize the interface.

- You cannot sync calendar and task data with another tool, such as Outlook or an online calendar.

- You cannot run reports.

- You cannot export all your data at one time.

- You cannot pull lead data directly from a web form.

- You cannot create an invoice.

- You cannot connect your KiBS instance to any other application or service.

What can you do? You can import your data. You can see in the browser window the relationships between activities and related actions in your accounts. You can export lists of data to .csv files. That’s about it.

In testing the application, I ran into a number of bugs and inconsistencies. For example, there are no tooltips, and the only way to figure out what an icon does is to click on it.

Guess what this does?

kyliptix1.gif

It deletes the record. And there’s no confirmation dialog. Ouch.

With no obvious option for customizing fields, drop-downs like this are less than useful:

kyliptix2.gif

Support of the free product is only offered through a web forum that currently has no postings to gauge how others are using the service. The full, un-crippled versions start at $99/year for a “Team” version, and $19.95 per month per user for the Unlimited version.

While it’s desirable that developers offer a scaled-down version of their premiere products aimed at individuals, the trick is not to cripple the service so severely that it’s merely a faint shadow of its paid counterparts. This turns off customers. It does not entice them to upgrade. In its current form, there is no compelling reason for the web worker to consider KiBS Mini over alternatives.

Update 1/21/2007: I received an email from John Caldwell, the Head Developer of KiBS CRM who addressed some of the issues I took with the application. They have made some changes. I asked for and received his permission to append his email to my entry. I have not had the opportunity yet to revisit the application.

- You cannot customize fields.

We removed this functionality from the free version as we thought it wouldn’t be the type of thing that basic users would need.  If you log in and take a look at the setup area again, you’ll see that we’ve re-enabled it.  In its current state, adding any values for a drop down will cause those to be the only ones available.  Depending on user feedback (which we love!) we may alter this behavior.  In addition, we have fixed the drop-down fields with incorrect default values in them.
We’re pretty short staffed here, so sometimes QA misses a few things!

- You cannot customize the interface.

This is something we are working on for the next big change to the interface, the “hot new thing” on everybody’s mind- AJAX and Web 2.0.  The main tiled panels will be customizable much like the google or yahoo custom home pages.  We’re not looking to re-invent the wheel of course, but we understand that everybody will have different needs for the app.

- You cannot sync calendar and task data with another tool, such as Outlook or an online calendar.

We currently have an alpha version of an Outlook plug-in that will handle contact, task, and appointment synchronization.  It will be a fairly simple add-on without too many bells and whistles, as our main desire is to develop a full suite of applications that all work together seamlessly.  Outlook integration is not a primary target, but we do understand that there are people who will want to stay with it.

- You cannot run reports.
- You cannot export all your data at one time.
- You cannot pull lead data directly from a web form.

These are all features which we have currently (or will have shortly), but they will most likely not be available from the free version.  Our focus is not as a provider of free services, so we do need to have some incentives for people to upgrade to the paid version of our software.  Compared to the other offerings on the market, you can see how affordable it is to be able to get some of this advanced functionality.

- You cannot create an invoice.

After talking it over, we agree with you that this would be a feature that we can release to the free version of the software.  Look for it to be in there by Monday, with the ability to convert opportunities to invoices and generate PDF or HTML invoices from the entered data.

- You cannot connect your KiBS instance to any other application or service.

What type of integration are you looking for specifically?  We are currently at the phase of determining what market needs are for this type of functionality so that we can best channel our efforts.  As I said before, having a fully featured suite of applications is our target, and this takes the form of both internally developed and externally connected applications.  We are eager to explore both options.

- Tooltips / “Trash Can” buttons

We’ve addressed this as well.  There’s now  JavaScript verification on the delete links to prevent this from happening.  We’re also evaluating whether we want to switch the interface back to a checkbox type of interface for long list views like this, as deleting many records at once can be tedious!  It will most likely be some type of hybrid between the two.  Again, this is all driven by what people want.  We pride ourselves on being very user-driven and fast reacting to what our customers want from us.  We see this as a huge benefit to SaaS offerings, and we want to make the best of it!  If we can push out features people want in a rapid cycle we will go for it.

By Judi Sohn

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  1. Does anyone know of a free CRM that WOULD be useful to a web worker?

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    1. Hello:

      Any updates?
      What did you choose?

      BR

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  2. Some of the ones I mentioned in this article were free, Josh.

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  3. I’ve been pretty happy with SugarCRM for personal use. The biggest drawback of SugarCRM is that although it’s free, it does require you to download and set it up. This can be minimized using the VMWare appliance version.

    I wrote a few words about using SugarCRM to help with a personal job search here:
    http://www.appdev.info/?q=node/42

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  4. I did sign up for

    free mini crm

    its very nice ..
    much simple
    yes it needs some more features to be more attractive..
    Any way there is no ads inside …

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  5. Its kool, even i registered one… am looking for one CMS like this

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  6. Thats nice to fine the software i use here….
    I have a small travel agency and I am managing my busness is a nice way…..
    Good Luck and I advise you to try >> http://www.kyliptix.com

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  7. They are on Startup killer now..

    http://www.killerstartups.com/Web-App-Tools/kyliptix–Simplify-your-Business/

    If you like it vote….

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