Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board

Please help:) Software needed

Ok, there`s a situation. Imagine a small (less then 20 employees) company that sells a software product that is good enough to be used in many-many countries and companies (read: thousands, and dozens of thousands of customers). Some customers are Fortune100, and some are just Mom and Pop businesses or private persons. Some of our sales are direct (someone finds a product description on the Web , likes it and buys the license from us online or offline), and some sales are done with help of our parthers (there are 2 levels of such partnership now and will be more).  Also we'll have OEMs soon.
We have lots of support requests (not bugs-related, because (unbelievable:)!) this software is almost bug-free, but simply questions about installation process, registration, etc.). All these support requests come from e-mails (we do not have any web-based forms that our customers have to fill, and don't plan to make these forms the only way to receive support from us, e-mail will prevail), and some will come from phone calls soon.
We need some software to help tech support guys (note, that this software should HELP those guys, not some managers that monitor techs` work closely to find reasons to fire them -we don't have such managers (yet:)
This software should provide our tech supporters with detailed statistics about the nature of support requests, its volume, etc. -so they can help programmers in GUI improvement, or better manual/installer creation, etc.
Our sales/business development force also needs the software that better be integrated somehow with helpdesk software for poor techies. We need some good database to store and analyse our partners information, monitor their performance, etc. Of course, we'll also store our clients information, and some documentation for us, our partners, our clients (a knowledge base).
All the needs listed above look very typical, but here is the problem: we have complex needs, but we are small company.
All our programmers work on the product that sells and provides us with cash, so we don't have programmers to customize and support any CRM system and we don't want to hire lots of such programmers (1-2 would be more then enough).
Due to our complex needs and lack of "general purpose" programmers we can't use any open-source kit or some simple and cheap solution. On the other hand, we see  little sense in a purchase of some giant system for megabucks, since this system will be used by a few guys and girls (i.e. actual price per seat would be insane in such case).
So we need something really good, with both desktop and web interface, RDBMS-based, reasonably priced and requiring minimum or no customization to start helping us.
It should give novice users an ability to do basic customizations without any help (for example, add a field in some form or report)
Excellent GUI is a must, otherwise noone would like/use the software.
Could you please give me some recommendations?
Thanks in advance!

Thursday, August 07, 2003

Thursday, August 07, 2003

Thursday, August 07, 2003

Thanks for feedback, guys, but....Roundup may serve us as a temporary solution, but it completely lacks reports, and our techies need nice reports to determine the origin of some sort of support requests, etc. Yep, we can build some reporting facility on top of Roundup, but who will do that? Programmers are busy...
Salesforce is really good, I'm already aware of it, but we need their Enterprise version (i.e. almost all its features) and the annual pricing per seat is really high. With 5-7 users within the company and enterprise license, we'll spend enough money in the very first year to buy some good stand-alone software...

Friday, August 08, 2003

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home