Category Archives: Customer Relationship Management

Outsourced IT

Years and years of trying to find the right it solution for my businesses has had me doing some amazing and really stupid things.

I ran my own servers from my own data centre for many years – until someone stole a server! Yes, they stole a server. Thank goodness for encryption and backups but I can tell you it was my worst nightmare. Then the Internet got a bit better and we could move some computers to other people’s data centres – better security, better UPS facilities and, dare I say it, better support.

Then it all got way too expensive – charging for bandwidth – chocking bandwidth and the list goes on. Back to my own systems. Well, not exactly, it was a migration from my hardware in someone else’s data centre, to virtual hardware anywhere in the world I wanted it located, with unlimited bandwidth and free upgrades. The downside – well at first there wasn’t one – I had RAM, HDD which they converted to SSD for better speed and many, many processors. The support was first rate and the control was all mine.

Then along came the privacy laws, data protection laws and EU directives – now we had to get permission from people and in some cases governments to be able to host somebody’s personal information outside of the country they were resident in. Mass panic as we moved the data back within the borders almost tripling our infrastructure requirements.

As electronic security got better and the data protection laws were understood, it got easier to have data in one place provided you had all the right security and permissions in place. I now have a full set of IT Infrastructure that is all outsourced, secure and complies with many ISO standards, EU directives and US and UK data privacy laws.

If you want to know more about how we can help you with your infrastructure, help desk, application hosting or data backups, please drop us an email and we will arrange a consultant to give you a call and assess your requirements.

vTiger 6.2 is out

As a CRM system I have always liked sugarCRM and vTiger CRM. vTiger has released version 6.2 which is meant to address some of the stability issues from before. sugarCRM is still the first rate CRM it always was. They both have the same roots.

We recently implemented this version of vTiger at a client on a remote machine with very little memory. The system works very well, the customisable fields are fantastic and the import facility worked well as long as we kept the import records below 500 at a time.

Using the mass email function caused us some issues so we bought a German add-on for 50 Euros which really helped with the “From” settings and gave use the ability to use nicer templates and an unsubscribe function. It took some figuring out but as long as you actually change the codes to exactly what they show in the example it will work – their default codes were rubbish. IT took our staff the best part of 4 hours to figure that out 🙂

We are experimenting with memory on our server to see if it will speed up bulk actions. At the moment we try not to make our lists nor bulk action deal with more than 200 records at a time. This does cause some slow down during peak mailing and data cleaning exercises but as the client didn’t want to spend money on memory they won’t normally use we live with the initial compromise.

CRM is important for any size business and if you don’t have a regular place to keep tabs on your communications with clients, may I suggest you install or get a hosted version of vTiger and change your customer experience forever.

With vTiger you can even do help desk and customer portal activities and there are modules for invoicing and product management which we haven’t even started exploring yet. These are our next steps.