Continuing from my previous article, here is an overview of the rest of the Apps shown in the Intuit Apps Showcase 2011. Keep in mind that these are short reviews based on a five minute presentation made by each company.
- eMobilePOS: Another field service tool. The presentation was not really clear, so I can’t give this a fair quick review. For the most part, you are going to be plugging your mobile device in to a cradle that provides you with a receipt printer and bar code scanner. It looks like it has a very tight integration with QuickBooks, which may make this an important player in the market. I was initially put off by needing to use their cradle, but in a discussion after the show it sounds like you have a number of options if you use other devices (iPad, for example) or don’t need printing capability. Worth looking at if you are into field service management.
- DrivenCRM: I thought this was a newer product, but after the show the presenter told me that this was formerly Oasis CRM, a product that has been around for awhile. Forget that they were Oasis, other than to know that they have been around for awhile – the product isn’t anything like Oasis as I remember it. Another CRM product, there were a lot of nice features. Time tracking turning into work orders. Field service work orders, sales estimates. bulk email management, lead management, an ecommerce module, an nifty integrated shipping module. This is worth looking at if you want CRM features.
- Bill.com for QuickBooks Online: Bill.com is a great product (a Sleeter Group solution partner), but keep in mind that this is the IPP version and it is working with QuickBooks Online. At this time it is probably the only complete paperless bill pay service that works with QuickBooks Online. Their goal is to get you paid faster. There are many great features here, and if you are a QuickBooks Online user who has to manage receivables, this is an important product to look at.
- Thrive Retail Store Software: “Take the guesswork out of your store’s advertising, marketing and sales”. This is going to be used by “brick and mortar” stores. They take your QuickBooks Online data for the “past” performance, ask you a bunch of questions about where you are now for the “present”, then provide you with a recommendations for the “future”. It seems that there is a lot of manual data entry and you are going to have to work hard to get it to the point where it makes recommendations, I wonder how many businesspeople are going to have the patience to do this. I wasn’t sold on the benefits, at least not from the presentation.
- Method CRM: I’m actually going to say very little about this, other than to say “Wow”. Note that this was the version that works with QuickBooks Online, and there are other versions of Method for the desktop product. If you want to do customization of screens for you clients, look into this product. It is a bit technical to use, but not as technical as any of the programming toolkits Intuit provides (not by a long shot). A very exciting product family. I thought they should have been one of the winners (and they had the best presentation of all).
- billFlo: This is a cash flow management/analysis product, and it looks very good. It will pull your data out of QuickBooks, also PayPal (maybe other sources) and give you a forward looking view of your cash flow. They look at your company history and try to make predictions as to when payments would be made by clients. They use aggregate data from online sources to find ways where you can resolve cash flow problems. If you have a lot of receivables, if cash flow is a touchy issue for you, this is well worth looking at.
- Mabbled: Weird name. I think that this is an invoice payment rating service. It can be low cost (free?) if you allow them to take your data to be aggregated into their overall database. I would want to look at their security arrangements before I would do that myself. An interesting approach to a cash flow problem like billFlo. I think I like billFlo better, but I understood it better.
- BotBill: Automated invoicing and payment collection. You can use your own payment gateways, I believe. Lots of similar concepts to Intuit Billing Solutions, but the interface was much better. It has auto reminders, records if the person has viewed their bill, lots of nifty stuff. It looks like there is a good integration with QuickBooks. Worth looking into.
- Concur Breeze: Expense control (another one, getting tired of them today) that works with QuickBooks desktop. A very simple setup. They push two things, excellent credit card integration (higher accuracy than others, they say) and integration with Tripit. If you use Tripit to book travel, this could be a real time saver. The cost is low, it has good mobile integration, and it is very fast. Approvals can also be done via mobile device. A good player in the expense control marketplace.
- OneWay Commerce: If you want to sell via Facebook, this is an interesting shopping cart product. Works with both the desktop and online versions of QuickBooks. Pulls your product info from QuickBooks, and pricing information. The setup is easy. It creates the shop as a tab in your Facebook page. Since I’m an old geezer I haven’t tried to sell anything through Facebook so I can’t really evaluate this well.
- BodeTree: I’ll say right up front, I don’t know what this does. The presenter could have been selling yoga classes. “Your first step to business enlightenment”. A business analysis tool, comparing your QuickBooks data to industry standards, but I can’t really tell what the full value is. At $19.99 a month, it should be good???
- bMobile NOW Pro for Android: OK, that tells you a lot. Mobile application, but just Android. I won’t test it, I have an iPad instead. Oh well. This is a mobile invoicing tool. It is simple to set up because it brings your data into the device, and the device is already set up. You will see your item list from QuickBooks, you can create an invoice, you can print a receipt. Looked nice, but I’m not sure what the price is. More limited than some other products, but if the price is right (and the device is right) it might be worthwhile.
- Profitably: I can’t rate this. Too late in the day (long time sitting on those chairs!) and this is an area that I’m not as familiar with. If you are heavy into Excel business modeling, this may be for you – it will get you OUT of Excel business modeling. The QuickBooks data integration wasn’t clear to me.
- SOSInventory: Now, finally, something right up my alley. Inventory management, manufacturing, order management. For QuickBooks Online. If you are using QBOE, you don’t have any kind of good manufacturing/inventory management. This looks VERY nifty. It provides features that I wish that we had in QuickBooks Desktop. Serial numbers, bar codes, and more. Integration looked very good. I’m going to dig into this one in more depth, it was a very good product from what I could see (but then, inventory/manufacturing always wakes me up…).
- Pinnacle Cart eCommerce: I’ll apologize to these people – they were the last ones of the day so my attention was wandering. Lots of people were looking at their iPads and phones, either voting or checking email or looking up the traffic situation in San Francisco. I wasn’t doing any of that, but I was really tired and that gong was ringing in my ears. I don’t know which QuickBooks product this works with, or what the prices are. This looks to e a very simple product for setting up an eCommerce web site. All drag and drop, no coding or tough integration issues. Lots of features, including Facebook and mobile integration. Sounds like they have all bases covered. I don’t know what the pricing is, but I would have to say that from the demo, if you want to set up an eCommerce solution that works with QuickBooks, this looks like it is very powerful AND may be one of the simplest to set up that I’ve seen. Worth looking into.
Too many apps to look at in depth. I’m going to try to spend more time with AgileShip, Transaction Pro Importer, OfficeAnt Customer Portal, Corelytics, AuditMyBooks, and SOSInventory to start with. Folks, if there are any others on this list (or, any that are NOT on this list) that you want me to focus on, let me know in a comment!
The Winners Are…
The competition was judged by a group of about eight venture capitalists who work in the computer technology field. In addition, people in the audience (present at the competition and viewing online) could submit their votes, which were taken into account (probably only to a small degree). I’ll have to say that I didn’t entirely agree with the results. Of course, I have a bias (several, probably). I’m a developer of QuickBooks integrated software myself, and QuickBooks integration is a huge factor for me. Some products relied on QuickBooks quite a bit more than others.
Talking afterwards to other attendees, every person I talked to thought that at least one of their top selections didn’t get chosen. The funny thing was that everyone had a different favorite that missed (although Method CRM was a common choice).
The winners were Bill.com, Postcard Services, Profitably and Corelytics. These are good products, but I would have been happier if Method CRM and Transaction Pro Importer had been in the top four. I also really liked AgileShip.
Note that each of the winners received a $25,000.00 prize. The “grand winner” was Corelytics, in addition to the cash they will be given a special promotional campaign in conjunction with Intuit.
I hope to have more in-depth reviews of some of these products over the next several months.