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Finding good software isn’t easy!

Posted on: July 1st, 2008 by Simon Swords

We’ve been searching tirelessly for a new software application to use internally which will help us to perform what we think are quite basic but very essential business management tasks.

We held a meeting to review our basic requirements which fall in to three primary categories of CRM, sales and support and development project management.

Primarily the system we’re looking for needs to:

  • Manage our customers
  • Manage our projects
  • Manage support tickets
  • Provide a chat interface via our website

We didn’t think it would be a big ask but after a lot of searching we’re struggling to find a good solution.

At first glance it seemed Microsoft TFS (Team Foundation Suite) was going to be our answer.  With SharePoint built in as standard this appeared to be the obvious way forward.  The only problem is that the SharePoint and development management (such as source control) elements of TFS are completely segregated rendering the end result useless.

We then investigated Microsoft Dynamics.  An amazing piece of CRM software which we have a great deal of experience implementing and managing for our customers when an off the shelf CRM is suitable for their needs.  Unfortunately the development and ongoing maintenance overhead for a small team such as ours just doesn’t appear to be a worthwhile investment.

This leaves us with two options.  Purchase one of the many CRM or project management applications and try to mould it to meet our specific requirements, or write something ourselves.  Fortunately we have found a CRM/project management tool which is inexpensive and in the meantime we’re going to take that path as we simply don’t have the time to write something here from scratch.

Now if you’ve bothered to read this far in to this post I’m going to give away a small secret.  We’re actually working on some technology here which is going to prevent any business owner from ever having to accept an off the shelf solution ever again!  Most off the shelf packages simply try too hard to cater for a wide range of industries and end up catering for none.

We’re working on something quite special here at Atlas. Specifically we’re writing software which will allow any business owner in any industry regardless of their technical expertise to use a simple web interface to generate their own web hosted software in a completely automated fashion.  They simply enter their business model objects, set the additional functionality they require (such as a calendar, permissions, audit trail etc.) and voila!  Instant software completely customised to their business needs.

We’re still quite a way off setting release dates for this new application. As more information becomes available we’ll publish it here.

Simon Swords


Managing Director

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