Review Of Elements CRM -CRM For Apple Mac OSX Users
UPDATE, 2 Dec, 2011. New Elements CRM v4.0 Pro, its biggest upgrade ever, is now shipping.
- Elements CRM
- CRM Software
- Product Author
- Elements CRM
- Reviewed by
(UPDATE 1 Feb, 2011. New version of Elements CRM – v3.0 released (see end of CRM review below). The biggest changes include a new look to the UI, a new filtering feature that allows you to filter which contacts you want to see in your list (for example, view all customers that are located in a specific country,etc), and hundreds of minor improvements and bug fixes.)
Elements CRM, from Ntractive, is a subscription based software-as-a-service (SaaS) application, first announced in 2007 during Apple’s worldwide developer’s conference. Catered to small/medium businesses, as well as enterprises, ElementsCRM is specifically made for Mac, and offers no PC alternative. Its approach is somewhat unique – it combines elements (no pun intended) of cloud computing as well as offline applications, making it a fusion of desktop and web. Ntractive’s goal here is to make a desktop based application, with the desktop feel, that blurs the line between which operations are desktop based and which are requiring online access – similar to how iTunes and the internal iTunes store works.
Elements CRM’s feature set covers all relevant tools considered vital for managing business relationships, as well as some more. Its feature set can be summarized as follows:
- lead tracking,
- client organization,
- estimate/invoice creation,
- client histories,
- time tracking software,
- task/note creation,
- minor project management features,
- email integration,
- document storage,
- inventory management,
- calendar scheduling and sync,
- internal messaging,
- e-mail marketing.
As you can see, it goes beyond the industry standard for CRM, including features that may benefit CRM, but also have an entirely separate business use on their own. Elements CRM allows for not only basic client and lead management, but also aspects of project management and invoicing as well. It takes a similar path as the all-in-one business management application WORKetc, which combines aspects of CRM, Project Management (PM) and Billing into one application. Upon direct comparison however, it’s important to note that WORKetc’s feature set is more detailed in separate aspects of business management (i.e. PM & Billing), hence why WORKetc is called a business management system and ElementsCRM is more a conventional CRM. WORKetc has the sufficient feature set to run basically every aspect of a small business, whereas Elements is more CRM specific (but with some neat and useful extra features).
Elements CRM was the recipient of the July 2009 Apple Staff Pick for application downloads. It’s been embraced by many Mac enthusiasts as a game-changing application for business management within the Mac desktop. Many benefits come with this fusion of desktop and cloud computing; such as the ability to drag and drop anything into the program directly (photos, certain documents) and not have to worry about uploading. Also it integrates with many Mac applications, such as iChat and iCal.
Powered by open source software Webkit, Elements CRM may store your information online, but nonetheless it requires the desktop application to access and work the program. This can be seen as a huge disadvantage in terms of flexibility and mobility, in comparison with browser-based CRM applications. Elements CRM partially makes up for this through their awesome iPhone application, which will be covered in more detail below.
Like the majority of other Mac applications, Elements CRM makes a big effort to incorporate intuitiveness and ease of use into the application, and with some success. The program itself isn’t hard to learn, but it lacks somewhat when it comes to intuitiveness. A noted complaint by some users with this application is the fixed window-size of the application itself. It can only be opened a certain amount, which squishes many of the features together, giving it a more cluttered appearance.
An area where Elements CRM really shines is in its iPhone application. While many developers are just catching up with the mobile CRM experience, Elements CRM has got the concept down pat. Through the iPhone, iTouch, or iPad, you can access the Elements CRM application, and do nearly everything you can do on the desktop software. All changes from the iPhone to the user account are in real-time, so no additional syncing is necessary. If you were to meet in person with a potential client, and successfully close in on the sale, you would be able to update this straight from your iPhone and the changes would take place instantly.
Ntractive brings a unique desktop-cloud computing mix with Elements CRM, which brings a great variety of CRM features and other business management features. In it’s relatively short lifespan (compared to other popular Mac CRMs like Daylite), ElementsCRM has gained much recognition within the Mac application market.
When compared to web-based applications, Elements CRM falls understandably a little short in terms of flexibility and integration, but its simplicity, mobile CRM and overall Mac friendly features make ElementsCRM a superb CRM option for Apple Mac users.
Ntractive Introduces Elements CRM 3.0
Elements CRM 3.0 is a major upgrade that gives the Apple Mac CRM a whole new look and a ton of new features:
Elements CRM 3.0 new features include:
- User Interface – navigation so much smoother.
- Speed – 100x speed improvements in some areas.
- Workflow – major system workflow enhancements.
- Data Filtering – new tool creates rules to filter your data.
- Credit Cards – improved integration with Authorize.net.
- Sales – more tools for your sales team.
- Social – more integrations (Twitter, Linkedin, and more).
- Marketing – improved MailChimp integration.
- Invoicing – improved look and feel.
- Finance – AccountEdge & QuickBooks® enhancements.
- Much More – there are literally hundreds of new features.
Elements 4.0 New Features:
Elements CRM 4.0 Benefits:
- User Interface – navigation and UI has been greatly enhanced.
- Speed – 10x speed improvements throughout the app.
- Mail App – Version 2.0 of Elements CRM Mail is released and better than ever.
- Double-Byte Support – Japanese, Chinese and Korean support.
Elements CRM 4.0 Pro Features:
- Credit Card Processing – PayPal™ Website Pro is now supported.
- Designer Element – customize the look of invoices and other forms.
- Reports Element – completely redesigned with more on the way!
- Payments Element – new and improved for managing customer payments.
- Utilities Element – import and export data or mass delete records.
- Connect Element – connect the lead sign-up page on your website into Elements CRM.
- Dashboard – view sales stats and watch your sales climb with great new Dashboard tools.
- Backup Element – get extra protection with saved database backup instances.
- Much More – as always, so many great enhancements!
Elements CRM 4.0 Pro is available immediately.
- Related Products