Archive for Product Review Category Feed

The Form Assembly

Share
Company: Veer West LLC (website)
Product: The Form Assembly
Product Homepage
Blog
AppExchange Page
4star.png

The Form Assembly allows you to easily create web forms and collect responses. You build the web forms on their site. To deploy, you have the choice of having your form hosted on formassembly.com or downloading the code needed to run the form on your own site. The data is then collected in their service. For Salesforce.com users, they provide a way to use the Form Assembly functionality while having the data sent through to Salesforce.com. You can think of Form Assembly as a way to create solid web-to-lead pages and leverage some of their built in functionality like SSL encryption and pre-defined form rules (required fields, conditions, etc.). You could also use it for general web development even if Salesforce is not involved.

Functionality

Setting up a form is simple. You work within a drag & drop interface to do so. They allow you to add many types of fields (text, text area, picklists, radio buttons, password (masked) text, etc.). They also have some pre-defined fields for things like all US states, or all countries. The form builder allows for properties such as required fields, formatting checks (alphanumeric, email format, etc.) This Form Builder is very useful for web developers whether or not you ever plan on putting the information into Salesforce.com.

Main Options:
form_assembly_mainoptions.png

After setting up your form, you have some Main Options.

  • Decide whether to host your form on Form Assembly or to host it yourself.
  • An active, inactive and testing status allow you some flexibility in developing your form.
  • Choose to utilize SSL encryption.
  • Set effective dates for your form
  • Setup Thank You text to be displayed after the form has been submitted OR choose to redirect the user to your own custom page.
  • Enable email notification to notify the submitter, for example, that their information has been received.

In the Connector Setup options, you can choose whether or not you want to bring the data to Salesforce too. Going through this process will result in enabling the form as a web-to-lead form. Check that box and click “edit settings” to setup this functionality.

Connecting to Salesforce:
form_assembly_salesforcesetup1.png

Salesforce Field Mapping:
form_assembly_salesforcesetup2.png

The next step is Connecting to Salesforce. You can choose to provide a username and password for API access or you can do a web-to-lead form. I opted for the web-to-lead form. To get this setup, you need to go into your Org and generate the web-to-lead HTML. When I did it, I kept all fields selected. Then you copy that and paste it into the form assembly box (see the left hand graphic). The Form Assembly will read that information and automatically point the form to your Org and will gather all of the field information.

The last step is the Salesforce Field Mapping. This allows you to map the fields from the form you created in the Form Assembly to your Org’s Salesforce.com fields. I was even able to create hidden fields in my Form Assembly form and map them to Salesforce fields (e.g. to default a lead source value for all submissions).

For more details on setting up a Salesforce connected form, see their blog post on the subject.

Pricing

The Salesforce connector is only available in the Professional Plan, which runs $34/month. You can read about all their pricing on their Plan Comparison page. For non-Salesforce web development, there are plans ranging from free (ad supported, no SSL, no branding) to $9/month (the Subscription Plan with no ads, supports SSL, brand the forms). The only difference between the Subscription Plan ($9/month) and the Professional Plan ($34/month) are:

  • The Salesforce connector
  • A generic connector, similar to the Salesforce one, that can post data back to any third-party script. (coming soon)
  • An email validation service that can send a confirmation request to any email address submitted with a form. (coming soon)
Opinion

I have enjoyed using the Form Assembly. I was given a trial Professional Plan account and have been very happy with the functionality. I could see this being very useful for the organization that uses a lot of different web to lead forms and needs to manage their development and also leverage functionality such as validation and formatting. However, these same organizations are typically pretty adept at creating web to lead forms where they may not need such as service. Catch 22.

The only issue I had with the service was that I had to re-map my data to Salesforce fields after making somewhat minor changes to the form. If I changed a field label or moved a field from a form section to outside a section, I needed to re-map it. Not a big deal, but could be if you were editing a live form and making on-the-fly edits. It could cause you to not capture information until you notice the mistake.

All in all, I was pretty impressed with the service and it’s ability to tie into Salesforce.

My Form

I will be attending Dreamforce this year. If you will be too, submit your contact information to me using the Form Assembly form I created for this review. I will be sure to email you my contact information before the event and we can hopefully meet each other there.

https://secure.formassembly.com/forms/24948

Comments (0) comments feed

WebDialogs Unyte Events

Company: WebDialogs, Inc. (website)
Product: Unyte (website)
AppExchange page
4star.png

WebDialogs Unyte Events allows you to “share documents, presentations, applications and your desktop in real time with anyone, anywhere, anytime”. Think WebEx or GoToMeeting. Unyte is meant for smaller groups (1 to 25 people). It has gained a strong reputation through its successful integration with Skype. In fact, there is a link to Unyte from the Skype homepage, which gives it some credibility in my mind.

Unyte is a free application for one on one sharing. Sharing with multiple people costs a monthly fee. More on pricing below.

The application was just released on the AppExchange today. I received a demo of it a few days ago and it is pretty slick. Since receiving the demo (a few days ago) and installing it (today), they have made some improvements to it, which tells me they are serious about getting it right.

Functionality

After installing the AppExchange package, 2 new tabs were available to me. On install, both were put into the Unyte Events application.

The Unyte Events Installation tab is only needed temporarily to get setup. Once setup, you can remove it from view. This tab is where you enter your Unyte username and password. If you have been using Unyte with Skype already, then use your existing username. If not, then you can sign up for a new username. If you are not a user already, but plan to use the program with Skype too, I suggest that you sign up separately using your Skype username and then enter that information into the tab.

unyte_setup_links.jpg

One feature in the install tab was a button to install the custom links that were required in your org. I ran it and it worked great. This feature automatically:

  • Added a Skype Username field to the Leads and Contacts
  • Added the Skype Username to the Lead and Contact Page Layouts
  • Added formula fields (rendering hyperlinks) on the Leads and Contacts pages

The Unyte Events tab is where you can schedule events or start an on-demand event. In the image below, I scheduled an event for tomorrow.
unyte_schedule_event.png

From here, clicking the [edit / invite] link takes me to a Salesforce.com event record where I can invite people to it using native Salesforce.com calendar functionality.

unyte_custom_links.png

An alternative means for interacting with Unyte is to use the links on the Contacts and Leads. These allow you to initiate Unyte sessions with that person. They also provide Skype links to initiate a Skype call, SkypeOut call or Skype chat.

unyte_host_app_screenshot.png

As a meeting holder, you run a small app on your desktop to control the sessions. This is where you can identify the applications to share and communicate with people on how to access your session. It also provides annotation and remote access control. Looking at my task manager, it took up 21mb of RAM while running.

As a participant, you can view everything through your browser.

Pricing

Per the AppExchange page, Unyte is:

Free for one-on-one sessions, $100/yr or $35/qtr for 5 participants, $300/yr or $100/qtr for 15 participants, $450/yr or $150/qtr for 25 participants

Opinion

I have enjoyed using Unyte. I will definitely keep it installed in my org and use it when I can. I will certainly use it for one on one sessions where I need to share my desktop. It has more limited functionality than GoToMeeting or WebEx (e.g. you cannot see a participant list). I will probably choose GoToMeeting or WebEx for my more important sessions. However, for quick one-on-one or informal sessions of a few people, Unyte is a good option.

Unyte could also be a good option for Salesforce admins to use when supporting their users. Couple it with the Meebo integration to allow for real-time responding to support questions and demonstrating functionality without leaving your desk.

It does have a few quirks that I am sure they will work out soon. Last I spoke with them, they were planning on releasing a version 2.0 shortly. At this time, there is only a version 1.1x beta version. The biggest quirk I experienced was that it would abruptly end a session when I was selecting the specific applications to share. It seemed to like it best if I decided to share all of my apps. However, I prefer to selectively share. Not the end of the world, but makes me hesitant to use it for my more important sessions. I’ll wait for it to stabilize first.

All in all, I like Unyte and think it’s worth trying out. If you are not into it from a Salesforce.com perspective, I still suggest using it personally alongside Skype.

Comments (0) comments feed

MakeTime for Salesforce.com

Company: Aagave LLC (website)
Product: MakeTime for Salesforce.com
App Exchange Page
Demo
3star.png

I had a chance to review a nice little utility called MakeTime for Salesforce.com by Aagave, LLC. It provides a very fast user interface for searching and interacting with your Salesforce.com data. The tool indexes your Salesforce.com database to provide fast searching through an interactive, Java-based UI. Per the website:

You are spending more and more time using Salesforce every day. With ever increasing amount of data at your fingertips, it becomes increasingly harder to find what you are looking for. It feels like you spend more time looking for information, than using it.

MakeTime solves this problem. maketime is a unique, as you type search tool, designed specifically for your Salesforce and Appexchange applications.

You login to MakeTime here or, if you install it from the AppExchange, you can have it be a custom app/tab in your Org so that authentication occurs through the Salesforce session. When you go in, the MakeTime window will be on the left-hand side of the screen and Salesforce on the right. It will strip out the Salesforce header, footer and sidebar in order to maximize screen real estate on that right-hand side of the screen.

The MakeTime screen allows you to work with All records in the system or to focus on Accounts, Contacts, Leads Opportunities or Cases. In the future, they plan to let you identify the objects you’d like listed on the top or the MakeTime window.

maketime1.png

In the image above, I am looking at Accounts. The first record is active, so that record from Salesforce is appearing on the Salesforce side of the page. Through the setup, I am able to select 5 columns to be listed on the MakeTime window for each object. To search, you can either use the 5 columns you have included or use a keyword search. The keyword search queries across all fields on that object.

maketime2.png

In the example to the right, I changed the columns my session is using and I am looking for customers with over 1000 employees. I typed in my parameters and the results were returned to me almost immediately (as I typed, the results came up). If I highlight a row, that records is displayed on the right-hand side of the screen.

MakeTime supports the most popular browsers: IE, Firefox, Safari and Opera.

MakeTime uses a search library called Lucene, which is an open source product from the Apache Software Foundation. When your company signs up, you need to provide an administrator’s username and password. This is what allows MakeTime to index your data for faster searching. Per the folks at MakeTime, all data is encrypted and the ability to read the Lucene indexes and make any sense of the data would be very difficult. However, your data is still being accessed regularly by a third-party.

Pricing

Pricing for MakeTime is $5/user/month. You have the ability to designate specific end users for sign-up rather than signing up your entire organization.

End users cannot sign-up directly at this time. Because MakeTime needs an administrative password, MakeTime needs to be purchased by those with access to the Salesforce.com administrative side.

MakeTime is not publicly listed on the AppExchange while they work through their data retention policies with Salesforce.com. You have to access their listing directly.

Opinion

MakeTime could work nicely for departments that are constantly in the Salesforce application and need the ability to get to “views” of data quickly where the criteria is changing regularly. A Salesforce.com view can be used for the same purpose, but is slower to create and slower to work with than MakeTime. I can envision MakeTime being used by groups that are responding to leads all day or by support teams that need quick access to the cases they are dealing with.

The user interface is pretty good. I did have some trouble getting my columns setup, sequenced and sized the way I wanted them. However, I was able to do it in a minute or two. The search is not perfect. In the example above, I was originally searching on “Customer – Direct” for the type value, but it interpeted it as Type = “Customer” and Type <> “Direct” because the minus side was there. These are things that should continue to improve over time.

My biggest suggestions for Aagave as they develop this tool are to:

  • Work with Salesforce to get publicly listed on the AppExchange. I am sure that their data policies are safe and secure, but getting this listing from Salesforce makes customers that much more confident.
  • Allow any end-user to sign up without the need for administrators to provide a username and password. This will open up a market for them to sell directly to the end user that is looking for a product like this to help them out and doesn’t need to work through administrators to do so.
  • Allow for more other objects than Leads, Accounts, Contacts, Opportunities and Cases to be listed on the top of the MakeTime window for searching.

It’s worth checking out the demo if you are interested. There is a button on that page to use a demo username and password. I don’t envision every end user having a need for this application. However, teams that “live in Salesforce.com” all day could benefit from MakeTime’s interactivity and, hopefully, save them time, which is the whole purpose of the application.

Comments (0) comments feed

BIG Picture for AppExchange

Company: D2Aligned (website)
Product: BIG Picture for AppExchange
App Exchange Page
3star.png

BIG Picture from D2Aligned is a tool that provides you with a single view as to how your business is performing against a set of stated goals. Per the AppExchange listing:

BIG Picture shows how all your mission-critical activities are performing simultaneously toward your strategic goal. This unifying view gives you greater decision-making insight than through salesforce.com dashboards.

It’s a different take on a dashboard concept. Salesforce dashboards are not particularly good at measuring data against goals. Enter BIG Picture.

Functionality

The idea is that you first create a BIG Picture record. Within a BIG Picture are success factors. Each success factor is tied to a specific Salesforce.com report (can also link to a manually entered data source or another BIG Picture). Then you identify what piece of information from the report do you wish to compare to your goal (count, sum, average, minimum, or maximum of a specific field) and then you document the goal itself. You can also do some tweaking of how important each success factor is compared to another by giving each factor a weight. This weight then affects the overall calculation. You continue this process by creating as many factors as you need.

big_picture1.png

When you click the Calculate/Display button, the BIG Picture success factors are calculated and compared against your goals in an alignment view. This provides a quick view as to how you are doing against your goals and shows your overall alignment for that BIG picture.

You can create as many BIG Pictures as you wish and make them public or private. Public are available to all and Private are only available to the owner. There is no functionality to assign BIG pictures to specific groups at this time. 1 big picture can be identified as the “Shared BIG Picture”. This Shared BIG Picture is available for viewing by all Salesforce users. Click on the success factor in the BIG picture takes you to the Salesforce report.

To see more about the functionality in this product, view their demo.

Pricing

BIG Picture is $10/user/month for people that are manipulating BIG Pictures. The Shared Big Picture is available to all Salesforce.com users without them needing a license.

Opinion

BIG Picture is not a product that makes you say “wow!” upon seeing it. After playing with the functionality for a while, you get to learn how to be creative with it and you will probably start to like it.

BIG picture’s focus on providing a comparison against goals is the key takeaway here. It does this better than Dashboards and it can provide a concise picture of the “big picture”. If your organization is looking for solutions to help provide this level of analytics, BIG Picture is worth a look. A nice thing about it is that you don’t need to license every user in your Org for it. You could license just a few users who are responsible for building the reports and BIG Pictures. They could use the tool to perform the reporting and then pass the information along to executive management.

All in all, it’s worth a look if your company is in need of a tool to compare actuals to goals and view it all in a single “big picture”.

Comments (0) comments feed

DemandTools by CRM Fusion

Company: CRMFusion (website) (blog)
Product: DemandTools for AppExchange
App Exchange Page
5star.png

Steve wrote a good review of DemandTools1 on his blog the other day, so I won’t go into detail about the product here. However, I did want to echo some of his opinions.

I just received a demo of the upgraded de-duper (available in the beta version 1.7) and I am quite impressed. It has all of the things I would expect from a de-duplication engine and more. They have really done their homework to build functionality that accounts for the “gotchas” that can occur when cleansing data and have incorporated a lot of functionality based upon customer feedback. The 1.7 beta version of DemandTools still has all of the old functionality like “MassEffect” (a higher powered sforce Data Loader), “MassChange” (make mass data changes within Salesforce without any import/export of data), “ZipFix” (standardize your city, state, zip data) and a bunch more useful utilities. Many of these modules have been improved in the latest version too.

I recommend DemandTools to any organization managing large amounts of Salesforce.com data or managing data that is in constant motion (e.g. 1000s of web leads per day, a high volume of opportunities created/closing each week, etc.). Many of the larger Salesforce.com deployments are DemandTools customers today.

Like Steve mentioned, DemandTools is free to any nonprofit who has <=10 Salesforce.com licenses. For profit companies have 2 payment options:

  • $5000/year for the first administrator; $2500/year for each additional admin
  • $50/year per Salesforce license plus a $500 setup fee for the first year
  1. CRM Fusion is an advertiser on this blog. This relationship has not biased this review. This review is based merely on the merits of the product being reviewed. [back]

Comments (2) comments feed

Next entries » · « Previous entries