Unfortunately somebody has already trademarked the phrase “information edge” – we would love to use it. Of course, it implies competitive advantage through the availability of information. All business software, to a greater or lesser extent, increases the information available to the user, so every vendor can claim to offer an “information edge”. We’re hardly going to stand out if we do the same. But it would be nice if we could because, for our target market, we make more information available, more easily, than the alternatives – an information edge.
We have to work hard to stop people putting Front Office Box in the CRM category. It’s true we do some of the things CRM systems offers, but not all. And we do some things CRM doesn’t. The critical difference being our software is specifically designed for individuals and small teams, not for company departments. CRM systems are designed for company departments, not individuals and small teams. With Front Office Box, individuals and small teams get an information edge.
So why don’t we want to be categorized as CRM? Most of our users wouldn’t know what CRM was if it rear-ended them. If they did, they wouldn’t see it as relevant to their needs, and even if they did, they wouldn’t use it. CRM is too narrow in what it does, and too complex in the way it does it, for the smaller business. It’s too focused on management control, doesn’t empower individuals, and, if we believe what we read, it doesn’t often work. There’s no shortage of on-line CRM supplier “white papers” explaining just how many implementations fail.
We give our target market all the advantages they would get with CRM (and more). This includes the information edge. Our big challenge is persuading people we do, without them thinking we’re CRM. In our quest to define a new category for Front Office Box, we’ve been finding out how our users are implementing it. They do this themselves, not needing consultants, so each one is different. They all have an explanation as to why they like it – it always comes down to “it just organizes me” – , but can’t point to a particular feature.
So we asked a few if we could take a look at their databases. They’re all using opportunity management, in similar ways, and they’re all using the address book. The stand out feature we came across was Tags. They had all used Tags extensively, but in their own ways. Tags let them decide how to organize their own information in the way they need, to suit the business.
It’s our Tags that gives users the EXTRA information edge, because it lets them use their information, their way.