Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been trying to get a better handle on our business over at OSTraining.com. Since the launch early last years, things have been growing faster than my ability to analyze and understand it.
It’s been a pretty sobering experience so far and I ended up experiencing some pretty eye-opening problems with all the tools out there?
First, I realised once and for all that the major payment gateways are really living in the 1990s when it comes to their websites. We use PayPal and Authorize.net for payments and “wow!”, they do not make it easy to do any analysis. GaragePay helped us to get the data into a usable format from PayPal (thanks to Kyle from PixelPraise for that suggestion) but I’ve not found a good tool yet for Authorize.
Next, I looked for a CRM system that we could use for our clients. Lots of them had good features. Batchbook has useful social tools. Highrise has a good interface. Insightly has GMail integration. But all of them and others had one major failing: they’re all based around major deals, phone calls and old-fashioned sales pipelines. They’re designed for businesses that make 50 phone calls to close a $50,000 deal.
Then I approached from the other angle and looked at accounting software. Things like Less Accounting and Outright pull in your customer transactions but they give you zero data about who those customers are.
Finally, I took a look at ERP systems and again they’re all based around inventory, sales calls and the needs of large, traditional businesses.
So, I throw myself on the wisdom of the Open Source community …
- Anyone out there know of someone who’s solved the analysis problem for small online businesses.
- Is there anyway to get to handle on hundreds and thousands of small transactions and the customers who are making them?