Software development can be an amazing gamble. In part 1 of this series, Nikolaus Kimla told the story of how Pipeliner CRM was conceived and researched. In part 2, he related the revolutionary story of how the goal of disruption was formulated. In part 3, he and his company sought an industry. Then came time to make the bold move of coming to America. Now, it was a matter of going super-mobile.
As mentioned in my last article, a healthy portion of our development was devoted to our sophisticated synchronization mechanism. It meant that the full CRM was available offline, and when a user once again had internet access, the desktop or mobile CRM could then synchronize with the Cloud. In almost all cases synchronization occurs in under 10 seconds. To achieve this, programming was substantial and quite advanced.
When we had gained hundreds of customers around the world with a very stable product, we realized we needed a true mobile application. We did have a mobile version, but we knew that if we were really going to be robust, we had to be native on iOS and Android.
Our native mobile CRM was released in 2016, and today reviewers are saying that we have the best and most advanced mobile CRM on the market. As with our desktop version, we are constantly improving it—since its release, we have had an update almost every two months.
Mobile features now include innovations such as business card scanner, text-to-speech, auto-populating of data, total visualization of data, integration of calendar and email, customized fields, and much more.
Time for the Cloud
While developing our mobile application, we noted that HTML5, which earlier had been rather weak, had made incredible advances. Because of this, we decided it was high time to move full-speed ahead on a Cloud-only version of Pipeliner CRM.
We did know, however, that because Pipeliner was an enterprise product with over 10,000 lines of code, creating a Cloud-only version would be a substantial endeavor.
Big Changes in Look and Feel?
Interestingly, a couple of years after Pipeliner came on the market, CRM products began sprouting up like mushrooms. Because radical changes were needed for our Cloud-only version, we wondered if we should, in some fashion, follow their lead, and radically change Pipeliner’s look and feel.
But a prime difference between Pipeliner CRM and other CRM offerings is that the others are created by programmers. Pipeliner CRM, while certainly developed by programmers, is not created by programmers. It is created by salespeople, who think very differently than programmers.
Within the company, there was considerable infighting over this point. There were those who wanted a “trendy” look and feel for Pipeliner. I argued back that, unlike the stock market, “trend is not your friend.” We needed to take a good, hard look at who our buyer was. We needed to develop for the buyer, the prospect and the industry.
After many months of discussion, we decided to maintain Pipeliner’s successful look and feel, while at the same time upgrading the technology and optimizing every feature.
Cloud-Only Release Begins
With the look and feel clearly established, we began, feature-by-feature, to develop and release the Cloud-only version. Bear in mind that we were re-creating eight years of programming into a Cloud-only version; an enormous undertaking requiring the skills of many people.
We began with the feature set that we knew required the most data: reporting. We re-created and released the reporting engine from the ground up, and today it is truly fantastic and Cloud-only.
For programming, we got very bright and sliced reporting into pieces. First was released the standard report that everyone is familiar with. Then came the Pivot Table and Advanced Reporting features.
This was the smartest way to proceed, as not all customers immediately needed the more advanced features, and Advanced Reporting is only available for our top tier—Enterprise. In Advanced Reporting, you can mix and match every data type—accounts, contacts, leads and opportunities. You can even bring in customized tasks and appointment fields. This took some time to make it right, and every iteration made it better.
Shortly on the heels of Reporting, we released our re-done Performance Insights feature, now purely in the Cloud.
We’re now nearly at the end of the road—Pipeliner Cloud is now in the testing phase, nearly ready for release!
Next: The Technological Revolution and the Future of Programming
This content is sponsored by Pipeliner CRM.