Common Evaluation Questions

Answers frequently asked questions about Solve, giving you the big picture to speed up your evaluation.

We don’t need a “CRM” or “project management” application but Solve seems to have all the features we were looking for. Is this system for us?!

Forgive the software industry jargon, more accurately Solve introduces an entirely new product concept designed to do exactly what teams need to get work done every day by integrating ideas from different software systems into a single fast, simple and customizable solution. Embodied within you’ll find Solve covers Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Intranet, Contact Database, Content Management System and file server requirements. Only it’s a lot more fun to use!

What’s the big picture here?

Solve CRM is a simple, well-conceived product that supports processes teams use to interact with their clients on a daily basis. Check out the product concepts that keep it tight.

Evaluating CRMs? Join our FREE Intro to Solve Webinar

How secure is our information?

Solve utilizes advanced technologies and industry best practices to store and keep your information secure. More …

We also adhere to a rigorous Privacy Policy.

Can users outside of my organization participate in my Solve account?

Sure, this is one of the main benefits of using a hosted project management solution like Solve. You can invite people from anywhere and grant them access to see only the data they’re allowed to see.

How long have you guys been around?

Norada has been “doing this” for over ten years and Steve (the founder) has been in the IT industry for over 20 (there are no kids here). The product you see today was released in January 2009 and is smoothly updated about every four to six weeks. Generally our industry considers a company relevant and sustainable when it reaches a few thousand paying clients. We’re well beyond that, but don’t ask for the number (we need to keep the competitors on their toes). We’ve earned a right to be in business.

Are there any IT requirements or downloads required to set up my Solve account?

Nope. You do not need to download any software or plan for any traditional IT support to get started. Simply sign-up online and get your free Solve trial account running in less than a minute.

Can we run Solve on our own servers?

Now why would you want to go and do that? Solve is a hassle-free service delivered via the Internet managed by professionals as a high-available software service. The Internet connects us, but it does not define us. We don’t provide consumer services and we don’t hack software. We provide a complete solution to our clients; the single throat to choke (or more typically to send chocolate to hint hint). When you hire us you expand your brain trust and your team.

What keeps you up at night?

We invest a lot of time tending to the protection of client information (security systems, redundant backups etc.), we understand we have serious responsibilities and sweat over the details.

What if we need more user accounts?

You can add any number of additional user accounts and you will be billed only the per account cost over what the plan already provides.

What’s the single biggest difference between Solve and everything else out there?

Software products tend to focus on supporting a specific work process; consequently imposing their own terminology and a rigid structure. On day one you’re happy and on day ten you’ve found that you can’t do many things your team needs to do. Solve CRM is based on simple, fundamental concepts e.g. needing to manage interactions with people and client projects. The way you organize them, report on them and manage the information related to them is entirely up to you. Solve differentiates itself by being flexible with only enough structure to keep people coloring between the lines i.e. ensuring the data in the system is secure and useful.

For teams who work with something other than projects, change the default label of “Project blogs” to something more specific to your business e.g. Properties, Portfolios, Locations, Cases, Jobs etc.

What the hell does CRM mean?

CRM is Customer Relationship Management - a business strategy centered on pacing customers’ needs and behaviors in order to develop stronger relationships with them. CRM also describes a category of software to facilitate that outcome. CRM is best viewed as a company-wide customer-centric philosophy that combines people, process, and technology. It is seen as a best practice for any business to create real value and prosper.

One of our beliefs is that “people buy from people” and we see CRM simply as a way to maintain personal conversations with many more people that you could normally handle without your head blowing up.

“Experts” claim there are 80+ different types of CRM software but to summarize there are really two: Traditional and Operational. Traditional CRMs like Microsoft Dynamics, Salesforce and Zoho fulfill needs identified by large companies in early 2000: automate complex and high volume tasks (transactions) and supervise sales and customer support staff. Neither of those is on a small team’s “hot list”. In contrast, operational CRMs like Solve are designed to help sales and operational teams get work done i.e. manage client interactions leading to better client relationships, while providing management the visibility to focus on the hot spots needing attention.

What’s your secret sauce?

Most products focus on improving your team’s communication and productivity – better email, sharing files, task-lists, etc. Pause and celebrate that a lot of progress has been made over the last few decades; but we’ve squeezed about as much juice as we’re going to get there. Implementing a new “system” to kick it up a notch or two is a big mountain to climb; many businesses die trying to get people to change. It’s seen as high-risk, expensive and generally not worth it.

The secret that drives Solve’s design is that we move the focus of how your team works together to how each person interacts with your clients. With their mind and focus on the client’s perspective the inner-team work process and communication start to occur naturally. Instead of dancing around behind closed doors, where nobody cares and no value is created, they are “on stage”, where every action, word and nuance makes a difference.

Why don’t you have pie charts?

Show us a notable business that attributes their success to the prerequisite (read useless) CRM pie chart and we’ll shovel a 1000lbs of it into the app. You know the metrics that make your business scale, don’t let someone else invent it for you.

What’s with the funky user interface?

A “window manager” design enables users to do some of the things we take for granted on our computers that are not possible with normal web applications. Here you can lay out all the panels (windows) the way you find most efficient and move between tasks quickly without losing context or reloading pages. The window manager provides a robust & familiar user interface pattern that allows us to layer in sophisticated features that don’t come off as hard to learn, complex, or “clunky”.

As an alternative option, for teams who prefer a more traditional interface Solve also offers a “Supernatural Google” theme that looks similar to Google Apps.

Has anyone designed an amazing web user interface yet? No, even Google is still experimenting. Lets call it for what most web apps are - bundles of clunky frustration that require your team to learn specific tricks to make work. With a “decent” and familiar user interface locked-in our team can invest all their time working on features that can move the needle for your business.

Are you asking us to give up Outlook?

Absolutely not, if a tool gets you where you need to go you should probably stay with it, and Solve offers some Outlook integrations to help you there. However, often with tools like Outlook there’s an important gap that needs to be filled. Let me highlight an important one:

  • Outlook focuses on your needs Everything passes though your brain. You move information around at a furious pace to keep things in motion before promises are broke and opportunities lost. An entire team working only like that makes me think of a band of blind-folded monkeys banging away on keyboards, each busy, for no apparent reason.
  • Solve focuses on your client’s needs Having a central company database which neatly organizes your set of clients, projects and activities helps your team see each customer’s perception of your company and that causes them to react to that. Your staff becomes client advocates. Wow.

    With a single company database each staffer knows who to call, what’s been promised, where to find anything and how to carve out what to tackle next. They pass tasks between each other, update lists and involve themselves only as called for. Instead of reviewing everything going on you now have time to track progress and focus on the exceptions. Your company has a scalable machine that can be carefully refined that is far more powerful than any individual.

How is Solve different than Highrise and Basecamp from 37signals?

Solve is what clients switch to after they outgrow the 37signals products; which can happen quickly. Solve makes it drop-dead easy to know who has access to what and work with large sets of data quickly. Solve integrates all its features, including the core CRM and Project management areas, into a single well conceived solution that remains easy to understand and use by any user. Our user interface is more effective, we handle the volume of data that businesses deal with much better, we provide full-text search, users can upload many files/photos at once, our shared email history feature is more versatile and faster, clients can customize all their database and activity fields, we apply enhanced security features to all accounts and we offer additional features that are important to businesses such as Webmail, full-featured group calendar and API integration. We are focused on making our business clients successful by providing an end-to-end solution and being available for consultation on any related questions.

After using and hearing constant complaining from my employees about how complicated everything was, we made the switch to Solve. What a breath of fresh air! It is simple and does the job. It is a true intuitive design and the only training we did with my employees was to show them the site with the tutorials. From then on they picked up by themselves. A manager’s dream! – Gunther Fischli

… and with SalesForce?

Clients who have switched from SalesForce frequently tell us that, unlike Salesforce, their staff actually use Solve. Since only systems that get used have any chance of producing value for your business we think that’s an important one to ponder. Some of our distinguishing features below also help position Solve to be seen as useful in the heat of battle and not a necessary evil.

  • Saving data on the fly
  • Showing everything at-a-glance
  • Simple and fast search
  • Leading Google Apps integration
  • Attention to every pixel on the screen

Some other differences are:

  • CRMs of the SalesForce era were originally designed to supervise sales staff and automate high-volume transactions. We think your team has more important things to focus on… like your clients.
  • Solve is generally designed for smaller, more dynamic teams rather than with cubical workforces.
  • Folks are often surprised by the advanced features and sophistication tucked into Solve (as an enterprise application complexity is seen as one of SalesForce’s traditional strengths).
  • Almost 1/10th the price and no long-term contracts are important ones too.

You’ve found what you’ve been looking for - just ask former Salesforce clients.

What about Excel, Act!, Goldmine and Maximizer?

Clients who upgraded from these products tell us they switched because:

  • They like the simple “client focused” concept
  • After years of trying they realized the older products weren’t taking their business where they wanted it to go
  • The data sharing / networking aspects work much better (fast and reliable)
  • Solve is simpler to use than most CRM / contact managers (single page layout, no tabbing around to find information)
  • They love the way we link email messages to contact pages
  • The desktop software was difficult and expensive to maintain and keep running reliably
  • They wanted a system that was more “web friendly” i.e. integrating information from other sources, integrating their website, publishing information to clients, etc.

Is Solve an alternative to industry specific or vertical CRMs?

Most certainly. As an example, if there is one group of professionals who get the short end of the stick with CRMs, it has to be real estate professionals. Even with so many real estate specific systems out there, like IXACT, Top Producer or Property Base, many Realtors prefer an industry agnostic solution like Solve. More …

Is it really as great as you say?

Well a day doesn’t pass without receiving emails similar to “I’ve evaluated at least 2 dozen collaboration/project mgmt systems, but yours is hands down the winner.”

What if My Boss/Sales Person/{insert name} doesn’t like it?

Truth be told these folks don’t like any system – the other truth is they really need one. Get agreement on that, give each other a wink, set them up and focus on your process and your clients. They’ll come around when they see the benefits.

Can I get my data if I need to discontinue?

Absolutely, all the data that you store on Solve is yours after all. We provide a simple export feature that provides all of your information in a standard format that can be imported into most spreadsheet or database applications. More …

Avez-vous une version française de Solve CRM?

Oui! Along with French Solve is localized in many other languages including Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, German, Polish, Swedish and Russian. Set your preferred language under Solve menu > My Account > Local settings.