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PHP based customer notes / information system

Posted on 2011-05-09
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Last Modified: 2012-08-13
I'm looking for an open source web-based documentation / note taking system for me to keep a record of important information about my clients and a record for my own reference and for legal purposes of what work I've done for them.

I wrote my own system a little while back and I've been using it successfully up until now but I think I need something a little bit more robust. Currently what my system can do is:

- Maintain a list of clients (basic information like name, company, etc. to identify the client)
- Write text based notes for that client, organized optionally by group, sorted by date
- Optionally attach a file (e.g. PDF, JPG, exported email .EML file) to the note
- Quickly preview a list of all notes taken for any given client

I've attached some pictures of my existing system.

What I'd like is a system which can do that, but also supports as much of the following as possible:

- Rich text notes with some basic formatting (e.g. bold, italic, font size, color etc.)
- Encrypted secure notes (for storing private info like passwords / credit card numbers)
- Multi-user capability with tracking for what user wrote what note
- Mobile support, at least read-only (e.g. blackberry, android, iphone friendly mobile site)

Any ideas? Sounds kind of like a Customer Relations Management program or a Knowledgebase/Helpdesk type program.

My main focus is that it needs to be fast - minimalistic approach and a minimum number of mouseclicks to get stuff done.

Screenshot of my existing "customer portal"
Screenshot of my existing "customer portal"
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Question by:Frosty555
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Expert Comment

by:Aaron Tomosky
ID: 35725387
If you don't mind the funny syntax, a personal wiki is prettyneat. A full blown mediawiki is really easy to setup or there are personal alternatives. Pretty good writeup ere
http://www.lifehack.org/articles/technology/the-quick-dirty-guide-to-personal-wikis.html
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Expert Comment

by:Aaron Tomosky
ID: 35725392
If you want mOre of an issue tracking system I've used eventum with success.
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Expert Comment

by:aderse02
ID: 35728280
I have two different recommendations for this one:

1) Spiceworks:
It is designed for tracking helpdesk tickets and networking information, but could be used for your purposes as it contains an awesome reporting function as well as people tracking, etc.

2) Joomla CMS:
Custom build your own CRM fast with Joomla and BreezeForms.  I've recently completed a small project where I had to build a CRM for my company and I was able to do it within a week.
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LVL 31

Author Comment

by:Frosty555
ID: 35731749
I have a personal wiki setup already actually - that was my first attempt before building my own little application to do it. It was okay but ultimately too much work to get in and out of. Wikis are good for organizing a compendium of knowledge, not really a slowly growing accumulating collection of notes / history.

Spiceworks looks PERFECT, I didn't realize that such a thing existed and it actually helps solve some other problems I've been meaning to find a solution for. I need to investigate it more though. Any tips or pros / cons you can give me about Spiceworks? What is it good at / not so good at?
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Expert Comment

by:aderse02
ID: 35732322
I've been using Spiceworks for about 4 years and it keeps growing.  There is an extensive user forum that will help with anything you might have a question on as well as constant updates that keep impressing me.  It now can track Computer Warranty information, event logs, you name it.

It's customizable too!  We've been tracking our helpdesk tickets through this software and we've been able to add additional fields to track.  It generates instant emails to users with any updates to a ticket, so it's very good with keeping everyone in the loop.

I definitely recommend at least trying it out.  It is its own web server so I recommend installing it on a virtual machine if you can and follow the install instructions.  If you do install it and need any help, let me know.  I'll try to assist where I can.
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Author Comment

by:Frosty555
ID: 35758289
I'm poking around with Spiceworks now, and it is a pretty neat tool but I'm thinking it isn't going to be exactly what I need. It seems to be really oriented around the "IT Administrator in a big company who needs to inventory / manage their network" type scenario.

My case is more "IT Consultant who has many different small to medium size clients that he needs to keep notes on".

Spiceworks has done a pretty good job of inventorying my own network, and its actually quite cool all the stuff you can do with it, but I think I am going to need to install a Spiceworks server on *every* client site, which might not be feasable.

I'll continue to look at it in more depth and I think it is a great tool but it might not satisfy my needs.
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Accepted Solution

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Andrew Derse earned 2000 total points
ID: 35760410
Check out this website.

You can monitor all of your clients sites from 1 spiceworks dashboard...haven't done it personally because all we use is the helpdesk functionality of it...we don't track inventory or anything like that...

http://community.spiceworks.com/feature_request/show/Inventory/90

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Expert Comment

by:Andrew Derse
ID: 35760415
By the way...I was the one who posted as aderse02, but my company decided to get one of their own experts login, so I'm required to use that now.
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Author Comment

by:Frosty555
ID: 35777445
Hmm okay, that might just work then if I can get Spiceworks to work in a "multi-user" environment. I can maybe offer some kind of remote monitoring service as part of my IT package, and if the client doesn't have a suitable server of their own I can provide a cheap PC for them.

Cool, so where do you want the points NUKIT? On your NUKIT account, or on aderse02? Or split?
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by:Andrew Derse
ID: 35777466
The NUKIT account please as I am removing the aderse02 account soon.

Thanks!
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