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Client/Computer/Service Tracking Software

Posted on 2013-06-10
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Last Modified: 2013-06-13
Hello,

I am looking for a software that makes it easy to track all of my clients and all of their computers and all the services that I have performed on their computers.

I don't need a help desk software, I don't think.
Any suggestions?

My current way of tracking is having a folder for each client on my NAS, and then sub folders for each of the client's computers that I have worked on. Within each folder I have a notepad file with all the notes from all the services I have performed, along with any backups of that particular computer.

Thank you
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Question by:Jonathong
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 39234619
Hi Jonathon,

I suggest taking a look at Belarc's products:
http://www.belarc.com/

Their Belarc Advisor has long been among the best products for tracking installed hardware and software:
http://www.belarc.com/free_download.html

It's free for personal use, but you may not use it for any commercial purposes, so you'll want to look at their BelManage product:
http://www.belarc.com/belmanage.html

Regards, Joe
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Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 39234736
Really don't think you're looking for a product like Belarc - however if you are, I think a better (and CHEAPER) one is System Information for Windows (one file - two with license file) and you can get TONS of information in an HTML, text, csv, or XML report.

What I think you're looking for is a CRM tool - Customer Relationship Management, a PSA tool - Professional Services Automation, and/or an RMM - Remote Management and Monitoring tool.  These are commonly used in business and the last two commonly used by IT consultants, especially those running MSPs - Managed Services Providers.

Just be warned - they aren't cheap... and if they are, they probably aren't good.
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Author Comment

by:Jonathong
ID: 39234761
Thanks Joe, while I appreciate the usefulness of those products, they really don't fit what I need here.

Leew is correct, a CRM type tool meant for IT Consultants. Any particular recommendation? I was hoping for something cheap, but being poorly organized I think is even more costly.

I currently use Zoho crm, but that really doesn't do what I need it to. Its a temporary solution while I am just starting up.
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Joe Winograd, EE MVE earned 500 total points
ID: 39234844
Jonathon,
I also use Zoho CRM and have deployed it at a few small companies. I was about to recommend it until I saw your comment. :)

I disagree with leew's comment that "if they [CRM systems] are ["cheap"], they probably aren't good." Zoho CRM is relatively inexpensive (they even have a version that's free for up to three users) and in my opinion it is very good. I know of one small company that replaced the (relatively expensive) Salesforce CRM with Zoho CRM and felt that it was just as good.

OK, enough of Zoho CRM, although I'm curious what it doesn't do that you need. I find it to be easily configurable...adding fields to contain info about your clients' computers and the services you've performed on their computers shouldn't be difficult...he says from the cheap seats. :)

You're probably aware that Zoho also has a Support product, but in case you're not, it's here:
https://www.zoho.com/support/

But this is more of a help desk product, which you said isn't what you want, although I think it may be able to meet the criteria you stated. Regards, Joe
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Author Comment

by:Jonathong
ID: 39235080
Thank you Joe,
I never even experimented with Zoho to see if it was customizable like that. I'll have to give it a second chance! I'll let you know what I figure out.
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
Joe Winograd, EE MVE earned 500 total points
ID: 39235184
Jonathon,
It's pretty easy...I think you'll like it. After signing in, click the Setup link in the upper right and then the Customization link. You can add custom fields, edit existing fields, add/delete/change pick list values, etc. I made several enhancements to the Accounts module (added 8 custom fields) and the Potentials module (added 4 custom fields and completely changed the Stage pick list), making the system far more compliant with my requirements. Regards, Joe
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Author Comment

by:Jonathong
ID: 39238072
I spoke to Zoho customer service and asked them how to set it up the way I wanted, but without effecting how other users on my account have it set up. I guess its not possible to change the configuration with out changing everyone's configuration. That's too bad. That would have been a great solution.
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Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 39238705
> not possible to change the configuration without changing everyone's configuration

I didn't know that, as I've always wanted config changes to affect all users. Also, until now, I didn't realize that you have other users The current solution in your original question (folders/subfolders on a NAS with notes in a text file) sounded like a "personal" solution, utilized just by you. But now I take it to mean that other users access your information on the NAS.

Two other thoughts. First, is it possible to make the customizations in such a way that they don't affect the other users' usage of the system? Yes, the changes will be there, but I would think it's possible to make the changes such that the other users can basically ignore them. For example, if there's a custom field, they simply don't view it, don't include it in reports, etc.

Second, how about creating a new Zoho CRM account and using that just for this purpose? You could customize the new one however you please and not change the current one in any way. Regards, Joe
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Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 39238917
Just saw this you might find interesting:

http://www.shockeymonkey.com/
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Author Comment

by:Jonathong
ID: 39238949
Joe:
Yeah there are four of us and soon more that will be using Zoho. Yeah your right, i can probably add fields that they can choose not to view, and remove fields that non of us use. I will have to experiment with it. I just wanted a solution that was out of the box ready to use. But for the price, I like Zoho since I don't have to incur an additional expense!

leew:
Look promising! I'll check it out. Thank you!!
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Expert Comment

by:Pankaj_401
ID: 39240860
This thread will also help you out in your decision

CRM for small company
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Assisted Solution

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
Joe Winograd, EE MVE earned 500 total points
ID: 39243373
I just wanted a solution that was out of the box ready to use.
I'm with you on that! But it's going to be tough to find something that does 100% of what you need...and since you're already up-and-running on Zoho...and you and your users are already familiar with it...and you're already paying for it...well, it's definitely worth experimenting with it! Regards, Joe
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Author Comment

by:Jonathong
ID: 39245050
Yeah Joe is right. I think the other solutions are great, even the free ones. But I am already familiar with Zoho, and it can fit the bill for now. Once I get bigger I can start considering a better solution.

Thanks every one
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Author Closing Comment

by:Jonathong
ID: 39245067
I always look forward to getting leew's comments on my questions, but in this case its probably best to stick with my current setup as Joe suggests.
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LVL 52

Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
ID: 39245109
Jonathon,
Good luck on getting bigger! Best wishes for your success. Regards, Joe
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by:Jonathong
ID: 39245144
Thanks Joe!!!
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