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-   -   Omnifocus as a CRM? (http://forums.omnigroup.com/showthread.php?t=8278)

dconjar 2008-06-23 09:12 AM

Omnifocus as a CRM?
 
I finally broke down and bought Omnifocus, and it looks very promising, especially with the much-needed Toodledo sync and the iPhone app coming out next month. I've decided to take full advantage of the integration between programs in Mac OS X, like Mail.app, Address Book, iCal, etc., instead of relying heavily on web apps.

I'm just wondering if anybody has accomplished in Omnifocus what I have managed to pull off (somewhat) in Remember the Milk and Gmail: Customer Relationship Management.

Omnifocus may be able to serve this purpose, since I can create single-action lists of different types of leads and then move them to higher-level prospect and client folders. I can have the overall goal (i.e. Close John Doe) as an action in a lead list, and child-actions for all of the actions related to that prospect. I could do the same thing for managing customer support claims and marketing activities.

Do you think Omnifocus is well suited to handle tasks, projects, and reference material for business relations? Would it be better to use Daylite for its powerful customer relationships features, and just handle regular projects and tasks in OF? Please let me know your thoughts.

MichaelShapiro 2008-06-23 10:05 AM

I use DayLite for contact management and OmniFocus for task management. I find the combination works very well.

If you wanted to use an Omni product as a CRM, you'd probably have better luck with OmniOutliner. But a dedicated application would probably serve you best.

(Speaking of a dedicated CRM... when can we expect OmniContact?)

dconjar 2008-06-23 11:53 AM

Thanks for your help.

What features in Daylite do you use? I'm sure that you could take advantage of Daylite's mail integration, scheduling features, opportunity and customer records, and more...but where do you manage your projects and tasks?

Do you use OF to manage all of your projects and tasks (except maybe automated sales and marketing followup tasks), or do you use both programs to manage different types of projects and tasks? How exactly do you pull it off?

Thanks.

iNik 2008-06-23 01:40 PM

Sounds like a VERY heavy workload for OmniFocus. The OF database gets pretty slow once it has a large number of tasks in it. If it's also weighed down with tons of notes, linked fiiles, etc., I think it'll really die on you.

On the other hand, using it for contact-related tasks makes perfect sense, and it would make it very easy to split things up by each lead, contact, etc.

dconjar 2008-06-23 02:01 PM

Yeah, I wonder how well OF would handle that. Daylite always starts up with the color wheel of death for a few moments, so I guess it's just a price you have to pay for that much data.

If someone came up with an applescript to sync OF and Daylite tasks seamlessly, it would be incredible. Imagine that? Automated sales tasks automatically appear, organized in Omnifocus. Complex, personal tasks appear in GTD-style in Daylite. A complete sync between all parts of the workflow...

Toadling 2008-06-23 07:03 PM

[QUOTE=iNik;38619]Sounds like a VERY heavy workload for OmniFocus. The OF database gets pretty slow once it has a large number of tasks in it.[/QUOTE]

How many is a large number of tasks? Have you tried rebuilding your database to improve performance?

The reason I ask is I have around 500 actions and about 200 projects and single-action lists (many on hold). I've noticed some slowness on searches across the entire database, but it only seems to happen on the first search in that window, as if OmniFocus was building some kind of index on the fly or something. Subsequent searches on the same data set, in the same window, perform much better.

It also seems some perspectives open slowly, but that's largely dependent on how much data is being displayed, I think.

As for browsing and navigating around my data, I haven't noticed any other significant performance problems.

-Dennis

iNik 2008-06-24 04:45 AM

My experience is about the same, but views with large numbers of items (my weekly review/master planning perspective, for example) get pretty pokey, especially for searching.

Sales Management (which is really what you're talking about; CRM is more of a customer service and marketing strategy) requires persistent history on customers, contracts, call logs, notes, etc. You probably COULD shoehorn that into OmniFocus, but a great deal of those things are not tasks in any sense of the word. There are other programs that are specifically geared to this kind of work and therefore do a better job of it.

Entourage is an obvious choice for CRM that's nicely integrated into task management as well. There's a lot of other Mac-native tools, too.

Take a look at Redlein Account Executive; Now Contact, Now Up-to-Date (soon to be NightHawk); Contactizer Pro; and Bento from Filemaker (a bit of a roll-your-own, but you might like that).

Then there's hosted solutions like Zoho CRM and Highrise, and open-source web solutions like vTiger and SugarCRM -- both of which you could even set up locally on your Mac, if you wanted. And, of course, there's Salesforce.com, but that's very spendy. Probably overkill.

There's no shortage of good options out there. It seems like you're just making you life harder by trying to put it all into OmniFocus.

dconjar 2008-06-24 09:54 AM

iNik,

I've looked into all of those CRM apps you mentioned in the past, but they do a lot more than I would need them to do. I'll probably do what Michael does in Daylite and take advantage of the contact management and scheduling features, while managing all of my projects and tasks in OF. I won't be able to link the contacts to the projects, but it gets the job done, at least.

I'll use Daylite to manage leads, scheduling, and customer relationships, while managing each of my projects GTD-style in OF. That'll do until OmniContact comes out.

Will Michael and I get paid for that idea? I started the thread...

earl grey 2008-06-25 01:05 PM

I use Contactizer Pro for activity management and OmniFocus for task management. Very efficient combination for my daily work.

dconjar 2008-06-25 10:27 PM

Contactizer looks pretty cool, but it seems very similar to Daylite, minus a few features. I'm splurging on software right now. I just got Daylite, OF, and the whole MS Office Suite, so I need to make this system work right quickly; at least before I go broke.

Here's the system I'm working on:

1) I manage my insurance agency's leads and sales in the company's CRM and quoting software.

2) I manage my business leads and personal opportunities in Daylite.

3) I record contacts, organizations, completed tasks, projects, and appointments relating to my business and personal life in Daylite, and I do the same for agency information in its respective CRM app.

4) I manage projects and tasks in Omnifocus at home and Toodledo at work using the OFTD sync.

In other words, I plan out my projects and tasks in Omnifocus for EVERYTHING. When I complete a task relating to a contact, lead, or client, I make a note in the appropriate CRM. I keep info on all of my contacts, leads, appointments, correspondences, and completed tasks in the CRM to which the info applies.

When I get a new e-mail, I use the mail integration to automatically add it to my CRM and link it with a contact. Then, if it's actionable, I press two keystrokes and add the task to my inbox, or follow the 2 minute rule.

This is how I have my folders and projects set up right now:

Single Actions List
Purchase List (things I need to buy first chance I get)
Personal Folder
> Organizing Folder
> Social Folder
Business Folder
> Web Sites & Services Folder
> Sales & Marketing Folder
Work Folder
School Folder
1-2 Year Goals Folder
3-5 Year Goals Folder
Life Folder

I also have the following contexts:
@online, @mac, @phone @agency, @home, @school, @errands.

Now I've gotta get everything switched to Apple and make this system work. Steve Jobs is a pimp!

Dewdman42 2008-08-03 08:25 PM

I would like to understand why you Daylite and ContactizerPro users feel you need to use OmniFocus in addition to those CRM tools. They have concepts projects and tasks already, so why complicate things by entering all the tasks in two places?

dconjar 2008-08-03 08:41 PM

It just works...
 
There are two reasons why I use Daylite for managing my schedule, leads, contacts, communications, and relationships, while using OF for project and task management:

1) Daylite isn't a great task manager. The viewing options make it very difficult to sort through large amounts of tasks. Marketcircle posted a blog explaining how to GTD with Daylite, but it's not a great way to do it.

2) Daylite doesn't have an iPhone app, yet. It should be coming later this year, but I need to be able to access my projects and tasks from anywhere, right now.

There are very few CRM programs (if any) that handle tasks well. If you've got a yacht and a car, there's no point in going 5 miles to work in a yacht. Daylite is a big ship that can tread a lot of water, but it simply doesn't get the job done on dry land.

It's a stupid metaphor, but you get the picture. I wish I could do everything in one program, but it's not that simple. I manage my contacts in Daylite, their password info in 1Password, their billing info in Joomla using nBill, and their projects using Omnifocus. Most of it integrates pretty well, so it's not too much data entry.

Daylite is good for recording large projects and tasks, though. I plan and execute tasks and projects in Omnifocus, but the important ones that are related to sales and service always get recorded in Daylite. That way, I always know what's going on, what I have done, and what I have to do.

MichaelShapiro 2008-08-04 05:13 AM

[QUOTE=dconjar;43631]1) Daylite isn't a great task manager. [/QUOTE]

Agreed. I find it ergonomically unusable for tasks. DayLite is powerful in handling contacts, and the developers seem to have improved the calendar, but I wouldn't use it for anything else in its present form.

watchit 2008-08-14 05:00 PM

Sounds impressive, dconjar, but I'm wondering how you avoid double handling of tasks - do you have a way of entering data in Daylite and/or OF such that it is easily exported/imported between programs?

figman 2008-08-17 09:22 AM

Add me to this list too. I have so many project coming in and neither DL or CP are true CRM apps. Contactizer is a PIM and Daylite is a mix of PIM and CRM. I think many of us are looking for an ACT replacement on the Mac.

Omnifocus is so good at GTD and helping pull all of the things related to the tasks of sales together.

watchit 2009-03-27 04:39 PM

No response from dconjar :(

Does anyone else have a way of entering data into Daylite and/or Contactizer and exporting & importing it between either of those app to OmniFocus?

chinarut 2009-03-28 09:53 PM

I experimented with gmail a bit and fell back to using OF as CRM for a bit.

I needed to collaborate and share opportunities with my partner so I looked at DayLite and falling back on salesforce.com.

It looks like I'll be using OF to manage my personal projects and I am aware of someone who uses Dreamforce for full-blown project management a la GTD across several organizations.

This is my 2 cents.

dconjar 2009-04-04 05:32 PM

Daylite 3.9
 
Daylite 3.9 and its mobile companion, Daylite Touch, is absolutely beautiful. I haven't used OF for awhile, but am in love with Daylite now. Tasks are much better for GTD, and it's the one tool that does EVERYTHING, and does it well.

allisondan 2009-04-17 04:46 PM

OmniFocus and Daylite
 
Similar to other posters, I use both Daylite and OmniFocus. Daylite is weak on task management, while Omni is strong on task management. For simple projects, either would work fine.

You can get tasks back and forth from OmniFocus to Daylite, easily, but there are some gotchas. I have Categories defined in Daylite to include calendars, and sync these calendars to iCal automatically. In OmniFocus, I select "Synchronize with iCal" to move tasks to iCal and thereby to Daylite. And vice-a-versa. The gotcha is that when a task is modified in Daylite and synced back to OmniFocus, the context changes to the first one available in the calendar to context match of the iCal preference panel in OmniFocus, losing the previous context setting. I'm not sure if this is a bug or just something I haven't figured out yet. As a result, I try to remember to modify tasks only in OmniFocus.

Once the task is in Daylite, I can link it to other items including contacts.

Daylite's main organizer is Categories, though there are other organizers, while OmniFocus's main organizer is Contexts. These are not equivalent organizers or tags, and don't and shouldn't synce, in my opinion.

Not a perfect world, but one that works pretty well for me.

eurobubba 2009-10-29 08:13 PM

Where do "Projects" live?
 
Sounds like tasks/to-dos/actions sync reasonably well between OmniFocus and Daylite (after all, they're basically extended iCal objects) but the holy grail (setting aside the prospect of an OmniContact for the moment) that would really unlock the power of both apps working in tandem would be the ability to sync projects.

Casper TFG 2010-02-10 08:08 AM

Hmmmmm....

Just getting into the idea of CRM software

I sync Basecamp to OF via Spootnik (love it)

But that said..

1) My Address book is a hall of mirrors nightmare due to iPhone sync problems
2) I am now, pathetically, only using Omnifocus as a RED DUE priority tasks reminder (with a zillion neglected actions in OF)
3) I have fallen off the GTD wagon I think mainly because I haven't found a way to send something to OF and file that sucker away out of sight in MacMail.. ALL IN ONE MOVE. (I am sick of moving emails)

Anyhow I will put my dunce cap back on and go stand in my corner (again..)

Carry on...

The reason I chimed in?

I can see the point of people wanting an OF synced CRM tool

I suppose OF would need an alarm system to really get that rocking though..?

BING! - Dont forget to call Mr BigClient at 4pm (etc...)

whpalmer4 2010-02-10 09:43 AM

[QUOTE=Casper TFG;73061]
3) I have fallen off the GTD wagon I think mainly because I haven't found a way to send something to OF and file that sucker away out of sight in MacMail.. ALL IN ONE MOVE. (I am sick of moving emails)
[/quote]

why not stop moving them? You've got a link back to the message in OF. Redefine "inbox zero" to be no unread messages and you're all set.

Casper TFG 2010-02-10 01:55 PM

[QUOTE=whpalmer4;73068]why not stop moving them? You've got a link back to the message in OF. Redefine "inbox zero" to be no unread messages and you're all set.[/QUOTE]

That could be just the sort of advice I was looking for..

Empty inbox IS very satisfying though..

I was hoping not to be haunted by them sitting there stareing me in the face...

How-ever.. Moving forward out of the dunce corner and trying to rejoin the adults..

er.. I have just this moment discovered that I am able to mark my IMAP email unread on my iPhone.. (obvious really) AHA! NOW THATS v useful if I were to move over to this system.. (slowly getting it)

Hmmm.. (thinking)

Have any strides forward been made with iPhone email to OF inbox solutions?

Or could some sort of 'email forward to inbox' method be put to use here?

The guess the goal would be to either respond to emails or zapp them to OF both when on my laptop AND on my iPhone.

So an [B]"all in"[/B] mobile office solution..

Suggestions for the iPhone part of the puzzle please? !!!!

And many thanks for the 'in box full' suggestion ! Its counter intuitive for my addled brain but I can see it working!

(PS this could be a welcome goodbye to all my bloody "On My Mac folders" !! But - I dont trust the cloud - (or IMAP servers) I would want a back up regime for my email..)

whpalmer4 2010-02-10 02:37 PM

You could make a smart folder that only shows unread messages, and make that your usual view if truly having them out of sight is what you want. Or, have one folder for everything that has been processed, and just move all of the day's messages in there in one batch after reading. That's only going to be a few ciicks instead of dragging each message. As I recall, the links still work if you move the messages around, but I would test that hypothesis in your setup before relying on it....

Casper TFG 2010-02-10 02:56 PM

Smart folder view is a cool idea..

Great! Thanks

Will test too..

Now looking for iPhone tips to make this fly..

I am thinking the forward method will be best as keeping 'unread status' messages on the phone will cause me a lot of 'have I read this or not?" stress..

Best to action them or zap em off to OF asap.

Casper TFG 2010-02-10 03:12 PM

[QUOTE=whpalmer4;73092]You could make a smart folder that only shows unread messages, and make that your usual view if truly having them out of sight is what you want. [/QUOTE]

HA!

Inbox zero baby! Inbox zero!

That worked a treat!

Moved that smart folder up to the top as the default view..

If I want to dive into "the Matrix" I can of course at any time (ughhh!)

but NO MOVING EMAILS REQUIRED!

I have my key command ready to go to send to OF

This has really helped me..

10000000 thanks

sa_studio 2010-02-16 05:04 AM

I really need something that is more open ended; not merely for client & contact info, etc.

Ideally we need to be able to store collections of data: images, with notes, etc. for publication planning, or file assets for research, etc.

I'm looking at [URL="http://www.filemaker.com/products/bento/features.html"]Bento 3[/URL], but I'm hoping that there may be a forthcoming solution from Omni.
It seems that being able to record and organize actions, goals and thoughts goes hand in hand with organizing the data which will be utilized in the action. (Less stress, more organization.)

Any thoughts?

cez1 2010-02-16 04:34 PM

@ sa_studio

I totally agree. I need to integrate my "research" activities and having this functionality in OF would be great! I have OO pro, but I find that it is a little limited (although I do like some of the simplicity).

Omni, any plans for a program to integrate a database/note-taking platform? PLEASE?

Cez

eurobubba 2010-02-16 07:04 PM

[QUOTE=Casper TFG;73096]HA!

Inbox zero baby! Inbox zero!

That worked a treat!

Moved that smart folder up to the top as the default view..

If I want to dive into "the Matrix" I can of course at any time (ughhh!)

but NO MOVING EMAILS REQUIRED!

I have my key command ready to go to send to OF

This has really helped me..

10000000 thanks[/QUOTE]

If you do decide you actually want to keep your real inbox empty, you should be able to set up a one-key macro to copy or link a message into OF and also to archive the message within Mail by using Mail Act-On and a mail rule, and possibly a bit of AppleScript.

sa_studio 2010-02-19 02:58 AM

@ cez1 - at least we have 2 on board!

I have to say that I'm having a bit of a crisis with my patience. I can program, work with databases, etc. and I'm starting to seriously consider hand rolling a solution.
I love the Omni products but I can't be the only one who sees the differentiation of these programs as a bit of a convoluted mess.

Why can I not plan a project on a timeline next to where my todo list is, and why isn't the outline connected directly to the project that it has become?
Why isn't this integrated with managing the files that are required in the planning?
Oh, and tags should not take years to implement.

I hope that Omni can relieve itself of this dinosaur progression and really update the suite to meet contemporary needs. There are even web based cms systems that are surpassing Omni, and I'm talking about the advanced features as well.

HOLGERdotUS 2010-02-19 03:16 PM

Onemess
 
[quote]I love the Omni products but I can't be the only one who sees the differentiation of these programs as a bit of a convoluted mess. [/QUOTE]

"Omni" could give the impression that everything works nicely together...

brinchi 2010-11-05 11:36 AM

Serverside SalesForce integration with Omni-WebDAV?
 
Being a SalesForce and an Omni-OF-WebDAV user, I start to wonder whether they plan a server-side SalesForce-integration...

Would make life for all SalesForce-users on the Mac much much much easier....

Brian 2010-11-05 01:46 PM

I don't think we've gotten a large number of requests for SalesForce integration, but we do want to record those requests! Check [URL="http://forums.omnigroup.com/showthread.php?t=3734"]this thread[/URL] for info on how to make sure the request gets captured properly. Thanks!


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