We try not to talk about our business too much on this blog, but we've been getting lots of questions about what we're doing to make Less Annoying Software (our simple CRM product) even better in 2011. This blog post will go over some of the improvements we have planned. Please note that the dates aren't set in stone, and we won't know for sure what will happen with each of these improvements until we get around to actually working on them. This is just a roadmap.
LAS 2.0 (Expected in February)
We've been around for about a year now, and so it's time to release the second version of our product. This is the largest project we've ever worked on (including the entire original product which launched last year) and it's going to make Less Annoying Software even more Less Annoying. Here are some of the major changes you can expect:
- Easier system for managing leads - Right now LAS is capable of tracking leads, customer service requests, and anything else you can think of. The problem is that it's not very obvious how things work. LAS 2.0 will offer the same functionality, but it will be about a thousand times easier and more intuitive.
- Dashboard - We've created an account dashboard which will show you everything that's going on in your account including recent activity, upcoming reminders, and reporting about your leads and other opportunities.
- Custom Fields - This is one of our most requested features. You'll be able to set up custom fields so that you can store any kind of info you want about your contacts.
- Recent Activity Feed - We're updating the recent activity page to show you a feed of all of your activity so you can easily see absolutely everything you've been working on.
- Speed improvements - We completely re-wrote the backend of the software so that the entire app uses AJAX to load new information. This means that you never actually reload the page you're on, so everything will be blazingly fast. We've been using LAS 2.0 internally for a while now, and it seems about twice as fast as the previous version.
- Many other things - We have redesigned literally every single aspect of the app to make things easier, more powerful, and less annoying. There are too many things to list here, but trust me when I say that absolutely every screen will be at least a little bit better.
Integration with other services
We know that LAS isn't the only software out there, and we want to make it easier to use our product along with the software you're already using. That's why we plan to build integration with several other popular services in 2011. This includes:
Google Contacts (Expected in April)
You'll be able to set up your LAS contacts to automatically sync with your Gmail contacts. This will be be useful for a number of reasons, including that most phones have Gmail integration so you can effectively sync all your LAS contact information to your phone's address book. We're also looking into Google Calendar integration while we're at it.
Mailchimp, Constant Contact, etc. (Expected in June)
Many of our users want to be able to send out emails and newsletter to their contacts, so we're going to integrate LAS with an email marketing tool. We haven't decided which tool we'll start with, but you'll be able to automatically send emails to some or all of your LAS contacts with this integration.
Skype, Google Voice, etc (Expected in August)
We want to make your life as easy as possible which means you should be able to call your contacts directly from LAS, and we should automatically log information about the calls in your contacts' histories. We have a lot of research to do before making any promises, but our goal is to offer at least one fully integrated calling option in 2011 (with more to come later).
Better Reminders (Expected in April)
Right now we offer a very simple way to set reminders for yourself in LAS, but the functionality is very limited. This project will expand the functionality of our reminders tool to offer the following:
- Check off reminders - When you've dealt with a reminder, you'll be able to check a box next to it to indicate that you've completed it (like a task list). If you don't check off all your reminders in a day, we'll send you an email the next morning to help you keep track of what you missed.
- Include times with reminders - Right now reminders are only linked to dates. We're going to add the option of entering a time as well so that we can send you reminders throughout the day rather than all at once in the morning.
- SMS reminders - If you're using a major cell network, you'll be able to receive text message reminders during the day to make sure you don't miss anything, even if you're not at a computer.
- Sharing options - Right now reminders are all private. We'll give you a way to share reminders with other members of your company so that everyone can be on the same page.
- Better display and printing options - You'll be able to view and print a calendar view of all your upcoming reminders.
Attaching Files (Expected in August)
One of the big holes in our software right now is that you can't attach files to your contacts. Well that hole will soon be filled. Later this year we'll give you the ability to upload files to your contacts' histories. These files can be anything you want, including contracts, proposals, images, and more. With this new functionality, you'll be able to store absolutely everything you need about your customers in LAS.
Better Reports (Expected in October)
We currently offer some simple reporting to help you manage your business, but there's a lot more we can do with the information we have. Without you needing to enter any extra data into the system, we'll give you interesting analytics about your customer activity, the productivity of the different members of your team, and much more. We've got a lot of planning to do on this one still, so if there's a report you want to see, let us know and we'll add it to the list of ideas.
API (Expected in December)
For those of you that don't know, API stands for "Application Programmer Interface." An API is basically a tool that allows third parties to write code that interacts with our software. For example, if you have a form on your website to collect leads, you could use our API to automatically enter contact forms from your website directly into your LAS account. There will be many creative uses for our API, and I'm excited to see what the LAS community can come up with.
...And Much More
These are the big projects we're planning, but we work every day to make our software just a little less annoying. You'll notice minor improvements all across our software throughout the year. And as always, if you have any ideas for us, please don't hesitate to let us know. You can email me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org (or just leave a comment at the bottom of the page) and I'll be happy to discuss any ideas you have.
Sorry for the self indulgent post, and thanks for reading. We're looking forward to a great 2011, and hopefully this post has helped share some of our excitement with you.
NOTE: This is a very old blog post listing our plans for 2011. If you want to see a current list of our upcoming development projects, you can find that here.