Intuit is reinventing itself for the Web, and its latest product is an online version of the ever-popular contact manager. Due in large part to the economic downturn, many companies have released similar offerings this year—Salesforce.com has the Contact Manager Edition, and SugarCRM has Sugar Express—and now Intuit is aiming to get SMBs online with their Customer Manager.
Like the Salesforce and Sugar products, Customer Manager is light CRM for small businesses—a tool to help them store information in a streamlined space instead of across multiple applications. Customer Manager is browser-based and customizable, and information entered into the database syncs with Intuit’s QuickBooks, which is where this contact manager supersedes the Sugar and Salesforce offerings. With the QuickBooks integration, users can see information about financial transactions (see image below), update calendar information, and also import and export information from Outlook and Exchange.
Customer Manager for Mobile is the extension for smartphones, designed for mobile viewing. It provides all the capabilities of the desktop version, but so far is supports only BlackBerry phones (thought Intuit notes they are actively working with other smartphone manufacturers to support other devices). Also, Customer Manager has collaborative functionalities, so information entered and edited from the mobile edition will be updated for employees using the desktop version, and vice versa. Currently, Customer Manager is offering a free month-long trial, and then costs $9.95 a month for up for five users.
Intuit’s new product may be simple, but it is impressive. Of course, it seems a logical step given the large number of SMBs using QuickBooks, and executives at Intuit have stated that this is one of many online extensions we’ll be seeing. The contact management space has certainly been expanding this year, with some definite CRM heavyweights vying for the market, and it will be interesting to see what other products are released in 2010.
Update: Salesforce.com announced at Dreamforce that it will be releasing a contact manager for SMBs as well.