Why Crust is Ideal for Not-for-Profit Organisations

For many, either being part of something bigger than ourselves or standing up for closely held principles are important. In June 2019, Crust Technology contributed all of its software intellectual property to the Commons Conservancy, an independent open-source foundation. In doing so, we created Corteza, “The Digital Work Platform for Humanity”.

Corteza

The objective of Corteza is clear – to deliver a 100% free, open-source, self-hosted cloud platform for growing your organisation’s productivity. It enables relationships and protects the work and the privacy of all those concerned.

This effort began by producing a fully-featured alternative to Salesforce – the cloud leader in CRM – and an alternative to Slack Enterprise Messaging. All of this is presented via a unified interface on the frontend, joined up with automation on the backend. Very recently, we also released Service Solution, a self-hosted enterprise-grade alternative to Salesforce and Oracle Service Clouds.

Everything is delivered with modern, hyper-efficient code. Organisations can benefit from the impressive low-code development facilities to build their own custom apps, reducing costs and lowering time to delivery.

The publicly stated values of the Corteza project are as follows:

Public Good:

Corteza’s software and other offerings are designed and provided as a public good for the public benefit.

Open and Transparent:

Corteza’s governance and operations are open and transparent. It uses the best practices from across the not-for-profit, private and public sectors.

Diverse and Inclusive:

Corteza’s members, policies and programmes are designed to actively foster diverse, inclusive and non-discriminatory participation.

Built for Humanity:

Corteza’s software and other offerings have a real impact on people’s lives. As such, they are designed, built and provided with a strong emphasis on quality, privacy, security and usability.

Crust for the Not-for-profit sector

All Crust software is built 100% on the Corteza code-base. Professional versions of Crust software are made freely available to the not-for-profit sector, including all professional software maintenance.

On top of this, Crust is beginning to push development of Corteza’s outreach Programmes, which range from Humanitarian through Ecological to Privacy Programmes.

Delivering a standards-based public good, then constantly striving to push those standards higher is a lot of work. Being part of something bigger than us is key to the Crust team’s identity and to our brand. Since the launch of Corteza, we discovered that the more we give and the better we give, the stronger our business gets.

The Not-for-Profit sector deserves an approach to building software that is inclusive of its requirements and which ensures organisations in the sector do not fall out-of-step with developments in the private and public sectors. Crust and Corteza successfully deliver this approach, feature-rich and with ever-reducing economic barriers to entry and participation. Our low-code philosophy is central to this ethos and we go out of our way to ensure that, where coding is required, it’s limited to well-supported and inexpensive JavaScript skills.

The cherry on the cake? Crust Essential Support subscriptions are completely free-of-charge for Not-for-Profit organisations and their customer bases – subject to the condition that the organisation is fulfilling its purpose by using our software. Digitally transforming and managing your relationships with your donors, advocates and volunteers have never been easier.

Try out Crust

Are you working in a Not-for-Profit organisation? Get your free online Crust demo here.

 

 

 

Is Salesforce Copying the Crust and Corteza Product Strategy?

Is Salesforce Copying the Crust’s Product Strategy?

Last week brought us the news that two of the most significant players in the CRM market, Salesforce and Microsoft had struck a deal. Salesforce Marketing Cloud will soon be hosted by Microsoft Azure. At the same time Microsoft Teams, a Slack Messaging alternative, will be integrated with Salesforce Sales CRM and Service Cloud.

When we were first designing Crust’s product strategy, our research showed that Salesforce Chatter, the internal messaging system on the cloud-only platform, was the most disappointing element of its portfolio. In its place, we decided to implement a core Messaging system inspired by Slack’s architecture and feature set. This feature set is already included in our Sales CRM and Service Solution.

Why was Slack-like Messaging of such interest? At Crust, we believe that openness, consistency and standardisation of data architecture are critical to the healthy long-term functioning of a business. Cobbled-together data architectures are expensive to maintain, and it’s always the customer that pays. Crust and our community project, Corteza, avoid such complexity by default. Our Messaging can suck in data from thousands of different sources if we wish and standardise that data for use across our various applications. Try to do that with email…

At Crust, we believe that openness, consistency and standardisation of data architecture are critical to the healthy long-term functioning of a business.

It remains to be seen what Salesforce’s decision to hold hands with Microsoft means in terms of businesses’ data sovereignty. Recently, Google’s been accused of health data stockpiling, and one of the concerns is that data from one service will be used to promote others. Is it possible someday that Microsoft buys Salesforce outrightly, giving it unfettered access to all activity on the powerful trio of Salesforce, LinkedIn and Skype? That’s a lot of sensitive trading data and intellectual property, and it highlights the big question of a data grab where Microsoft may find itself wandering into antitrust territory once again.

However, let’s face it; this is all about money. The real costs of Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics365 already border on extortionate. How much more customers can be “locked-in” by dependence on the vendors’ closed business logic implementations and hoisted with new charges remains to be seen. If history is any measure, then they usually find a way.

Crust will always aim to include market-leading features, will always provide familiar UI’s and UX and will always be 100% free and open. Our strategy to offer a robust, self-hosted alternative to Salesforce looks more aligned than ever.

So is Salesforce copying Crust’s strategies? Maybe just a little wink in our direction with their Microsoft Teams integration, but for the rest, we’re a whole lot safer and less expensive a bet 😉

Online demo

Want to check it out for yourself? Get your free online demo here.

Crust Technology at Web Summit 2019

Web Summit 2019 is one of the biggest technology conferences worldwide, with over 70.000 attendees and 1200 speakers from companies such as Amazon, Microsoft and Google. This year, we are excited to inform you that Crust Technology will be present at Web Summit.

Crust Technology is the driving force behind Corteza, the leading private cloud and open-source Salesforce Alternative. Crust’s CRM Suite is the most advanced open-source CRM platform in the world, bringing the user ecosystem, workflows and essential applications together on one unified platform. It seamlessly integrates with Customer Identity and Access Management.

The rapidly growing interest in Crust from companies all over the world makes it a logical step to have presence at Web Summit. We share common goals, such as empowering women in tech and sustainability, and both disrupt.

Web Summit 2019 takes place from November 4 – 7, 2019, and will be held in the Altice Arena and FIL, Lisbon, Portugal. To meet us at the event, and learn more about Crust, please fill in the form below.











How CRM Software Can Change Your Online Business

When you hear the word CRM, what comes to your mind? Do you see a software that helps you keep customer data or do you see an application that provides actionable insights? If you think of it only as a customer information repository, then you may not be taking much advantage of the capabilities of a CRM system. If you think of it as a way to grow your business, then you are on the right track.

But a CRM application is not just for your sales team only. It can also work for your marketing and customer service units. When you align your customer relationship management (CRM) strategy with other departments’ workflows, you can uncover more information about your customers, thus giving you a holistic view of them. Then you can have a better understanding of them, which can help you gain their trust and continuing business.

That is not all. A CRM solution has other benefits for your business such as the ones we discuss below .

1. It can help you understand your customers

The main purpose of CRM is right there in the name: to build stronger relationships with customers. This is preferable to finding new leads and prospects because they cost 5 times more than to maintain your business relationships with your current clients, according to an infographic by Invesp.

Finding new customers is more costly than keeping existing ones.

When used correctly, a CRM can boost your business with existing customers because it helps you see who is making purchases, who is engaged with your marketing activities, and who you need to watch to make sure they stay with your company.

The insights you gain from a CRM software can also help you personalize your interactions with your buyers one-on-one. It can be something as basic as using their names on emails or it can be something as complex as curating content that is tailored to their needs and interests.

2. It empowers you to appreciate your clients

When you store all of your customer data on your CRM system, you can see with a glance who among your patrons provide you with the most revenue. You can use this information for creating targeted marketing campaigns that can entice this percentage of customers to spend more.

You can do that by reaching out to them individually via a personalized email. This is when you can tell them how much you appreciate their business and give them offers and discounts exclusive only for them. You can also generate special coupons or codes for their use and enter those in your CRM platform to make sure that they are honored upon checkout.

3. It can aid you in making good use of your data

Big data is big. It is not just in size but in impact as well. Since your CRM process requires that you collect information from customers at every turn, it becomes a data mine that you can exploit. You can get insights from this dataset through reports and dashboards. The latter offers you a comprehensive summary while the former can provide you with in-depth information.

Additionally, you can utilize your CRM data to determine the performance of your sales team. Once you have the numbers, you can determine who the top performers are, who are lagging behind, and the areas where you need to work on.

That is not all there is to data, though. Modern CRM solutions are now capable of connecting with third-party software. You can take advantage of this by integrating it with a BI/analytics solution so that you can uncover more insights that can help drive business growth.

4. It automates tasks and boosts efficiency

If you started doing business without advanced software, it can be challenging to make teams use CRM. However, once you show them what such a system can do and ease them into adopting it, then they may embrace it fully in no time.

But what exactly can a CRM software do to make your workforce accept it?

For one, it can automate redundant tasks like data entry. Nobody likes inputting the same information over again into a system. With a CRM armed with automation capabilities, your employees can save time and energy because it enters the necessary information into relevant fields.

Moreover, this application relieves your employees of the task of having to follow-up with customers, leads, and prospects. That is because your CRM solution can trigger follow-up emails when it meets certain conditions (that you can set when you configure it the first time).

5. It lets you take your business wherever there is internet

The beauty of cloud-based applications is the way they offer mobility. This can only mean that you can work on the go, from home, or even in a cafe or another setting. Because of this, you can answer the queries of your staff and step in to resolve issues anytime.

What’s more, your being able to access your CRM technology from anywhere helps you stay in control and make sure that business is running smoothly even when you are not present in the office.

Putting customers first

A customer-first approach can help you put your business operations perspective. That is something a CRM can assist you with because of its rich data regarding your leads and purchasers. With the insights you uncover, you can enhance your engagement and marketing strategies to make them more attractive to your entire audience or to specific segments. Therefore, you can inspire loyalty and retain your best customers.

User stories as a key project management tool

One of the first challenges in software development is gathering clear requirements and keeping them unchanged during the implementation. Requirements documents can be lengthy and too technical.

At Crust, we implemented user stories as part of our project management and business analysis process and we acknowledged that this is a powerful way of defining the required functionalities from a user’s point of view. They reflect what a particular user needs and what value is gained from using ‘plain English’ without technicalities and implementation details.

 

A typical user story template looks like this:

As a [role], I want to [requirement] so that [benefit].

The role describes who is going to benefit from the feature. We want it to be more specific than “the user” so consequently, the first step in the process is to successfully identify all types of users involved as end consumers. In our case, these are usually, but not limited to, “CRM admins” with administrator privileges and “CRM users” with restricted access.

The requirement part briefly describes what the user wants to accomplish. The story shouldn’t be specified in too much detail and it has to reveal the perspective of the user who will benefit from the function, not the developer who will be coding it. We also try to avoid using technical terminology (e.g. we might write “I want to remember my login details” instead of “I want to store my login credentials into a cookie”.)

The benefit states why the user wants this feature and what value it brings. This part helps product owners to better prioritize the requirement and gives the development team more freedom to find innovative ways of implementation to solve the objective. If the benefit can’t be articulated, it might be a good sign the feature is not necessary.

I recommend checking out INVEST technique to validate if you’re writing efficient user stories:

  • Independent – can the story stand alone by itself?
  • Negotiable – can this story be changed or removed without impact to everything else?
  • Valuable – does this story brings value to the end-user?
  • Estimable – can you estimate the size of the story?
  • Small – is it small enough?
  • Testable – can this story be tested and verified?

From our experience, this approach empowers product discussions along with the product development team and external stakeholders. Writing user stories often saves us time as it helps us to define high-level CRM requirements without necessarily going into too many details too early. It gives us cross-team clarity on what matters most to the user – what do we need to build, for whom exactly, why and what’s the priority.

User stories are easy to define and understand so they became a standard way to summarize the functionality by both technical and non-technical team members. Instead of confusing specifications with complex terminology, we provide our clients with a requirements list that they can understand and with which they can identify. If you want to encourage the participation of non-technical team members, why not give user stories a try?

Cross-Application and Federated Automation with Corteza Corredor

5 August 2019
Cork, Ireland

Crust Technology has announced the impending release of Corteza Corredor, its new backend technology for cross-application and federated workflow automation.

The original philosophical intent behind Crust was for the platform to be a seamless three way marriage between identity, communication and business logicsays Niall McCarthy, CEO of Crust Technology.While Crust’s flexible and scalable micro-service architecture helps make it the ideal private cloud technological alternative to Salesforce’s centralised public cloud, Corredor delivers on our philosophical intent”.

What is Corteza Corredor?

Corteza Corredor is a trigger-based automation plugin designed specifically for the Crust’s platform. Corredor adds more safety, resilience, consistency and flexibility to the existing front-end javascript automation engine that ships with Crust’s CRM Suite and Corteza Low Code by default. Extending your key CRM and Service Solution workflows across your entire Crust deployment and beyond is about to become a reality.

Automations Across Crust’s CRM Suite and Corteza Low Code Applications

Corteza Corredor will enable customers to build automations and CRM workflows across any Corteza low code-based component or namespace, reducing duplication of effort and maximising synergies between your Crust’s applications.

Federated Automation Across Instances of the Crust Platform

Via Crust API’s it will be possible to generate automation actions across different instances of the Crust’s platform, opening up a world of opportunity for efficient third party collaboration. With Corteza Corredor, your organisation can share native Crust data anonymously and securely, decouple critical records-based systems gradually and smoothly, or simply deploy multiple free-standing systems with tight data inter-relationships.

Version Control with Git Integration (Coming Soon!)

To help protect your organisation and deliver clear version control over your automations, HTTP support for Git-based repositories will be included with Corredor. The truly flexible enterprise needs to be able to examine, re-use, evolve and even roll back its business logic easily and safely. Combined with Corteza Low Code’s unlimited namespace feature, Corredor delivers the complete business logic automation solution.

In line with Crust Technology’s open source policy, all software code for Corteza Corredor will be contributed to the Corteza project at https://www.cortezaproject.org where it will be freely available to users on a permanent basis.

Corteza Corredor will be released in early September 2019. For Proof-of-Concept trials please contacts Crust at sales@crust.tech.

9 Reasons why Crust’s CRM Suite is the True Salesforce Alternative

Many CRM applications claim to be an alternative to Salesforce, the cloud-only market leader, but very few can actually justify this claim. Crust’s CRM Suite has been designed to be superior in many ways to Salesforce whilst delivering a competitive feature set. If you’re looking for a Salesforce alternative, here’s why Crust’s CRM Suite should be the top of your list. Read more

Crust Technology Announces “Crust Service Solution”

16 July 2019
Cork, Ireland

Crust Technology, the driving force behind the most advanced open source CRM in the world and the No. 1 private cloud alternative to Salesforce, has announced the upcoming release of Crust Service Solution.

Crust’s Service Solution will deliver the following feature set:

  • Agent console with 360 degree view of any customer
  • Advanced Case Management with integrated omni-channel communications
  • Attachments Management
  • Products Module
  • Service Level Agreement (SLA) Tracking and Monitoring
  • Knowledge Base
  • Integrated Response Templates
  • Dashboards
  • Escalation Automation
  • Scripts Module
  • Self-service Portal
  • Integration with the Corteza Application Ecosystem
  • Skills module for intelligently and automatically assigning tasks to the most appropriate staff member
  • Complete integration with Crust’s CRM
  • Mobile ready

Read more

Customer Identity and Access Management with Crust’s CRM Suite

With Crust’s CRM Suite customer engagement is secure and seamless. It is built on Corteza – a low-code open-source digital work platform. Of course, having an Identity and Access Management specialist investing in your business helps. Corteza is part owned by DAASI International, Europe’s leading open source IAM consultancy. Balancing customer security with convenience is an important design goal in Corteza which has been expertly implemented by DAASI International and the Crust Technology team.

Here are some of the key features for enterprises: Read more

The Best Customer Service Experience is Built on Corteza

Building a great customer service platform is no easy task. Mapping customer experience and user journeys is complex and ever-changing. Ensuring your technology keeps up requires a platform sufficiently flexible and extensible – but it can’t be a headache to maintain either. Unifying identity, customer records, communications and interactions, marketing requirements, processing queries and complaints and delivering varied customer engagement applications securely requires the right tools at your disposal.

As the world’s most advanced open source CRM and the No. 1 secure private cloud alternative to Salesforce, Crust’s CRM Suite delivers a unified approach to co-ordinating and simplifying the customer user experience for both your organisation and its customers.

Read more