Running business off ChromeOS – sales are a go

Posted on May 16, 2013

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The first week of the ChromeOS experiment is underway and my sales guy is hitting the phones and the web apps…

The core packages that we’re using are Web based anyway and so are working fine.
Here’s how they breakdown:

CRM and pipeline management:
Pipedrive
A great application. Like any CRM system both perfect, but once you realise this Pipedrive is great.
A simple tab and Pipeline stage system makes tracking who is doing what where very easy for me.

Emails, contacts and calendaring:
Google
Again we were already in the cloud with an based email having ditched outlook a couple of years ago, so this is easy.

Team management:
Trello
Is everyone using this now? Their simple but flexible Web app plus native mobile / tablet apps makes this a great tool.
Again being in ChromeOS makes no difference.

Documents / Office suite:
Google docs
Simple, lightweight, free.
Google docs is working well to share internal documents be they sales notes, spreadsheets or presentations. Once again being already cloud software there is no problem here.

and we may use Office 365
Only £3 pcm pretty month for Web only access. It looks like office but stripped down.

Now we get to two areas with some issues…

Comms: instant chat, Web calls, and screen sharing:
We use hipchat which has a web client. So this works fine.
But making a Skype call, which is pretty standard, isn’t going to happen on ChromeOS. Obviously there are other options, Google hangouts being the most obvious, but this does require a change in behaviour.
Fortunately from a sales perspective making Skype calls isn’t core, and those that do heavily use Skype will understand hangouts, so this is a minor barrier for us.
Screen sharing in the sales context is more important, as we need to do sales over the phone and tech products benefit from being demoed. This is a solution we’re still looking into.

Screen grabs, photo editing:
This is proving a little clunkier than the various windows options and screen grab software available. But Google’s built in tools get us most of the way there.

And finally, the blocker

Proposal writing:

Amazingly this is incredibly hard to do. Google Docs simply doesn’t work. Just try a quick search on Google docs pdf page breaks…

It seems impossible to accurately reproduce a Google Docs page when creating a pdf – in any browser, even Google’s Chrome. This just doesn’t seem acceptable, and instantly makes it unusable for professional proposals.

Office 365 is little better, as it won’t even display a page break view in edit mode.

There are a few options left to try, like Zoho, but so far this has proven a blocker to a complete move to the cloud.

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