ProTracker pulls cloud-based CRM back into beta

It probably won't be available for sale for another year

Jul 1, 2014 @ 12:01 am

By Joyce Hanson

Technology, cloud computing, CRM, Protracker Software
+ Zoom

Eight months after announcing the launch of a cloud-based customer relationship management product for advisers, ProTracker Software Inc. has stopped selling its ProTracker Cloud CRM while the company fixes some kinks in the product.

Financial adviser Steve Acerra who owns Acerra & Assocates in Boston, said he got an error message last week when he tried to sign up for a free trial of Protracker Cloud on the ProTracker Software website.

ProTracker Cloud has moved back into beta testing, according to Protracker Software president Warren Mackensen, who said he withdrew the cloud-based product from sale in March because he was not satisfied with its look and feel, and because of customer feedback. The product was first offered for sale in November 2013.

“It needed more development,” Mr. Mackensen said. “We had a short beta, some people adopted it and made some comments, and we pulled it back into beta.”

The cloud-based CRM isn't likely to come out of beta for another year, he added, noting that his company of just six employees wants to create a high-quality, web-based user experience.

“You don't want to put out a version that is stripped down so that it is basically a Rolodex,” Mr. Mackensen said. “The feature set needs to be fairly complete, and the ease of navigation needs to be well tested.”

The company is recommending that advisers who want a mobile CRM use ProTracker Office, a version that is hosted remotely on a secure server that offers the same features as the 14-year-old desktop version, which has approximately 800 users.

ProTracker is continuing to use the open-source SugarCRM as its launch pad, Mr. Mackensen said.

Mr. Acerra said he was drawn to the product's low prices, which are listed online at $59 per user per month for a standard edition and $99 for a professional version.

“Warren Mackensen is a ray of hope in this jungle of corporate interests that increasingly dominate and eat up all of the little technology companies. I would love to buy his product,” Mr. Acerra said.

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