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UpShot fires up new dashboard

The hosted CRM provider is giving users "at a glance" access to data and also planning new e-mail integration.

UpShot Corp. announced today the addition of a new dashboard feature and said it plans to integrate its software with Lotus Notes.

The hosted CRM company's new dashboard allows for "at a glance" access to information, ranging from sales forecasts by territory to pipeline activity. It was built using Microsoft Excel.

Initially a customized addition for UpShot's Fortune 500 customers, the dashboard is now available to all of the Mountain View, Calif.-based company's clients.

"We said, 'What the heck, why don't we make [the] dashboard compatible for everyone," said Keith Raffel, chairman and founder of UpShot. "We're trying to do things that large companies are asking for. If we can give them what they want, everybody benefits."

In one extreme example, Raffel suggested that a manager could load an employee's lunch breaks and determine at a glance how often he takes lunches that last more than an hour. Users can also drill down to get more detailed information.

David Brooksbank, manager of market development at Colfax PT Group, in South Beloit, Ill., said his company has been using UpShot's dashboard for about a month, and it has simplified report reading.

"One of the things that is overwhelming with CRM is overseeing reports," Brooksbank said. "It's all right there [on the dashboard] without going tab to tab."

The UpShot dashboard is available both online and offline. It is a standard part of the UpShot service with no additional charge.

Laurie McCabe, an analyst with Boston-based Summit Strategies Inc., said the new feature is "a great differentiator for UpShot."

"That said, I don't think any customer is going to make a decision based on any one addition," she said. "A dashboard is something we're used to seeing in other applications. It gives you centralized information. You see what you need and when."

McCabe called the dashboard comprehensive, flexible and user-friendly.

Some hosted CRM competitors, including San Mateo, Calif.-based NetLedger Inc., already feature dashboard functionality.

In October, integration with Lotus Notes will be available from UpShot. Twenty-nine percent of UpShot customers are currently using Lotus Notes, with a higher percentage in larger companies, Raffel said.

"We really focused on making a product that's adaptable," Raffel said. Last October, UpShot integrated with the Microsoft Outlook e-mail client.

UpShot is currently fending off a lawsuit filed by competitor The suit alleges that ads touting UpShot as the leader in the hosted CRM space are false and misleading.


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