Author: ELISE communications
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Late last summer, we decided to make a big change: leaving our beloved Old City, Philadelphia, office and moving ELISE to a business model based on telecommuting. Our clients are based across the U.S. and even abroad, so we found that convening daily, when we are mostly meeting with our clients via phone or attending meetings in the cities where they're located, was not the most efficient use of our resources. The change took some adjusting to, but ultimately it was made easier by some of the fantastic tools we adopted in the months leading up to, and immediately following, our move. We wanted to share a few of our favorites with you, below.
Harvest: Although we don't bill by the hour like lawyers do, we do monitor our time spent on projects to make sure we are best handling the given scope of work. Signing up for Harvest was the easiest decision we made when we started looking at post-move technology, and arguably the best. We looked at a few other services-Timeslips and Outright, for instance-but Harvest was the most affordable solution for us, as well as the one most geared toward the way we work. Our data is backed up on their remote servers, so we didn't have to install anything or worry about exchanging information between our home offices. They also have a small business package, perfect for our staff size, and an iPhone app that allows us to time meetings and track projects on-the-go when we might not be at a computer.
SalesForce: We compared SalesForce to FileMaker Pro, which we'd used and loved before. We ran into a huge snag with FMPro, though, when we discovered that we would have to pay for customer support for anything beyond basic questions-even during our trial period, when answers to our questions might have influenced our decision to purchase or not. We don't have a staff IT person, so even though FMPro was more affordable on the surface, we were concerned that we would end up having to spend additional funds for assistance that SalesForce included in its fee. We also loved that we could access SalesForce through our iPhones, and easily import all of our old Excel-based contact lists into the database with minimal effort.
MyMediaInfo (MMI): Selection of our media database proved to be the most difficult decision of all. We compared MMI to MediaHub, as well as to Cision, which we had been using. We'd had some problems with Cision's interface being less-than-user-friendly, so we were considering alternative options already. MediaHub came in a close second to MMI, but ultimately we loved how fully we could integrate MMI with our existing templates-like Excel-based databases (that we could then import easily into SalesForce) and PDF and Word-based reporter "briefing books" we could share with our clients before interviews. Now that we're using MMI almost daily, we've discovered how much we appreciate that Twitter profiles and recent clips are included in profile pages, the extensive editorial calendar database, and how quick and responsive customer service is when we're looking for missing or out-of-date information.