As any small business owner knows, competing with the big guys is an ongoing challenge. Many small businesses may not even have permanent IT staff, yet they still want to be able to interact with and track their customers. Generally speaking, CRM solutions are simply not designed for small businesses, due to both their complexity and cost. Luckily, one startup AttachedApps has a CRM solution totally designed from the ground up for small businesses. Joining today to discuss AttachedApps is their President Dave Waldrop. IT Specialist Thank you for sharing some insights Dave. To start with, can you provide some brief background on AttachedApps, such as what year were started and the background of your founders? Dave The company was founded by three serial entrepreneurs about 2 years ago. One of our founders, Bill Bice, developed what became the #1 legal practice management software, ProLaw, which was ultimately bought by Thomson Reuters. Another founder, David Franklin, started a company focused on analytic software for banks, Strategic Analytics, and wound up selling it, as well. My background includes over 18 years at Microsoft, where I held a number of roles. Those included being part of teams that built the Microsoft partner program, piloted the concept that became Office 365, built the first version of Microsoft CRM, and tested the first cloud-based offering for small businesses, called bCentral. IT Specialist At a high level, can you provide AttachedApps perspective on the customer relationship and management market? Do they generally take the needs of smaller businesses into account? Dave Not really. Most CRM applications are targeted at companies that have much more sophisticated sales and marketing needs than the average small and midsized (SMB) company. That even includes products that are targeted to SMBs. Most of them require a fairly steep learning curve, don’t integrate well with products that SMBs are already using, are relatively expensive, and don’t take into account the role that partners play in selling to SMBs. IT Specialist What is the core value proposition of AttachedApps for small businesses, and how does it differ from solutions provided by the large vendors? Dave Our products are designed specifically for smaller businesses that don’t want or need a full CRM product; i.e. they just need to manage contacts and perhaps perform simple sales and customer service functions. We are also the only solution that is designed from the ground up to seamlessly and tightly integrate with Office 365 and Outlook, the most popular productivity and mail apps for SMBs. Also, our apps are truly apps, meaning that they are cloud-hosted, bought on a subscription basis, and run on any device, anywhere, including Macs, and mobile. IT Specialist Turning to your products, I gather you have three core offerings – attachedContacts, attachedCustomers and attachedSales. Could you highlight the key features of each of these? Dave attachedContacts enables customers to do something very unique: share contacts in your Outlook address book with others in your company, and keep those contacts in sync when changes are made. This enables companies to have a central repository of contacts, but retains the ease of use and familiarity of using Outlook. We also include functionality that enables users to view all emails that are exchanged with selected contacts, and to interact with the app directly from within Outlook. From there, customers can choose to upgrade to attachedContacts+ which adds some very lightweight CRM functionality like follow-up. If they choose, customers can then add attachedSales to do simple sales pipeline management and/or attachedCustomers to perform simple customer service functions. attachedSales and attachedCustomers are sold separately and independently, meaning that customers that don’t need sales pipeline management don’t have to buy that apps. Again, this is different from most CRM vendors that require customers to buy functions that they don’t need or want. IT Specialist As I gather, AttachedApps is very closely tied to Microsoft. Do you still see Microsoft as dominant in the small business arena (as opposed to Google apps for example)? Dave Absolutely, and their lead is growing. According to a recent report from Okta , Office 365 is now the #1 deployed app in enterprise, surpassing Salesforce.com, Box and Google Apps for Work. Adoption of Office 365 is off the charts, and seems to be accelerating. IT Specialist I notice you highlight that one of your core objectives to help your customers is in “removing the technical obstacles to greatness”. Can you explain a bit more what you mean by this? Dave Our apps are designed to be very simple to deploy and use, requiring almost no IT knowledge. That’s not the case with most CRM products. IT Specialist As a follow-up question, how easy is an attachedApps solution to deploy and manage? If a small business does not have an IT pro on staff, could they still handle it themselves? Dave Yes, our apps are designed to be very simple and easy to provision and use. In fact, a typical deployment takes about 5-10 minutes. IT Specialist Finally, for those who may be interested to start a dialogue with you or test your products, what’s the best way to start working with you? Dave Working with us is as easy as working with our apps. Customers that want to get started using our free app, attachedContacts, can go to www.attachedapps.com and sign up. We also have a lot of product information and demonstration videos on our site, and have customer service reps on hand to answer any questions or even conduct a live demo. IT Specialist Thank you for the information Dave and best of luck going forward.