If you are reading this, I am guessing you are probably having some basic understanding of how and why a CRM software is used. I am not going to lecture you on why would anyone need a CRM and what is the future of CRM.

Idea of this project came to me while studying different cloud based CRM softwares in market. This is one pass-time project I worked on, quite sometime back. The idea was to take the traditional CRM concept and blend it with the social concept and to come up with a hybrid solution.

When I say social, it was not about reading data/feed from Facebook or Twitter, rather it was about making a more connected platform for both the customer and the vendor. So it is more of a private network of vendors-customers, where both the parties can connect, collaborate and still can use traditional features of a CRM.

Advantage of this approach? Implicit automation and an in-built network.

Let me clarify….

Imagine a customer publishes a RFQ (request for quote/tender) in this site (yes, tendering is possible in this hybrid CRM). All the vendors listed in this site automatically receives lead alerts in their dashboards. Are you starting to see the “implicit automation” point? In a traditional CRM, each of the vendors would need to hunt-down the leads and manually input the lead data into their system.

This is just the first step. After publishing RFQ, customer can start receiving quotes from the vendors. The customer can select (not finalizing the deal) a few vendors after considering their quotes. Once this happens, i.e. the customer shortlists a few vendors, algorithm in-built inside this CRM automatically populates potentials (opportunity) in the respective vendor’s dashboards.

This implicit automation goes on and does not finish once the deal is closed. It extends in defect tracking module, reporting etc.

You might have guessed already that to have these implicit automation to work both the parties (vendors and customers) have to be registered in the site. Yes, you’re right. This is what I call the “Online” mode of this site. In this mode, both the parties are available in the site and the in-built algorithm takes care of the automation – this is also something differentiates it from many traditional CRMs.

However, this CRM can also be used in a traditional way, where in the “offline” mode, all entries are inserted manually (lead, opportunity, defects etc.). Many CRM softwares have made fortunes just by allowing this mode only.

Enough of selling.. where is the Project?

The entire source code of this project is available in this public git repo – https://github.com/shibathethinker/ChimeraCRM.

Technology Stack –

The technology stack comprised of Some CSS, Jquery, ASP.NET Webform and SQL server at the backend.

If you follow the git link you will have a brief description on how to use the source code (including the DB model on your desktop/laptop). I also have uploaded a test database which would help you start testing the project and should give you a fair bit idea about the concept as a whole.

A brief walk-through of the project –

  •  This is a multi-tenant architecture. The following screenshot shows the home screen for user xyz12 from a particular organization (the organization’s logo is displayed on top left – next to the welcome message).

crm_homeAs you can see here, most of the items here look like a traditional cloud-based CRM. Well, the beauty lies in the details. Read on…..

  • There are multiple items on the home screen, mostly summary of work items assigned to the user by other users. The following screenshot shows the leads which are assigned to this user – crm_home_active_leads
    • Can you see the Notes and Logs buttons? Throughout this CRM, a user can keep notes on any item (Leads, Opportunity, RFQ, Invoice etc.) and can also see the audit Logs (which user have made changes to this particular item and when).

 

  • The USP – the in-built social mode – Earlier, I talked about the amalgamation of traditional CRM concept with a social mode – a hybrid model. Let me take you through that here.

 

  1. Step 1: The customer creates/floats an RFQ in this site. While publishing an RFQ to the site, the user can broadcast the RFQ to different vendor’s available in the site(So this way the user can control who can and can not view the RFQ)crm_home_rfq
    • If you take a closer look  at the above screenshot, you can see for the selected  RFQ, there is –
      • Approval Status Column: As per rules defined for a particular organization, the RFQ would go through approval process before being published to the site- to target vendors.
      • All Quotes: Once the RFQ is published, all interested vendors can start “quote” ing to the customer (this RFQ will show up as lead in the vendor’s screen). All different quotes can be viewed by the customer in this same screen.
  2. Step 2: Once the RFQ has been created by the user and approved by the user’s approver, potential vendors can view this RFQ in their lead dashboard. Cool…. right? The vendor does not have to manually add lead entries in their CRM, instead this site’s in-built algorithm takes cares of it. The following screenshot shows an example lead entry in the vendor’s Sales-> Lead screen. If the user clicks on the Specification & Reply link, then he can view the detailed specification of the lead. Using this link, a vendor can also send his quote to the client crm_lead
  3. Step 3: Once a vendor has responded to a RFQ, the client can start seeing the quote in the RFQ screen itself. In fact, the client can see all quotes received from different vendors in a single screen.crm_quote_shortlist

Also, the client can click the Quote Details link here and can view the detailed quote from the vendor – crm_shortlist_quotecrm_shortlist_quote

4. Step 4:  Once the client shortlists one/multiple vendors after reviewing the quote, each of these vendors would see the lead entry being converted to a potential entry in their dashboard. This is another example of automatic conversion of items in this site. In a traditional CRM, all of these entries (lead, potential etc.) have to be manually created by the vendor at each step. Also, in a traditional CRM,  the automatic quote messages coming from vendor to the client in the same screen is not so straight forward. Note that, this CRM also supports the “offline” mode, where any lead/potential entry can be manually entered by the vendor (just like any other traditional CRM). This “offline” mode is of particularly useful where both the parties are not using this website ( the “online” mode and  automatic data population is only possible if both the parties are using this website).

This is a very brief of this huge project (50,000+ lines of code). If you like this concept and would like to explore, then please go through the github project, download and try it.

Also, please feel free to contribute and comment.