Cloud-based SaaS CRM

Introduction

@spire is a CRM application that integrates with the Sage50 accounting software. It features valuable tools that are not available in Sage. E.g. warehouse stock control, sales forecasting, in-depth analytics etc. @spire and Sage are seamlessly synchronized. @spire is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution.

We have built the @spire web application as a software as a service (SaaS) solution. This means that @spire’s customers subscribe to the cloud-based software at a monthly fee. The end customers are companies that host their Sage Line 50 accounting system on their own servers, and who need advanced business tools not provided by Sage.

Today the client consults with our designers and programmers here in India on an almost daily basis. Our senior architects act as consultants via Basecamp and Skype, whereas developers handle the bulk of the actual long-term development.

Key features

Real time synchronization with Sage server: This utility runs seamlessly as a service on a Windows server. It ensures real-time integration with the companies’ Sage Line 50 accounting system data that they store on a local network server. Thereby the data is synchronized with the cloud-based @spire application. Ensuring a smooth two-way synchronization of all data has required shrewd programming expertise.

CRM: This module shows each customer's purchasing history and a wide range of mission critical data including predictive ordering, order gap history, compliance and executive responsibility allocation. Companies can increase the limits of Sage by allowing the creation of multiple trade contacts within both prospect and customer modules.

 

Credit control: This feature displays credit control information in a way that provides alerts to the sales team thereby integrating the sales and credit control efforts.

Sales and transactions: Sales can naturally be processed through @spire. Optimal pricing decisions can be made thanks to the availability of customer history and product price point data for every product sold. Customer profiling analysis allowing users to concentrate on the appropriate sales and marketing efforts.

Sales orders: Create a complete order bank allowing you a full order audit trail for all your processed orders. Automatic conversion of orders into Sage sales invoices, completely removing the need for manual user entry in real-time. Allow multi-site stock accounting, a feature representing a significant enhancement over SAGE Line 50 with no limit to the number of warehouses.

Sales pipeline and forecasting: Produce your sales pipeline and funnel forecasts from data held in your prospects and sales funnel assumptions, including flexing your forecasts into best case worst case and expected case.

Business intelligence: The user can profile their customers by producing aggregate quantitative measures -by sales both monetary value and volume, gross profitability, order frequency and credit control history. There’s a dashboard for every customer providing graphical representation of data only available in significantly more expensive business intelligence systems.

Notes and reminders: Users can add notes and get automated reminders for customers, products, prospects and quotation records. There’s a predictive ordering system, producing automatic reminders to sales and customer services team.

Profit master: Identify how and where to improve customer returns. Set minimum prices intelligently to raise margins.

Advanced reports: Users can customize their reports with a dynamic query builder.

Control panel: @spire’s staff uses this to manage manage subscriptions and client instances. Clients can sign up through the control panel and receive a 14 day trial subscription. Thereafter the client can download the sync utility. The sync utility needs to be installed on the client company’s Windows machine where Sage server is installed.

Technical information

A large part of the application is developed in object oriented native PHP. Native PHP was used because our PHP developers resumed development on top of a legacy system back in 2014. There were also budget and time limitations which prevented a migration of legacy code to a framework. Yet the solution is highly refactored for optimal performance, reliability and scalability.

The super admin control panel which we started developing in 2015 is built on CodeIgniter. Today we would recommend the Laravel framework. Read more about the Laravel benefits.

Dynamic management of cloud server instances: Our Linux server management experts were involved to develop a module that spins up new cloud server instances on demand. One instance is dynamically created for each customers’ company using the DigitalOcean API. This involved Linux shell scripting. The latest version of the @spire application is loaded onto the cloud server from the GIT repository.

To create the @spire instances, we have managed a base-image in DigitalOcean, which is a snapshot of a server with latest version of @spire installed. New instances are created from this snapshot so that the application is built with all the prerequisites. Further enhancements are applied on top of this build to meet customer requirements. The control panel communicates with every @spire instances for updates, using our custom API and shell scripts.

The Windows synchronization utility uses Sage data objects, ODBC, NSIS (Nullsoft Scriptable Install System) package manager, NSSM (Non-Sucking Service Manager) and phc-win (PHP EXE compiler). It’s developed using C# and .NET.

"LiteBreeze has developed our business software by providing an outstanding service and in terms of deliverables they absolutely exceeded our expectations. I would highly recommend LiteBreeze if you are planning on building your complex yet effectively manageable cloud based business application. "     Peter Blacklock (Barking, United Kingdom)

Team of developers who worked on this project: Madhav KK, Rahim PA, Rajeev PP, Sabir AJ