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Data Mining Resources for Designers and Developers
Deals for designers and developers to mine their resources
Linda offers deals for designers and developers to mine their resources and to develop markets for products and services.
Tools for Data Mining
The image shown above is a data visualization of Wikipedia as part of the World Wide Web, demonstrating hyperlinks. Chris 73 created this image using TouchGraph GoogleBrowser V1.01, which is based on the related function of Google. This is just one tool in a global arsenal that designers and developers can use to formulate and forecast data.
But, if you're simply seeking a way to log all those business cards into a database, you might simply use Excel or, better yet, the open source speadsheet Calc, which is part of the OpenOffice suite. Students of both tools can learn how to extract information and compile new databases through both products. But, if you don't want that learning curve, you might try something simpler, such as Evernote.
The issue I have with Evernote is that it is impossible to analyse information from data, and difficult to transport to another data mining tool. Since data mining is all about analysing data, tools like Evernote just don't cut the cake. Extracting information is important as well, as you don't want to go through data input more than once if at all possible.
At the same time, you don't want to spend hours on data mining and analytics, as you probably have better things to do, and you probably cannot afford a person to do data input and analytics even on a part-time basis. But, if you have the money, time and help, you might look through the list of data visualization tools offered at Wikipedia. These tools are most closely aligned with visual perception, as they can create information graphics that can appeal to your sensibilities as well as help with client issues (TIP: You might be able to add the cost of any one of these products to the next client bill if that client expects analytics and forecasting.).
Fifteen Open Source CRM Solutions
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, and tools that offer this type of data input and analytics often cost and arm and a leg – suitable for corporations, but not for the lone eagle entrepreneur. However, some open source solutions exist, and – while not free – the cost is minimal for some spectacular results. That said, I am not endorsing any one of the tools listed below, as I have not tried them all. They are listed in alphabetical order to show my non-preference:
- CentraView: Browser based Enterprise Java (J2EE) Contact Management, Groupware, Collaboration, CRM, SFA, Project Management software. Run locally or as a hosted service. Built on Apache Tomcat, JBoss, MySQL, Linux (Fedora, RedHat and others) & Windows.
- CiviCRM: From its project website, it is described as a powerful contact, fundraising and eCRM system that allow you to record and manage information about your various constituents including volunteers, activists, donors, employees, clients, vendors, etc. CiviCRM is web-based, internationalized, and designed specifically to meet the needs of advocacy, non-profit and non-governmental groups. Integration with both Drupal and Joomla! content management systems. CiviCRM requires PHP5.2.x, PHP 5.3.x is supported starting with version 3.2.
- Concursive: This company is the developer of several products, including ConcourseSuite, a dedicated CRM solution, and ConcourseConnect, an integrated web-based software platform that brings together Social Business Software, Corporate Social Networking, Online Community, Business Directory, and CRM capabilities. The CRM is free up to five users, but you must host it yourself for that "price." Tools are written in Java and are compatible with MySQL databases.
- Dolibarr ERP/CRM: Dolibarr ERP/CRM is a software built by modules addition used to manage small or medium companies, freelancers or foundations. This is an OpenSource project base on a WAMP, MAMP or LAMP server (Apache, Mysql, PHP for all Operating Systems).
- Hipergate: This project's mission is to cover a full range of technical requirements in any organization. All applications are addresses from Internet Explorer, without needing any other additional software in the client computer. This suite is multi-company capable, and can be used in a single company, a corporate group or working as an ASP solution capable of serving an unlimited quantity of single customers. According to the Web site, this application is "completely free." Written in Java and JSP, hipergate is operating system-independent. Databases with which it is compatible include Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle and PostgreSQL.
- OpenCRX: openCRX is an open CRM solution that meets the needs of organizations requiring multifunctional, enterprise-wide coordination of sales generation, sales fulfillment, marketing and service activities to customers, partners, suppliers or intermediaries. openCRX features a Java API and a REST-service making available the complete API for third-party applications; you can also integrate openCRX with XML-RPC and there is even a specialized shop interface that makes it easy to use openCRX as a backend for shops; seamless integration with MS Exchange for contacts, calendars and e-mail is done with openCRX AirSync. openCRX runs on any platform with Apache Tomcat and one of the major database management systems (e.g. HSQLDB, MySQL, PostgreSQL, MS SQL, Oracle, or IBM DB2).
- Open Taps: Open Source ERP + CRM is a fully integrated application suite that brings together top-tier open source projects to help you manage your business more effectively. And if you are a developer looking to customize opentaps for your organization or your clients, you might be happy with their domain-driven architecture that embraces object-oriented development model with integrated Hibernate persistence and Spring framework.
- SplendidCRM: This application is built on the Microsoft platform (Windows, ISS, SQL Server, C# and ASP). Designed for system integrators, SplendidCRM allows administrators to add user-customizable features such as .NET 2.0's Themes, Web Parts and AJAX.
- SugarCRM: Despite my unwillingness to endorse products, I have noticed that many people who use CRM products seem very happy with Sugar. Over 6,000 customers and more than half a million users rely on SugarCRM to execute marketing programs, grow sales, retain customers and create custom business applications. SugarCRM runs on the leading cloud computing platforms, including Amazon EC2, Microsoft Azure, Sugar On-Demand and Private Clouds, offering customers unparalleled choice and control of their data and deployments.
Every version of Tustena CRM is a complete solution
designed to help you maximize your efforts. Their CRM solutions come in
four different flavours: the "OnDemand", the "Business", the "Retail" and
the "Business Source" (that includes the complete source codes and
technical support by their team). Users who opt for the Open Source
version get the source code and can modify it as they wish, relying on the
community for support. Tustena CRM is written in C#, ASP.NET and
- XRMS CRM: This is a Web-based application suite that features business intelligence (BI) tools, Computer Telephony Integration (CTI), and advanced plugin architecture. CRM is operating-system independent, and it is written in an interpreted language (PHP). Compatible databases include ADOdb, SQL-based, Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL and other network-based DBMS.
- Xtuple: The founders of the company that would become xTuple saw a compelling opportunity to build a new solution for small manufacturers – based upon open standards which would give growing companies the flexibility they needed. On the technological side, that meant leveraging all the work on robust open source building blocks such as the Linux operating system, the PostgreSQL database, and the Qt framework for C++.
- ZOHO CRM: Outside the
products, this site contains great information on how and why to use CRM
management tools. Zoho CRM empowers organizations with a complete
customer relationship lifecycle management software for managing
organization-wide sales, narketing, customer support & service and
inventory management in a single business system. Their free version is an
"easy to use" hosted CRM for entrepreneurs and startups. Otherwise, Zoho
CRM is a pay as you go (monthly or yearly) service so you can upgrade,
downgrade or cancel at any time. Additionally, Zoho Projects provides
REST style Web APIs over HTTP. With this API, users/developers can extend
their web applications to push or pull data into or from Zoho Projects for
application mashups. As the API is purely HTTP based, your application
could be in any of the programming languages like Java, Python, ASP etc.,
to use the same.
Since I'm a designer/writer and not a developer, I wanted a simple CRM solution for a nonprofit that I work with. In the end, we chose a non-open source application, Salesforce, as they offer free licenses to certain nonprofits. Additionally, the Web-based interface seems easy to use. Additionally, when I surfed to the site, a sales rep was ready to talk with me via instant message to resolve my questions quickly. Let's say I was sold immediately. Now, to convince the board to "come on board" to expand our nonprofit's future reliability, credibility and organizational savvy.
Linda Goin carries an A.A. in graphic design, a B.F.A. in visual communications with a minor in business and marketing and an M.A. in American History with a minor in the Reformation. While the latter degree doesn't seem to fit with the first two educational experiences, Linda used her 25-year design expertise on archaeological digs and in the study of material culture. Now she uses her education and experiences in social media experiments.
Accolades for her work include fifteen first-place Colorado Press Association awards, numerous fine art and graphic design awards, and interviews about content development with The Wall St. Journal, Chicago Tribune, Psychology Today, and L.A. Times.
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