Why FreeCRM makes me happy

It doesn’t take much to make me happy — just give me free CRM software.

I got an email from FreeCRM today. Free means that it costs nothing (but if you want the really good bits you have to pay $US14.95 per month per user!). 

CRM means customer relationship management or, in plain English, a database of customer details, records and contacts that does cool stuff such as remind you to call people back, or report on what your sales pipeline looks like. 

It’s great for doing things such as sending out personalised emails to every sales manager you know that barracks for Collingwood but hasn’t been “boned”.

FreeCRM, as its name implies, provides a free CRM system on the internet.  I think that a free CRM system is a pretty cool thing because my friend the business broker says lack of customer records is one of the main reasons a business might be unsellable (and no, the debtors ledger doesn’t count as customer records).

Anyway, in today’s email said: “FreeCRM.com has had 99.99% uptime in 2005, and will give you a rebate if we do not hit at least 99.9% uptime.” 
Marketers for the IT industry decided that uptime was a fancy way of saying “it’s working”‘ — the converse of downtime, which means “it’s broken or I turned it off”.

So I wondered what the difference might be between 99%, 99.9% and 99.99% in practical terms. As the Americans say: I did the math.  Using trusty Excel, I worked out there are about 31.5 million seconds in a year (31,536,000 in a usual 365-day non-leap year). Uptime of 99% implies downtime of 1%, or 87.6 hours per year — a bit over two weeks. Unacceptable. Uptime of 99.9% means 8.76 hours of downtime — a third of one day a year isn’t too bad.  Crank that uptime up to 99.99% and it means just 52.56 minutes of downtime — less than a lunchbreak — in a whole year. Yahoo!

I must say I was quite astonished to think that the difference between 99% and 99.99% is effectively two weeks of work time. So I am pretty happy with FreeCRM’s performance. Mind you, a rebate of zero dollars is still zero dollars.


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