logo-37signals-small37 Signals, the company behind, Highrise CRM announced on February 5th 2014 that they will either sell the solution or make changes internally in how it is supported.

Either way, Highrise CRM is not available to new customers right now and it is likely existing users will see a change in the level of service they receive. 37 Signals have re-branded to Basecamp and have made their intentions clear.

If you would like to read more about this announcement, Alderbest Solutions President Michael Trow wrote a good outline here

Evaluating The Need To Migrate From Highrise CRM

As with any migration or implementation there are a lot of questions and steps that need to be taken to reach the end goal.

If you’re a current Highrise CRM user, you may not be thrilled by the news. If they sell it, will there be changes to the service and or pricing? Perhaps you’ll be migrated to the new owners solution without a choice? If they keep it, will they continue to support it in x months time? Will they continue to develop it to keep up with the industry?

Either way, given the business critical nature of CRM we strongly suggest doing a bit of ‘window shopping’ at the least. Why? Well, migration is probably an unexpected investment (of time and/or money) and it will probably take a few weeks from decision making process to completion. So it’s best to start evaluating early, even if the outcome of the Highrise CRM change is not clear at the time of reading.

You made an informed decision to adopt Highrise CRM in the first place, now it is worthwhile re-educating yourself on the market to be prepared, just in case.

It is also a possibility that Highrise CRM was your first CRM, for that you need to know what other solutions are available that can make the migration seamless AND perform the same functions that you currently enjoy.

Most CRM solutions will over a free trial or a freemium option. This is all good and well, however it may be more beneficial to take a demo to have someone walk you through the options, explain the features/benefits/integration’s and answer any questions.

The Alternatives To Highrise CRM

We always felt Highrise CRM had an interesting pricing model that was slightly different from other providers. You might find yourself paying less per user in an alternative solution but the monthly fee in total might be higher. With that said there is good reason.

  1. Salesforce.com – it’s price is reflective of it’s quality and ability. The good news for Highrise CRM users is that Salesforce Group Edition is likely to offer more for $25 per month per user. The one word of caution is that Salesforce users typically find themselves upgrading to Professional or Enterprise fairly rapidly to take advantage of the increased benefits. (Note – it is also possible to integrate Basecamp with a custom integration)
  2. Zoho CRM – By far the most cost effective solution in comparison with a wealth of benefits. You will be able to do much more for $20 per month per user in the Professional Edition, be giddy with excitement over the possibilities in their Enterprise edition or find the free option suits your needs just fine. (Note – it is also possible to integrate Basecamp with a custom integration. However, Zoho Projects is a very robust solution if you are interested in having everything ‘under one roof’.
  3. Insightly – Probably the most similar and ‘apples to apples’ comparison to Highrise. Depending on your use you may find the similarities beneficial. They offer a free and paid edition starting at $19 per month.

With hundreds of options, in addition to custom CRM, we have purposely kept the list short.

Two important things that will have an impact on your decision is the level of customization you have made/require and the integrations you have/want. Some solutions base their pricing on customization ability, document storage and may or may not integrate with the other tools you use.

Disclaimer, as a Zoho Alliance Partner and Salesforce.com partner we do lean towards these solutions. We are unbiased though in any solution review. With that said, we couldn’t imagine a scenario where a Highrise CRM user would not find value in Zoho.

Migrating From Highrise CRM

If after reviewing alternative solutions, taking a demo and being confident that moving from Highrise after the changes is the right decision. It’s time to plan the migration.

  1. The first thing to do is to decide whether you (or someone internally) will do this or if you will invest in a 3rd party to do it for you.
  2. Review the cleanliness of your data. Any migration’s success will depend largely on the quality of data. If the Fields are populated correctly then you will find it easier and/or less expensive to migrate. We recommend exporting the data into a file and going through added filters to check if the data is a) in the right place b) populated as necessary
  3. Seek a partner of the new solution to, at least, help you set up the account. They will be glad to help you and are likely to provide assistance as need be or be able to contact the ‘solution providers support desk’ more easily on your behalf.
  4. Learn the back-end of the new solution. Spend time understanding what is possible and how to do it. If you’re going to do it yourself we recommend spending anywhere from 20 hours in learning the back-end of a CRM to understand the basics
  5. Customize the new solution. Tailor the new CRM to meet your requirements and match any changes you made in Highrise.
  6. Import the data and complete the migration. (Note – the majority of CRM solutions require an import to be via CSV file. A Highrise CRM user may need to check the options available for downloading/exporting existing notes in CSV. All other Lead/Account/Contact information is available to download from Highrise CRM in CSV)
  7. Review and test as necessary.
  8. Train yourself and other users on the new solution to match your business processes.

In addition to education, and depending on the quality of your data, you are probably going to want to budget 20+ hours to complete the process yourself.

How Alderbest Can Assist:

As we said at the top, it is likely this was not a planned activity for most users given the nature of the announcement.

Alderbest can help with:

  • Solution Review and Analysis
  • Setting up new CRM accounts
  • Billing
  • Migration, implementation, support and maintenance.

For all Highrise CRM migrations Alderbest Solutions will be providing a promotional discount for migrations until further notice.

To learn more about the promotion schedule a solution review and demo (as needed) here.

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