Salesforce's Free Do.com Doesn't Quite Do It
NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- In these brutal, short digital days, it ain't easy being a "disruptor." Business automation giants such as Salesforce(CRM) or NetSuite(N) like to act the role of hunters for say, Microsoft(MSFT) or SAP(SAP) . But in an age when all it takes to make a great business app is a couple of coders with something to prove, Salesforce and Netsuite are themselves the hunted, challenged to say what they really offer compared with Rapportive, RapidTask or Pivotal Tracker ? All of these are cheap, some are free -- and they solve most of business' organizational issues.
To Salesforce's credit, it is not going down without a fight. Several months back, the company rolled out its answer to low- or no-cost business software, Do.com. The free service offers basic task management to anybody with Web access and offers users all the hip, biz-app bells and whistles. It has solid integration with mobile devices such as the iPhone, tries to be a viral alternative to traditional business apps and to give Salesforce a toehold in the fast-moving free business apps world.
|For Salesforce.com, faced with a time of terrific competition, it is do or die with Do.com.|
Intrigued as to what Do had to offer firms, we have been giving it a test drive for about a month or so.
What you get
Do.com is nice little team task-management tool.
To Salesforce's credit, the company has wisely jettisoned its traditional, complex interface, and Do.com could not be simpler to use. Think of a souped-up version of Basecamp, the fast-growing project management service from Chicago-based 37Signals, but absolutely free. Creating an account is a snap. Head to the company Web site -- the impossible-to-forget do.com (no "www" is not needed). Create a free account. Then start listing tasks, creating projects and adding notes.
Once your work is broken down into steps, Do.com enables reasonable collaboration. Enter an email for those who work in your team and they get invitations to tasks. Notes, attachment and decent discussions about tasks are supported. Overall, the service was fast and easy to use. The mobile app on my test iPad worked reasonably well.
In general, if your shop is looking for a solid starter productivity tool, Do.com can do the job.
What you don't get
Do.com is not going to solve Salesforce's problem. And it's unlikely many businesses will use it.
What's truly sobering about Do is that despite its solid design and usability, it feels scant compared with other choices. Do.com is actually a yawner by modern project-management and task-management standards. It does most basic task-management tools well. But considering how powerful something like even basic Google(GOOG) Apps or a Microsoft spreadsheet is, there is no reason to settle for pretty good. The powerful features in, say, RapidTask, HiTask, LiquidPlanner and dozens of other programs make much of what Do.com mundane.