Word & Brown's new AgencyPro web-based CRM

Oct 13, 2007

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    I went to a day-long seminar put on by the Word & Brown GA. They had two 2 credit classes. In between them they spent about 90 minutes giving a demo of their brand new web-based CRM system called AgencyPro.

    The link is here.

    This is hands-down the best insurance practice management system I've ever seen. It is all on the web, nothing to install, nothing to download, nothing to back-up, and you can hit your data anywhere in the world.

    As for cost, here is what they told us, but it is NOT on the site so I think they are still working it out.

    1. Free to all for first 6 months upon signing up.

    2. After 6 months, free as long as you put through 4 cases a year with W&B.

    3. Free as long as you have 10 ongoing cases with W&B.

    4. If none of the two above, it cost $250 a month. (I believe that is with unlimited agent-users.)

    This is an absolutely terrific system.... at least from a functional perspective. You really should register and give it a try

    Now skip the following if you are not interested in my commentary. I provide it for those who are interested in software systems.

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    I would not use it since it does not bring enough to the table for me compared to SugarCRM. But if I wrote a lot of group I might consider it. It does not render well with Firefox and it was written with Microsoft's ASP.net meaning it runs on Microsoft's IIS software (Internet Information Server) and I would not trust my online data to anything made by Microsoft because IIS has a long history of being insecure as well as prone to freeze-ups, need for re-boots, etc. IIS is fine for an InTRAnet within one office or building (or company) but not to the world on the WWW. I like the Apache server... which is what most of the world uses... if for no other reason than it is free and well supported. IIS is fine for html-only sites but I would not want to run anything as complex as AgencyPro on it... however in MS's defense their security and uptime-factors have been getting better over the past two years or so.

    One of the bad things about writing a website in ASP.Net (as opposed to PHP (Personal Hypertext Processor) or Java Server Pages (JSP) or Cold Fusion (CFM... owned by Adobe) ... the four major choices) is that ASP (Active Server Pages) tends to only render 'well' on IE and not FireFox. It's a subtle way that MS tries to enforce its 'monopoly.'

    One of the reasons the AgencyPro was written in ASP.Net is that the platform comes with a zillion tools to make it 'easy' to develop a complex system. Hands down, Microsoft makes the best development tools... and they almost give them away to developers... but to run them on your server you need a lot of expensive Microsoft software. That's why most of the world writes their websites on the free LAMP platform... Linux (operating system, as opposed to Vista), Apache (web server software as opposed to IIS), MySQL (database as opposed to Oracle or MS SQL-Server), PHP (as opposed to ASP.Net.)

    (When you install Sugar on your Windows [home or server] machine, they have a complete "AMP" package (notice, no "L" for Linux!) that installs the supporting software on your XP machine, although there are about a zillion other ways to install Apache, PHP, and MySQL. The all work well on Windows (and Mac... and of course, Linux)

    However most commercial web hosts run Linux or FreeBSD as the operating system and not Windows. Lots of reasons but they all spell S-E-C-U-R-I-T-Y. Another reason you don't find as many hosting companies with Windows and dot Net as you do with LAMP... is because Linux is free and Vista is NOT!

    Eventually W&B will "fix" AgencyPro so that it runs well on other browsers besides IE. Also, I'm sure a ton of bugs will come out the first few months... which is why I think they are making it free for 6 months... as well as to rope people in.

    To people like you or me, web-based CRM (or just CRM alone) are no big deals. We understand the tech. and the pros and cons. But there were some 60 people at the seminar yesterday and as they put this thing up on the dual giant screens and ran through the demo I heard the "ooos" and the "ahhs" of amazement. It's like these people never saw a database before! In talking to some of the people there the idea of not having to install any software, being able to hit your data anywhere in the world, and never having to worry about backups is worth a lot more than $225 a month to an agency of say 5 or 10 agents who do a lot of group.

    I admit that a lot of the integration of AgencyPro with carrier forms and their PDF files of plan docs was very nice. And the fact that it was structured from the ground up for an insurance practice was an advantage.

    Personally I think they should form a new company and charge $30 a month and every agent on the planet would subscribe. However for $220, there is not enough "in it" that I saw to justify the price FOR ME. YMMV. Sugar works fine for me, just as YIO works for some, Excel for others, and even 3x5 cards for the techno-wimps out there!. It all comes down to price vs. functionality vs. 'need.' You find that balance... and you 'go' with it. For me it's Sugar. For Rick it is YIO. For others it may be tarot cards. :biggrin:

    There is no right or wrong answer to any of this.

    Al
    InsuranceSolutions123 Agency
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 14, 2007
    Guest, Oct 13, 2007
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  2. TXINSURANCE
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  3. TXINSURANCE
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    Guest, Oct 14, 2007
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  5. wilkin
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    According to the Word and Brown website they only do business in California and Nevada - correct?
     
    wilkin, Oct 14, 2007
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  6. MHart
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    That is correct not sure if that effects the CRM though.
     
    MHart, Oct 14, 2007
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  7. karmacrm369
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    Yes you are correct Word & Brown only serve California and Nevada
     
  8. LJohnson89
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    As a programmer of ASP.Net for the past 9-10 years, I can honestly say that a lot of things you are presenting as fact, really are an opinion.

    Especially in regards to these IIS security breaches that you speak of?

    You have stated on several occasions that ASP.Net is geared towards IE. That is false. The HTML is written by the developer and if something doesn't render properly in a browser then that is the fault of the developer, not the platform. Even if someone coded a site in PHP, it still could have issues rendering in Firefox if the HTML is not compliant.

    As I've stated before, I don't think Chase.com would use a platform that binds it to only one browser. Neither would SpiritAir.com. You would be correct to say that corporations choose these tools internally because of Rapid-Application Development where speed of development is more paramount than the platform chosen. In addition to the SUPPORT available for M$ products.

    You are correct, in one thing, that there is no right or wrong answer....

     
  9. Guest
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    You take an almost 4 year old post about technology and you want to hold it to the same tech standards that applied back then?

    4 years is like 40 in the tech world.

    That said, ASP.net is a basically a huge (and very good) javascript generator. The problem is that there is no "standard" for javascript (unlike HTML) and different browsers handle it differently... some better than others.

    The ASP.net grid object for example is a large and complex piece of coding that has historically been problematic for certain browsers.

    Back when I wrote the referenced post the W&B people made no bones about their system being written for and working best with IE. And they were right.

    I've not tried their WOW system in the past three years with Firefox, Chrome or Safari so I don't know how or if it works better than it did before.

    Perhaps you might give it a try with FF and report back to us?

    Thanks.
     
    Guest, May 12, 2011
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  10. Newby
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    No need to report back. Just give AL3 a private email.

    Nobody but him could possibly give a rats patooty about any of this...or understand what you are talking about.
     
    Newby, May 12, 2011
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