The Method CRM is but a glimmer of what is right around the corner....
Several years ago this product called “Method” came along, it was distinct at the time in that it integrated with QuickBooks and gave users access to almost every piece of data within the QB-database. It also allowed Method users, or Method consultants, many of whom are here at the 1st Annual Method Solution Provider Retreat in Atlanta, to develop custom interfaces so users could access QuickBooks like functions without having to actually log into QuickBooks. As a side-line, Method allowed for the creation of other custom fields of data which would remain resident within Method, but which related to their QuickBooks source list elements or transactions.
Method Developers, like Joe Woodard of Woodard Consulting, fell in love with Method’s functionality and ease of use and customization. With a little ‘teaming up’ between Method and Joe, a growing number of “Methodologists”, as I call them, began not only learning Method but developing interfaces and functional applications for a growing number of users.
Then about 18 months ago, Method introduced a new ‘core application’, Method CRM; while one might say that Method was always a CRM, many of the early Methodologists viewed it as much more than an application, considering it a foundation upon which they could build a virtual wealth of applications. In simple they thought of Method as more of a platform than an application. And while the last 18 months has seen some users or potential users view Method as only a CRM that works with QuickBooks, clearly the original view of Methodologists was much more in line with the long-term goals of Method.
In his Keynote address today, Paul Jackson, CEO and Method Founder, clearly pointed to a future where Method is at the center of a plethora of applications all working within the core structure of Method. While many QuickBooks Consultants advocate the approach of piecing together different products using a variety of integration techniques, a concept which some consider as piecemeal, chunks, or as Jackson puts it “Frankensteinian”, that would not be the approach Method would take.
Most of the chunk to chunk, piecemeal applications are based upon replicating their own sets of data from QuickBooks, then modifying that data, and then each chunk passing bits and pieces back to QuickBooks; that is, in the mind of this author, an approach which I have openly criticized as ‘risking the integrity’ of the QB-database; and I like to think that I have at least a 'mild understanding' of the QuickBooks database. I mean, the fact that one App is changing this data element, and then changing the same data in QB, and another App is changing the exact same data, and then changing it in QB, and then QB is also trying to change the same data, is at best the cabinet in which disaster lurks. If one application corrupts data and then passes that to QuickBooks, then all the other applications that tie to QuickBooks are subject to the same corruption, before long corrupted data elements are being passed hither and yon from App to App and back to QB again, a round-robin of data destruction.
Method would take an entirely different approach, one in which it would only be necessary to share data between QuickBooks and Method, and then almost every other functionality could be designed and offered within the context of Method. It really wouldn’t matter if that functionality were CRM, or Timekeeping, or Project Management, or almost any other feature set that is essentially an outreach or extension of QuickBooks. In order to accomplish this goal, Method is currently ‘finishing up’ their V2 product, a redesigned foundation that not only increases the overall capabilities and functionality of Method, but greatly enhances the ‘speed of delivery’ of the Method experience.
Much of what “Methodologists” here at this 1st Retreat are learning is how V2 will change, simplify and improve the experience for Method users. Chief among these changes is a ‘design once, use everywhere’ approach that permits a Method application designed on the desktop to be used on tablet or smart phone without additional modification, and essentially regardless of the underlying OS for those devices. That kind of forward thinking put into action, along with the other changes being incorporated into their V2, is really ‘powerful stuff’, and goes a long way of making Method much More than a mere Application.