November 03, 2016
Score 10 out of 10
Overall Satisfaction with QuickBase
It is being used by more than 500 users here, and I don't know how many different applications. I started with a Marketing Analytics group and migrated their CRM to QuickBase. Then I moved on to a research consulting organization here at the medical school and began to use it for managing projects, managing contacts in multi-site research projects, tracking hours worked, and to reconcile data queries for a clinical research project. I have consulted with other organizations that use it for tracking sponsors and billing, or as a place to coordinate conferences, maintain records of consultations or requests for information, and other purposes. It addresses the projects that fall through the cracks, those that are important enough to accomplish, with the need for multiple simultaneous users, but for projects that aren't at the level where an enterprise system would be in the budget.
- QuickBase makes it very easy to set up a user-friendly relational database and add users. Because it is in the cloud, we don't have to worry about making sure that external users get authorized in our internal systems.
- QuickBase makes it easy to import data or to connect applications to other systems through the API. We often connect it to external webforms for input.
- QuickBase makes it easy to manage the user experience. Role-based security is very important for most of the applications we create.
- QuickBase's notifications and alerts make it very easy to get information to people even when they don't log in every day.
- It would be very handy to have some sort of native logging of changes made to data. We often use such features as append-only fields when this is very important, but having logs that cannot be tampered with (even by administrators) would be very helpful.
- I think that with platforms like QuickBase, where so many users learn by doing and building, the help and forum sections are very important. I think that it would be great if somebody could go through the online help and knowledge base and even the forum carefully to make sure that answers don't assume so much knowledge on the part of the user. QuickBase does better at this than most of the support I find for other applications online, but it is particularly critical to get this right for an online application, especially since some of its features and functions have changed since the original help documentation was written.
- QuickBase should also probably comb through the forum and build how-to guides out of what some of the third-party people are adding there. There are some great things being done by consultants, but these same consultants aren't always the best at documention, and their interest is sometimes tilted towards showing potential clients how smart they are, rather than helping the average user.
Our organization has achieved this. There have been some failures, some applications that probably shouldn't have been built in the first place, but most are used and have increased efficiency for us. The failures seem to have deployment problems, primarily. When you build a QuickBase application, you typically don't have a kick-off meeting and then celebrate going live with a party. You just build it, then you immediately start testing, rolling it out, fixing problems, adapting it to change or requests, etc. So if you have to overcome some sort of user reluctance, or enemies somewhere in the organization, it can be more difficult. That is not QuickBase's fault, of course. On the plus side, if a project fails, the sunk costs are much smaller, too.
- Improving collaboration across one or more teams
- Solving a specific business challenge
- Building and deploying an application (or multiple applications) that meets our exact needs
I maintain a tracking application for our organization that manages hours spent by our consultants and generates billing reports by project. I am constantly adapting this project in response to additional needs the organization has. Since everyone in our group has access to QuickBase, it has also become a knowledge base for statistical programming, a method to track the location of various datasets, and fulfilled other needs, as well. Recently, it became necessary to track the percentage effort that researchers spend on various NIH-funded projects, so I grafted that on to the hours-tracking portion of the application. This has not seen the type of adoption that I would have liked to see. I suspect that this was because we cannot connect QuickBase to the University's Grant Award tracking system (not QuickBase's fault--it is a security policy matter).
QuickBase is well-suited for businesses that not too big and complicated and are growing and changing quickly. It is incredibly flexible, so it can be modified to grow and adapt to changing business processes and practices. The beauty of it is that it can adapt to changing processes. Unfortunately, it can also accommodate ill-advised changes in business practices. Sometimes the best thing a company can do to facilitate growth is to bring in some software platform that will force them to rationalize their chaotic business process. Finally, to work properly, QuickBase needs someone who can work well with others and who understands the needs of their organization, but who also understands how, at a reasonably basic level, how databases work, and who is interested in learning more than just the basics (scripting, html, etc.)