How many light bulbs have gone off in your head?

When we talk about customers and their adoption of QuickBase we tend to use the analogy of "light bulbs going off". We’ve broken these light bulbs into three different "ah-ha" moments:

First: When someone realizes that QuickBase can solve their current problem (e.g. "I can track my project’s status the way I want").  These folks tend to have one application that they regularly use.

Second: When someone realizes that QuickBase can solve a few of their problems (e.g. "I can track my project’s status and the pipeline of potential projects coming down the pike").  These folks tend to have one person creating and managing many applications.

Third: When someone has that "oh my gosh…QuickBase could help our entire organization solve its problems" thought.  These folks tend to have many people creating and managing many applications.

Recently we’ve done some work to try to understand how broadly QuickBase has been adopted by our customers and I’m happy to report that our rough estimate suggests that a vast majority of our customers have had the second and third light bulbs going off.  While this was considered good news internally, it did make me wonder…why hasn’t everyone had the second and third light bulbs going off?…   

  • Are we not doing enough to promote different uses and to make people aware of what’s possible?
  • Are there forces at work inside our customer organizations that are limiting the growth that we can help people with?

What do you think? 

  • If you’re still at the first light bulb and are just using QuickBase to solve for one internal pain, how come?  Do you consider QuickBase for other problems, but dismiss it?  Do you not even consider QuickBase for other problems?
  • If you’re at the second or third light bulb, what was it that made the second or third light bulbs go off?  Was it something we did or was it something that happened internally on your team?

Bottom line is that we’d love to learn from your experience what has helped / hurt your adoption of QuickBase and what we could be doing to facilitate it. So…if you’re at all inclined, please let us know which light bulb you’re at with any context about how you got there (or why you’re still there :->).

Happy Holidays,

P

  • adam

    i learn to solve a lot of specific problems in the forums but it help a lot to see more case studies.

    we’re somewhere between 2 & 3. but it’s also a tough sell in a large company. i see other departments’ problems that could be solved but people are rarely willing to try something different.

    and i still think you should have regional consultants of some type.

    [Reply]

  • adam

    i learn to solve a lot of specific problems in the forums but it help a lot to see more case studies.

    we’re somewhere between 2 & 3. but it’s also a tough sell in a large company. i see other departments’ problems that could be solved but people are rarely willing to try something different.

    and i still think you should have regional consultants of some type.

    [Reply]

  • Peter Fearey

    Thanks for the response and we definitely realize that more case studies could help. You should see some improved content in this area in coming months.

    I have a follow-up question for you…what exactly do you think makes it such a hard sell in a large company…is it just that people don’t like change? Or, are there are cultural barriers or product limitations that you think get in the way. For example, you suggest that regional consultants would help, which suggests to me that one of the problems could also be that you don’t have enough time to help in building out the new applications that would help the other teams. Is that part of the problem? Thanks again for taking the time to help us understand…
    Peter

    [Reply]

  • Peter Fearey

    Thanks for the response and we definitely realize that more case studies could help. You should see some improved content in this area in coming months.

    I have a follow-up question for you…what exactly do you think makes it such a hard sell in a large company…is it just that people don’t like change? Or, are there are cultural barriers or product limitations that you think get in the way. For example, you suggest that regional consultants would help, which suggests to me that one of the problems could also be that you don’t have enough time to help in building out the new applications that would help the other teams. Is that part of the problem? Thanks again for taking the time to help us understand…
    Peter

    [Reply]

  • http://profile.typekey.com/chrismking/ Christopher King

    As an organization, we are #2. However, the three issues that seem to limit broader acceptance are off-site hosting, lack of strong workflow capabilities, and the inability to integrate with other systems via SQL. I understand there are work-arounds to all of these issues, and, trust me, we have worked around and around.

    As a DBA, I spend a lot of time creating custom pages using the Java and Javascript API to do things that I wish QuickBase would let me do within its interface. An example would be the ability to create records in a task table based on criteria you set in the lead table. (e.g. If lead is marked as a hot lead, create a ‘Follow-up’ task due in 3 days).

    When I do write custom pages, they don’t appear within the standard interface components. It would be nice to at least have a custom page appear with the standard menu bars and other features. Or to be able to direct the regular UI to a page whenever a record is created or saved.

    [Reply]

  • http://profile.typekey.com/chrismking/ Christopher King

    As an organization, we are #2. However, the three issues that seem to limit broader acceptance are off-site hosting, lack of strong workflow capabilities, and the inability to integrate with other systems via SQL. I understand there are work-arounds to all of these issues, and, trust me, we have worked around and around.

    As a DBA, I spend a lot of time creating custom pages using the Java and Javascript API to do things that I wish QuickBase would let me do within its interface. An example would be the ability to create records in a task table based on criteria you set in the lead table. (e.g. If lead is marked as a hot lead, create a ‘Follow-up’ task due in 3 days).

    When I do write custom pages, they don’t appear within the standard interface components. It would be nice to at least have a custom page appear with the standard menu bars and other features. Or to be able to direct the regular UI to a page whenever a record is created or saved.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.brofort.com/ Rick Whitley

    We got to stage 3 pretty early as a concept, just took quite a while to build all the applications. Our company is now “Quickbased” as we use it for Quotes, PO’s, Invoices, Receivable Approvals etc. etc. etc.

    However, what I found is when I had my 30 day free trial, I had all kinds of support and without that support I would have dropped Quickbase as an option as it was not intuitive for me. My big mistake was signing up 15 days in because that mentor (your salesperson!) disappeared and there was then a lot of head scratching and swearing on my part as I knew what I wanted to do, I knew Quickbase could do it, but I just couldn’t get to how.

    I really think if you gave 60 days of phone support on new accounts, you would keep a lot more accounts and people would get to stage #2 and #3 quicker. I absolutely understand that there would be a signifcant cost to you for this, so it might not be do-able, however my instinct is that you would cover the additional up front costs by keeping more accounts and upgrading other beyond what the might initially go.

    All said, this is an absolutely excellent application and the value is definitely there!

    [Reply]

  • http://www.brofort.com Rick Whitley

    We got to stage 3 pretty early as a concept, just took quite a while to build all the applications. Our company is now “Quickbased” as we use it for Quotes, PO’s, Invoices, Receivable Approvals etc. etc. etc.

    However, what I found is when I had my 30 day free trial, I had all kinds of support and without that support I would have dropped Quickbase as an option as it was not intuitive for me. My big mistake was signing up 15 days in because that mentor (your salesperson!) disappeared and there was then a lot of head scratching and swearing on my part as I knew what I wanted to do, I knew Quickbase could do it, but I just couldn’t get to how.

    I really think if you gave 60 days of phone support on new accounts, you would keep a lot more accounts and people would get to stage #2 and #3 quicker. I absolutely understand that there would be a signifcant cost to you for this, so it might not be do-able, however my instinct is that you would cover the additional up front costs by keeping more accounts and upgrading other beyond what the might initially go.

    All said, this is an absolutely excellent application and the value is definitely there!

    [Reply]

  • http://www.brofort.com/ Rick Whitley

    Just an additional thought, all of your webinars are for users new to Quickbase, it would be nice to have some that are more tailored to intermediate and advanced users.

    Rick

    [Reply]

  • http://www.brofort.com Rick Whitley

    Just an additional thought, all of your webinars are for users new to Quickbase, it would be nice to have some that are more tailored to intermediate and advanced users.

    Rick

    [Reply]

  • Mike Gerrity

    I have long been in the lightbulb 2 camp and would love to go to lightbulb 3, but what’s holding me up is that Quickbase doesn’t include an accounting function. This is amazingly ironic given Intuit’s core strength in this area and the huge deployed based of small business customers who use Quickbooks. A combined Quickbase / Quickbooks functionality would be fantastic and is so obvious that I assume there are major obtacles (technological and/or political). But if you are ever looking for a beta tester, please call…

    [Reply]

  • Mike Gerrity

    I have long been in the lightbulb 2 camp and would love to go to lightbulb 3, but what’s holding me up is that Quickbase doesn’t include an accounting function. This is amazingly ironic given Intuit’s core strength in this area and the huge deployed based of small business customers who use Quickbooks. A combined Quickbase / Quickbooks functionality would be fantastic and is so obvious that I assume there are major obtacles (technological and/or political). But if you are ever looking for a beta tester, please call…

    [Reply]

  • Russ Marion

    lightbulb 2 & 3 for me.

    Trains must follow the tracks. 4-wheel drives can go where they want, independent of the tracks. Sorry for the primitive analogy, but while QuickBase is superb on the tracks (Views), it runs into difficulty when a steering wheel is attached to the train.
    The “steering wheel” is the establishment of interactive search criteria by the user. Sometimes there are so many ways to look at data that “Views” are impractical.
    I see that you have implemented “ask-the-user” for drop-downs in selecting search criteria (AND search only), but other useful field types, such as checkboxes, do not exist. Checkboxes are extremely desireable in promoting ease of use, both in data entry, and in search criteria selection, especially where there exists a large number of fields.
    In fact, in my case, the absence of checkboxes in establishing interactive search criteria is an absolute show stopper.

    For me, robust interactive search capability is integral part of database use. It would help my planning to know if you are planning to persue this line of development (getting the train off the tracks), and ideally what the timeline could possibly be.

    Thanks for all your efforts. What you have done, you have done extremely well!

    [Reply]

  • Russ Marion

    lightbulb 2 & 3 for me.

    Trains must follow the tracks. 4-wheel drives can go where they want, independent of the tracks. Sorry for the primitive analogy, but while QuickBase is superb on the tracks (Views), it runs into difficulty when a steering wheel is attached to the train.
    The “steering wheel” is the establishment of interactive search criteria by the user. Sometimes there are so many ways to look at data that “Views” are impractical.
    I see that you have implemented “ask-the-user” for drop-downs in selecting search criteria (AND search only), but other useful field types, such as checkboxes, do not exist. Checkboxes are extremely desireable in promoting ease of use, both in data entry, and in search criteria selection, especially where there exists a large number of fields.
    In fact, in my case, the absence of checkboxes in establishing interactive search criteria is an absolute show stopper.

    For me, robust interactive search capability is integral part of database use. It would help my planning to know if you are planning to persue this line of development (getting the train off the tracks), and ideally what the timeline could possibly be.

    Thanks for all your efforts. What you have done, you have done extremely well!

    [Reply]

  • Jim

    Often at the business unit level a manager can approve an app, however it cannot be adopted for the whole organization. In the 2 and 3 bulb space, case studies of uses across your enterprise customers certainly helps. I’ve been able to introduce bulb 1 to many companies, but 2 & 3 is a tougher sell needing either the backing of a QB sales presence, or good collateral. Dennis Levy is a good example of a strong account management / sales backup resource.

    [Reply]

  • Jim

    Often at the business unit level a manager can approve an app, however it cannot be adopted for the whole organization. In the 2 and 3 bulb space, case studies of uses across your enterprise customers certainly helps. I’ve been able to introduce bulb 1 to many companies, but 2 & 3 is a tougher sell needing either the backing of a QB sales presence, or good collateral. Dennis Levy is a good example of a strong account management / sales backup resource.

    [Reply]