Really Expensive Free Software

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I've made a few comments in a post by Bill Kennedy that deals with the topic of switching from Top Producer to possibly Outlook. In his post and in a few of the comments, there were references to Outlook being free.

Very expensive free softwareYesterday I stumbled across an old document that reminded me of how expensive free things can be.

In the old days, I was the IT guy at a company that had about 400 PCs.  When the decision to switch to Outlook was made, the 78 page document to the left was created to answer *most* of the questions that would arise. While this had been designed for users, everyone knows, most don't like to read the manual.  What followed was a long bumpy ride that consumed many months of tech support to get everyone comfortable with the new and improved email system.

Granted you likely don't have 400 PCs in your office but even for one, there still can be 78 pages of things to write about adjusting from the old to the new.

But my point is not to bash Outlook. This is about switching from one thing to another. That could be converting your old website to a CMS-based version, going from Top Producer to Outlook or changing mobile phone carriers. Regardless of the initial price, they all have conversion costs that will consume your time and money.

If you're planning a conversion, take the time to write down what's required, then prioritize based on your business processes. Going from Top Producer to a plug-in enhanced version of Outlook might work, but without that list of priorities, you run the risk of learning how expensive free software can be.


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Shane OnullGorman
Eau Claire Realty, Inc. - Eau Claire, WI
Eau Claire Wisconsin, Real Estate Agent & Realtor- Buy or Sell

There is free software too. Thunderbird is a very viable outlook replacement and could easily replace TP as well.

Also for CMS I just made my own CMS website using open source Joomla! It really wasnt that hard and is easily more content rich than a website that would take 1000's of hours to develop.

The hard part is like you said time and money. Not everything has to cost money but it does take time to learn something new. But everyone has free time and if you take a break and look over how to use something new it can be fun and exciting too.

Sep 19, 2008 04:48 AM #1
Richard Iarossi
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Crofton, MD
Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate

Thunderbird is an excellent email client but I don't think it's a good exchange for the capabilities of Outlook.  Outlook Express maybe, but not Outlook.  I always find it difficult comparing a software product like Top Producer to Outlook. While Outlook will do most of what an agent needs it will never come close to the features of Top Producer.

Sep 19, 2008 05:18 AM #2
Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate

I just switched from outlook 03 to outlook 07, lost all my categories for 4000 in my data base. I am not happy, but I would never use TP, hate it. Love outlook but they are gone, any clue what to do?

Sep 19, 2008 05:41 AM #3
Kasey Kase
API Network - Mequon, WI
I'm not really a pirate

Shane:  We're big into Joomla.  It's our only CMS.  We've got a new product coming out soon called Dingo which is a update to Taskhopper.   Would like to get your opinion of that as it pertains to the RE world.

Richard:  Thunderbird is all I use.   I agree with you about making the comparison between TP and Outlook.  Not apples-apples at all.

Missy:  Do you run Outlook as part of an Exchange network?   e.g.,  Do you have shared calendaring?   Drop me an email when you have time and I can give you my 0.02 worth.

Sep 19, 2008 05:57 AM #4
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