In the mid-2000s I worked with Franklin Covey on a mutually beneficial partnership that brought Franklin Covey features to Informant and saw Informant distributed with Franklin Covey desktop software. In many ways it was the golden age of Informant as we were at the top of the world.
Around the time that iOS was being released Franklin Covey began working with Complete XRM on PlanPlus Online and we both got pretty busy doing our own thing. A few years later I was getting emails from this guy – Keith Norris who wanted to consider merging with us. As a wistful young man, I listened but didn’t take him up on his offer because I knew we could do it all on our own. Every year for 6 years straight, Keith politely asked me – hey how are things going – wanna merge? This year – I said yes!
Oh my! Right? Like what!? You did what! Yes… Fanatic Software is now a proper division of Complete XRM – and I’ve been waiting to tell you guys for months as we were working on this. It has taken a lot of time, effort, discussion, and work to get to this point. Keith was adamant that he wanted Fanatic to stay intact and to give us the autonomy that we needed, but to give us the resources and possibilities that we simply weren’t going to get anytime soon on our own.
As some people know I had a vision last year of an Informant with a Mac app, a Windows Outlook Desktop, a Web client, full featured project management, and a lot more. Doing this on my own was simply going to take a really really long time. We just are too small a company to make it a reality in any sensible timeframe. So what does Complete XRM have that we don’t? Let’s look at that: A Windows Outlook app, a web client, full featured project management, collaboration, CRM, and more. A lot more! Yeah!
I’ve been teasing this announcement since October (or maybe September…can’t remember) and telling people that you’re going to be really happy and I think most people will. There are some immediate changes that will be better for customers and some long term changes that will be really exciting. I also know there will be a lot of questions. First let me say that the Informant 5 subscription change was one that we had been discussing way before Informant 5 was released – that was not a CompleteXRM change. They went along with it, but that’s totally on me.
Second, our people are staying. Chris is moving up and is now the lead engineer and product manager for Informant. Wesley and Tabetha now have a larger support team to work with. I’ve got a lot more support from CXRM’s executive, marketing, financial and business relationship side of things. We’re not a Fortune 500 company, but we’re also no longer a single-digit employee company either 🙂 So that’s fantastic right there.
Next, is the software/services. CXRM has PlanPlus for Outlook and PlanPlus Online. This is the dream we’ve had for years that started with Informant Online where you can have the full power of Informant on Windows for Outlook – as well as the Mac, and on the web as well. I know many of our users are Outlook users and having this ability to have that full-featured Informant integration on Windows will be really powerful to many people. Task Delegation, Project Management – these are all things that we can grow into and offer to users. I know many people have been really excited about us generating a much more powerful Franklin Covey mode – especially on the Mac – so 🙂
There are still a lot of questions – some questions we haven’t fully answered ourselves yet. How do PlanPlusOnline and Informant Sync live together? Do they integrate at some point? And so on. We don’t have the answers to everything. Most of our attention has been focused on the short term: team, support, financial, and marketing integrations as well as Informant 5 launch and Informant for macOS, but we do know that there is a huge opportunity to integrate PlanPlusOnline features – Goals, Missions, Daily Journal, Task Delegation, Outlook integration and more.
You may have noticed a few bumps in the road over the past couple months. Keith has been trying to get to know our customers as well as I do; he’s been trying to be a better communicator than I have honestly been (just no time!). We have a unique community. Please welcome Keith and Complete XRM and you can be sure that I will work hard to ensure that Informant continues to get the love and care it needs. I’m super excited for our future together.
Sincerely – with great appreciation for the last 17 years, and excitement for the next 17,
Founder of Fanatic Software, Inc.
Wow, that is big news Alex. I am sure this is an exciting time for Fanatic Software and I am looking forward to the benefits of this merger. Congratulations.
Yes, congratulations: I know a lot of hard work must have been involved. I guess my only concern is that the basic Informant some of us have come to know and love will expand even more into project management—with sophisticated features some of us may never use (and, no doubt, priced to match). I appreciate you said that Informant will retain a degree of independence but I’m sure I’m not alone with a slight nagging concern along the lines I’ve outlined here.
That’s always a valid concern, but I don’t think you’ll have much to worry about there. Our vision for the last two years has been to expand into project management, but that was always going to be an extra associated with a web version of Informant, Windows version of Informant, and more.
In general here is how I think its going to play out:
1. Informant 5/macOS will get lots of love and attention, focusing on being the best Calendar/Task manager there is.
2. Informant 5/macOS will get access to PPO sync – and therefore direct Exchange and Outlook connectivity as well.
2. Informant 5/macOS will get access to the Plan Plus for Online features – task delegation, sharing, project management – when you hook up to a PPO sync account. Without the PPO sync account, it’ll be the Informant you know.
Alex, many thanks for the response, which is reassuring. I appreciate you giving time to set that out.
Please put Informant back on the “Top Charts” in App Store. That’s a real “new year, new chapter…”. The rest is history.
Pray, tell me, when was Informant ever on the AppStore “Top Charts”?
Perhaps you were referring to the one listed here
Informant has never been top of any charts.
This is due to a “we are a small company” mentality, no effective marketing, no manual, no YouTube videos and nobody with any influence on the iOS scene is talking about it or takes it seriously.
Everybody is raving about fantastical, weekcal and calendar 5 which in my opinion are far inferior to informant.
We have been actually at the top of the charts at times, but yes – we’ve hit a ceiling many times that during my leadership I was not able to break. New blood, new leadership, and new procedures are necessary to move it up and forward.
We are working on that. It might take some time, but that’s obviously the goal.
What “charts” are you referring to?
It is good to have a goal, but one too lofty may lead to what happened to Icarus.
Regarding this topic, you used lies and deceit in previous blog posts. How do you respond? I feel dirty just for trusting you.
It’s funny how Keith was introduced by Alex as the marketing guy for informant and not the new owner. They were obviously worried about the new subscription model introduced and thought people would blame the new company for the change.
Not really – Keith was helping us with marketing before the acquisition. It was like a test-run to make sure the team worked. In our past blog posts, we simply weren’t ready to announce the full details of everything going on behind the scenes. There were a lot of moving parts, details to finalize, things to figure out and on top of all that. Any announcement at that point would’ve been premature at best as we wouldn’t have much to say.
Many long-time users read the tea leaves correctly. Hopefully they will also Inform CXRM of the risks of abandoning their loyal support base.
One of the only reasons I made this deal was because I felt that CXRM wanted to invest in Informant – not absorb it. They see this as an expansion to their business.
I know many other acquisitions in the tech world has seen the brand bought absorbed into another product. That’s not the case here.
I can also respond by saying that our intention is to keep Informant as a brand with its own identity, own products, own development team, own support, etc. We do have some integration plans between both product lines, but it should really be a bonus to both sides… It’s only going to get better.
There is certainly no intention of abandoning the loyal support base. I can assure you of that.
There has been a lot of comments about pricing on Informant 5 lately. I assure you that we are actively working on ways to satisfy more of the customer segments.
I am sorry that you feel it was lies and deceit – the simple answer is that i was certainly never our intention to deceive anyone and to the extent that you felt like we have – I sincerely apologize. We take our integrity and reputation seriously. In our past blog posts, we simply weren’t ready to announce the full details of everything going on behind the scenes. There were a lot of moving parts, details to finalize, things to figure out and on top of all that – we were smack dab in the middle of a major release…so publicly talking about any of the above prior to now would have been premature at best. Please let me know how/what you feel lied to about and I’d be happy to clarify any questions you might have.
I kind of agree with you tab. I understand Alex had reasons for introducing Keith as the new “marketing guy”, but a better approach would be not to introduce him at all until his real position could be made public. Now our first impression of him is a lie.
For me, all I need is a good working app with all the customization I’ve gotten used to over the years. I do use Outlook at work, but I have a system that works for me just with the app and that’s all I need. Actually, a good working app AND SOME DOCUMENTATION are all I need. This is a bit off topic, but until I watched a YouTube video last week about tips on Informant 4, I didn’t know that smart filters could be added and sorted right in the Focus view. I thought filters were only something you could turn on and off as needed, but not that they could be used to sort items the way you’d like which is something I’ve been wanting to do since I switched from Android to iPhone early last year. I REALLY wish I’d known that sooner. In fact, this was the first thing I asked after the launch of Informant 5, asking how I can sort my tasks in the Focus view and no one from the company responded. I even created this as an item to vote on on the ideas page and no one let me know I could already do this by using smart filters. If I had a manual, or even a description of what each feature does I could have….. Oh well, like I said that got a bit off topic.
All that being said, I hope it works out well for everyone involved. I’m sure this took a lot of thought and a lot of work and I’ll bet it wasn’t an easy decision. Congratulations to everyone.
Alex, I don’t think you lied or deceived anybody but I don’t think you’ve handled this situation very well.
It would’ve been so much better if Keith had introduced himself properly with a brief description about himself and his company. He could’ve given some insight on how he was going to take fanatic software into the future. Instead we had a random guy called Keith who appeared from nowhere and was answering all the questions on facebook, twitter and this blog. He started of by cracking jokes that nobody appreciated and insulting a few people in the process.
I do agree that a formal introduction would be appropriate. Perhaps there are some specific questions you would like to see answered? I have been drafting some thoughts and do plan to post some details as part of the “official announcement.” And, Yes… you are right. Some of my initial comments were taken as offensive. I regret that. I have changed my tone in my communication style here since, and I hope it is coming across in the assertive and respectful way it is intended.
All the best,
There are aspects that didn’t work well – true, but as I said below – there is a lot of things we just didn’t have the answers for. So if we had introduced him as the new owner day 1 (which he wasn’t at that time), we would’ve been hit with a deluge of questions and the answer would be “Don’t quite know yet”.
The jokes – he and I have talked about that 🙂
Only time will tell if this is the case.
It was certainly not our intention to deceive you. We did leave out parts of the story until the deal was done and some decisions were made. Our priority was (and still is) on Informant 5 and any other news would have been a distraction to what we were focused on.
A few more details:
Keith is in fact, “the marketing guy”. BS in Marketing & an MBA… + 20 years in sales & marketing, so I think that qualifies as “the marketing guy”. Keith wears his Marketing hat a lot more often than he wears any other hat at PI.
Is Keith the new owner? No, Complete XRM, inc is the owner. Keith is the CEO of Complete XRM and a shareholder.
This post by Alex is intended to be a private announcement TO the close customers who read it, a more formal announcement will be coming out in the coming weeks.
New owner or new boss of fanatic software is the same thing in my opinion.
I know about marketing & the one thing I did learn about marketing is that 90% is bullshit & 10% is the truth
I was taught that it was 50/50… but I get your point. (Another bad joke…yeah, I know)
As for being the “Boss” of Fanatic, I really consider Chris & Alex as the “Boss” as it relates to all things Fanatic/ Informant. At some point in the future I may take more of a stance on certain things, but for now… I am… “the marketing guy”.
Sarz, what is your real name anyway? I’m curious to know who I’m talking to. Where are you located? What sort of work do you do?
Keith & Alex,. You need to get your story straight.
In an earlier post today Alex wrote “So if we had introduced him as the new owner day 1 (which he wasn’t at that time)”.
The “him” referred to Keith.
First off congratulations to Alex and the team! Unlike others I do not feel I’ve been lied to or deceived. I assure you it has nothing to do with my name also being Keith. 😉 It has been painfully obvious for the past 6 months that Fanatic were about to merge or be bought.
My main concern comes around the semi project management features we’d been discussing on the Informant group over at Google. Christ, Alex, Rebel, myself and others had come to what would be a great expansion for the Informant line of products. Please assure us (me) this most recent news does not in any way delay implementation of the features discussed last year.
I do find myself fearing that with all the future PPO integrations being planned, the stuff talked about in the late summer/early fall will never see the light of day. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Were Informant open source I’d fork it and put in the “area of responsibility” stuff I need TODAY. With the holidays over and news announced I’m hoping releases of Mac Informant start flying out of the build system and we soon see Chris’ ideas implemented.
Congrats again Alex. Also congrats to Keith for getting the great Fanatic team!
Thanks for the support. We are very sensitive to how the two product roadmaps will affect each other. There are 2 dev teams working. We are adding a resource to deal with the “sync stuff”.
RE: the project management features you mentioned; would you mind posting a link for me or elaborating. I am not 100% in the loop on that discussion on the google groups, but I am happy to read through it to make sure I know what is happening there. (FYI- Chris is 100% on top of that.)
As Alex mentioned in his blog, we are still determining the full extent of things like integration etc. We know that we do want to have a tighter fit, but we also see that the 2 products serve slightly different markets. Our objective will be to build as “close to perfect” product for specific market segments, and if we can do that with overlap then great.
We will be elaborating more on the features that will be coming to PI, but everything that Alex has been promising is on the table. Together, we are committed to turning what is a fantastic product and a team that is literally “world class” (a compliment to Chris & Alex), into an even MORE successful company with true long term viability.
We genuinely appreciate your support
All of this is very interesting, but also distracting. I am more interested in what I am going to get for my $25 annual fee from this new organization. I can tell you what I am expecting:
1 – stable software releases with proper documentation (written, YouTube, whatever …)
2 – A list of upcoming enhancements
3 – A list of bug fixes and when they will be released
4 – A list for suggestions from user
5 – A well organized web site that makes it easy to find all of this information
From my point of view, PI5 failed on many different levels and I think you all have been very distracted by the release, the aquisition, and other issues to serve you user population properly.
Bob, your “let’s get back to business” comment gave me a good laugh!
Alex and Keith, I think y’all are hitting the classic problem of attempting “real, two-way” communications with your customers! For good or for bad, this is why so few businesses actually engage with their customers.
Personally, I say props to you! Even as I see the (varying amounts of) validity in all the criticism, what stands out is your willingness to engage and your persistence to try to do so in a kind and productive manner. That is unique and—even with all the mistakes—makes me proud to be a customer for 12+ years.
I have continued to use PI4 following a frustrating trial of I5.
Just now, on opening PI4, I was presented with a splash screen that told me about the availability of I5 in the App Store.
In the settings page, I note that the first item now reads “Informant5”. Touching this “activates” the same splash screen. I do not recollect seeing this reference to I5 in my PI4 settings. Was it added remotely or triggered in some way?
Are there plans to review the pricing model or is this to remain as is. I am asking since as a Canadian, it comes to a total of a whooping $37.93 CAD with our taxes. That is one insanely high recurring fee to consider when put into context since we’re talking about a “Mobile” solution.
It is also a little disappointing since I have been buying all the versions of the software on all platforms since the beginning of Pocket Informant. Even bought the Mac OS version. Now, it forces to customer to rethink about his actual use case and usage workflow.
I suspect that an important number of current and potential customer will ultimately go the cheapest route and use 2 different applications, one for tasks and the other for calendar, in order to maintain their same workflow and routines. While I have been recommending “Informant” for years both personally and professionally, I cannot do the same any longer. I know our offices will take the route of Good software and remain there for that price point per user. I believe that Informant will not be mainstream any longer. Regular users/customers will not be easily convinced to pay one of the highest premium price simply to get sync features. That is a sad thought as I believe the product has the very best potential and one of the best interfaces.
We now know the intentions for the long run, but what is to be expected in the shorter term for Informant? Once again, I believe that $25 USD for a dumbed down calendar that cannot use free services such as Google Calendar is a risky decision for the survival of the product.
Welcome to the majority.
Please allow me to summarize response’s from a plethora of previous blog posts regarding this subject…
–The days of 99¢ apps are history.
–They didn’t make the previous apps to last forever.
–How much do you think should be charged?
–They need money to pay new company.
–They need Apple money to support Android development.
Please think unicorns and rainbows because they’re dug in on this topic.
I have read all other posts and threads and I am also monitoring various social media networks. I am very well aware of the pricing requiring to increase. I work in IT and have been involved with mobile technologies since the era of the Palm Pilot. Informant does indeed deserve a higher price and a company needs that money to remain afloat and be able to sustain development.
I believe that the current subscription model is not the optimal solution in this form. I am confident Alex and Keith are well aware of it and will adjust at some point. I don’t know what revenue is required to sustain the Informant team and turn a little profit out of it, so it is hard for anyone to really have a perfect answer. All we can make are assumptions, suggestions and recommendations. Personally, I would easily see myself paying something akin to $15 and get Google Calendar and Toodledo sync. We could then pay another in-app amount to add Evernote sync, Email capability, etc.
Your mentioning of unicorns and rainbows is completely useless and leave the impression of kid talk. I don’t think there is any need to start insulting people here. It only contributes in making less credible. You are nevertheless right saying that as a company they need money and I think we all understand that. It’s a matter of identifying the sweet spot.
Congrats to all share or stake holders 🙂
Merger or taken over. Must be latter but it was done very silently. http://completexrm.com/category/press-releases/
Interesting this particular blog entry was also not tweeted by @fanatricsoftware but hey that is just a detail.
I am more worried when I read the ongoing negative global App Store reviews of PI 5 with most complaints on pricing. Th longer this takes, more damage is caused and users will find an alternative. (or have found already If i believe the reviews).
Such a pity which PI does not deserve at all !
I had voiced the same concern a few days ago. Keith’s response was that pricing would be addressed after getting I5 to function at “5 star level”. The rationale was that change in the pricing model would take “development time” which was a lower priority than fixing problems with I5. Keith’s advice was to “wait to see” what would happens with pricing.
I predict this is a “jump the shark” moment…Google it.
Also, I must say, I hope your new chapter involves an even greater dedication to software reliability. Remember: ONE, SINGLE sync error/issue is a HUGE deal. The only acceptable amount of sync errors is NONE! Obviously, that goal is never quite attainable but the perspective is important. Realistically, a few sync errors over the course of a year is understandable. But a few sync errors every week! That’s very, very bad. A user should not have to spend any time making sure things are syncing ok.
I assure you that we share your sentiment about quality. Of course any sync issue is unacceptable.
Now, for anyone reading this who might think that this sounds like we have “major sync problems” we actually have fewer than 1/10 of 1% of users who report a sync issue on any given day. ( 0.0002)
I assume from your comment that you are having some sort of sync issues?
Keith: first, emphasis on, “…EVEN GREATER dedication…” I do not mean to imply y’all are not highly dedicated to quality! My comment is mostly based on my perception that cosmetic/functionality issues are being addressed while there are still bugs. For example, a new date/time picker is being developed while syncing Google tasks does not work (PI5 does not sync a removed due date). The realities of development, customer feedback, and things unknown to users, make this understandable—but I prefer to see a “nothing but fixing bugs” approach.
Yes, I have had a few sync issues. The aforementioned Google task sync problem causes me to not use that sync service at all so I cannot have a positive experience there. Other than that, I’ve had just a few miscellaneous sync issues (Gcal syncing) which is ONLY bad because it is more than zero! But, again, anything more than zero is bad.
For some minor sync issues, it is much easier to delete the event that is not syncing, and make a new event—than to try working with support. By nature, they must check many things and then, inevitably, they won’t be able to replicate it so nothing can be done. This is unfortunate because it does give y’all the opportunity to address the problem. I think one of the sync issues was because PI5 allowed an event that started after it ended—and it synced very wonkily. I’ll try to report that to support.
I think I understand you. I agree that some of the cosmetic issues have been getting a lot of discussion, but our engineering efforts “have” been focused on primarily bug fixes. 5.01, 5.02, and 5.03 are primary bug-bashing fixes. Whereas, 5.1 will address some of the other times. Although, that concept of “is it a bug” or is it an “enhancement” is a topic that gets batted around engineering teams everywhere, and can be a circular discussion.
Yes, exactly—thus it may be more my perception… Keep up the good work.
As a long term Pocket Informant user since Windows Mobile year, I am shocked by the new pricing of Informant 5. It is unwise to push Informant Sync sales. Google service sync is now forced into Sync Bundle of yearly subscription. Long term development is generated from loyal customers, not short sighted marketing behavior.
We do hear you. Stay tuned for a blog post on pricing here soon…
So with all the changes will we see informant 1.0 for mac? Many of us have been waiting a very long time for it. We’ve paid for it and anticipated it in the fall of 2016. It’s winter 2017! What’s up!
We totally understand your frustration. We were hoping to get a few things done more quickly than actually happened. Right now we are working on an Informant 5 foriOS 5.05 (in beta now), and a Informant Mac 0.9 beta will be coming out very soon. You should see it by February some time.
Congratulations on the news! I hope this will be a true benefit to you in terms of pooling resources. However, it is my hope that you do not get carried away with integrating the current platform with something exogenous (XRM’s platform), because the Pocket Informant functionality and core ideas are truly awesome, even though I prefer the PI4 “way” greatly over the new PI5 UI.
My elaboration on this: Outlook integration etc, for instance, surely would benefit some users, but would it really be the way forward? I have used GMail for the last 10 years which is constantly improving with features such as label filtering, and in the near future it will benefit from Google’s AI capabilities. The reason I mention this is because Fanatic decided to devote a lot of resources to Email Integration in PI5, but in reality a small team can never match the features of a large company like Google or Microsoft, so what is the rationale? Sure, we can create tasks from emails, but the ‘core’ email functionality will never be as good as these large companies’ products. Many of the features that they offer, I will never get from Fanatic. Instead, I think it would be wise to focus on Fanatics’ *core* product, which is really good event & task/project management.
Even in PI4 there are a lot of under-developed and under-tested features still. All task fields aren’t even possible to edit when selecting multiple tasks/subtasks. Yes, those features may be more “deep” rather than “broad” and therefore not used by many, but they still deserve to function properly. The core customer is probably more interested in an app/plattform that does those “deep” features really good, rather than something that tries to cover *all* ground in a productivity system, because in all practicality, a small company will never be able to do all things well, it should probably try to do a few things really, really well. Anyway, looking forward to seeing the future developments as a PI customer. Cheers!
You have good insight on this topic. We have this discussion internally often. We are devoted to keeping Informant as the top Calendar/ Task/Project app that it is. You will see us do more polish on I5 to where it will surpass Informant 4. I have no doubt about that. Please remember that the Informant 4.94 release is a .94 release, and the Informant 5 is a 5.02, soon to be a 5.03 and a 5.1… So a few more iterations on this and we should fix the issues that you have seen people bring up.
Well, having used PI since I think 2003 on Pocket PC, Win Mobile, Android, and iOS, I would like to wish you all the best… and bid you goodbye.
The subscription model is simply not working for me.
I am really trying to understand your perspective. Perhaps you could answer a few things for me:
1) if Informant were a 1x purchase again, what is a fair price to you?
2) at that price, how long would you expect Informant to work, ie be supported for things like Sync/weather etc?
3) Are there any features in Informant that you would be willing to pay a subscription for? (I ask this because some features require ongoing expenses, such as some sync services (requires servers, or weather, etc)
Add me & several friends/co-workers who started to use PI at my suggestion, to the list, unless a reasonably priced, non-subscription model with Google sync capability is offered.
Sharing a link to the communication that I just received from the company that created the password management program that I use, in the hope that it will help Fanatic inform consumers of future roll outs and adjust their pricing strategy.
As a consumer, I find Lunabee’s message to be clear and their commitment to existing customers, reassuring.
Sorry for answering late, I don’t monitor this blog post. I kind of gave you an answer in another blog, but let me re-iterate.
I don’t really care about Weather, Evernote, or Notes, to me these are perfect candidates for an add-on pricing for whomever needs them.
The biggest reason for me to use a purchased calendar software vs just going with the native calendar and task apps on iOS or Android is to have my tasks and my calendars integrated in one view.
Informant is not the only program that does that. It’s not even the best program when it comes to pure calendar function (sorry… it has many features but also bugs and a cluttered interface, and I could easily name two other calendar programs I own that are much more joy to use for calendaring). It is probably the best when it comes to task management, especially when combined with Toodledo.
Now, pricing wise… I don’t want to be mentioning your competitors on this blog, but let’s say there’s F, there’s CG (that’s the one I owned for a long time and currently switched back to again), there’s R that could be an excellent all around calendar if not for what I consider a fatal flow in how they handle tasks, and there’s PB which is very simple and surprisingly easy to use… all cost a few bucks and that’s a one time payment. Finally, there’s the method of using a separate calendar and task apps, and combining their data in the Notification (pulldown) screen. I suspect a lot more people would just use this function have they not been set in their ways since iOS4 or so.
So, from a user perspective, what does Informant have to offer to make me pay any subscription year after year after year after year when none of these apps require that ? (I do understand that it may not be sustainable in the long run, but let’s look at the user perspective). Loyalty ? OK. Features ? For me, to fully utilize what I consider Informant’s best features, I must also have a paid Toodledo account. That’s $15 a year on top of whatever else I have to pay to you to sync with it. What does it offer me in exchange, vs using some other method of connecting to Toodledo, or just changing the way I use tasks to get most of the same functionality via some other service ? To be honest, I don’t really know what price I would put on the current set of functions, but surely not even $25/ year. And then there are things that some of these other apps simply do better – faster, in a more straightforward way, with a better designed interface, fewer crashes.
I guess my answer is, I don’t know how much I’d be willing to pay for Informant on a yearly basis. In it’s current iteration, not much. I hate subscriptions. Informant is the most full featured of all the calendars I own, but not the most stable, most elegant, easiest to use, or quickest, nor with every best feature vs all other calendars have. If there was a request for a $25 one time upgrade, even though it’s pretty expensive for an app, I’d likely do it. Leasing Informant on a year to year basis is not in my plans, as much as I like it.
I have always had a huge respect for Alex and the team at Fanatic. PI is the lynchpin of my life and is also the same for many of my friends and clients. That said, the last three months has been a very annoying and worrying time that I don’t think has been fully appreciated by the parties concerned. The most public change that gave away what was happening in the back offices was the change to Tabetha’s email domain on Google Groups. Couple that with I5 coming out almost without any fanfare at all (probably for the best at the moment) and DI being sidelined for weeks, and this is a recipe that blows no good for anyone.
Thank you Alex for explaining what has been going on in the background, but there is a lot of ground that needs to be made up for your existing PI and DI users that this does not address. Until I5, the only subscription you had was for PI Sync and that was a good price if you needed a solid sync option. PI5 introduced a ‘compulsory’ element that was not wholly understood by either side and is probably the root of the App Store disaffected. “Pay for what you want” is not an option for those for whom “We bought the whole lot from you earlier” applies. PlanPlus is not something I had ever heard about, but have read much in recent days. Business users who can get their subscriptions paid for by others are not the same as PI users. I5 does not offer enough change to warrant the subscription model that it requires you to have in order to gain parity with PI 4.x functionality. However, this is not the focus for that discussion.
Fanatic and PlanPlus have merged, the products have not – yet. There is a lot riding on that last word “yet”. Mergers rarely make everyone happy. I have worked through some of the biggest mergers in the IT world in the past. The risk is losing the very people you need to keep the purpose of the merger in the first place both internally and externally. My biggest concern has been the lack of any progress with DI which seems to be very behind the schedule expected, coupled with the release of I5 which (to this user) seems to be little more than a paint job and subscription engine. As a long term user of Fanatic Software products, the last four months have not exactly been ‘smooth flowing’ with November/December and January being stagnant. I have not updated any other family members to I5 due to the crashes and unreliability, and I have stopped any further progress with DI pending the arrival of M9 which now looks more likely to be seen in February than January. Whilst this means little in the overall scheme of things from your business perspective, I am sure that it is a conversation that many users are having amongst themselves and it is a marketing headache of which I am only too familiar that takes a lot of careful balancing to correct. Whatever the final merger outcome decides to call itself, I hope that it manages to retain the users of both platforms moving forward that will give us all the future to which you aspire.
Thank you for the your thoughtful reply. The best news I can share with your right now is the beta release of Mac Informant m0.9.
It is ready for beta….
In all honesty, even if I would normally be excited by the news (Outlook integration, full featured project management are good, as well as increased resources), I am really disgusted by the way Keith has been introduced and has “joined” the PI communuty. I like Alex and Chris, I like them a lot, but having been very involved in reading and commenting on this blog around the launch of PI 5, and having read most of Ketih’s comments, I can simply tell I strongly dislike Keith, his way of dealing with customers, his stupid and out-of-place jokes. Maybe for me it’s a good time to look elsewhere, and not for software realted issues, and if a good day is seen from the morning, this might well be the beginning of your journey towards the end.
Keith is not just the “new kid in town”. He has acquired Fanatic Software. If he truly cares about the company we have grown to like, he should promptly respond by reassuring users on the company’s webpage, not this blog.
I think that soliciting more opinions and requesting positive reviews is not the way to go.
Currently PI5 has two stars on the UK Apple Store, so the request of positive reviews is obviously not working
No better in the rest of the world
> CXRM has PlanPlus for Outlook
Really, the last update of Plan Plus for Outlook as 7 and that is years old and does not work with Outlook 2013 or 2016.
Otherwise I am delighted to hear of your new “family” and look forward to the changes.
Informant user since 2004,
You are correct. The last version of “PlanPlus for Outlook” was v7 & 7.1. Since then we have promoted PLanPlusOnline and the Outlook Connector, and Outlook Sync. It is true that many people would rather have a “desktop” centric solution such as PlanPlus for Outlook. We have not officially announced a plan to release a new version, but “un-officially” we have been discussing it.
Thank you for your support.
Having just come out of our monthly app appraisal meetings, I was not filled with any degree of comfort from the last meeting last month. If anything, I am now deeply concerned at the apparent lack of progress on DI, I5 and the marketing. The presentation made by our external consultant made reference to I5 and to information he was able to give from Fanatic, but I was not convinced. I need to go back to my key stakeholders and offer them solid backing for every app that we endorse as a central resource. Until recently, our external consultant has made exceptional presentations and collateral for us to be able to be confident in our support of Pocket Informant for all our iOS internal customers. This is not the case with Informant 5 and despite some reassuring words said today, I am not seeing these backed up with actions. In fact Informant 5 has not had any of the basic issues addressed yet and DI (which we are only running from a Help Desk perspective at this time) appears to be even less focused upon.
PlanPlusOnline has eye-watering subscriptions listed, the most basic and cheapest comes in at over $100 per year. Given the current Dollar/Pound issues, we are looking at over £100 per user. If we go to the full extreme, we are looking at nearer £500 per user for this platform. Our consultant has stated that he does not currently support or offer any opinions on PPO, but from my perspective, this is too expensive for Health Care Workers individually and for us to cost it out centrally, it would be prohibitive to say the least.
From a merger and acquisition perspective, I am even more concerned as there appears to be no central point for contact for either organisation and this makes me even more nervous. This far down the road, surely something more than a paragraph on a blog should be forthcoming?
Right now, I am not spending any further resources on Informant until I know how this “future” integrates platforms and business models. Despite what I have been advised today, I am not convinced that PI or its desktop counterpart will be with us this time next year. If I am of this opinion, you can be sure I am not alone. Fanatic must address its deteriorating perception in the end user market. Obviously it is up to you, but you cannot keep us waiting for months on end and expect us to simply wait until you deign to tell us what is going on. I have instructed our consultants to look for other platforms for next month’s assessment.
I can see from your thoughtful post that we have you concerned. I hope that my comments here can put you at ease somewhat.
#1) Bug fixes in 5.03 & 5.01. You mentioned something about crashing & not being able to create appts in dark mode. I’m not 100% certain I know your exact issue, but generally speaking I know we have addressed virtually all “crashes” that we are aware of. Also, if you want to turn off dark mode, you can certainly do it. If you have an open case with support on a crash, please share it with me & I will personally check on it. We did submit 5.03 to apple this past week and are watching beta feedback on it as well. 5.1 which addresses some more of the interface changes that have been the focus of much negative feedback, will be coming in April.
#2) RE: Pricing & Merger. I also see from your comments that you may be nervous that we might try to increase prices further on Informant. I can assure you that that is not our intention right now. We have not formally announced pricing or specifics on integration strategy because some of the plans are still uncertain, but here is what I CAN tell you. We (Complete XRM) view Informant as a Low Price / High Volume product (at least compared to other PlanPlusOnline offerings). That means that we want to keep the price as low as possible/reasonable on the Informant side, so that we can reach as wide of an audience as possible. I would actually say that a price reduction is MORE likely than a price increase (No promises yet) . A price reduction may come in the form of modified version, changes in functionality.
#3) From your comments it sounds to me like you may be making purchasing/buying decisions on behalf of a larger group of users, or at least making a recommendation. I am happy to tell you that as part of the merger, we now have an actual “Sales” team who may be able to deal with larger volume buying groups in a more significant way than we did in the past.