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Re: Request for comments: towards CRM functionality

Hi Bob;

On Sat, Jul 23, 2011 at 11:16 AM, Bob Miller <..hidden..> wrote:
> My last job before I became self-employed was a company that put some
> resources into mixing sql-ledger and request-tracker.  They eventually
> got it to work, but the accounting code was flaky after that, the system
> was too unreliable, so they abandoned the project.  As far as I know,
> they never released the code, I somehow doubt it even exists any more.
> They had it set up so that you could click a button in tracker to list
> all customers in ledger's database and select one to fill a custom field
> in tracker, and another button that could be used to add inventory items
> to a ticket in other custom fields.  Finally, when the ticket was
> resolved within certain queues in tracker, it sent all the time
> worked/inventory items/customer info to ledger and ledger created an
> invoice and emailed it to the customer.  Ultimately a user of the system
> could complete the entire billing process without ever logging into
> ledger.  Had it worked, it would also have made it so bookkeepers only
> had to collect money and enter payments, and not have to manually
> generate invoices.

If you are going to do this against LSMB 1.2 or 1.3 I would recommend
creating orders instead of invoices.  Then the bookkeepers can open up
the order, bill the customer, etc.  In 1.3 you could also create AR
vouchers, but inventory/COGS is not supported there (hope to be for

However, human oversight is important where you are dealing with
invoice generation.  I generally recommend SOMETHING that requires a
human review the invoices in some way before posting them, even if all
the data is populated.

> While I wasn't there any longer when the project was finally completed,
> I remain friendly with the staff there, and I heard nothing but what a
> beautiful thing it was for the staff (except accounting staff, who spent
> all their time tracking and fixing the stuff that went buggy).

Either way the goal for the staff is you log into one application and
do your work and you don't have to worry about the accounting
internals.  The rest of it gets handled by bookkeeping.

> If ever I get to stop working again for long enough to learn
> programming, this is one of my dream goals.  both tracker and ledger are
> a huge piece of my business operations, a marriage of the two would make
> administrative overhead in my business a lighter load.

Also this sort of approach might make integration easier because it
would allow better analogies between the programs.

> Anyway, I just mention it because Request Tracker does all the things
> you mention, and I think what my former employer did very closely
> resembles what you are talking about doing yourself.  Perhaps you might
> find value in hearing about this approach...

I am interested in hearing more, both in terms of how we can learn
from it in our own work and how we can provide better integration
points in the future.

Best Wishes,
Chris Travers

> --
> Bob Miller
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> http://computerisms.ca
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