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Easy deal tracking with Pipeline

Easy deal tracking with Pipeline

Just as I finished my post about the do-everything small-business suite, Veetro, I got an email about Pipeline, a Web service that tracks prospects and sales leads for small businesses.

This service is not nearly as ambitious as Veetro, but it is much easier to understand and to get productive with. If what you want to do is keep track of your pipeline of potential income, it will help you get organized in about five minutes. If that.

Also, since it's a Web application, you get the standard benefit of the platform: Access from anywhere (including presentation files, which you can attach to prospect records), both for yourself and for collaboration with colleagues.

Now, the downsides: There's no integration with other business systems, so any data you put into Pipeline is locked in there. There's no export function to get your deal information into an accounts receivables system, your to-list into your Outlook calendar, or your list of contacts onto your Treo. (Demos of Pipeline do show some export functions, but none are working in the current version.)

Pipeline is free if you manage 10 or fewer deals at a time, with no restriction on the number of users who access the account. There are four paid plans ranging from $12 to $99 a month, depending on the number of deals you want to be able to work on at once.

I remain a believer in the ultimate value of integrated systems, but Pipeline makes a very good argument for focused, single-purpose products.