The SalesPad web portal is not very widely used right now, but I think that is going to change.
A great session at the SalesPad Panels event had to do with SalesPad’s web portal. This tool is still pretty new, I think they started talk about it about a year ago. Although not too many clients used it now, SalesPad is working on development and I think as it becomes a more mature product, it will be more viable for additional clients.
First, one of the things that you might want to note about web portal is that it’s based on your current license count which means that you don’t need to purchase anything additional in order for internal users to use the SalesPad web portal.
In a nutshell, the web portal is very, very basic sales order processing. You can do sales document entry. I believe you can add new customers, new customer addresses, and you can do some different lookups on your customer, sales documents or inventory. But that’s pretty much it. The functionality is very finite.
The web portal works along with SalesPad’s desktop console. Basically, you have to have SalesPad desktop installed and implemented and running like you normally would but internal users can access it from a web site.
One of the benefits to the web portal is that you can purchase additional licenses for external users. So if you have a handful of really strong customers that you sell to on a regular basis, and they know what they’re doing, they know their products, then you can give them external credentials where they can log in and do their own document entry. You can use security to limit their access of course. You can even set up those external users as inquiry only. That would allow your customers to be able to log into the portal and look at their sales documents. Just look at them… to see the status or what’s fulfilled, what’s pending. But they would not necessarily be able to edit anything. You don’t want customers changing quantities or, God forbid, pricing. But they can go and look at their order status and see the orders that they have in process or even potentially their order history, depending on the security that you give them.
One thing SalesPad said they are currently working on is to integrate in payment processing into the web portal. For right now, there is nothing like that. You cannot enter an order and process the payment along with it in the web portal. You need a desktop user to login and do that. When they add this feature it will be really huge. Because you could let your customers go into this customer-facing web portal and enter their own documents, add their own credit card information and process the payment. Then it sends a notification to a desktop user in the office to go ahead and process the order.
One of the things that we had asked about when you’re doing your sales order entry is if the web portal will respect any scripts that are written in SalesPad’s core product. They currently do not, which is a problem for anybody who’s using any sort of pre-saved script or on-load scripts for their documents or any of their cards within SalesPad. That is definitely one of the more limiting features. Also, it doesn’t work entirely with SalesPad’s defined workflow.
Moving forward it seems that it is going to try to mirror more of that desktop feel but in a web-related way. So a lot of what they talked about in today’s keynote address at SalesPad Panels was that web based and cloud based is the future. And you can definitely tell that SalesPad is hoping that this web portal can really hit the ground running and get some steam because they want to put more resources behind it. Which will mean more functionality.
I’m going to be getting the appropriate file to add to my desktop so that we can test it out and see and perhaps make a few suggestions to help their developers get some extra stuff in there. For right now SalesPad web portal is not necessarily ready for anybody to use full steam but it could be a really cool tool to use for inquiry purposes.
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By Katelyn Wood, CAL Business Solutions, Microsoft Dynamics GP for Distribution Partner, www.calszone.com