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Baramundi Management Suite

The Baramundi Management Suite (which begins at $25.90 per device) is a relative newcomer to our mobile device management (MDM) review roundup. It’s also notable for the fact that the software comes in the form of a virtual machine (VM) intended for either local installation on a server in your data center or for use in the cloud as a server instance in either Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure. While it might be a solid enough MDM competitor for many small to midsize businesses (SMBs), the Baramundi Management Suite suffers from some unneeded complexity as well as a dependence on Microsoft back-office platforms for full functionality. It’s these issues that keep it behind our Editors’ Choice winner VMware AirWatch for now.

Similar Products

On the plus side, the MDM function is just one part of the bigger picture in the Baramundi Management Suite. Similar to Microsoft Intune, the Baramundi Management Suite also handles some desktop management chores for Microsoft Windows and Apple OS X-based desktops, up to the installation of a new operating system (OS). The downside here is that full functionality requires integration with an external Microsoft Active Directory (AD) domain and a Microsoft Exchange Server for sending email notifications. The first is something we encounter often, but the second has become something of a limitation now that many SMBs are going with hosted email services such as Google G Suite instead of an in-house email server. Our trial system didn’t have access to either of these platforms so we were unable to test all of the features, including the sending of email messages for device enrollment. Additionally, on the MDM side, Windows-based devices also required AD support, which means that shops without AD and Microsoft Exchange will only be able to manage Android and Apple devices with the Baramundi Management Suite.

Installation and Device Enrollment

Installing the Baramundi Management Suite consists of provisioning a VM, which was accomplished by the company for our test instance in the Microsoft Azure public cloud. The same could be accomplished in AWS should you choose to go that route. Connecting to the system uses a remote desktop session to connect you into a Windows Server environment. The one advantage to a VM approach is the consistency of deployment for the management infrastructure across multiple cloud services and on-premises, which means you’ve got easy access to redundancy and scalability should you need it.

To enroll either an Android or iOS device, you simply download the Baramundi Mobile Agent application from the appropriate store and follow the in-app instructions. Baramundi provides a Quick Response Code (QR code) that contains the server and account information so you don’t have to type this in. The agent includes a QR scanning capability, which removes the need for any additional apps. On iOS, the app installs the appropriate certificates to get you securely connected to the server.

We were able to register an iOS phone, a Samsung Galaxy S8+ smartphone, and a Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 device. The Baramundi Management Suite does support the Samsung Knox platform and the ability to block (black list) or allow (white list) specific apps. Only those apps which have been white-listed will be allowed should a user choose to install them. We did find some limitations to this capability depending on the version of Knox you’re using but it shouldn’t be an issue with updated phones.

Management Interface

Opening the Baramundi Management Suite console presents a dashboard that shows the status of Windows devices. The dashboard for mobile devices shows compliance status and rules violations. The Compliance Overview block includes clickable links to take you to another section of the management interface with more detailed information. The graphics displayed are static, meaning you can’t click an image and drill down for further details like you can in other products like VMware AirWatch and SOTI MobiControl. You also can’t modify the dashboard screens.

Like most of the other products in this roundup, the Baramundi Management Suite uses the concept of device profiles to configure specific settings. One difference from products such as and SOTI MobiControl is that the Baramundi Management Suite uses the concept of a universal profile to apply the same basic settings to all platforms. Creating a profile consists of settings collected into groupings they call “building blocks.” For example, one building block addresses restrictions on hardware such as the camera. Other building blocks include settings for Wi-Fi access points and virtual private network (VPN) credentials.

Once a profile has been created, it must be deployed by using a job. Jobs perform a number of different actions, including installing or uninstalling an app or profile; locking, unlocking, or wiping a device; and compiling a hardware or software inventory. Performing an action such as a device lock or wipe requires several steps, including creating a job to accomplish the task and then deploying it to a specific device. This seems more cumbersome for mobile devices than simply right-clicking and choosing “Lock Device” as in other systems such as SOTI MobiControl.

Viewing individual devices lets you see pertinent information about the device and perform specific tasks such as assign a job or edit the owner details. A Device Actions menu item on the page only let you deactivate the device. To do anything else requires creating a job. Creating a new job happens under the Jobs section. The Baramundi Management Suite includes a number of standard jobs to do things such as take a hardware and software inventory or distribute an app. Initiating a device wipe requires a number of steps to first create the job and then assign it to a specific device. This amount of effort would become quite tedious for most administrators after the first few device wipe requests.

Reporting was one strong area for the Baramundi Management Suite. A long list of pre-defined reports gives you access to most of the pertinent information. Creating new reports requires a full version of Crystal Reports which is an additional cost but does offer a robust report building tool. On the downside, the Baramundi Management Suite interface was not as intuitive as other products, like and SOTI MobiControl. It’s also missing features such as geofencing, geolocation, or mobile expense management (MEM). The geolocation feature is a significant one when an employee loses his or her device.

Pricing

The base price for a single Baramundi Management Suite device is $25.90 plus a yearly maintenance cost between $3.50 and $5.50 depending on contract length. While that sounds like a lot, it actually puts the Baramundi Management Suite among the cheapest of all the products we tested, along with AppTec360 Enterprise Mobility Management.

Overall, we liked the Baramundi Management Suite, though we did find that it offers only the basic functionality that we’d expect out of an MDM product. However, it does manage that at a very low cost. Still, it doesn’t fully compare with the capabilities found in the other products in this roundup, notably our Editors’ Choice winner VMware AirWatch. Simple administrative functions, such as wiping a device, require far too many steps when compared to all of the other products in our roundup. Plus, its reliance on Microsoft for full functionality makes life hard on companies that have opted for different cloud-based back-office platforms.

Freshsales CRM

Freshsales CRM (which begins at $12 per user per month, with a free plan available) is an affordable customer relationship managegment (CRM) platform that lets sales professionals better understand their customers. Its entry level free plan is a great choice for small businesses new to the concept of CRM, and it also acts as a long-term free trial for companies deciding which product to choose.

The software is very easy to use and takes care of many manual tasks, such as logging phone calls, tracking emails, and customer research. It doesn’t quite rise to the level of our three Editors’ Choice products—Apptivo, Salesforce Sales Cloud Lightning Professional, and Zoho CRM—all of which offer more third-party integrations.

Freshsales CRM Pricing

Freshsales has four pricing tiers: Sprout, Blossom, Garden, and Estate. The Sprout plan is free and includes built-in phone, email integration, basic reporting, mobile apps, and integration with Freshdesk, Google G Suite, and Zapier. The Blossom plan ($12 per user per month) adds to that pipeline management, workflows, email sync, templates, MailChimp integration, and more. Next up, the Garden plan ($25 per user per month) adds advanced reporting and forecasting, territories, and more. Finally, the Estate plan ($49 per user per month) includes reports dashboards, multiple pipelines, lead scoring, and other advanced features. All plans include 24/7 email support and 24-hour phone support on weekdays.

Users can take advantage of the 30-day free trial (no credit card information required) by clicking on the sign-up button on the top right of the screen or the “sign up for free” button in the middle. Input your name, email, company, and phone number, and create a custom domain (name.freshsales.io). That field auto-fills as your company name, but you can change it to whatever you want. Once you submit that information, Freshsales opens with a tour of the software that outlines the main features. After the tour, you’re prompted to invite your team. Finally, you need to activate your account via email and then create a password. Remember your domain name, as that’s how you’ll have to log in to your account.

Contacts, Leads, Deals, and Reports

After you log in, you see your list of leads, which includes a sample record. Along the top of the screen, you can see how many days remain in your free trial, click to upgrade to a paid account, create a new record (lead, contact, account, etc.), compose an email, view notifications, and manage account settings. Along the left side of the screen, you can access other parts of the CRM. Underneath leads are contacts, accounts, deals, conversations, calendar, reports, dashboard, and settings. You’ll also find sample data in contacts and accounts, and sample tasks in the calendar. The tasks reminders were sent to my email, seemingly to encourage me to play around with the software.

Freshsales uses the lead as the entry point. Once a lead is converted to a contact, the associated company information populates into an account record; add the website URL and Freshsales automatically adds public information about the company, including its website, logo, social media, company size, address, and other details, just as it does with contacts and leads. When we added PC Magazine as account, it pulled in the correct street address, phone number, and social media accounts.

When you add or update a new record, a panel opens on the right side of your screen so you can input the information without navigating away from whatever you were working on. You can also upload leads from a CSV file, but you can’t connect it directly to another CRM. Users can also capture leads by embedding a form on their website.

When you add a new lead or contact and include their email address, Freshsales auto-enriches the profile by pulling in associated Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn profiles. This way you can see what your leads and contacts are interested in and what they’re talking about, so you have a starting point.

You can filter leads, contacts, and accounts by any field, as well as by lead score, and based on when they were last contacted. Users can also conduct bulk actions, including sending an email and assigning records to different sales reps.

The Deals section of Freshsales is set up in a Kanban-style view, and deals can be dragged and dropped to different stages along the pipeline. You can customize the stages in the pipeline and change the order to your liking.

Freshsales offers several communication tools, including email templates, campaigns, and integrated phone and voicemail, and call recording. The idea is to be able to conduct all of your outreach without leaving the software or having to input updates manually. You can save files (up to 20MB) from your computer or cloud storage, such as Google Drive and Dropbox, in the software too and add them as email attachments. Users can track email open- and click-rates for any messages sent through the software or via connected email accounts; there are also metrics available for email templates so you can gauge which are the most successful. A team inbox feature syncs with generic company email addresses, such as info@company.com, so that those emails can be tracked, and new leads are automatically added to the system.

You can connect any IMAP-compatible email account to Freshsales, including Gmail, Office 365, and Zoho Mail. This will sync the inbox and sent folder. On the Conversation tab, you can view an “Awaiting Response” folder so you can see where you need to follow up. Freshsales has a built-in calendar and task manager and can also sync with Google Calendar.

Automating manual tasks is a big part of Freshsales, and that includes the ability to set up workflows. You can set up triggers and conditions for any record in Freshsales. For example, you can have it create a task when a lead sends an email. Or you can set it up so that an email is sent to a contact after a certain amount of time passes without communication.

Freshsales also has a full-featured mobile app for Android and iOS that sales reps can use in the field to access information and update records after meetings and phone calls. Once a contact becomes a customer, all relevant information can be shared with customer service agents if you’re also using Freshdesk support. This way, agents have the most up to date information.

Reports are available for conversations, tasks, appointments, and leads, contacts, and accounts. There are several built into the software, but you can also customize your own. The reports can be viewed in chart form and exported as a CSV or a PDF file. You can even schedule reports to be emailed monthly, weekly, or daily.

Freshsales has some third-party integrations, including the email and calendar programs mentioned above, as well as with , , one of our Editors’ Choice products in this category, which is also affordable. Or you should consider Salesforce Sales Cloud Lightning Professional, which is more expensive but highly customizable.