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My Four Gripes with Highrise (iPhone, Offline, Syncing)

I’ve been using Highrise CRM from 37signals for about a year now and I think it’s a pretty good product – certainly better than most other CRM tools I’ve used. However, there are some substantial features the products lacks that keep it from being even more integrated into my workflow. There are three core ways in which I’d like to use Highrise CRM:

1. Universal store of contact and context information for people I know or have met
2. Address book of record that will sync with other clients and devices (namely the iPhone) – this is a close cousin of point #1 above.
3. Easy way to keep track of conversations I’ve had with people and things on my to-do list

I know the 37signals team has a long laundry list of features they’re trying to prioritize and I’m just one of many users. That being said, there are a four modest gripes I have about the product:

No iPhone application – One of my most persistent frustrations with Highrise is that it doesn’t have an iPhone application. What would I use the iPhone app to do? Well, it would be nice to be able to access all of the data I have about people, particularly contact info for folks who are not on my iPhone, when on the go. I would also like to be able to input new items, particularly notes from conversations and calls and new to-do items. I’m aware that I can use the email feature in Highrise to just tap out a note and then email it into the system. I’d rather just be able to hop right into the interface than email the info in. Maybe I’m alone in feeling that way.

Doesn’t sync with any other system I regularly use – My biggest gripe is that I can’t use Highrise as my contact database of record as it doesn’t easily talk to any other system. I realize that Highrise can’t make Gmail or Mac Address Book integrate with or support two way sync between Highrise and those applications. But without mobile access or the ability to sync with the other apps I use regularly (namely Gmail), investing in Highrise as my database of record for contacts isn’t as useful as it could be.

No offline access – This is a small nit. I sometimes find myself with down time where I’d like to update my contact info. Unfortunately, there isn’t any way for me to use Highrise in offline mode. It sure would help in those periods where I have time but no Internet access.

Poor Task Functionality – Overall, I wish the Task functionality were more robust. One of the most important things I need from a task application is the ability to annotate tasks – I like to make notes about my tasks. Having the ability to do that in Highrise would be great. If you can do it already, I haven’t figured out how to make it happen.

If you’re a Highrise user and have thoughts, feel free to leave them in the comments.

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