1. What's the difference between Professional (paid) and Collaborator (free) users?
The main difference, aside from the price (paid vs free) is that Professional users get to do three special things in AffinityLive that Collaborator users don't.
- Firstly, Professional users can "own" objects, things like client accounts, sales opportunities, jobs, tasks, support issues and invoices. This means they get certain benefits like automatic alerts when things happen, as well as special rights to edit these objects.
- Secondly, Professional users can enter billable time which becomes part of an invoice; while all users can log time, Collaborator users are seen as non-billable staff, who's time is unbillable.
- Thirdly, Professional users can set relationship defaults with contacts, which sets default visibilty permissions for automatically captured emails. While all users can change the visibility of the emails they've sent or received that get captured by AffinityLive, only Professional users can set automatic defaults.
- Finally, Professional users can forecast their availability using the scheduling features. Collaborators can view these schedules, but cannot have their own.
There are a few other small things, but these are the main differences.
2. What do I need to get started?
AffinityLive is a web-based application, so you only need a web browser - such as Google Chrome, Firefox or Internet Explorer - and an internet connection.
Once you've signed-up, your deployment will be ready in around 5 minutes, and you'll receive an email with some tips on getting started - such as how to import contacts from your addressbook or existing CRM system to get started, as well as how to connect your email up to AffinityLive.
3. What kind of support or training do you offer?
Our regular plansÂ include email support, and additional support - phone, or in person - can be purchase separately through one of our Partners.
If you want to save on paid support, however, you'll be please to know we've got a help website at help.affinitylive.com which provides online documentation, tutorials, configuration tips and videos so you can tackle a lot of the support and training topics yourself. Additionally, we've got a great Forum, where users can ask questions and get support from both the AffinityLive team and their partner around the world.
Email support is available by emailing [email protected] - we'll get back to you as quick as we can, usually within one business day.
Remember, if you want a higher level of support be sure to check out the Support and Training services offered by AffinityLive and its partners.
4. How does the trial period work?
- There is no "cut-down" version of AffinityLive - the 30 day trial allows you to access all the features.
- You can add as many users as you like during the trial.
- Even if you select a plan and provide billing details on day 1, we only start charging from the end of your trial period.
- If you login after the trial has expired, you will be asked to choose a payment plan to continue. Your data is retained for 60 days in case you change your mind.
For more information, check out the comprehensive trial FAQs on our signup page.
5. How do I get new features or upgrades?
Upgrades are one of the biggest headaches of traditional, installed software. The good news is that AffinityLive is hosted in the Cloud, and your monthly subscription includes all ongoing upgrades - and you don't need to stress or lift a finger.
Our team is constantly working to enhance the current features of AffinityLive, and come up with new features, reports, tools, settings and 3rd party integrations as requested by our clients. Or course, we also have to fix bugs from time to time, whether they're our bugs or work-arounds for the constantly shifting world of web browsers.
We aim to perform updates to AffinityLive on roughtly a fortnightly basis. You don't need to take action or stress at all, because such frequent updates mean the changes we make are usually small and won't affect you or your team. These updates are of course free and don't require any action on your part. Some new features need to be activated by your site administrator.
We'll always let you know about upcoming features via our blog, and should a large change in functionality occur, we'll email you directly to let you know in advance.
6. How do you secure my data?
We understand how important it is to keep your data safe and secure - which is why we've gone to pretty extreme lengths to lock things down. We break our practical security measures down into four attributes, based on best practice management of risk.
Our first security defence is simple, important but often overlooked - we make sure every single connection between your computer or wireless device and the AffinityLive servers is encrypted, using 265 bit securty encryption which is roughly twice as strong as many banks use today. Unlike many other web-based services that provide encryption as an option, with AffinityLive, this level of encryption and security is compulsory - there is simply no way to access AffinityLive without at least 256bit encryption.Â
In addition to making sure the connection between your desktop and the servers is secure, we also go to pretty significant lengths to ensure the connections our engineers use to manage your system and keep it secure are also tightly controlled and secured. All engineers are closely vetted, and access to the server infrastructure by our engineers is only possibly via a 2048bit encrypted VPN connection, secured in addition through private keys and a server-side access control list that allows for immediate revocation if required. While a small group of our engineers need to be able to access systems to manage, optimize and maintain them, the only services that are accessible outside this protected channel are via the website and mail server that you use, each of which is firewalled and locked down at the front door. The database and file server that store your critical data are never accessible directly to the outside world.
When it comes to data security, segregating your data from that of other AffinityLive clients is an important and effective security measure. When you become an AffinityLive client, your data is kept in a separate, segregated database which is tied completely to your - and only your - deployment of AffinityLive. In hosted or multi-tenant applications that run in the cloud, one of the risks is that everything is stored together in a single database, and all it takes is one oversight by a programmer and other people may get unauthorized access to your data. With AffinityLive, we make sure you're quarantined and segregated into your own database, to ensure this can never happen.Â
- Vigilance & Expertise
Servers, websites and applications are created by people, so in a sense there's always a chance that a bug or hole might be found. The good news is that AffinityLive is built upon systems and technology with more than a decade of proven performance in large scale environments, including Google, Facebook and more. By choosing to build upon servers like the Apache Web Server, the Postfix Mail Server and the MySQL Database Server, we've made sure we're using some of the most stable, secure and proven platforms to build AffinityLive upon. Should a hole or exploit be found, we've also architected our systems to support a high level of automation; within a matter of minutes we can have our dozens of systems and services automatically updated and patched. With a team of dozens watching these things around the clock, a mixture of expertise, vigilance and doing things right ensures your data is protected and secure, much more so than it would be sitting on a server in the corner of your office.
7. Why is there no free version?
While it is very common to provide a very limited version of a web service or application for free, we've decided not to do this for a few reasons.
- AffinityLive is for growing companies
Firstly, many of the free versions of applications out there are only suitable when you've got one or two users. Zoho, MyERP, Basecamp and many other online pioneers have set up their plans so that you need to step up to a paid plan once you get more than a couple of users. If there are two of you sharing a handful of clients and projects, Excel Spreadsheets or Google Docs will probably be enough for your business. It is only once you start growing, bringing in more people and work, that you realize these manually systems aren't enough and that your business and sanity are suffering. It is then that AffinityLive starts to become an essential part of your business, and since you're probably spending more than $25,000 per month on payroll with a team of 5 staff, another $100 or so to increase their efficiency by 10% just makes sense.
- AffinityLive actually allows an unlimited number of free users
AffinityLive has a bit of a different licencing model - you can have unlimited Collaborator users for free, and you only pay for Professional users. This means you can bring the whole company into AffinityLive, and as long as they don't need to be a Professional user to do their job, you don't have to pay a cent for them. Ever.
- AffinityLive is a serious tool for serious businesses
If you're going to trust the operations of your business with a system, you really want to be sure it will be there for you tomorrow. AffinityLive is an enterprise class business tool for professional service businesses to use in running their business, and by charging for Professional users instead of giving it all away for free and hoping to pay the real costs of staff, servers and support through some other magic mechanism, you can be confident that AffinityLive will keep being there for you, not just today but well into the future.
8. Do you have an API?
AffinityLive does indeed have an API, and a lot of functionality that drives the application is built on it.
To be honest, though, we haven't gotten around to polishing it up and documenting it to make it suitable for release, so it is in an Alpha state at the moment.
If you want to get involved and do some development/integration work on it, check out our API documentationÂ or if you want to get into the unpublished API alpha features, Contact Us today.
9. What if we exceed the storage limits?
The amount of storage space included in AffinityLive is defined by the number of Professional users you have, with each Professional user increasing your total storage space by 2GB. So, if you've got 6 Professional users, you'll have 12GB of storage for things like email attachments, proposals, documents and more - all stored, backed up and accessible from anywhere in the cloud.
10. Who's behind AffinityLive and are they staying around?
AffinityLive is a product wholly owned by Hiive Systems, which is in turn a privately held Australian company. If for any reason we are unable to meet your service expectations, because all of the data in the system remains yours, and because there aren't any up-front licencing costs, your financial exposure is quite small.
From an operations perspective, we store all of your data in an industry standard SQL format, which gives you maximum flexibility should you need to move to another solution into the future for whatever reason.
11. Can I change my privacy settings so that certain emails stay confidential?
We know that privacy is important to you, and so we’ve made it easy to protect your confidential emails. When adding a contact or conversation within AffinityLive, you can set your privacy settings to either confidential or private.
Confidential means that your teammates will see who you’re communicating with, but will not be able to see the email itself.
Private means that your email interaction will not be captured to AffinityLive.
12. Can I send emails from AffinityLive?
AffinityLive does not have emailing functions. It captures, indexes and stores emails in its news feed but you will need to reply and send from your existing email application.
13. Do my clients need to signup for AffinityLive in order to accept invoices, proposals and payments?
Clients do not need to be on AffinityLive to review documents and make payments. They can reply back to your Affinitylive emails and complete invoices by credit card.
14. Can I access AffinityLive on my mobile?
Yes, but we currently don't have a mobile version of the product. The site is built entirely on HTML 5 and works brilliantly on a tablet. Though we don’t have an app, you can still sync your mobile contacts and email interactions with our browser-based application.