July 24, 2014

Painless Synching

CREOutsider Painless SynchingThere seems to be two types of people in the world:  Those that can get Google Sync or iCloud to work and those who can’t.  If you’re one of the lucky ones who can get either to work, you can stop reading right now.  And don’t leave any insulting comments either.  Because it’s not a matter of whether you’re smart or not.  It’s a matter of having the right devices, software and maybe even the planets being aligned in your favor for either of these to work without a hitch.

The only scenario that works most of the time without messing things up too much is synching Outlook’s calendar and contacts with Google.  But if you need Outlook tasks or notes, you’re out of luck.

If you’re using another CRM app or want to stay away from Google, there are other options.  There’s just one catch.  You have to pay.  But it’s worth every penny for aggravation free functionality.

My first choice is CompanionLink. It syncs between just about any CRM database – including some you’ve never heard of – and any device.  I’ve worked with it for years mainly because it’s one of the few synching apps that worked with Act!.  Installation and setup have always been simple and flawless.

On the CompanionLink site, finding the software is easy. Pick your CRM database, your mobile device – or service/other software you want to sync with.  That’s right – it’s not just for mobile device syncing.  You can sync Outlook on one desktop to Outlook on another.  Of you can sync Outllook with your Google account or Outlook.com.

Have multiple databases or more than one device you want to sync with?  There’s software for those cases.  An Express version lets you sync 2 devices with one database and with the Pro version, you can sync multiple databases with up to 5 devices.

Back in the day, CompanionLink dumped everything into your device’s native Contact and Calendar apps.  But due to all the possible device OS quirks, CompanionLink offers a separate mobile app, Deja Office, to hold all your synced data.  The original versions of Deja Office were …ugly.  But now it’s quite slick.  You’ll have all your synched data in one app instead of having to switch apps and all your data is still available for dialing and other functions and/or can be synched with native apps (calendar, for example).

So what about synching?  You can use a standard USB – and in some cases wireless – connection to sync between your device and desktop.  But that’s so old school.  With each license you’ll get 6 months of Deja Cloud which keeps all your device/desktop data in sync.  After the 6 months are up, you can continue to subscribe to Deja Cloud ranging between about $5 – $12 per month depending on the type and number of devices you want to sync.

And believe me you will not want to give up Deja Cloud.  Agents I’ve set this up for are nothing short of ecstatic when they see how a contact they enter in Act! or Outlook shows up on their phones almost instantly.

If you’re an Act!/BlackBerry user, Handheld Contact is another option to CompanionLink that I’ve used.  The interface/set-up isn’t as smooth, but it works.  And it’s a cheaper option than CompanionLink for BlackBerry/Act! users.

A basic edition for $59.95 per year syncs basic Act! data into your native BlackBerry apps instead of using another app.  The only glitch is a change in the way BlackBerry handles the Act! calendar.  Appointments are not linked to contacts.

A Professional version of Handheld Contact is available for BlackBerry, Android, iPhone/iPad and Windows Mobile (Pocket PC and Smartphone versions) for $79 per year per device.  This version bypasses your device’s native apps and puts everything in a separate app.  You’ll also need a separate account for each device so it’s not a great option for those with multiple devices.

I also have to mention ClientLook, a built from the ground up CRM cloud app for CRE.  If you’re looking for a CRM to try or tired of your dino software, it’s worth a look.  Besides having all your contact/project data accessible from any browser, there’s built in synching with Google.  All you need to do is create a Google account (if you don’t have one already or want one just for business purposes…) and set things up from ClientLook.  Then, follow the tutorials for connecting your mobile device or Outlook.

A disclaimer – I wasn’t paid anything to recommend these companies.  These just work.  ClientLook, Handheld Contact and CompanionLink have free trials so you can test them out to see how they work for you. If you’re ready to give up the synching headaches, give them a try.

 

Photo by neate.

Comments

  1. Chris,

    I have not had to sync stuff in so long (thanks to Google) that I did not even think about this as a problem in many, many years. I got off Outlook five years ago, still have it on my machine, but never use it and of course, dumped Blackberry as well. Plus when I went with Google products, syncing just became so integrated into everything that I forgot about the old days of mapping data and wires to devices and all of the headaches we would have! This was really a reminder of how far we have all come. I am sorry to see so many products still require all of this monkey-business, but on the other hand, I can see the huge advantage when something catastrophic happens like an internet outage or power failure on some cloud-based servers, etc. That is the thing I think about most often. What will people do when the cloud goes down and syncing is vital. I back up with several different layers of back up, but even with that, it is just a pain to have a loss of power or internet, even if for short periods, so having your data on your actual machine and device is a very, very good idea, and of course, having all of your data accurate from one device to the other, but Google does do a very good job of it, at least so far for me!

    Thanks,
    Linda

    • Chris Clark says:

      I think there as many sync/back-up set ups as there are people! I really don’t like Google sync so I use CompanionLink to sync Outlook with Android devices – no duplicates plus I have notes and tasks. For my iPhone/iPad, I manually sync my iPhone with iTunes (gets everything from Outlook including notes and tasks) then sync my iPhone with iCloud which also syncs to my iPad. I tried iCloud with Outlook so I could skip the manual sync, but it didn’t go very well. Eventually, though, I’ll upgrade to a multi-device version of CompanionLink. But unlike CRE agents, I don’t really use my phone that much.

      For backup, I use Egnyte for everything but also have other backups – some things in DropBox, KineticD and SOS Backup (those last two I’m just waiting for the subscriptions to end…) – and I still occasionally copy everything to a portable disk drive. Like you, I do multiple backups (we must both be paranoid!).