New Outlook app is great for email, but not the full “Outlook” experience yet

This is a live document and we will update as we learn more about the new Outlook app.

Summary; TLDR

  • Hit: supports popular cloud email services and file storage
  • Hit: beautiful email UI for email, customizable swipe settings
  • Hit: intelligent “snooze” feature on email
  • Miss: does not support all business IMAP accounts like desktop Outlook does
    • February 16 app update adds support for generic IMAP accounts
  • Miss: no support for Outlook Contacts, Tasks, Notes
  • Miss: no Category support for PIM organization
  • Miss: major security hole by storing email credentials and data in a temporary server

The new Outlook app, a fruition of Microsoft’s acquisition of Acompli, brings renewed hope for Outlook users. The fresh UI and robust compatibility with the popular email services rightfully warrants the 4-star review Microsoft is currently earning. Contrast that to the 2.5-star showing of Microsoft’s prior horse in the race, the app regrettably known as OWA for iPhone.

However, the “Outlook” portion of the name of the app is a bit over-reaching. There are two main reasons for this.

  1. Outlook on the desktop does email, contacts, calendar, tasks, notes, and categories.  The Outlook app does email and calendar. Perhaps the rest is coming in short order.
  2. Outlook on the desktop allows you set up any IMAP or POP account. The Outlook app only allows EAS, Outlook.com, Google, Yahoo, and iCloud accounts. The rest of the business world that uses a private email provider with their desktop Outlook isn’t invited to the dance hosted by the new Outlook app. (Update 2/2015: an app update now allows you to add generic IMAP email accounts.)

no-imap2

outlook-no-imap

Hits

Email never felt this good. Acompli’s reputation prior to their acquisition was for a sexy email client that could blend all of your popular emails services into one app. Multi-account support works beautifully, and their Focused vs. All filters to put an emphasis on email productivity by showing important email and hiding newsletters and other repetitive communications for later viewing. Also, the ability to swipe to Schedule an email to reappear in the Inbox in a few hours or a time of your choosing lets you quickly consolidate your morning inbox so you address only important emails. A very nifty feature!

Misses

Security is the big hole for the Outlook app, as discovered by Rene Winkelmeyer. The hole has always existed when the code base was owned by Acompli. The ire is that people expected Microsoft to fix this security hole before releasing under the Outlook brand.

In short, email account credentials and data are stored on Microsoft’s servers for a “temporary” time frame. This allows the Outlook app to do fancy things like snooze email. However, it also means your email and potentially other PIM information like appointments and recent contacts are privy to Microsoft. I sense an ulcer developing for folks who care about corporate security, HIPAA, and other initiatives aimed at protecting our data.

The app also doesn’t match features found in desktop Outlook.

Contacts make a guest appearance through the limited functionality of the People section in the app. Instead of a real contact list, you are given a list of recently used email addresses. There is no contact manager that holds your records, and you cannot add/update contacts, address, and phone numbers from your device. This is likely due to the fact that email services like Google and Yahoo are not EAS servers. They rely on IMAP, whose protocol isn’t fundamentally designed to handle PIM info like Contact details. EAS, on the other hand, was designed for this. It’s surprising that even EAS accounts in the new Outlook app doesn’t handle Contacts.

Outlook Tasks do not exist. Many business users rely on a task list to coordinate their priorities or implement productivity systems like Getting Things Done or Franklin Covey. Without a task list, users of this Outlook app cannot manage their priorities on the go.

Outlook Notes also don’t make an appearance.

The must-have Outlook Category feature does not exist. Desktop Outlook users rely on categories to organize their daily agenda by appointment type. Without this, business and personal appointments are indistinguishable in the calendar view.

Top 10 business productivity apps to start 2015 efficiently

Business professionals are always looking for ways to save time or make better use of it. Professionals seek to maximize productivity both inside and outside the office. Productivity apps that aim to get them to this holy grail number in the thousands. The challenge is in applying the Pareto Principle; find the 20% of apps that will improve productivity by 80%.

Productivity apps generally fall under the following categories: storage, calendars, email management, notes, tasks, contacts, follow-ups, documents, and remote deskop access. Apps that shine tend to be those that are efficient and a pleasure to use for every day actions like completing tasks on the go, organizing clients notes, sharing documents. These efficiencies give professionals a competitive advantage.

A recent productivity survey from smartphone provider BlackBerry Limited and research firm GfK found 69 percent of smartphone users are “constantly looking for new ways to get things done as efficiently as possible,” and 67 percent also said they are looking to improve their productivity.

Researchers also note the perception towards smartphones has changed. The majority of survey respondents said they now believe smartphones give them the flexibility to work when and where they want, and can help free up time.

“Smartphones have made a major impact on the way we conduct business and communicate with friends and family, driving our ambitions to be productive in order to change the way we contribute to work, our communities and society,” John Chen, CEO of BlackBerry, said in a prepared statement.

But which apps are the most efficient in helping professionals with their daily actions? Here are 10 productivity apps that every business professional should know about.

OmniFocus (task management)

OmniFocus offers mobile task management. They use “Perspectives” to help people analyze their work and get it done quickly and efficiently. Each OmniFocus Perspective is designed for a specific reason (planning, checking on upcoming tasks, etc.) and brings the most relevant information to the forefront by focusing on folders and projects that business professionals need to see at any given time. The app can be used to track tasks by date, place, person or project. OminFocus ensures professionals balance life and work by helping them stay on top of projects and goals.

Evernote (note-taking)

Create a collaborative hub for team brainstorming, organize your notes, or save snippets from webpages with Evernote. This is among the most popular Notes and Organization apps. Evernote offers a single workspace that can be accessed from any location at any time. By keeping all documents, presentations and photos close at hand, the app makes it easy for people to work remotely, give presentations that were created in the office, and collaborate with their teams.

LogMeIn (remote desktop control)

Want to take your PC anywhere you go? Use the LogMeIn app on your smartphone or tablet to access and control your PC from anywhere you have a data connection. The app includes file management features that allow you to download files from the desktop. File transfer, file sharing and remote printing capabilities allow a remote worker can stay connected with their office from anywhere they have a data connection. Plus, LogMeIn offers 24/7 app phone support.

CloudOn (document-editing)

With great power comes great responsibility, especially for executives who use the CloudOn document-editing app. To date, 8 million registered CloudOn users have edited 85 million documents, thanks in part to the CloudOn app’s user-friendly design and interface. This simple yet powerful document editor features a gesture-first design that encourages users to tap, type, pinch and swipe to edit documents stored in the cloud or in emails. CloudOn also features a spacious interface with room to edit documents on the challenging form factor of smartphones.

CloudOn supports the ubiquitous-for-business Microsoft Word document format.

Google Drive (cloud storage)

Keep your files handy from any computer or mobile device with the Google Drive app. A  professional can store their documents and presentations in the Google cloud, which can serve as a backup. This app also allows users to collaborate with peers on documents, and executives can invite co-workers to view, edit or leave comments on any files or folders that are stored in Google Drive.

Google Drive users start with 15 GB of free Google storage, so business professionals receive plenty of complimentary storage space for documents, files, folders and much more.

InFocus Pro (all-in-one suite)

Want a flexible app suite that will help you get organized? Check out InFocus Pro, an all-in-one productivity app suite that features:

  • Calendar
  • Checklist
  • Notes
  • Projects
  • To Do

InFocus Pro makes it easy for business professionals to create to-do lists, take notes and find better ways to manage projects – it even allows users to handwrite custom notes in any color they choose and includes a calendar that syncs with iCal, Google Calendar, Outlook Calendar and other popular calendar programs.

Microsoft Office (document-editing)

The Microsoft Office app is a business user’s dream come true. It allows access to files stored on OneDrive, OneDrive for Business or SharePoint, and view and edit Office files, including those that are attached to emails. In addition, Word, Excel and PowerPoint have been optimized for smartphones, ensuring business professionals can view crystal-clear versions of files and make edits on their smartphones as needed.

DejaOffice (all-in-one productivity app suite)

Looking for a single app to hold all of your client data like Notes, Phone numbers, Emails, Tasks, Documents, Meetings, and CRM History? DejaOffice CRM holds all this data and connects with the most popular CRM and productivity systems like Salesforce CRM, Act!, Microsoft Outlook, IBM Lotus Notes, GoldMine, and Novell GroupWise.

DejaOffice holds the following CRM data in one integrated app:

  • Calendar
  • Contacts
  • Categories
  • Journal
  • Memos
  • Tasks
  • Documents and Images

This app offers advanced features that the built-in apps that ship with smartphones and tablets don’t have. Organize tasks, contacts, and calendar into color-coded categories, link calendar events to contacts and their documents, log outgoing phone calls as a history item under the contact, set task alerts, and much more. DejaOffice lets businesses manage CRM on their smartphones and tablets in an efficient and device-agnostic manner. The app is available for Android, iPhone and iPad, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry.

Dropbox (cloud storage)

There’s a reason 4 million businesses use Dropbox – this file backup, sync and sharing app lets users bring all their documents, photos and videos anywhere they go.

Dropbox provides easy-to-manage cloud storage that any busy executive will appreciate. Anything you add to Dropbox will automatically show in the Dropbox app on your smartphone, so travelling business professionals can access files from any device. Dropbox also makes it easy to share files, and since these files are safely stored in the cloud, executives never have to worry about losing them.

Lastly, Dropbox acts like a time machine that lets you undo mistakes and even undelete files.

Things (task management)

Wait, you’ve never heard of Things? Well, this task management app can help any business professional become more productive in no time at all.

For example, Things allows executives to use tags to assign contexts, priorities, time and much more– whatever fits a business professional’s personal workflow. The app also is designed to make it simple for users to quickly filter a list to find relevant, time-sensitive tasks so they can complete them on schedule.

Things even enables business professionals to brainstorm on the go, as it features a Quick Entry window that they can use to record new ideas instantly and add tasks without interrupting their work.

Things stores all of an executive’s to-dos and updates them regularly, and with this app, business professionals can take a step-by-step approach to their daily tasks.

Are there any apps you feel should have made the list? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below or on Twitter @companionlink.

How to synchronize Act! v16 and Office 365

Businesses who upgrade to Office 365 need a way to tie Act! CRM data with Office 365 cloud accounts. These cloud accounts are powered by Exchange ActiveSync technology that all mobile device manufacturers support. If you can sync Act! with Office 365, you can use the cloud to serve as an integration hub to phones, tablets and desktop email software with contacts and calendar storage. For example, people can store Act! contacts, activities, notes, and histories on Android, iPhone, iPad, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, and PCs and Macs with Outlook desktop clients.

Act! with Office 365

Office 365 serves as an Exchange ActiveSync connection to phones, tablets, PC, and Mac.

CompanionLink has both individual and server software that keeps Act! synchronized with Office 365 accounts. Data synchronizes automatically for a set-and-forget experience.

“Office 365 is here to stay and businesses want to make sure their CRM isn’t left behind,” says Rushang Shah, Director of Marketing for CompanionLink Software. “CompanionLink can extend Act! contacts, activities and client history to your Office 365 subscription.”

Alternatively, you can set CompanionLink to synchronize Act! securely and direct to Outlook 2013 desktop software that comes bundled with Office 365 subscriptions. This creates a secure cloud-free setup for people who choose not to host client data, notes, and history in the cloud. With a feature called DoubleLook Mode, CompanionLink automates the Outlook sync. Here is a convenient setup guide for using Outlook 2013 without the Office 365 cloud.

Visit www.companionlink.com/office365/act for more information about Act! to Office 365 integration.

For advanced Act! users who want an Act!-like app on their mobile device, we have a free app called DejaOffice CRM (Andriod, iOS, Windows Phone, Blackberry) with views for Act! fields like Notes, Histories, Linked Activities, and Groups (ID/Status). The app syncs direct to Act! using DejaCloud, USB, or Wi-Fi technology. More info here.

Outlook app on Android

People who rely on Microsoft Outlook to manage their business life and clients are often dismayed at the poor Outlook-integration options available for Android devices. If you have an Exchange Server, integration of contact and calendar is easy. You are still stuck with Notes and Tasks.  If you are a small business and working with a standalone version of Outlook, then you are really stuck because there is no Outlook app for Android.

There are disjoint tools available on Google Play that handle one kind of data really well – such as a great calendar app or a reliable tasks app.  However, business people don’t want to juggle between contacts, tasks, notes, and calendar apps built by different vendors. They want a single Outlook app for Android that allows data to work intuitively together, so calendar appointments and notes are linked to people in their contact list; category colors match up between PC Outlook and Outlook on Android; and notes on clients made on their Android sync up nicely to Outlook on their PC. This type of workflow matches their use of Outlook on the PC.

DejaOffice is best Outlook app for Android

DejaOffice CRM is an app suite built to replicate standalone Outlook on Android devices. It does everything that Outlook supports – multiple calendar, categories, reminders, contacts, notes, journal entries, and multiple task lists with priorities.  It doesn’t do email; that is still handled by your Android’s email client.

The app is a free download from Google Play. It comes with a tablet-mode setting for dual-pane views that utilize the larger screen space.

Advanced Outlook features are now available on Android

Here’s a list of some advanced features that DejaOffice supports that power Outlook users will appreciate.

  1. Link contacts to calendar appointments, tasks, notes, and journal.
  2. Color categories that match Outlook on your PC.
  3. Sort contact list by File As setting in Outlook.
  4. Group by Company
  5. Search by any Outlook field – contacts, contact notes, address, phone number, email address, etc.
  6. Day, week, month, list, and year views with recurring patterns that match Outlook
  7. Task list with priorities that match Outlook (High, Medium, Low). You can also use other styles like Franklin Covey, Getting Things Done, Take Back Your Life, and Palm Desktop.

How to sync Nokia Lumia with Outlook – Cloud, USB

You have three popular options to sync Outlook with Windows Phone devices:

  1. Use a Microsoft Exchange Server or service.
  2. Use Hotmail Outlook Connector to sync to the Microsoft Cloud (for Outlook 2010 and below)
  3. Use CompanionLink to sync using a USB cable (works for Outlook 2013, 2010, 2007, 2003, and 2000)

Options 1 and 2 use the Microsoft cloud service; also known as a Microsoft account. Nokia has an FAQ article about how to set this up.

Options 3 gives you the security of a direct secure sync between PC and Lumia. Your contacts and calendar are not stored in anyone’s cloud. This offering rides CompanionLink’s core value that people and businesses should not be forced to store client contacts and notes, calendar meetings, and task and project lists in the cloud.

Yes, people should be able to choose if that’s something they want to do. The cloud is an option for those looking for convenience and integration of data across multiple devices. The cloud eliminates synchronization, which is a major step forward for convenience.

But what about people looking for data security? What about people who do not want their data hostage to some garage hacker across the world, or government agencies that mine data, or Search Engines like Google and Microsoft that scour your personal data and profit on it?  These people need a cloud opt-out switch.

CompanionLink offers this opt-out switch for those who want to restore data security.

Understanding Office 365 vs Office 2013

The difference is bigger than you think, especially for your pocketbook.

Office 365 is a subscription service that gives you a license to download Microsoft Office 2013 to your desktop or laptop. Your PC Office applications (Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint) can be set up to automatically update your Office 365 Cloud account that comes with the subscription.

Office 2013 is the desktop Microsoft Office suite for the traditional one-time cost. There are no subscription fees because you are not using the Office 365 cloud account.

Your Best Deal

The following guidelines are based on our understanding of common use cases. Your specific needs may mean there is a better deal than our guidelines.

The best deal depends on a few general things:

  1. Are you a single user, or do you need Office for multiple users or multiple PCs?
  2. Do need or want the Cloud to access your Office applications?
  3. Do you upgrade every time a new version of Office is released?


Choose Desktop Office 2013 (one-time cost) if…

If you are a single user and do not upgrade Office often (historically, new versions have been available every 3 years), Desktop Office 2013 for a one-time cost starting at $219 per person is the best deal. You will save on annual subscription fees.

If you are a small business and do not upgrade your version of Office often and do not need the cloud, Desktop Office 2013 for a one-time cost starting at $219 per person is your cheapest option.

Choose Office 365 subscriptions if…

If you are a single user and upgrade your version of Office every time a new version is available, Desktop Office 2013 one-time cost starting at $219 per person remains your best deal. However, for about $75 more over the span of three years (the average time to a new version), you may enjoy the convenience of Office applications and data in the Office 365 cloud and Exchange email service.

If you are a household with multiple computers, Office 365 Home Premium subscription is your best deal. For $99 per year, your entire household gets Desktop Office 2013, Office 365 Cloud, Exchange email service, and free upgrades to future versions of Office.

If you are small business that upgrades often or needs the Cloud, the Office 365 Small Business Premium subscription is your best deal for $150 per user.

Integration with Phones and Tablets

Office 365 subscriptions are set up as Microsoft Exchange accounts. This means you can set up an Exchange Account on any mobile device and get your Office 365 Email, Contacts, and Calendar.

If you need tasks, notes, and categories on your mobile, or if are looking for an Outlook-like app for your phone or table, use the DejaOffice app available for Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry. It integrates your mobile device with Outlook 365 and Desktop Office Outlook 2013.

For documents, users of Apple iPhone and iPad can download the Office Mobile for Office 365 subscribers app (iPhone/iPad, Android). You can access Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents.

JUMP! needs the Cloud to jump-start new devices

People using JUMP! will need an efficient way to move personal and business data from one device to another. A cloud-based data hub like Google (currently free, ad-supported), Outlook.com (currently free, ad-supported), or DejaCloud (currently free, no ads) is the answer because they enable calendar, address book, notes, and task lists to move from one device to another with just a username.  People who are averse to hosting data in the Cloud can opt for CompanionLink’s USB software to move their data.

Why JUMP! changes everything

On July 11, 2013, T-Mobile announced a radical change to how often people can upgrade devices.  Their JUMP! upgrade program allows existing customers to swap devices two times in 12 months for the same low price that new customers receive. For example, if you own an iPhone 5 and want to switch to a Samsung Galaxy S4, JUMP! allows this for the same price (currently $99 on T-Mobile’s website) that new customers receive. Essentially, you can trade-in for a new smartphone every 6 months for about $100.

Wow, talk about a game-changing move.

This raises the bar for other wireless carriers and reinforces how people yearn to consume new mobile hardware. With the pace of new devices increasing (Moore’s law on steroids), T-Mobile is simply offering a way for people to rent their device instead of owning it for  waiting archaically long (two years) to upgrade.

Who benefits the most from JUMP!

Business professionals and consumers who want to frequently upgrade devices or use the latest-and-greatest will love JUMP!. The plan allows them to “lease” devices instead of being locked into the ownership of one device every 24 months.

T-Mobile’s offer appears to be a win-win because customers get to switch phones at a low price while T-Mobile still carries customers for a 2-year term, which resets with every phone upgrade. History points to win-win situations sticking around for a long time, and changing the game.

Disposable devices just got one step closer to reality.

Salesforce Android App

The future of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) lies in the Cloud. Google, Microsoft and many other prolific tech companies offer Cloud storage as well as related web-based business solutions. Salesforce is clearly the leader in purely Cloud based CRM solutions. They offer a professional, communication oriented solution tailored for the information age, free from bloatware and lengthy software install procedures. A quick glance through their website will reveal the prominently displayed slogan “No Software!” It should come as no surprise, then, that Salesforce’s entire business model is web based. The drawback of this is obvious: the Salesforce Android app is not particularly robust or as functional as the Salesforce website. DejaOffice, the free mobile CRM app from CompanionLink, is a great alternative for Salesforce users seeking a solution custom tailored for the Android experience.

How Does DejaOffice Compare to the Salesforce Android app?

The DejaOffice advantage is clear. The first thing presented to you upon launching DejaOffice for the first time is a user-friendly Setup Wizard. Compare this with the ominous license agreement you see as soon as your open the Salesforce Android app, and you’ll see that DejaOffice is designed to be easy to use and intuitive from the very beginning. Additionally, the Salesforce Android app demands that you enter your passcode every time you launch it, which quickly becomes a tedious ritual. Finally, the Salesforce Android app is only free for 30 days!

DejaOffice for Android Syncs with Salesforce

The DejaOffice Advantage

  • DejaOffice synchronizes and integrates with the native Android address book
  • No required fields during the creation of contacts and events
  • Multiple calendar views are available
  • No mandatory passcode that you must enter, upon app launch
  • DejaOffice has free technical support via phone and web, even without a license

If you want a mobile CRM which seamlessly syncs with Salesforce and takes advantage of all that the Android platform has to offer, look no further than DejaOffice.

Sync Gmail with Outlook

Email accounts (and related services) are all about communication. Companies both large and small depend on contact lists, calendar entries, and tasks within programs such as Microsoft Outlook for effective communication and time management. It is essential for this communication to extend beyond one application – and even beyond computers as a platform. In this day and age, smartphones, tablets, PDAs, and phablets have become essential tools of communication with customers and co-workers, thanks to companies such as Google. So, how do you sync Gmail with Outlook?

All Syncs are Not Created Equal

For users who prefer a free, albeit very limited Google to Outlook synchronization process, there are a few solutions. It is possible to set up a new IMAP account within Microsoft Outlook, which can be connected with a Gmail account. However, this does not support full synchronization of existing Outlook data. Instructions for this process can be found here. A free program named Contacts Sync also exists, but “it appears to ignore Gmail entries without data in the last-name or e-mail fields,” according to Dennis O’Reilly of CNET. Neither of these free work-arounds appear to be a viable solution for business-oriented environments, in which data integrity is of critical importance.

Additionally, Google recently discontinued its free offering of its App Sync, which has left many people wondering what the best way is to sync Gmail with Outlook.  Though this option is still available for paid users of Google Apps for Business, this may be cost prohibitive at $50 per year for every user.

CompanionLink Syncs Gmail with Outlook

Sync Gmail with Outlook via CompanionLink

  • CompanionLink was designed for professionals who require functionality, reliability and performance.
  • No changes to your existing Outlook account are needed.
  • CompanionLink for Google offers a fully featured method to sync Gmail with Outlook data (PST files) — Contacts, Calendars, and Tasks are supported.
  • Your license is a one time fee; there is no expensive recurring cost.
  • Sync Gmail with Outlook free for two weeks, when you start your trial.
  • Free, detailed setup guides are also available for this process.

These facts and more make CompanionLink for Google the clear choice for your sync!

BB10 sync

BlackBerry 10 arrives on January 30. BB10 sync to standalone Microsoft Outlook is a topic that no one is talking about. If your company runs a Microsoft Exchange Server, BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 will manage over-the-air sync of Outlook data to BlackBerry 10 devices. People without Microsoft Exchange who are using the version of Microsoft Outlook that came with MS Office are left without any tools for bb10 sync.

Google Sync end-of-life affects BB10 devices

Google’s end of life announcement for free Google Sync services devastates BB10 users with Outlook. People with free Gmail accounts can no longer sync Outlook to Gmail to BB10 devices.  This directly affects standalone Outlook users because their data is now isolated on an island (ie – Outlook) with no options from RIM to get the data to BB10 devices. Legacy BlackBerry devices used BlackBerry Desktop Manager to solve this problem. However, BBDM will not ship with BB10 devices.

CompanionLink announces BB10 sync for standalone Outlook

CompanionLink will offer direct BB10 sync support for standalone Microsoft Outlook. BB10 sync options will include USB sync that works similar to BlackBerry Desktop Manager, and DejaCloud sync that works over-the-air. CompanionLink will ship their BB10 sync solution the same day the first BB10 devices arrive in people’s hands. Support for Outlook 2000, 2003, 2007, 2010, and 2013 will be included. For more info on BB10 sync, bookmark this page that will be updated by CompanionLink as more news about BB10 emerges.