Case Study: Migrate from Microsoft BCM to DejaOffice PC CRM for Outlook

Recently we were approached by a customer who used to use BCM, and wanted a solution that worked with Office 365.

The customer had used Microsoft Business Contact Manager from 2013 to 2018. They had Contacts, Accounts and Communication History. This customer had tried a migration tool to move BCM contacts to Office 365 contacts. This tool was not successful. (CompanionLink Professional can move BCM Contacts to Outlook contacts using a folder-to-folder sync.)

At the time the customer contacted us, they had not used BCM for many months. So the BCM database was out of date.

Our new product DejaOffice PC CRM for Outlook adds certain CRM functions to Office 365 Outlook (Outlook 2019). Among these functions are History Also, DejaOffice can import from older CRM systems like Microsoft BCM which was discontinued in 2016.

The customer also purchased Premium Support, which is a service where our technician could log into his computer and set everything up.

What we did was Sync the old BCM database to DejaCloud. We moved the Accounts, Contacts and Communication History. Then on the new computer, the customer installed DejaOffice PC CRM for Outlook. In addition, the customer uses a Mobile Phone and DejaOffice has the complete database there also.

The entire operation of moving the old database to DejaCloud, and sync to the new PC took our technician about 30 minutes. Most of this time was checking the data each step of the way. The actual sync time was about five minutes for both sync phases.

Now, the customer can make a new contact from an Outlook email. When they look up a Contacts, they an see the communications history imported from the old PC. And they have Caller ID and History on their Phone.

Here is a link to order this same service – DejaOffice PC CRM for Outlook along with Premium installation and one year of support. Give us a call at (503)243-3400 to schedule an installation or talk about your needs.

DejaOffice PC CRM Standalone
Average User Rating:
Average rating: 4.83 out of 5 based on 338 reviews.
Free 14 day trial. Price $49.95



DejaOffice responds to Google Disruption

The high tech keyword for our century is Disruption.  Investors seek disruptive partners.

Disruption means an innovative company enters a stable market environment, generally with a low cost service, and knocks the current players out of the market by providing lower prices and better service. In this sense, Google has been disruptive to the Search Engine industry by providing a fast effective tool without visible advertising.  They have also disrupted the Cell Phone OS market, the Internet Browser market, and the Online News market. They have captured a firm lead in all these areas.

There is a second aspect to disruption that investors seek.  Once a company gains ascendancy over the competition, the disruptive company raises their prices to consumers so that the disruptive company becomes highly profitable. Consumers end up being worse off than they were before.

With Google, the profit motive appears to increasingly be made by isolated Silicon Valley based executives, with little feel for how they play out in the real world.  It is a sad truth that where Google once stood for innovation and low cost development tools, now they are nearly a constant headache to fend off their mistaken motivations and increasing prices.

Google Calendar API – Batch Endpoints Change

In March 2018, Google Announced that their Batch Endpoint for many API commands was changing.  The current API URL is to be deprecated March 25th 2019.  Somehow, Google figures that every customer with an API dependent software tool created before March 2018 will update their tool within this year grace period.  Clearly Google Management has no idea how long software cycles are.  We still have customers using Windows XP!  No one likes to change software versions.  More information is available here: https://www.companionlink.com/support/google-batch-endpoint-advisory.html

Google Geocoding API – Whopping Price Increase

In June 2018, Google announced that their website Geocode API was going to increase their pricing.  Geocoding is what is used when we look up an address, and replace it with a Logitude/Latitude value for map purposes.  Google Geocoding also includes location pictures and mini-map.  We use this in DejaOffice for iPhone, DejaOffice for Android and DejaOffice on the PC.

The price for a basic lookup changed from $0.005 per lookup to $0.02 per lookup.  What this means for DejaOffice is that our service in map lookups changed from being under $100, to suddenly becoming a $2000 per month bill.  This is for a free APP on the App store!  We quickly changed our Android and IPhone map lookups to the new Mobile Maps API, which was suggested by Google as an alternative. Customers saw this change go into place in November, and it seems to be a good drop-in replacement.

Google Geocoding API – Whopping Price Increase – Redux

So in February, Google announces that they “improved” the Mobile Maps API.  We have a six month window to switch to the improved version.  The improved version will change $0.02 per lookup.  Just Wow!

First we have a required App change, and second, we get our $2000 bill back.

So in DejaOffice you can count on mapping changes again in the next four months.  It is likely we will add an in-app tool to add funds for people who use a lot of mapping features.  Also we will be adding more location info to our sync, so once you map a contact or calendar event, you do not have to look it up again, thus avoiding a chargeable item.  Isn’t Disruption fun!

Google READ_SMS and READ_CALL_LOG Permissions

In November 2018, Google informed us that they would be removing all apps that used READ_SMS permission on Android.  In DejaOffice, we use these to add SMS text to Contact History.  We also use READ_CALL_LOG to add call followup information, and DejaOffice Caller ID.

Google’s handling of this issue is largely machine based, and heavy handed.  We have requested an exception.  However, DejaOffice does not fit into their set list of apps that are allowed these permissions.  They will remove DejaOffice from the App store if we do not remove these capabilities from the App.  We have applied twice, but can’t get by their machine blocker (probably named HAL – Open the Bay Door, Hal!)

So in February 2019, we have been forced to remove a number of DejaOffice features from our Android product:

  1. Read SMS Text to Contact History
  2. Identify incoming calls using DejaOffice Contact list
  3. Follow up on inbound calls to add a Contact History item

We are seeking another external tool, maybe Whatsapp, which may allow us to restore this functionality through that tool.  But obviously, Google Android is wanting to limit our access, and cannot be flexible because an innovative product does not fit their rigid expectations.

Google is a great technology partner.  But these moves show they clearly are going the path of IBM, then Microsoft, then Apple, then Google.  An innovative Disruptor, upon market dominance, becomes an intractable barrier to innovation.

An Ode to Ecco Pro

As we begin the rollout of DejaOffice PC CRM, some of the pioneers of small business Contact managers are on my mind.

A caller this week mentioned Ecco Pro, which was a very popular program back in the mid 1990s.

Ecco Pro as I recall was built on a foundation of an outline manager. Originally it was only an outliner. As it grew, there was a Contacts, Calendar, Task and Notes application. Originally published by Arabesque software, the company got purchased by NetManage in Seattle.

I don’t recall that it was very expensive at the time. Maybe $99 or $59 or something like that. I never used it. At the time we were working primarily with TeleMagic (DOS) and GoldMine (DOS). Both TeleMagic and GoldMine used dBase II format files, an so it was easy to make add-on products. Ecco had a proprietary file format.

By 1997 Ecco Pro had about a million users. Inexplicably, NetManage closed down the entire program. There were rumors for years that someone would buy it, but no on ever did. Ecco died a corporate death; sold to a company that did not know what they had.

Douglas P. Rice has a great writeup about being hired by NetManage just before the big fccollapse.  We don’t often think about how software was sold before the internet was commonly used, and it’s funny to read that they did not ship product updates online.

More resources:

James Kendrick – Memory Lane – Ecco Pro

Wikipedia – Ecco Pro

EccoMAGIC – EccoMagic Forums

A decade after Ecco went off the market, the Ecco User’s Group approached CompanionLink to write a sync to Phones at that time (BlackBerry, Pocket PC).  I was staunchly against it. First, there is no API. Second, the user base could not grow; only shrink. The CompanionLink Meme is to provide free telephone technical support to our customers. Some call this foolish, but I feel that many people need the help from time to time. But I don’t want to get caught getting unlimited phone calls for an unsupported product.

For those that wanted Ecco Pro to be a Contact Manager, we finally have a new product for you. DejaOffice PC CRM Standalone will handle Contacts, Calendar, Tasks and Notes, and synchronize them easily to Android and iPhone. At $49.95 we hope it can be a worthy successor to this industry pioneer.

DejaOffice PC CRM Standalone
Average User Rating:
Average rating: 4.83 out of 5 based on 338 reviews.
Free 14 day trial. Price $49.95

DejaOffice PC CRM – Beta Released!

Having spent nearly 6 months developing this, it is a great moment for us.  The first time we can show what we have been working on!

Download to try it out yourself:  https://www.companionlink.com/downloads/download-dpc.php

Setup guide:  https://www.companionlink.com/support/kb/DejaOffice_PC_CRM_Sync_Setup_Guide

This is a 14 day demo but we are happy to extend the demo.  We are looking for feedback and ideas.

Tech Support:  (503)243-5200 hours – 7am-3:30pm
or Email:  support@companionlink.com

Sales (503)243-3400 – sales@companionlink.com

Forums:  https://www.dejaoffice.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?36-DejaOffice-PC-CRM-(DPC)-for-Windows

Video:

 

Thank you all for your support!

 

DejaOffice PC CRM Standalone
Average User Rating:
Average rating: 4.83 out of 5 based on 338 reviews.
Free 14 day trial. Price $49.95

The Best Way to Synchronize Samsung Galaxy Note 9 to Outlook without using Exchange

Why does the Outlook App not work like Outlook?

CompanionLink provides an Android App called DejaOffice CRM with PC Sync.  It is better than the Outlook App in many ways.  Click here for a comparison of DejaOffice App vs Outlook App on Android.

To sync Outlook to Galaxy Note9 without needing an Office 365 subscription.

  1. From Google Play Store, install DejaOffice on your Samsung Galaxy S9 or S9+
  2. On your PC, download CompanionLink for Outlook on your PC.
  3. Configure both for DejaCloud Sync
  4. Watch your Outlook Contacts and Calendar appear on your phone.

DejaOffice is Free.  CompanionLink runs on a two-week trial.

Click here for more information on Using Microsoft Office without a Subscription.

Samsung Galaxy Note9 is the latest flagship from the world leader of Smartphones. There’s nothing faster or more effective.  Here I have an argument with Apple.  With iPhone there is no Widgets, and Widgets are so useful, you’ll never catch me using a phone without them.

What is a widget?  A widget shows App information on the phone desktop.  A widget allows me to quickly see my day view, and my contact list – without opening an app.  I can quickly tap on the location and get to my next appointment.  No search, no scroll.  Just one tap and I’m in maps.  One tap and I can call or sms.  Automatically updated all day.

Special features of DejaOffice:

  • Time zone management, so when you land your Calendar doesn’t go wonky
  • Calendar Colors that match Outlook
  • Templates that save time entering new Appointments and Tasks
  • Persistent alarms to be sure I don’t miss anything.
  • Recurring tasks compatible with Outlook
  • Optional:  Franklin Covey task priorities  A1, B2, C99
  • Works same on Android and iPhone, Phones and Tablets.

Check out https://www.dejaoffice.com for more information.

CompanionLink for Outlook
Average User Rating:
Average rating: 4.83 out of 5 based on 338 reviews.
Free 14 day trial. Price $14.95 3-Mo Subs - $49.95 One-time License.

Galaxy Note 9, Outlook, Outlook 2019, Office 365

Outlook 2019 on Windows, Mac, Android and iPhone – Resources and Announcements

Sync Outlook to Android and iPhone

CompanionLink for Outlook Sync with DejaOffice

Microsoft has now confirmed Office 2019, with updates to Outlook, will be coming soon.

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4133312/office-2019-commercial-preview-frequently-asked-questions

It appears that Consumers who subscribe to Office 365, will be getting Office 2019 as an inline release.

This looks something like the Windows 10 Creator’s update, where suddenly you wake up, and after waiting an extra hour for your PC to reboot, you had a new version of Windows 10 with virtually nothing different.

Businesses hate the downtime, so they will get a Commercial Preview.  This allows them to download it for testing and training purposes.  Also, people to don’t use an Office 365 Subscription will be able to download Office 2019 at some point.  See our link on how to use Outlook without a Subscription.

What’s in it?

More importantly, how will Outlook 2019 change my world?  So far, for guidance, we have two sets of announcements.  One set from the above website June 2018:

Outlook – “Manage email more efficiently”

  • Updated contact cards
  • Office 365 Groups*
  • @mentions
  • Focused inbox
  • Travel and delivery summary cards

The contact cards have not changed in the last 18 years, and no one uses them, so sure, updating is fine.  Office 365 groups looks like a co-worker management function.   Focused inbox relates to email and letting Microsoft sort your mail into important vs unimportant, but you can turn this off.  Summary cards sound intriguing, but this doesn’t look essential.

So far, so good.  In the June 2018 announcement is no significant change to Contacts, Calendar, Tasks and Notes.  I would stop here because this is not a story

Outlook User Interface Changes.

However, in Fall 2017, Microsoft made some pretty clear announcements that the interface for Microsoft Office would be changing soon.

https://www.theverge.com/2017/10/16/16481190/microsoft-outlook-windows-mac-redesign-features

A summary of those changes are:

  1. Ribbon will go away.  O_o
  2. List view is to be Mac like.
  3. Calendar simplified

I remember when the ribbon was introduced, we all hated it and asked Microsoft for a setting to turn it off.  Microsoft made a statement they would not give us a setting.  Now, the “new thing” is to take away the thing we hated.  Awesome.

The Mac-like interface looks scary.  Outlook on Windows, as used by something like a billion people, is not a toy. It certainly is concerning if you come in to work one day, and suddenly your PC reboots and your contact list and calendar look different.  So this is something to watch.

While Microsoft has not updated their October announcement, they have rolled out a new design for Outlook.com (the old Hotmail web site).  It shows a new fluent design UI that is reminiscent of their Apps.  So this looks like a hint of what is to come for Windows.

https://www.theverge.com/2018/3/14/17121032/microsoft-outlook-web-redesign-features

So it looks like we will see these changes in Fall 2018, which is actually Spring 2019 in Microsoft Years.  The future will tell this tale.

CompanionLink for Outlook
Average User Rating:
Average rating: 4.83 out of 5 based on 338 reviews.
Free 14 day trial. Price $14.95 3-Mo Subs - $49.95 One-time License.

2017 Best Software to sync Android with Outlook, sync iPhone with Outlook

Outlook on your PC is primarily an Email too.  You want to quickly intake, process and reply to emails.

Your phone, however, is a mobility tool.  You want to be reminded of your appointments, get directions, and quickly call or text people to smooth your schedule.

What would have made a lot of sense, is if Android and Apple had gone to Microsoft and said “Hey you have a lot of people using Outlook, so let’s work together to make a mobile version of it.”  They didn’t, however.  In fact, nether Android or Apple development teams ever used Outlook.  Google (developer of Android) is primarily a linux shop, and Apple is; well Apple.

So it was a great relief when Microsoft decided to create the Outlook App.  Finally, we can have Outlook on Android and iPhone.  Then, before it was even out, they decided that changing your Email Flow was the primary role of Outlook on the phone, and so they started futzing with that.  I have a big message for Microsoft:

MY PHONE IS NOT MY PRIMARY EMAIL DEVICE! 

In fact, I find email on the phone very awkward.  And I don’t care how much you change the flow and focus, I really don’t do much more on my phone than just read my email until I can get to the office to process it.

What I do on the phone is carry it, answer it, have it remind me of stuff.  For these tasks, the Outlook App is really basic.  That’s why it’s great that there is DejaOffice!

Samsung Galaxy S8 Outlook SyncDejaOffice does all the things that Outlook on the PC, but it does it in a mobile way.  For instance, appointment reminders are persistent, just like on the PC.  They ring quietly every few minutes, until I dismiss them.  My DejaOffice Calendar has all my colors.  My DejaOffice appointments all have locations.  And My tasks are easy to add and check off.  Finally, everything I do, including text messages, are put into Journal so I have a record.

On the PC I use CompanionLink Express with Real-time Sync through DejaCloud.  This instantly transfers my Contacts, Calendar, Tasks and Notes from Outlook to my DejaOffice on Android.  If I make a new appointment in DejaOffice, it goes to Outlook through DejaCloud within five seconds.  No waiting, no duplicates.  Definitely a boost to my mobile productivity.

DejaOffice is available for Android and iPhone.  It’s a free download.  Check it out.

CompanionLink for Outlook
Average User Rating:
Average rating: 4.83 out of 5 based on 338 reviews.
Free 14 day trial. Price $14.95 3-Mo Subs - $49.95 One-time License.

How to put Google Calendar on your Windows Wallpaper

We’ve all done it.  Come in on Monday with a fresh attitude, get busy working, and finally open our Calendar, only to see that we missed an important event an hour ago.  How about having your online calendar displayed fresh on your computer first thing every day?  DejaDesktop Calendar Wallpaper can do that.  It is a PC and Mac app that can move Google’s Calendar and Contact to your Windows and Mac screen backdrop.  Every day, when you first look at your PC, you will see your updated Agenda.

  1. Download DejaDesktop
  2. Set it to sync your PC or Google Calendar
  3. Automatically updates every day.

“Desktop blotters were a thing for a reason,” says Wayland Bruns, designer of DejaDesktop. “With Google Calendar, you cannot see your schedule until you open your browser.  My phone is supposed to buzz, but sometimes I miss that.  It is easier for me to have a constant view of my week, so I can see important events coming up.  I also plan events in advance, so the look ahead year view makes it easy to see when dates fall in coming months.”

DejaDesktop Calendar Wallpaper is free if you just need the month view with the look ahead months.  There is a two-week trial for the Outlook and Google data feeds.  The software works by keeping your current schedule on your local PC, and burning today’s calendar into your screen backdrop picture.  It will automatically update whenever you change your Calendar.

DejaDesktop can also show key contacts, and your task list.  This is handy to have a bit of information that you are constantly search for, always available on your wallpaper.  “I have one person I call weekly,” says Bruns. “I have him bookmarked on my cell phone, but I need to dial from my desk phone because it is a business call.  It takes three screen taps to bring it up.  Having it on my wallpaper means I know right where it is when I dial.”

The data feed for Google is a one-time purchase.  You can buy it for one computer for $29.95.  For three computers, you get a discount for $49.95.  This is a lifetime license with no subscription or renewal fees.  DejaDesktop is created by CompanionLink Software, a leader in synchronization tools. CompanionLink is based in the US and offers free technical support for its products. For more information see https://www.dejadesktop.com.

DejaDesktop for Windows
Average User Rating:
Average rating: 4.86 out of 5 based on 7 reviews.
Free 14 day trial. Price $29.95 1 Computer - $49.95 3 Computers.

How to sync Outlook to Galaxy Note 8 – Contacts, Calendar, Tasks and Notes

What we all want, is something that works like Outlook on the phone.  Not for email, but for scheduling, task management and mapping.

Try this:

  1. Download DejaOffice on your Galaxy Note 8
  2. Download CompanionLink for Outlook on your PC.
  3. Configure them for DejaCloud Sync
  4. Watch your Outlook Contacts and Calendar appear on your phone.

DejaOffice is Free.  CompanionLink runs on a two-week trial.

I’m all up and running on Galaxy Note 8 now.  Transition is as smooth as can be using Samsung Smart Sync and DejaCloud Sync.

  1. Install SmartSync and sync all my apps.
    1. This works great, but in every app, all the settings are lost.
    2. So I make a list, and set them back up one-by-one
  2. Set my DejaCloud login and password
    1. DejaOffice synchronizes automatically.

I like the larger screen on the phone.  In fact, my main complaint with Galaxy Note 8 is that I’d like the screen to be a bit wider.  I do a lot of reading on the phone, and a little more space would be nice.  As it is, it is slightly larger than Galaxy S8-Plus and this will work for now.

 

Special features of DejaOffice:

  • Time zone management, so when you land your Calendar doesn’t go wonky
  • Calendar Colors that match Outlook
  • Templates that save time entering new Appointments and Tasks
  • Persistent alarms to be sure I don’t miss anything.
  • Recurring tasks compatible with Outlook
  • Optional:  Franklin Covey task priorities  A1, B2, C99
  • Works same on Android and iPhone, Phones and Tablets.

Check out https://www.dejaoffice.com for more information.

CompanionLink for Outlook
Average User Rating:
Average rating: 4.83 out of 5 based on 338 reviews.
Free 14 day trial. Price $14.95 3-Mo Subs - $49.95 One-time License.

DejaOffice Contact Widget – All your Contacts on your Android Home Screen

I was talking to my developer about the limits of Android Widgets. A widget uses Android memory to store stock data. Since Android 3.0 we’ve been able to scroll widgets.  This allows us to store more data than shows on the screen, allowing you to scroll to see it all.

I asked him what the limit was.

My developer didn’t know.

So I said “Let’s try making a contacts widget.”

“For what contacts?” he asks.

“All of them”, I answer.

So he does!

DejaOffice for Android now gives you an Android Desktop widget that shows All of your DejaOffice contacts. Whether that is 300, or 3000 or 30,000, they are all there.

From the Desktop Widget, you can dial the phone, email or text any contact on your list. All without opening any apps. Give it a try!

From Android Desktop, Long Press to get the menu for Widgets.  Select DejaOffice.  Select Contacts View 4×4. Place it on your desktop.  On most phones you can resize this to be any size you find convenient.

DejaOffice also provides widgets for Month View, Today, Tasks, and Memos.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Outlook Sync

Sync Galaxy S8 to Outlook without using Exchange