CompanionLink working with BlackBerry Enterprise Server

Here’s a forum post from a user who has set up CompanionLink to work closely with Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) and Outlook.

If you’ve already invested in BES, you can quickly set up CompanionLink to sync your CRM/PIM (like ACT! by Sage) with your Outlook account.  Once your data is in Outlook, your BES will automatically sync it with your BlackBerry phones.

It’s really that easy.

Read about the user’s experience here.

Sync services by Microsoft, Apple and Google

MyPhone: they host your data on the web and sync contacts, calendar and photos with Windows Mobile devices.  This is a free service offered by Microsoft.

MobileMe: they host your data on the web and sync mail, contacts, calendar and photos with iPhone devices.  This is a paid service, currently $99/year.

Google Sync (Beta): syncs Google contacts and calendar (hosted on the web) with iPhone, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile devices.  This is a free service offered by Google.

We’re excited at the introduction of these services!  It gives users a reliable and affordable way to sync to their phones, over-the-air.

So do you still need CompanionLink with the introduction of the services mentioned above?  The answer is Yes.

For example, if you’re using ACT!, Lotus Notes, Outlook BCM, Palm Desktop, GroupWise or any other PIM/CRM that’s not supported by the cloud services above, you’ll need CompanionLink to sync this data.  The cloud services can’t access your data.

While our software can sync directly to your phone and bypass the need for the cloud services above, we’re also looking for ways to work with Microsoft, Apple and Google’s sync services.  This will allow you to use CompanionLink to get data from your PIM/CRM to the services above, and then rely on their push-sync to get that data to your phones.

This is what we’re working on:
PIM/CRM <> CompanionLink <> Cloud services (above) <> your phone

Stay tuned to this blog for the lastest developments and a timetable for when we’ll support these mobile sync services.  In the mean time, if you need to sync your PIM/CRM data with your phones, just use CompanionLink’s direct sync.

We're #1 on Google's review site

CompanionLink for Google is now ranked first for the number of reviews received in the Google Solutions Marketplace under the “Migration and Sync” category.

Here’s a snippet of what one of the reviewers has to say:

“This Software changed my life ! Before, I had two agendas: private under Palm and professional with Outlook. Now, by using different colors, I’m using Google and synchronizing both sides, private and professional, thanks to CompanionLink for Google!!!”

What is CompanionLink for Google?  It’s desktop software that allows you to sync your Google data with Microsoft Outlook or your phone.

Strong wireless sales during the recession

Major carriers are reporting strong sales of smartphones and data plans during this recession.  This is great news for the mobile industry, especially since other industries are taking a beating.

Where’s the logic to this growth?  Perhaps with more people electing to stay home instead of spending on lavish vacations, there’s an increasing need for devices that allow them to connect with others. If this is true, look for greater adoption of smartphones like the iPhone, Google Android, and BlackBerry Storm.

Microsoft's cloud computing services

Better late than never.

Microsoft will be releasing their own cloud computing and data synchornization services in 2009.

They’re planning 3 offerings:

  1. SkyBox: repository for all your contacts, calendar events, email and pictures.  This is aimed at consumers and will sync with their phones. This seems to be their answer to Apple’s Mobile Me.
  2. SkyLine: this is SkyBox revised for enterprise-level customers.  It will sync with Microsoft Exchange.
  3. SkyMarket: online marketplace for mobile applications.  This seems to be their answer to Apple’s iTunes App Store.

Here’s a complete breakdown of their offerings.

CompanionLink will be looking for ways we can extend Microsoft’s SkyBox services to popular CRM and PIM solutions.  Stay tuned…

Second-generation Android phone (minus keyboard)

Gizmodo has apparently leaked some pictures of the second generation Android phone.  Most notable is the lack of a physical keyboard, allowing the device to be slimmer than the G1 phone.

The great thing about CompanionLink’s ability to sync with this new second-generation Android device (assuming Gizmodo is correct) is that we will support it out-of-the-box!  We can do this because Android devices rely on Google’s web-based calendar and contacts – which we already sync with!

Mobile devices for business and pleasure

Amazon’s e-book reader, called Kindle, was out of stock for Christmas thanks to generous publicity from Oprah and others. While e-book readers have been around for years, the public is finally accepting the fact that their e-book reading experience can match or surpass that of reading a real book.

In short, people are using mobile devices to replace legacy tasks – browsing the Internet, scheduling their day/calendars, email, social media, online transactions, gaming, and (can you believe) just plain old calling.

Devices like the iPhone and BlackBerry Storm push the limits even further.  2009 looks like a promising year for a continued push in mobile tech.  Many mobile device developers have filed for some very interesting patents that shed light on where technology will be going.  However, with consumer and business budgets at all-time lows, we’ll see how frugal consumers are with their wallets in 2009.

Palm's new (web)OS

Palm had a major announcement at CES today.  They’re releasing a new device (called the Palm Pre) that will run on a new OS, called Palm WebOS.

The new device and OS is similar to iPhone and Google Android, except that it claims to seamlessly marry various online technologies into one device.  The claim is that you can use your Facebook, Gmail,  and Outlook data seamlessly; for example, access your Outlook contacts in Facebook.

The same holds true for your calendar.  Your Outlook and Google calendars are merged together on one color-coded calendar.

You can read all about it here:
http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-10137055-94.html?tag=mncol;title

The perils of SaaS

Salesforce.com just witnessed a service outage.  Just more proof that no matter how big or famous you are, 100% up-time is not a reality.  Translation: have a plan for outage situations and how you will handle your customers/clients.

However, does that mean a software solution is better than SaaS?  Not necessarily.  Outages or “reboots” occur all the time for software solutions, as I’m sure we’re all aware of.

SaaS vs. Software — an economical perspective

Pragmatic Marketing Magazine has an in-depth look at the economics of purchasing a SaaS (software-as-a-service) solution versus a software solution.

While the article is (overly) technical and lengthy, they arrive at a definitive conclusion.

The SaaS model ultimately provides the same type of products as a software licensing model—but with a better economic model, one that is lower in cost to the customer and structurally inclined to keep getting better for the customer with every new release.

Personally, I like the idea of purchasing from a company that is financially motivated to keep me happy, not one that is pressured to find another customer as soon as I’ve written my check.

Do you agree or disagree?  Share your thoughts and experiences by commenting below.