Arriving home after work one day a few months ago, my 4-year old son greeted me at the door as he usually does and exclaimed with great excitement, “Papa, there’s a package for you! Can I open it?” Although I was just as eager to tear into the box, I calmly replied, “Sure buddy. Have at it.” Inside was a shiny new tech toy . . . (ahem) I mean a business tool to help enable increased productivity and organization – a Windows Mobile 6 Smartphone. Ok, I know I’m a little late to the game, but thought I would share a few thoughts about my experience for those who have yet to experience the bliss of always being connected and in the know.
Like any good company, we’re consumers of our own products. For me, this means Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint. Microsoft CRM is another invaluable tool and integrates nicely with both Exchange and SharePoint.
As someone who is on the road regularly, here are some scenarios regarding how these tools make my life easier and give me comfort when I’m away from the office.
- Incoming email hits my Outlook desktop client and my phone at the same time. Messages I reply to sync back to my desktop (i.e. sent items folder).
- Meetings and calendar items sync nicely. Example: I’m in a meeting and need to schedule a follow up meeting. A quick glance at my phone shows me my calendar. I create a new meeting on my phone which syncs with Exchange and therefore my Outlook client. When I get back to the office and view my calendar in Outlook, the meeting I scheduled is already there.
- Contacts: If I’m out of the office and my sales partner wants me to call a new prospective customer he can enter the contact info into Microsoft CRM and send me an email asking me to call ”Joe.” A quick search for Joe on my phone pulls up address, email, phone number, and any other info my partner entered into CRM as it syncs back to Exchange and gets pushed to my phone in real time.
- SharePoint: Documents I share with others internally can all be centrally and securely stored online. SharePoint integrates into my Outlook client and is accessible via a browser when I’m away from my laptop.
Life is busy enough as it is. Having the right tools have allowed me to do more with the time I have and be more responsive to my clients and co-workers. For me, the seamless integration between Microsoft’s Exchange, SharePoint, and CRM products have paid huge dividends in helping me manage and exchange (pun intended) information with business partners. My new smartphone is one more way to tap into all this valuable data without ever getting out of sync.
One last closing note… while in my case I personally opted to purchase a Windows Mobile 6 device, I have many friends and co-workers who use Blackberry devices with the same results. And with the recent announcement that the iPhone will now be supporting ActiveSync, Apple fans can share in the love too.