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Supercharge Your Outlook with Agendus for Outlook v5.41

I’ve had a Windows Mobile device since 2000.  But recently my work gave me a Blackberry 8350i to replace my aging Nextel phone.  I had the opportunity to reduce my load from two devices to one.  I had to make a lot of changes in order to accomplish my goals of continuing to carry my important business information and integrating the Blackberry into my business routine.  One big switch I made was moving from Act! Contact Manager to Outlook.  I suppose I could’ve kept Act! if I used the excellent CompanionLink software to sync my device, but I want a more direct solution.

Outlook excels at email, but is not a great contact manager.  Act! is a great contact manager but does not excel at email.  Hmmmm.  If I downloaded the Business Contact Manager for Outlook add-on, I’d have to use CompanionLink, so I felt stuck.  That is, until I demo’d Agendus for Outlook.

I really enjoyed my Windows Mobile device, but I got sick of seeing this:
ScreenShot031

My WinMo device would sync, then the error dialog would pop up every time.  Combine that with the fact that I want to concentrate more on using my device and less on tweaking it so that it operates like more modern devices, as I stated in my previous article, I Want a New Drug.  Plus, I grew bored with my WinMo device.  Using five year old hardware and software, such as that on my HP 4705, became dull.  Even though Microsoft is readying WinMo 6.5, I say, “so what?”  It won’t change my user experience in a meaningful way as I wrote in 18 Months is a Lifetime.

So I am now a Blackberry user, just like the President.  And really enjoying this new experience.  Especially since I found a nice solution to my contact manager problem.  If you use software on your mobile device such as Agendus, Pocket Informant, Fun Contact, or Resco Contact Manager, you know that the native contact database does not link the various other functions such as calendar, tasks and email to a contact.  These contact managers give you a means to link all contact activity directly from that contact.  So rather than open up the calendar to make an appointment, you can do it from the contact itself.  That is also how Act! for the desktop works.  But Outlook does not have the same functionality.  Let’s take a closer look where Outlook falls short.

When you open a contact and make a New Meeting, it expects you to email the attendees.  I rarely do that.  I just want to make the appointment so it appears on my calendar and there’s a record in the contact screen.

If I am in a contact screen and add a task that involves that contact, I press Assign Task.  But again, it attempts to email that contact.  What if I want to quote the contact on a product we sell?  Why do I want to email the contact?

Agendus adds many features to Outlook, such as many different views of the PIM categories, an Outlook 2007 ribbon style tool bar, greater accessibility to data, a today screen that shows your daily agenda, contact mapping, and easy mobile device syncing among other features.

Agendus v5.41 installs itself onto Outlook and is seamless.  You can still do all your traditional Outlook functions, but you have an extra toolbar to control Agendus.

Todayx

Above you can see the today screen, and the Agendus toolbar that is oriented horizontally just above it.  The today screen gives you weather, a quote of the day and your daily agenda.

From the Agendus toolbar you press New, and a dialog box opens with many options:

ScreenShot032

To make a new meeting with a contact, you find the contact, but curiously, you do not open the contact. 

contactsx

You simply choose the contact, as below:

OneContact

From there you choose New Meeting.  Doing this in Outlook would open an email dialog box.  Agendus, opens a similar dialog box, but includes an Agendus tab.  That tab allows you to invite Attendees:

NewMeetingx

You now have the same functionality on your desktop that you had with your handheld device after adding 3rd party software such as Agendus or Pocket Informant.  Here’s how Outlook does the same thing:

OutlookMeeting

As you can see, Outlook forces you to email attendees.  Using Agendus, you can still email attendees if you like. 

Have a meeting with a contact and don’t know how to get there?  Just map your contact:

MapContactx

Mapping a contact opens up MapQuest and finds your contact’s location for you. 

Here are some additional screenshots:

calendarx

Calendar

Tasksx

Tasks

ContactNotesonSidex

Contact notes in side pane

GroupContactsx

Group contacts in many ways, including custom grouping

The Bottom Line

Agendus retains all the functionality of Outlook, but adds many more features that turn Outlook from a department store where all PIM functions are in separate departments, into a one stop shop.  It makes it far more usable.  It has a nice interface that keeps the feel of Outlook.  It operates seamlessly within Outlook and makes it more intuitive.  In other words, it makes Outlook behave the way I WANT it to behave.  It syncs nicely with my Blackberry and with many other mobile devices.  If your device syncs with Outlook you will not have any issues syncing with Agendus, nor will you need 3rd party software to do so.  Additionally, Agendus offers their software for the leading handheld devices.

I do feel there is a need for improvement in a few areas.  I find it odd that you cannot open up a contact screen to schedule tasks, appointments and emails.  You must select the contact but cannot open it.  Further, Agendus gives you the ability to add icons, but I couldn’t find a way to add icons to the categories, so that any contact in a given category would have a matching icon.  Though I could add icons to tasks and appointments.  Although I don’t mind all the Outlook toolbars and buttons to display, it would be nice if Agendus took over all the functions and put Outlook completely behind the scenes.  I would also like to see allow me to pull up all contacts in ONE category, as Act! does, instead of merely grouping by category.  I would also like the ability to compose a letter to a customer through Agendus.  Act! allows me to do that.  It opens up a Word document complete with my letterhead and the customer’s address.  Neither Outlook nor Agendus offers such basic functionality. 

Agendus for Outlook is available for $39.95.  I highly recommend it.  They also have versions for many handheld devices.

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May 15, 2009 - Posted by | Blackberry, Reviews, Software, Windows Mobile

1 Comment »

  1. This article seals the deal for me! Thanks for the detailed info.

    Comment by Cindy From | June 25, 2009 | Reply


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