One of the consistent headaches I hear shared with me from customers and peers is the challenge of sync (I grumble myself from time to time). The issues are often data not staying consistent from system to system, duplicates and more duplicates. Or worse, an inability to cleanly move data from the web down to a computer and then move it on to a phone or other mobile device.
While this is far from a new problem and I have discussed it before here - I continue to see this challenge surface month after month.
From a day to day perspective, the essential data we need is our calendar(s), contacts, email and working notes. These are frequently in Outlook for a majority of users (including Mac users now with Office 2011 finally bringing Outlook to the Mac). By way of a very handy set of apps for PC and Mac computers - syncing the web to our computers to a mobile device has gotten a bit easier. You also need to add in a Google account - which can be consumer or Google Apps (it just has to be the new transitioned account which for the most part are already done).
The app for the PC it is GSyncIt. This handy piece of software ($19.99) enables you to sync your Outlook calendar, contacts, notes and tasks to your Gmail account. Consider a common scenario:
That is a scenario I have seen at least 10-12 times in the last 12 months where advisors could not easily and consistently sync the online CRM to Outlook to the mobile device. The solution I have seen work most successfully for the PC user:
The Mac side is slightly different but remains fairly straightforward. Many of our industry online CRM solutions do not yet offer a native Mac sync - so you may not have a solid sync from CRM to the desktop. However - you can sync your Mac contacts and calendar to Android, Blackberry and Windows Mobile (iPhone being native allows for the sync from the Mac through iTunes to the phone - again if you are NOT using Exchange server for email hosting).
Spanning Sync is the app ($25 annually or $65 one-time) for the Mac that connects your calendar and contacts to your Google account. Once this is in place - you can use the same Google link above for sync to your mobile device. If you are using Outlook 2011 - it integrates and sync internally on the Mac with iCal and Address Book - so your Outlook will be in step with your phone using the Spanning Sync solution. The key is to enable Sync Services within Outlook 2011.
If you take some time to put this in place - it will bring a bit more order to the multiple points of sync and the many destinations we need the data to be at when we need it. As a side note - if you run into duplicates - try a very friendly offering that provides assistance with duplicates covering Macs, PCs and Google accounts - Scrubly.