It’s a sure bet that if your organization made a New Year’s resolution, it focused on how to cut operational costs. If so, you’ll need to know which products give you the most bang for your buck. If your organization uses Outlook and utilizes Palms for business purposes, it’s time to look at which syncing software packages provide the most value.

This article explores the existing options for syncing Palms with Microsoft Outlook, and discusses which enterprise needs fit best with which packages.

The Palm/Outlook connection
There are three third-party applications that let Palm users sync to Outlook:

  1. PocketMirror, made by Chapura, Inc. of Mobile, AL.
  2. Intellisync, made by Pumatech, Inc. of San Jose, CA.
  3. Desktop To Go, made by DataViz, Inc. of Trumbull, CT.

Chapura and Pumatech offer two versions of their software. PocketMirror 3.1 by Chapura, Inc. comes in Standard and Professional versions. Pumatech, Inc.’s Intellisync 4.0 can also be purchased as an enterprise version, called Enterprise Intellisync, which adds a console monitor for deploying the software and monitoring the status of Palms. (Enterprise Intellisync starts at $5,000, plus $75 per Palm for up to 49 licenses. However, this “volume discount” of $75 per unit is $5 more per device than a single license.)

You can review the costs of the different software packages in Figure A.
Figure A

Company Application Retail cost Web site
Chapura, Inc. PocketMirror 3.1 Standard $39.95
PocketMirror 3.1 Professional $49.95
Pumatech, Inc. Intellisync 4.0 $69.99
Enterprise Intellisync $5,000 + $75 per
handheld (to 49 users)
DataViz, Inc. Desktop To Go 25 $49.95

As you can see, the applications cost from $40 to $70 per machine.

Beyond Outlook

If you support a solution other than Outlook, you’ll likely invest in Intellisync. Chapura, Inc.’s PocketMirror is an Outlook-only solution. Desktop To Go from DataViz, Inc. supports Outlook as well as Microsoft Schedule+. Intellisync supports both of these applications, as well as ACT! 4.02/2000, Lotus Organizer 5.0/6.0, Lotus Notes 4.5/4.6/5.0, and Novell GroupWise 5.2+. Intellisync is also available for the Pocket PC.

How much product do you need?
The Palm applications share many of the same features, yet their essential differences are in the amount of fine-tuning users can perform on data transfers, and support of multiple folders, public folders, and multiple users of the same Outlook profile. Figure B lists the key features for each application.

Figure B

Simple needs call for PocketMirror Standard
If your business only requires simple coordination of a calendar, contacts, tasks, and notes, PocketMirror Standard will work best for you. In fact, it will probably cost you nothing. PocketMirror Standard is offered as a bonusware application with all high-end Palm devices except the Sony CLIÉ (it comes with a dumbed-down version of Intellisync called Intellisync Lite).

But while it may be included on your Palm, it is not without shortcomings. One problem with PocketMirror Standard is that it doesn’t offer conflict resolution. Instead, appointments modified on both the Palm and on Outlook will be duplicated (conflict resolution is offered in the Professional version). Another problem with the Standard version is that it’s difficult to change some conduits back to the Palm Desktop. Each time you change a conduit, you have to uninstall and then reinstall the program. PocketMirror Professional eliminates this annoyance.

Desktop To Go vs. PocketMirror Professional
Desktop To Go is an excellent program for more complex setups. It offers basic conflict resolution, syncing to more than one Outlook folder, syncing multiple users to the same profile, and customizing how Outlook’s many data fields are transferred to the fewer fields Palm applications can display.

But PocketMirror Professional offers these features, too. Priced at $25, the upgrade from PocketMirror Standard to Professional costs $15 less than purchasing Desktop To Go; it’s not hard to see where the most value is.

However, Desktop To Go has one strong benefit: date filtering of appointments. With this option, users may choose a range of dates to transfer. This option might be worth the extra price for a busy sales office.

Intelligent Intellisync
Intellisync is a good choice for enterprises that need fine control of their data. Intellisync’s field mapping permits users to tailor exactly how their information will appear.

Intellisync 4.0 offers field mapping, helpful for handling Outlook’s larger database.

In addition to field mapping, Intellisync users can create complex rules, called filters. With a filter, users can, for example, transfer only contacts from a particular city or office. Finally, Intellisync’s conflict resolution supports confirmation of each flagged entry. These options give users full control over transferring records.

Intellisync does have one limitation: It’s not a multiuser solution—you can only sync one user per Outlook profile.

It should be clear from this discussion that PocketMirror Standard, PocketMirror Professional, Intellisync 4.0, and Desktop To Go range from simple to robust enterprise solutions. By carefully considering the features offered with each application, you’ll be able to find the best solution for syncing Outlook with Palms.

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