Sharing Business contact manager

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Outlook version
Outlook 2010 64 bit
Email Account

I have Business Contact Manager 2010 and want to enable my business partner to access it remotely.

Couple of questions:

What is the easiest way for us both to access the contact manager remotely so we can add/amend in real time, he hasnt got the software on his pc but will purchase the software if needed.

We both have standalone pc's so are not networked.

Secondly, I run another business through outlook (not using contact manager) so dont want any information accessed remotely.

Hope this makes some kind of sense...we are just looking for a simple CRM we can both access remotely, maybe Outlook isnt the right solution...any help greatly appriciated.


Let me try to take a stab at providing you with some information that I've gathered over the last couple of week while working with BCM 2010...

The only practical way for both of you to access BCM in real time is to do so through a networked connection (I don't really see any CRM being able to add/amend real time without being networked somehow). One of your two systems will host the backend server that stores the information while the other system connects to the server and manipulates the data. This goes as far reached as the BCM form development as well - where the host has the ability to develop/design the forms and the client (other system) GUI is updated on startup. This aids in managing what data is required and stored. The process of sharing your Business Contact Manager is actually quite a simple process so long as both systems are on the same workgroup and the sharing is set up to allow the other system to connect.

As far as I know, BCM 2010 is free to download and use. It is integrated right into Outlook 2010 which, I'm assuming, is already installed on both machines.

And as far as your second business is concerned, you have the choice with BCM whether or not to connect/link contacts to it. If you continue to use Outlook for your second business and do not include it into the BCM that is being used for your first business, you keep the two separated. You also have the option to set up multiple databases with BCM and can switch from one to the other as you require. This would allow you to give permissions to your business partner to one of the BCM databases and not the other. A little finessing is required but it can be done.

I will say that there are limitations that I've run into that are proving to be difficult to circumvent. Microsoft has not yet released an SDK to aid in managing controls and developing forms which is frustrating in the respect that you're obligated to use BCM as is. Hopefully they will release this in the near future - but, looking online, it seems like there is little going on in the BCM world. Documentation and development are minimal so there is a huge grind if you're wanting to customize it to suit your needs. Just a warning.

Otherwise, it has certainly helped in many ways.

Good luck with your project!

Does this setup require I have Exchange, or can I just put Outlook 2010 and BCM on a shared computer and a database there. I have a small office without Exchange and I want my employees to be able to share email correspondence and share business contacts like sales leads, etc. We use quickbooks so I'd like to keep the collective data.

Thanks so much,

Exchange is not required. Install Outlook and BCM on a shared computer and configure. Note that it will not work for email, it's a mini-CRM so you'll have contacts and other things relating to relationship management. See Share Calendar & Contacts if you need to share more than CRM data.

That's terrific. Now I have the CRM part of it covered. New question:

So I have a customer service department that in order for orders to be placed, needs to go back and forth by email. So say Customer Service Person #1 is working on a order (we do printing, and proof approvals happen after 2-5 emails) but then Customer Service Person #2 has to pick up that email string.

I don't want to put in exchange server (we're a small business) but I could put Outlook 2010 with BCM on each person's computer. Would it be better to use an IMAP, or switch from Gmail to the Exchange Online? Could I just share a mail folder within Outlook on the shared computer? Or is there another workaround.

Thank you so much for your help :)

You have the gmail business accounts? If so, I would switch to IMAP. Even if you don't... while IMAP is not quite as good as Exchange online, it may be less expensive and is worth trying before making the switch to exchange online.
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