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ACT, Outlook, BlackBerry Calendar Synch - Best Practices?

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Copper Contributor
Posts: 16
Country: United States
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ACT, Outlook, BlackBerry Calendar Synch - Best Practices?

My Company runs Outlook 2003 SP3,  My Sales and Marketing team ACT 10.0.1.199, and the Salespeople also have BlackBerries.  We run Exchange 2003 and BlackBerry Enterprise Server 4.0.  Synchronization between Outlook and the BlackBerries is generally flawless.  When there is a problem we reprovision the BlackBerry to the user. This empties the BlackBerry, and copies the Outlook data back to the device.

 

With Outlook/Blackberry sync already working, the Salespeople  want to make updates to contacts, meetings, tasks and related Calendar events via their BlackBerry and have this information synch with ACT. Ideally, all synchronization should be bi-directional for BlackBerry, ACT and Outlook.

 

The Marketing Staff works with Outlook and ACT.  They will use ACT to schedule and track sales calls for the Salespeople.

 

The rest of the Company only uses Outlook.  They need to see events scheduled by the Marketing or Salespeople in the Salepeoples Outlook Calendar.

 

We don't want to install a product directly on the Exchange server to synch with ACT, so I downloaded an evaluation copy of Companion Link to have the VP of sales test the synch of ACT and BlackBerry via Companion Link with the BlackBerry Desktop manager.

 

I also enabled an hourly sync between ACT and Outlook to avoid manual entry of Calendar events by the Marketing staff.

 

What a mess!

 

The recurring Calendar events in Outlook were repeatedly copied to ACT at each synch. This was then copied to the BlackBerry during the Companion Link sync.  The next synch between the BlackBerry Server and the BlackBerry brought the duplicated tasks into Outook (Exchange).

 

I added the Dword value "DisableMeetingRegeneration", and set it to "1" to prevent updating Meeting ID numbers in Outlook so ACT would recognize existing meetings and supposed avoid duplicating meeting requests.  This had no effect, so I had to clean everything out again.

 

After several frustrating days, here is the best solution I can offer:

 

1.  Turn off all synchronization between Outlook and ACT!!

2.  Fix the Outlook Calendar events and tasks.

3.  Reprovision the BlackBerry so it is updated with the correct Calendar and Task information.

4.  Wipe out all Calendar events, tasks and upcoming meetings in ACT.

5. Set up a one-way push of data from the BlackBerry device to ACT via the Companion Link software.  Do NOT allow ACT to sync with the BlackBerry.

6.  Instruct the Salespeople to create sales calls in their BlackBerry, so it is synced with ACT, but use Outlook for any other Company-related Calendar tasks.

 

This allows the Salepeople to use their BlackBerry devices to update ACT and Outlook, and avoids duplication of events, however, they cannot receive any updated ACT calendar events from ACT to their BlackBerry.

 

Can anyone provide a good step by step guide to allow synchronization between the Outlook, Blackberry and ACT Calendars without creating duplicate recurring events?

 


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Solution
Accepted by topic author support@mmicnc.com
‎09-25-2015 03:20 AM
Copper Contributor
Posts: 16
Country: United States

Re: ACT, Outlook, BlackBerry Calendar Synch - Best Practices?

Since my initial post, I've worked with CompanionLink and HandHeld Contact.  HandHeld Contact creates its own calendar and contact list separate from the BlackBerry calendar and contact list.  As we have a BlackBerry Enterprise Server that already synch's with the default calendar and contact list, the HandHeld Contact product was not a good solution for us.  The CompanionLink product uses the existing BlackBerry contacts and calendar, so I proceeded with this product.

 

I contacted Andy at CompanionLink support, and he suggested synching ACT and Outlook, and leaving the BlackBerry/BES/Outlook sync process untouched.  I began with the default install of Outlook as the PDA and ACT as the PIM.  The Outlook defaults are fine, but the ACT sync needs to be changed under Primary Database to allow deleted records to sync between ACT and Outlook, and the Groups selection should be changed from "All" to the specific sales persons name.  Everything else was left as default.

 

I ran the intial synch. - no duplicates!!  In addition, Outlook Calender events were tagged as "Meeting" so they could easily be identified in ACT.  I've set the synch to run every 15 minutes - no duplicates.  I've deleted and added records in ACT and in Outlook, no issues.

 

Finally, the Blackberry makes changes to Outlook via BES (BlackBerry Enterprise Server) and these are updated at the next sych as if they were made directly from Outlook.

 

Everythings looks to be working as expected.

 

 

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Solution
Accepted by topic author support@mmicnc.com
‎09-25-2015 03:20 AM
Copper Contributor
Posts: 16
Country: United States

Re: ACT, Outlook, BlackBerry Calendar Synch - Best Practices?

Since my initial post, I've worked with CompanionLink and HandHeld Contact.  HandHeld Contact creates its own calendar and contact list separate from the BlackBerry calendar and contact list.  As we have a BlackBerry Enterprise Server that already synch's with the default calendar and contact list, the HandHeld Contact product was not a good solution for us.  The CompanionLink product uses the existing BlackBerry contacts and calendar, so I proceeded with this product.

 

I contacted Andy at CompanionLink support, and he suggested synching ACT and Outlook, and leaving the BlackBerry/BES/Outlook sync process untouched.  I began with the default install of Outlook as the PDA and ACT as the PIM.  The Outlook defaults are fine, but the ACT sync needs to be changed under Primary Database to allow deleted records to sync between ACT and Outlook, and the Groups selection should be changed from "All" to the specific sales persons name.  Everything else was left as default.

 

I ran the intial synch. - no duplicates!!  In addition, Outlook Calender events were tagged as "Meeting" so they could easily be identified in ACT.  I've set the synch to run every 15 minutes - no duplicates.  I've deleted and added records in ACT and in Outlook, no issues.

 

Finally, the Blackberry makes changes to Outlook via BES (BlackBerry Enterprise Server) and these are updated at the next sych as if they were made directly from Outlook.

 

Everythings looks to be working as expected.