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Microsoft Outlook - How to Synchronize Contacts under Business Contact Manager ?
By Raj Pillai, Copyright 2004-2005
 Version 1.24  Created 17/06/2005

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Introduction:

Microsoft provides an application called Business Contact Manager (BCM) for Outlook 2003  primarily targeted at small businesses. It provides neat features that help you manage business relationships and track customer information easily.  Until recently, it was not possible to synchronize the contacts stored under BCM with your Pocket PC.

Why Can't I Synchronize the Business Contacts with ActiveSync?

Microsoft ActiveSync synchronizes information found within the Outlook .pst file. The BCM does not use the .pst file to store information. It has its own database file format. In addition, ActiveSync does not support synchronization of non default Contact folders.  The only manner in which you could synchronize them is by copying the contacts over to your default Contacts folder.

But now you have "Business Contacts for Pocket PC"

The much awaited add-in solves your synchronization woes to a great deal.  Business Contacts for Pocket PC, although limited in features when compared to its desktop counterpart, helps you get business contacts on the Pocket PC along with their history to a certain degree.

What Does it Look Like?

The add-in contains a service provider for Microsoft ActiveSync, which means it is integrated with ActiveSync.  So once you install it the desktop component can be seen under ActiveSync under Tools -> Options.

 

Screen Capture of the desktop component in the Flash (.swf) format.

The second component is installed on the Pocket PC as a program titled - "Business Contacts".  Access it and you will see a window that looks similar to Contacts that is present on your Pocket PC.  It supports sorting of Contacts with the use of Categories.  So if you have been categorizing your contacts, you are at an advantage.

Tap the contact and you can access the history associated with it.  The history types and number of history items can be configured using the desktop module.

Synchronization Issues:

After installation of this add-in, you might not be able to synchronize the information between Business Contact Manager and your Pocket PC.  In such a scenario, try the following to get your synchronization going:

  1. Remove the Pocket PC from the cradle

  2. Close Outlook (if open).

  3. Perform a soft reset on the Pocket PC.

  4. Re-cradle the Pocket PC and attempt to synchronize.

If you are faced with an error message - "Items of one or more information types cannot be synchronized. Disconnect and reconnect your device.", then you will need install the BCM Update for Outlook 2003.

Conclusion:

There are a few limitations that you might encounter.  If you want a specific history item that is not so recent, then it can be pretty difficult to get it on your Pocket PC since it doesn't allow any time interval configurations.  But it is a very handy application to have. At last, its a lot easier to be able to carry all your business contacts with you.

 

Read other articles by Raj Pillai

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