You Don’t Need a Blackberry for Mobile Email in Your Small Business
A few months back I discussed ways to enhance customer experience. One point was about responsiveness to customer enquiries – often a sore point for small business owners spending much time on the road and not so much in front of their computer and office phone. A simple step towards increasing responsiveness, I suggested, was mobile email.
Here in Australia I see so many small business clients using Blackberry devices in their small business – and so often with frustrating results. The usual scenario is this: email is forwarded from the customer’s Microsoft Small Business Server email account to their Blackberry email address (most clients we engage with have SBS), where it finally ends up on the handheld device. This common setup has several shortcomings, not the least of which is that there’s no synchronisation between the Outlook inbox and the Blackberry device. E.g. items read and deleted on the Blackberry will still appear unread in Outlook. Yuk.
Well done to those more astute readers who said “hang on, Windows Small Business Server? Why not use the built in Exchange Active Sync push technology with a Windows Mobile device?” That’s great advice – but the number of clients I come across that have SBS and don’t even know about that functionality is amazing!
So you are now being told: If you have Windows Small Business Server (2003 and newer) you have a great platform to provide yourself and all your staff with over-the -air wireless push email technology – and you DON’T need a Blackberry!
Get yourself a mobile device that runs Windows Mobile (such as Palm Treo, HTC Ozone and Samsung Blackjack to name a few) or other Exchange Activesync compatible phones like the iPhone 3G and many new Nokia phones, hook it up to a 3G network and, with the addition of some basic settings on your mobile device (and assuming your Small Business Server and network are configured correctly), you will have a full over the air push email solution.
But wait, there’s more: Not only will your email be synchronised across the mobile network, your Outlook calendar and contacts will too!
So your office assistant puts an appointment in your Outlook calendar and within minutes it’s updated to your mobile device. Very nice! If you send an email from your device, you’ll find it in the sent items folder in Outlook on your PC. Excellent! Add a contact to your mobile device when you’re at a conference, and it’s already entered in to your Outlook contacts when you get back to the office. Perfect!