Business Contact Manager 2010 is a software which is being introduced by Microsoft and is intended to serve as a management suite for dealing with business contacts and customer informations for use within the Microsoft Outlook 2010. This new version which is now available for use with the Microsoft Office 2010 products carries a lot of feature enhancements thereby extending the capabilities of it in managing and tracking various contacts and opportunities and also organizing various business projects and other details like marketing campaigns and sales cycle. The Business Contact Manager (BCM) is quite flexible in its nature and can be personalized in any way so as to meet the requirements of various business needs by customizing the forms and record types using the new tools and interface being available therein. It is a suitable solution for small and mid-level businesses as they can manage all the customer informations form a centralized location upto a deeper level thereby making it convenient to get hold of all the informations at a single glance without navigating through various menus and wizards. It works with other Office products and offers the service of sending emails, letter or brochures through the use of Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Office Word or Office Publisher. Some of the notable features available under the latest edition is its new user interface with a very detailed dashboard which allows the management of the customer information, sales activities and and projects along with tracking marketing activities much more convenient and effective so as to boost the overall user experience in a more productive manner.
Features of Business Contact Manager 2010
The Business Contact Manager 2010 which is available within the Microsoft Office 2010 comes with many new features in comparison to what was available previously within the Outlook 2007. The latest version is much more flexible for use according to one's own business requirements and also includes a lot of convenient features to manage all your projects and business contact much more effectively and efficiently.
- New User Interface and Dashboard: The BCM 2010 includes a totally revamped user interface which facilitates all the informations and data within a centralized view. It provides the ease of using it without much expertise and hence can be utilized without spending much time for learning the various ways to get started with this software. All the informations and features are orderly arranged as per the priority and relevance with tabs and preview panes which are all configurable for personalizing it according to one's own business requirements. Since the dashboard available within the new interface provides all the details of the various projects and sales activities, it can be helpful to have an overall idea of the progress of the projects and business tasks from the dashboard itself and accordingly enable them to work productively according to what is more critical and important at that instance. As is usual with the various Office products, the various features are contained within the Ribbon tabs that can also be personalized according to one's convenience and use. Overall, it provides the freedom to configure different parts and make use of various gadgets for business metrics, graph stats and tabs as per their own requirements and purpose.
- New Form Designer and Custom Entities: The forms which are available within the Business Contact Manager can be modified according to the various requirements of your Business and Projects. You can now create new forms and present it with new fields or pages while also allowing one to delete the already existing fields and other controls in the BCM form. It is also possible to define new record type and thereby add and define new entities according to role and categories. For example, you may create entities like 'Vendors', 'Partners', 'Representatives' etc. which can have customized fields for holding records. The visual form designer which is available for creating personalized forms is also user-friendly and straight-forward which let's you create or remove fields by following simple drag-and-drop procedure. You can not only use the default set of items in the form designer, but also make use of various other business applications which can be integrated to the BCM using the Software Development Kit being made available within it.
- Customer Information Management: This is the primary feature of the Business Contact Manager 2010 which can be availed with the Microsoft Office 2010 software package from Microsoft. The various contact data are managed with the help of the Microsoft SQL database which assist in storing all the related information, documents and data within a single place. It gives the freedom to set filter preference so that it would display only the relevant contacts that you may be interested in or what is relevant to your business profile. The usability aspect is the featured improvement being registered which provides a straightforward interface much similar to that of the Outlook and therefore needs no specific level of expertise to operate the various functionalities to work around with the management of customer information.
- Managing Sales Activities: You can use the BCM 2010 to manage various activities relating to sales and also to define various processes to monitor the progress or track the opportunities. The dashboard provides a very detailed report of your sales activity and helps to properly analyze various aspects involving it. You can set your preference and define new rules for handling the sales leads based on the priority and can also mention sales stages in accordance to your business category. The Business Contact Manager 2010 will henceforth always notify you of the completion of any activity and also remind you of all further activities which are scheduled next. The lead management in this software allows you to define criteria for calculating lead score and accordingly filter out the various business opportunities based on the lead score generated either manually or automatically. You can also generate reports of the data you are concerned with by using either the predefined report templates or your own customized report including any data that you may feel the need to have in the report.
- Managing Marketing Activities: Using the Business Contact Manager 2010, you will always have the potential to create and track various marketing activities and also monitor the progress and results of those campaigns. You can organize the various prospects involved with different kind of customers and then be indulged with the campaigns which can be sent using Publisher or Word. It also allows the use of different call scripts in order to manage and execute customer calls and take note of the requirements of the customer through it. It gives you the feature to accumulate the contact list of all the potential customers so as to proceed with the marketing communications which it provides.
- Project Management: The Project management feature of the Business Contact Manager 2010 in Microsoft Outlook is another key feature which allows you to take note of various information related to the projects and also to share them among other people associated with the company. Various details concerning a particular project can be managed through a single centralized interface which will help you to monitor them and take necessary actions based on the report provided. The creation of the projects entries in the BCM is very easy and effortless and can be done by seeking assistance from a lot of predefined templates already contained therein. You can also prepare customized templates according to various types and categories of the project and use them in all of the projects having similar characteristics. You can assign the task relating to the particular project to any individuals listed and the same will be notified to the recipient as a reminder in the similar fashion as what is available as To-Do list in Office Outlook.
System Requirements of Microsoft Business Contact Manager 2010
There are certain system requirements being mentioned by Microsoft which must be met in order to utilize the Business Contact Manager with the Microsoft Office Outlook 2010. These are as follows:-
- Compatibility: Microsoft Office 2010 Standard, Microsoft Office 2010 Professional Plus
- Processor: 1GHz (Minimum)
- Memory: 512MB RAM (Minimum)
- HDD: 2GB (Minimum Free Space)
- Operating System: 32-bit Windows XP SP3, 32-bit and 64-bit OS of Windows Vista SP1, Windows 7, Windows Server 2003 R2 with 32-bit Office, Windows Server 2008
Steps to install Microsoft Business Contact Manager 2010
The Business Contact Manager 2010 from Microsoft is meant for use with Microsoft Office Outlook and is available for use only with the Standard and Professional Plus edition of Microsoft Office 2010. You can install the same quite easily and you will not be asked for a separate license for using the BCM 2010 as it can detect any Office installation already existent in the system and thereby use the product key used in the Microsoft Office standard or Professional Plus Edition. So, following are the steps involved in installing the Business Contact Manager in any of the supported Windows operating system as per the system requirements mentioned above:-
- To start with, open and run the installer of BCM 2010 which will present you with the Welcome wizard as shown in the screenshot above. Click on 'Install to proceed.
- If any of the services relating to Microsoft Office products is running in the background, you may be alerted with an error message stating that 'Setup has detected that a Microsoft Office application is currently running. You need to shutdown all Office application before continuing. If you are running Activesync, you may need to shut it down to shut down Outlook. Afterwards, Please run setup again'. If this is what you are receiving when you run the setup installer, then look for any Office application which is active and kill the service.
- After ensuring that all the applications are closed, you may relaunch the installation wizard as mentioned in Step 1. After clicking on Install, the various components will be copied and finally present you with the Startup screen.
- In the 'Business Contact Manager for Outlook 2010' screen, you will be provided with two choice of installation which is either that of a Express mode or a Custom mode. The Express mode will allow you to use any default database already existing in the system and thereby proceed with the setup with default settings. This is recommended mode for all novice users or people have less experience in handling advanced setup. The Custom mode on the other hand will allow you to specify your own settings according to your preference without depending on the default values. So, click on the Express option to proceed with the default mode of setup.
- After selecting the default mode of setup, you will be prompted to specify whether or not the sample data should be installed. This is for test purpose to take a tour of how things work with the BCM tool. If you are a new user who is trying this for the first time, then you can install the sample data while those having previous experience in using it need not install the same.
- After having specified your choice in the previous step, the installation of the database will proceed and would take around 5-10 minutes for completing the setup. After finishing the setup of database, you will be presented with a new screen to mention the company details like the approximate number of employees and the industry category etc. Complete this step by providing relevant information which best suits your purpose. Click on Next.
- Your setup is now complete and you will be welcomed with the Business Contact Manager 2010 welcome message and getting started guide.
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