Microsoft gets a share of bashing from Mac360; most of it well deserved. But not Microsoft Office, and not Entourage.
I love it. Entourage is the center of my Mac business world. Even Tera likes Entourage. Is there worthy competition to the popular Entourage productivity suite?
In a word, yes. Back in the spring Tera had planned to do an extensive review of Marketcircle’s Daylite Productivity Suite for the Mac.
She’s more prone than me to trying new Mac applications, even expensive apps with a healthy learning curve. Me? I like a good comfort zone.
Entourage is my comfort zone. Email, database of contacts, project planning, tasks, milestones, and more. Is there anything better?
Tera has always said, “nothing improves without change.” In theory and practice, I’ll buy that axiom. But theory is easier to adopt than a new practice.
Enter Marketcircle and Daylite. Tera asked me to forsake Entourage for awhile and try out Daylite. Her first impression was positive. So is mine, but…
Most of us require a short learning curve, otherwise we simply keep doing what we’ve been doing until the pain of doing it is so great we try something else.
I don’t have much pain with Entourage so trying something else to do the same thing was my personal pain.
Fortunately, for you and Marketcircle, Daylite could be a solution to organizing you and your business world; contacts, projects, tasks, to-do lists, and the like.
What does Daylite do? Specifically, what does it do that Entourage doesn’t, or can it do the same thing even better?
Like Entourage, Daylite is an organization center.
There’s email, projects, tasks within projects, tracking, reminders, schedules, reports, and organization tools for all those pyriad daily items you and your business need.
In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that if you’re a busy person, and you’re in business, you need something like Microsoft’s Entourage, arguably, Daylite is even better.
I’m also willing to say that there’s a disciplined learning curve required to master productivity applications such as Daylite and Entourage (not so much mastering the application, as getting you to use the tools that do the mastering of your day).
Daylite is just that. There’s an initial learning curve because there’s so much that can be organized better. Fortunately, it’s a gentle learning curve that expands well into a business environment.
In fact, Daylite is much better at business than Entourage.
Business and a busy life has certain requirements. One of them is focus. You have to manage information, set up and track projects, balance a plethora of tasks and task assignments, schedule meetings, share calendars, keep track of all that as well as business contacts and dates and hours.
See what I mean? Life is busy these days. Organizing it and making life better is what the Mac is all about.
Daylite is what it says it is. A productivity suite. Daylite controls, manages, tracks information, and links together those items that need it, and stores those that don’t (even though there is a Daylite and a Daylite Productivity Suite).
Unlike Microsoft’s Entourage, Daylite is a Universal Binary application which runs on both PPC and Intel Macs using the OpenBase SQL 9.x database.
That’s a lot of organizational power in your Mac. OpenBase is also used by Parliant’s PhoneValet and BareBones Software’s Yojimbo to organize data.
Fortunately, you won’t have to do the database organizing as Daylite takes care of that for you.
In some cases, Daylite utilizes applications already on Mac OS X Tiger, such as integration with Mail. In other cases, such as schedules and contacts, Daylite doesn’t use AddressBook or iCal (though some import, export, and synchronization is possible).
The list of features and benefits is lengthy and detailed, going far beyond the capabilities of Entourage, iCal, and AddressBook.
Keeping it simple to start, Daylite links all your organizational information, letting you create contacts, create projects and tasks, assign tasks and projects to individuals, track all the items, and coordinate with others in a workgroup setting.
Entourage doesn’t do that. Daylite, like Entourage, sets up its own daily schedule for tasks, and links them to projects or contacts.
In fact, it’s the database use of tasks, items, projects, contacts, and so on, that make Daylite so powerful.
If your organization is sales oriented, you’ll love the contact features in Daylite. Synchronization is strong, too, with support for any Palm device that syncs with iSync, including Palm’s datebook, to do, addresses, and notes conduits.
The learning curve is lessened by extensive import and export functions for iCal, Now-Up-To-Daate, ACT, Palm, Entourage, and basic XML and tab separated data for Excel, text, or other database.
Contact management is a strong suit and goes beyond that of Entouraage by creating objects for both contacts and organizations in a drag-and-drop manner, and database linking with other objects (tasks and projects, as well as sales opportunities).
There’s a built-in editor for letters, or integration via Microsoft Word, Excel, or even OmniGraffle Pro.
If you’re a multi-Mac business organization, Daylite shines above all other productivity applications I’ve used, including Entourage.
Beyond multiple calendar options, projects with task and project linking, email, contacts, there’s also an object called “opportunities” , complete with a graphic timeline. I like this as I deal with many different people, organizations, and opportunities for future business.
Track initial contact, meetings, presentation of solutions, revisions, all the way down to signed contracts. Sorry. Can’t do that in Entourage.
The business focus of Daylite is also evident in reporting components. The built-in report writer does envelopes, labels, and basic reports. Duh.
Daylite goes further by mixing source information from the database so you can generate PDF reports that describe work flow, processes, and decision-making opportunities.
Custom estimates for jobs and projects? No sweat with Daylite.
Businesses will love the integration of data because everything gets stored; contacts, calendars, projects and tasks, meetings, notes. Everything can be tagged and used—and shared.
Having used Entourage for years, dating back to Mac OS 9.x, Daylite is a small jump, especially beneficial for those in a business setting where information sharing and storage is a requirement.
Other than a few interface quirks (probably more differences and nuance than major issues), the only drawbacks I see with my initial view of Daylite are the complexity of information gathering and tracking (this is not your father’s do-list), and the complexity of managing the database on the road.
Business is mobile. Your own personal Daylite database on your laptop is simple and easy to set up and maintain. In fact, for a single user with a single laptop, life is easy.
Moving that life from a server environment or your desktop Mac to a laptop is a different issue, because now you have to keep things synchronized. Easier said than done.
In a business environment, you’d do well to get someone well trained in both the features and nuances of Daylite, and the server setup and maintenance for a workgroup environment.
Daylite is well done, but requires some initial discipline to become productive. So far, it’s been stable and dependable, database issues notwithstanding.
Is Daylite more powerful than Entourage for business use? Yes. More complex? Yes. Click Here for a look at the Daylite details the Productivity Suite details, and the download to try out.