Part 3 has the lowdown on networking and synchronization, database management and system administration, and importantly, how to stay in sync while you’re on the road, whether using an iPhone or a Mac notebook.
Too Good To Be True? Almost
At this point you’re intrigued with Daylite, right? It’s a productivity suite that goes beyond yet complements Microsoft Office. If you use a spreadsheet for business, you’re likely to use Excel or Numbers.
Daylite comes with a few added features and functions, each with a stack of benefits.
But there are a few drawbacks, too (in a moment or two).
Daylite is single user and multi-user. If you’re a one person SoHo (small office, home office), then Daylite gives you all those functions anyway. The only thing missing is integrated delegation of tasks.
Daylite is also networkable, so if you have a small or large office network everyone using Daylite can maintain easy sync. That said, Daylite can be a complex beast, more so when used in a multi-person office.
So, there’s the need for someone to manage and administrate the system. If it’s just you and your Mac, it’s easy. Keep backing up your data the way you always have.
If your business is larger, it will benefit your operation to have someone trained in how to administer Daylite. Fortunately, Daylite provides training, and a huge number of contextual help pages.
I’m somewhat Mac savvy, but had no trouble figuring out what to do to add more functionality. The help pages are contextual, they’re right there on the page you need. that means you can start small and simple, and, step-by-step, add more functionality and users.
Adding Add Ons To The Add Ons
I like to think of Daylite as a bunch of modules which blend together, linking and integrating important information. Beyond that is Plug-in add ons called Connectors.
For example, every good business, large or small, needs some kind of accounting integration. There’s a Daylite MYOB AccountEdge Connector and it’s what you expect. Integrated into Daylite’s all purpose window is a way to share contacts with AccountEdge, and even create estimates on projects.
Other third party add ons include tools to integrate Google Map, the Dialectic telephony system, the Merlin Project Management app and many, many others. Don’t forget what I said about the need for a system administrator trained in Daylite.
It’s a beast. A very powerful beast with a benevolent personality. But a beast.
Sync Me Baby, One More Time
It’s important to note a growing trend, one of which Apple is at the forefront. Seamless synchronization. Of that, the iPhone is the master and leader.
Daylite also has an iPhone app (free, but not if you want to use it) called Daylite Touch.
Think of it as Daylite Productivity Suite in your pocket. Not all the features of the main application are there, but you have instant access to your Daylite files, email, tasks, projects, and contact with others who use Daylite.
Use Daylite Touch to check progress, delegate tasks while you’re on the road, too. Tasks, Calendar, Projects, Contacts, even Opportunities show up on the iPhone version.
Non-iPhone sync is also availble using your Mac’s Sync Services, so you can sync data seamlessly with various Palm and BlackBerry phones, too.
Even Address Book and iCal can sync with Daylite. Your Address Book contacts show up integrated or separate. Your choice. You can set Daylite to have appointments, tasks, and reminders show up in iCal, too.
Simply put, Daylite is a very sweet suite of finely tuned, well integrated, Mac-like tools which improve efficiency and productivity of the busy one person business, or a business full of many persons (Mac users, of course).
I don’t consider Daylite to be an expensive proposition except for one consideration. You can spend more for Microsoft Office for Mac. There are hefty discounts for businesses with multiple users. This is a professional operation so telephone support and screen sharing is available at nominal cost.
What’s the gotcha? Although Daylite is easy enough to set up and use for a single Mac user (individual, not as in ‘not married’), it quickly grows complex as more users are added. Other considerations include training and system administration, all of which require significant effort.
Finally, I did not mention Daylite’s companion product, Billings, which is an elegant and complementary time tracking and invoicing tool. I’ll save that for a separate review in the future (there’s also a separate iPhone Billings).
Daylite is a quick download and quicker install, and true try-before-you-buy. As I recommended Microsoft Entourage to Mac users for nearly a decade, I have no trouble pointing out the benefits of Daylite as a replacement. Consider it the new Best Business Tool for Small Office, Home Office Mac users, that deserves consideration by bigger companies who love their Mac experience.