Business Contact Manager for Office 2010: New User Experience


Hi, all! My name is Chris Heydemann, a Senior Program Manager on Business Contact Manager.

We’re very happy to be able to show off Business Contact Manager for Office 2010. In the coming weeks, look for posts that talk about Business Contact Manager’s new and improved features, why we made the changes we did, and how these improve business productivity and effectiveness.

Background

We had three top-level user interface goals for Office 2010:

  • Make BCM more flexible. Show the records and fields you want, whatever your role.
  • Increase usability, so that BCM is more pleasant to use, easier to use, and faster for your common business tasks.
  • Visualize business data, so that you can see at a glance how your business is performing.

You’ll be hearing more about what we did to meet these goals in the coming weeks. But for now, let’s start with the top-level user interface.

In Office 2007, we gave you a single list or Accounts, one for Business Contacts, one for Opportunities, and so on. To create custom lists (say, Opportunities assigned to me) you needed to create search folders. In Office 2010, we wanted to provide multiple views, each flexible enough to meet your small business needs. Each view should provide a way to visualize your business data, to list the records you need to do your job, and show detailed data about the selected record.

Workspaces

To meet these needs, we created 4 role-centered Workspaces, one each for Sales, Marketing, Project Management and general Contact Management. Here’s the Sales workspace:

clip_image002

Let’s take a brief look at the different components:

  • The Folders in the Navigation Pane allow you to navigate between BCM Workspaces.
  • Of course you’re familiar with the Ribbon, which Business Contact Manager has had since Office 2007. The Ribbon puts all the commands at your fingertips to allow you to work faster and more effectively.
  • You can choose from a variety of Gadgets. There are Gadgets for Sales, Marketing, Project Management and Contact Management; choose the ones that show information that matter to you. You can use gadgets to monitor the effectiveness or your entire team, or focus only on your own contribution. And if you want to provide more space to the Tabs, just select Hide Gadgets in the upper right of the Gadgets area.
  • The Tabs (here, Opportunities, Leads and Stores) show lists of BCM records and information about each record. You can create up to 20 Tabs, naming them whatever makes sense to you. Each Tab contains a List and, optionally, a Reading Pane
  • The List of records can be filtered to show only records you care about: Opportunities likely to close, Business Contacts in my state, and so on. They can also be grouped (here, Opportunities are grouped by Sales Stage) and sorted, and you can select the fields that matter to you.
  • The Reading Pane shows detailed information about the current record, without having to open the inspector. As you scroll down through the List, the Reading Pane shows detailed information about the currently selected record. You can select and rearrange the information shown in the Reading Pane.

Dashboard

While the workspaces are where you will spend most of your time in BCM, we’ve also provided a Dashboard:

image

The dashboard shows you how your business is doing. As on the Workspaces, you can choose from a variety of Gadgets. The Gadgets are the some ones shown on the workspaces, though most will expand to take advantage of the extra room. Gadgets are arranged in up to 4 columns, and you can drag them into whatever order you like.

I hope this provides an idea of the amount of effort we’ve put into improving the flexibility and usability of Business Contact Manager. I’m looking forward to hearing your feedback on the elements of the user experience that you like, and those that need more work.

Thanks for your time, Chris

Comments (62)

  1. burtpolson says:

    I currently use the latest BCM version in my small business of five workers.  I utilize the Database Admin Tool on a standard desktop.  My staff of five will be working only at remote locations soon as I am eliminating our office.  What are my options in sharing the BCM data when all users are remote?

  2. M.Marcus says:

    Thanks for the update on some of the new features Chris.

    Unfortunately it looks like we were not chosen to trial the technical release of BCM. Any idea on when we might be able to get our hands on it?

    Thanks.

  3. jodymorgan says:

    I am impressed with the UI improvements but the biggest problem is the efficiency with the interaction with the Database and its  poor response time.

    Has the DB been refactored also?

  4. bcmteam says:

    jodymorgan:

    Are you using Business Contact Manager for Office 2007?  Are there specific scenarios where you commonly encounter poor responsiveness?

    We’ve made a number of substantial changes in BCM 2010 to improve performance and responsiveness, including many changes in the database schema to improve common database operations.

  5. bcmteam says:

    Hi

    What problems are you seeing with BCM 2010 performance? Could you give us some information about your system background and configuration?

    We really appreciate your feedback.

    -Vinit [MSFT]

  6. jodymorgan says:

    We are using 2007.

    I m glad to hear that schema changes have been made. I noticed a lot of read/write traffic for simple commands in 2007, which really hit the performance.

    We have developed several plugins for BCM 2007 and would like to know when 2010 will be available for us to test and make changes to our code to make them work in the next release.

  7. jodymorgan says:

    I also have one more question. Will this version be made available and supported for TS users?

  8. LAXDFW says:

    Please extend me an invite for BCM 2010

  9. nut says:

    Please kinldy send me an invitation to use BCM2010.

    thanks in advance.

  10. shannonhorn says:

    PLEASE send me an invite to use BCM2010, thanks!

  11. tntmyth says:

    I am a current user of Outlook 2007 with BCM. The improvement you show here are great. I can suggest two very important upgrades you could look at:

    1) Better integration with Swiftpage. Swiftpage does have a plug-in that works with Outlook BCM, but currently, there is no way to select clients for groups for e-mailings, nor a way to automatically record a history note of the Swiftpage email populated. These For this reason, I am running two databases, BCM and ACT because ACT does have the more complete integration with Swiftpage. I prefer BCM for everyday contact management because of the tight email integration. Tighter Swiftpage integration for BCM would sweeten the deal.

    2) Synchronization over the air with Microsoft Office Live and Windows Mobile Outlook with BCM. This is one of the advantages currently enjoyed by Macs and now by Google Android phone users. My friends that have iPhones can sync contacts over the air with MobileMe. And Google application users have over the air sync capability now with their Android phones such as the Hero and the Droid. The Google Apps and the Mobile Me contact managers are very limited, of course. So for now, they are not an option as a serious contact manager. If they come up with a more robust contact manager that syncs over the air it would probably be a big hit. Microsoft already has a great contact manager with BCM. They just need to make it sync over the air. Over the air syncronization of Contacts, Calendar, Tasks, History, and Notes would be a great feature to include with Office with BCM 2010 and would potentially also help sales of Windows Mobile devices. Basically, I want to be able to add a contact, appointment or task to a  "Pocket Outlook with BCM" application on my phone, it should sync automatically with Office Live which then syncs with Outlook 2010 on the desktop as soon as the application opens and logs onto the internet. Yes, currently I am using the older Pocket BCM on my Treo 800w, but it is not really perfectly integrated into Windows Mobile, kind of an after thought, difficult to read the very small text, and I have to sync using a USB cable. BCM is currently the best overall contact manager solution for small business users but the over the air sync would be a game changer.

  12. dsyarn says:

    I am currently using BCM 2007 and a serious issue that I hope is fixed in BCM 2010.  The issue has to deal with e-mail linking.  I have the BCM database stored on a SBS 2008 server and shared among the 3 workers in the office.  When e-mails are linked to a contact, they ar elinked in 2 ways, as either an e-mail or as a business activity.  There seems to be no ryhme or reason as to why e-mails are stored one way or the other.  Another related issue is that sometimes the e-mails are store dmultiple times, as both an e-mail and a business activity, or sometimes as simply multiple business activities.  Then, there are e-mails that are stored as if from the individual user and another copy of the same e-mail from the system administrator.  This linking issue is a big deal for our small company and is causing the boss to look at other solutions.  I like BCM and would prefer to continue to use it in the future, but the e-mail linking feature needs to be corrected.

  13. ipadl says:

    I would also like to demo the BCM2010.  Can you send me an invite?  We are currently using 2007 in our office of approximately 15 people (overhead) and mobile on our WinMo phones.  Thanks.

  14. datekk says:

    Hi. I work hard with the BCM. I have found a bug in BCM 2010 which allready was in 2007.

    When you send an e-mail where a file is attached, by clicking on the "E-Mail Button" in the account- or businesscontact window, to someone who is NOT using outlook – this person is geting a "winmal.dat" file.

    Please fix this!

  15. minutotres says:

    Cordial saludo

    he instalado Office 2010+BCM 2010, pregunto porqué no es posible migrar la base de datos que vengo utilizando con BCM2007, por favor se que todo es posible en la vida, si eres Bondadoso y deseas explicarmelo te agradezco y permitiras seguir disfrutando de tan maravillosa Utilidad.

    Gracias

  16. johnjbarryjr says:

    Chris we are long time Goldmine users. I recently ditched the Goldmine email client and started using Outlook for email, linked to Goldmine.  Its like a new world – I love it!  I would love to use BCM but I also want to have the synching capability where we can have oure reps entering activity that comes into a centralized database here so we can track their efforts.  Is BCM there yet?

    Thanks,

    John

  17. tntmyth says:

    I currently use Outlook 2007 with Business Contact Manager. I downloaded and use Pocket BCM for Smartphones and I am using it on a Palm Treo 800W running Windows Mobile 6.1. The solution is perfect for me. I would be great to be able sync wirelessly over the internet. Also Pocket BCM only syncs data from the computer, but I cannot edit data on the smartphone in Pocket BCM.

    Are there any plans to have an updated version of Pocket BCM to work with Windows Mobile 6.5 or 7? If so, which phones will it work with? I am looking to upgrade from my Treo 800W to a newer phone, but I really would prefer to stay with Windows Mobile as a platform for the use of Pocket BCM if it will still be in service. No other phone OS has a solution that will sync well with Outlook BCM that I am aware of.

  18. Sirenguy says:

    I love the new features!!

    But….

    One thing that almost every CRM like ACT, Goldmine and BCM keeps leaving out is the service business.  I have customized all of these products to:

    -Create Workorders

    -Maintain Job Site Histories (What work we did at what location)

    -Track service requests

    There is a whole segment of industry that would be so easy to build into these CRMs.  HVAC, Plumbing, siding, facility maintanence.

    With BCM 2010 it offers more flexability to do this, but someone has to spend weeks and have a little DB background to do it.

    It would be nice to have a template to start with for these guys.  And there are a lot of us.

  19. marcostena says:

    How can I run bcm in sql server and not SQL Express?

  20. iljac says:

    Will it be possible to add/develop a custom workspace to manage services or should I look for Dynamics CRM instead?

  21. Trokur says:

    Is it possible to create a new custom Activity Type?  I would prefer not to use "other", but to create my own types.

  22. bcmteam says:

    @Marcostena

    The easiest way to run on sql server is to uninstall the sql express, then install sql server to the instance name of "MSSMLBIZ".

    @iljac

    We don’t have any story on custom workspace to manage service, Dynamics CRM would be a better place for that.

    @Trokur

    We only have customization for accounts and contact types.

  23. Trokur says:

    Thanks for the reply!

    As a sales manager, it is very important to me to track specifically where leads come from (i.e. Activity types).  As it stands, BCM offers linking leads only to the activities:

    1. Call-list

    2. Mass Mail

    3. Direct mail print

    4. Other

    I can’t stress how important it is to be able to add 5. Trade show: specify show, 6. Referral: specify referral, etc.

    Other does not help, since I need the next layer of data – in other words, the particular show, the particular referral, etc.

    Or am I missing something fundamental about how it works?

  24. dsyarn says:

    In BCM 2010, we will be able to auto-link to e-mails stored in public folders on an Exchange server.  One of the big problems with BCM 2007 is that e-mails are stored as "business activities" so that users of a shared database can’t see e-mails as e-mails and have no access to attachments.  One way around this is linking to e-mails in a public folder, but there is no way to set up "Auto-link" to a public folder.  Has this issue been addresse din BCM 2010?

  25. bcmteam says:

    @Trokur:

    Depending on how you want to use the "source of" feild on the contacts, you can link it to many different types other then just the default Marketing activites.   You can also add the specific name of the trade show to the drop down list if you like.

    If you want to link them to Marketing activites, you would do this from the "Initiated By" field.  Here you would create an "Other Activity" and give it a name.  You would then use that name in the Initiated by field to link the activity.  The Other activity allows you to change the "type" of the other activity if you want to change it from "other" to some default types.

    With the linked marketing activity, you can use the marketing views/gadgets/reports to see all contacts/account/opportunites created from that activity.  

    Hope that helps.

    @dsyarn:

    We don’t allow auto-linking on public folder with bcm (2007 or 2010).  This is blocked because of security concerns of the contents in those folders, and preformance of those folders.

    –Jerry[msft]

  26. mommacita says:

    Can someone tell me how to include the history field when running reports in business contact manager.

  27. kateh says:

    Hi there,

    We are trying to figure out if we can use BCM 2010 as a CRM tool. One problem we saw with 2007 was that there was not much flexibility to link records. e.g.Our customer is the MIDDLEMAN. We want to keep contact details of the ENDUSER on the database. Is it possible to link the ENDUSERS to the MIDDLEMEN and to run reports pulling out e.g. One Middleman, what all their ENDUSERS are?

    Another issue is languages – we in Ireland will have to have access to German an French Databases – but in 2007, the locale meant you could only see the database if using the same locale that created it – is this the case in 2010? thanks,Kate

  28. brian seitz says:

    Just upgraded to Office 2010 – BCM 2007 died, BCM tech preview doesn't install as it asked for prior Office version.  Ideas?

  29. brian seitz says:

    Just upgraded to Office 2010 – BCM 2007 died, BCM tech preview doesn't install as it asked for prior Office version.  Ideas?

  30. bcmteam says:

    Brian, you will need to upgrade to BCM 2010 as well to work with Office 2010.

    Thanks.

  31. EJToll says:

    I give up. I have spent in excess of six hours trying to install business contact manager 2010.First I was getting a "reboot" error. So I found a fix for that by modifying the registry. Then I was getting an error about not being able to open an "unnamed" registry entry. So I searched and found a fix for that. Then I was getting an error that SMBIZ or something wasn't installing. I found a fix for that. Then I got the 0x848B20001 error code. All of the research, work arounds, and trial and error and reboots and safe boots and administrator boots and owner boots and permission boots and all the other crap are just too much. Clyde, would you please contact me when you have a version of BCM that will install with SQL Server 2008 Express R2 and whatever other programs it needs without all this hasltle.

    Why generate error codes when Microsoft doesn't even have KB articles for the error codes. Come on guys and gals, this is 2010–you know that all new programs are filled with bugs. At least share the workarounds if you're not going to fix the problem.

  32. TopGunGR says:

    I currently use Outlook 2007 with Business Contact Manager.

    Are there any plans to have an updated version of Pocket BCM to work with Windows Mobile 6.5 ? I'm trying to install it on myHTC HD2, but I got a message: "Business contacts can not support the connective device".

    Pls. advice

  33. I just installed BCM 2010 and I love the UI and the new features.  HOWEVER, the performance is absolutely HORRIBLE.  I can't believe how long it takes for things to load on the remote computers.  I am probably going to get rid of the tool if I can't get this fixed.

  34. Greg says:

    Help!  I downloaded BCM in Office Professional Plus which evidently is the only product that has BCM.  I downloaded the trial to see how it works.  BCM is nowhere to be found.  MS tech support won't help me because I don't have a support contract. Its unbelievable.  I am a small business and i want to try and buy this product yet MS could care less.  If I could switch from Outlook I would for reasons like this.  I've spent hours of my time trying to figure this out.  

    Can anyone help me?

    greg@homecarecal.com

  35. todd says:

    I also am an owner of a small business, I am prepared to spend $2500 to upgrade all 5 of our computers to Office 2010 Professional Plus so that we can use BCM as our CRM product, We receive less than 10-15 calls a day and add maybe 1-5 contacts a week, I do not need a $10,000 sever and Dynamics CRM solution for our biz, its just over kill.  

    So I spend 2 hours downloading the trial to see if BCM will work for us, only to find out that MS doesn't think we need to try that application out so they disable it!  Am I suppose to take it on faith that it will work?  Is this how you guys treat potential customers? my APPLE stock went up 8% this week. Good grief Micro$oft.

  36. When will BCM 2010 be available for Office 2010 single user version?

  37. helgemite says:

    Just bought Microsoft Office 2010 Professional, and discovered BCM not included! However, there is a "Business contact Manager" title in my list of contact folders. How can i get the BCM for 2010???

  38. Paul Fox says:

    I just removed my 2010 betas and downloaded the 60 day demo of Office 2010 Prof Plus, which is supposed to have BCM.  It's not there in Outlook.  Not available as part of the demo or do you have to download separately, doesn't say that in all the documentation I've found.

    Thanks.

    Paul

  39. Antonio Queiros says:

    can anyone tell me where can I download BCM 2010?

    I have Office 2010 Professional Plus.

  40. aqueiros says:

    can you lease tell me where can I find the download file for BCM 2010.

    I got Office 2010 Pro Plus

  41. aqueiros says:

    can anyone please tell me where can I find the download file for BCM 2010.

    I got Office 2010 Pro Plus

  42. Chisholm says:

    I have installed Office 2010 trial downloaded.  I had to uninstall everything from 2007 to make Outlook work.  Now BCM has disappeared.  I cannot find a way to actiavate it or install it on 2010. I am stuck and cannot access my BCM 2007 records.  What can i do?

  43. Fatima says:

    Hello, I have 2 questions- Does business contact manager sync to droid X and is there anyway to have my Outlook contacts sync automatically to BCM?

    Looking forward toyour response.

    Thanks

  44. Chris [msft] says:

    Fatima, BCM does not directly sync with Droid phones. However, you might find a third party application that wuill allow you to sync Outlook contacts with your Droid. BCM 2010 has a feature called Synchronization, which you can find on the Backstage view under the Business Contact Manager tab. Synchronization copies your BCM Business Contacts to Outlook, but keeps them linked to the copies in BCM, so that it syncs any changes. In this way, you can use tools that allow you to access Outlook contacts to work with your BCM contacts.

    Hope this helps,

    Chris

  45. Fatima says:

    Chris, thank you so much for your prompt reply. I've searched high and low for Backstage view and I can't find it… I wish BCM had a help button. Anyhow, that info is what I really need more than anything else. I really need to just save the contact info in Outlook contacts and automatically have it sync w/ BCM each time.

    Please advise.

    Thanks again,

    Fatima

  46. Fatima says:

    I found it, finally… Apparently I saw it already but didn't know it was called Backstage View. I synced it and checked if that changed anything. It still needs to be synced again after I made a new contact in Outlook. Am I doing something wrong?

  47. Fatima says:

    WOOOOOOHHHHOOOOOOOO!  I found help om BCM- Just push F1. One step down, still looking for auto sync.

  48. Fatima says:

    Where there's a will theres a way! I finally found it. You have to add contacts to BCM it updates Outlook… I think it's the only way.

    INFO:

    1.Click the File tab.

    Keyboard shortcut    To open the Microsoft Outlook Backstage view, press ALT + F.

    2.Click the Business Contact Manager tab.

    Keyboard shortcut    To open the Business Contact Manager Backstage view, press ALT + B.

    3.Click Synchronize, and then click Start Synchronizing Business Contacts.

    Keyboard shortcut To open the Synchronize menu, press ALT + M

    4.In the Synchronization Settings dialog box, choose the type of Outlook Contacts folder to copy your Business Contacts to.

    The options you can choose will vary, depending on the programs or Web application that you use to access data remotely. For information about how to choose a folder, see Choose a synchronization folder later in this article.

    5.If you want to file the Business Contacts in a specific category in your Outlook Contacts folder, leave the Category check box selected, and then click the category that you want. Otherwise, clear the check box.

    6.Click OK.

    Your Business Contacts are copied to your selected Contacts folder and are automatically kept in sync between the two folders.

  49. rajeev kamal says:

    I am trying to install BCM on my win 7 with office 2007 pro and its fails to install the interop assemblies and BCM. Tried to install sp3 for sql as well but not solution. Does anybody faced such issue too.

  50. David Williams says:

    I would like to see the 2010 version. I was wondering if it is possible to load BCM 2007 ro run with my new version of Office 2010. I really miss it.

  51. Dan S says:

    Is there an easy way to write a letter using Word to a business contact or account?  It seems there should be an easy way to populate a Word document with a contact's name and address so that a letter in Word can then be written.  Currently I find using copy/paste as the best method but going this route is a flashback to 1995.  Is there a "Write Word Letter to Contact" command coming?

  52. Jerry says:

    Hi Dan S,

    Yes, there is an easy way.  You can use the built in mail merge in outlook for your contact.   How?  Glad you asked.

    Step 1)  Select the contact you want to write your letter to, lets say you are in the Contact Management folder in the Business Contacts tab.

    Step 2)  In the ribbon look for the "communicate tab" and click mail merge

    Step 3)  In the mail merge Contacts dialog select the Only Selected Contacts button in the contact section

    step 4) Choose either a new document or an exisit one.

    Step 5) Click Next.

    At this point it will open word with your contact's data in the recipient list.  All you need to do to access it is to insert the mail merge field you want.

    –Jerry [MSFT]

  53. bowman says:

    I would like to know if there is any training regarding the new BCM 2010?  I have about 5 users in my company that are using it in place of just using Outlook to manage contacts and would like to learn more about the functionality of the program.  If anyone has any real info besides what the Microsoft site has to offer please comment. Also…how different are the 2007 and 2010 versions of Business contact manager?

  54. AP-123 says:

    Bowman – Don't get your hopes up.  I and others have been asking and looking for the same info and have had no response from this forum.  Real disappointment.

  55. morris says:

    Can you tell me if items in communication history are kept there indefinitely – do they suddenly get purged after a certian amount of time or can we be confident that our history is there for years to come?  Also, if we link a document or email to a business contact is it actually copied into the history so that if the document or email is later deleted from the original site, it still remains in the communication history for that business contact?

  56. Richardt says:

    In BCM business contacts only come up under contact management pane. Noting reflected under /Business records/Business contacts. Advice?

  57. Brett Stauffer says:

    Chris,

    I've been using BCM for about a year now, and I love it.  It's a great addition to and works seemlessly with Outlook.  My challenge is synchronizing my BCM Contacts with my PDA.  I have an HTC EVO (Droid) phone.  I can sync with Outlook,  but it only sync's the standard outlook contacts, forcing me to literally maintain two copies of each Contact.  What is your suggestion?

  58. Charles Trovillion says:

    My preview of the BCM indicates that its focus is on business to business and not business to individual accounts.  Eq insurance agency with personal accounts – am I corect?

  59. Ruth Tearle says:

    I loved using Business Contact manager with Office 2007 on a Vista machine. I used it for all our HTML marketing campaigns together with Mapilab toolbox – and reccommended it to many others.

    I then unfortunately upgraded to Microsoft Windows 7, Office 2010 and Business contact manager 2010. What a disaster!

    The business contact manager now

    1) converts all my HTML emails to plain text

    2) Ignores mapilab (which works perfectly with Office 2010)

    I am so frustrated!! I hear other people are having similar problems. Is there a fix? Or should I forget about using business contact manager and therefore microsoft products as the core database in my business.

  60. Ruth Tearle says:

    I loved using Business Contact manager with Office 2007 on a Vista machine. I used it for all our HTML marketing campaigns together with Mapilab toolbox – and reccommended it to many others.

    I then unfortunately upgraded to Microsoft Windows 7, Office 2010 and Business contact manager 2010. What a disaster!

    The business contact manager now

    1) converts all my HTML emails to plain text

    2) Ignores mapilab (which works perfectly with Office 2010)

    I am so frustrated!! I hear other people are having similar problems. Is there a fix? Or should I forget about using business contact manager and therefore microsoft products as the core database in my business.

  61. Alfred Rak says:

    I am using BCM 2010 on Windows 7, beside the programms features i would like to integrate a accountign software, is there any user of BCM 2010 who has already linked BCM with an accounting siftware?

    Thanks

  62. Abdy says:

    I am getting an error in Outlook 2010 using Business Contact Manager that goes as follows:

    "Business Contact Manager for Outlook could not complete your last action or actions.  Please try again."

    I went to a site to downloan and reinstall it.  I enter the office 2010 key and it is supposed to take you to a Download link. But it does not.

    How else do you believe I could fix this problem?

    Thanks