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I am one of the few remaining users of a Palm Pilot. About 15 years ago, I put together what I believe has been a very effective contact management system utilizing a Palm Pilot, ACT Contact Management Software, e-mail and a fax software integration program. This combination has served me well for many years. Unfortunately, unlike the fundamentally sound hot-dip galvanizing process, information technology changes at a rapid rate. While there are many benefits that come with these changes, they also create some shortcomings. I began using the ACT software back with version 4 (1998). I upgraded the software to version 5 (2000) and continue to use it today.

It included a link to efficiently synchronize contact information, tasks, and appointments to the Palm Pilot. In the past dozen years, I have evaluated several upgrades of the program. Although there were enhancements, I found the programs required significantly more storage space and the speed of the program declined significantly. Furthermore, they no longer supported my trusty Palm Pilot as the devices use faded with the newer Smart Phones. As a result, I stayed with my existing set up. With the release of the 2013 ACT software, they marketed a new application to synchronize with Smart Phones through the Cloud. I was encouraged. I decided to upgrade.

Unfortunately, I found the program speed to be further degraded and I was very disappointed (due to software constraints) I would only get about 75% of my contacts to the Cloud and less than 15% of my total contacts would actually make it to the Smart Phone. Another upgrade scrapped. I dont know how long my Palm Pilot will hold up. We all work in different ways; however, we are all tasked with balancing our calendars with business and family commitments, and many of us need to maintain strategic contact with customers, prospects, and other decision makers. Some of our larger multi-plant members have requirements and resources that may be out of reach of many of the single plant operations.

I am currently evaluating several Cloud based CRM applications; Sales Nexus, Sugar CRM,, Infusion Soft, and Sales Now. I also intend to evaluate Goldmine and am soliciting proposals for VPN (Virtual Private Network) to allow offsite access to our network including my existing ACT application. I would like to solicit some feedback from our membership on any success stories you have had in this area. If you are willing to share, please advise the software application, on site or cloud, and the mobile devices used. You may have an answer to my search. I will be happy to provide a white paper summary of my findings to anyone interested.

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