Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 Inside and Out
By Jim Boyce
Jim Boyce is a highly-regarded expert on operating systems and productivity software who’s written or contributed to more than 50 books. A former contributing editor for Windows Magazine, Jim writes for several technical publications and Web sites.
To learn more about other books on the 2007 Microsoft Office system, visit Microsoft Press.
In this article
Microsoft® Business Contact Manager is an add-on for Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 that builds on the customer management features already in Office Outlook 2007 to create a system for managing clients, sales opportunities, and other business data. Business Contact Manager doesn’t replace Outlook 2007 but instead adds new item types, additional folders, and features for managing these items to help you keep track of accounts, customers, and business opportunities more efficiently. The purpose of this article is to provide you with a solid background in using Business Contact Manager so you can begin taking advantage of it to manage business contacts and accounts.
Understanding what Business Contact Manager can do
Business Contact Manager is a customer resource management (CRM) tool that integrates with Outlook 2007. By itself, Outlook 2007 enables you to manage contacts, e-mail, a calendar, and tasks. Business Contact Manager extends those capabilities to add accounts, business contacts, and business opportunities (such as sales) to your Outlook 2007 data. These items appear under their own Business Contact Manager branch in the folder list, as shown in Figure 1.
The main benefit of using Business Contact Manager is that it gives you the means to easily integrate all information about a customer account in one place (see Figure 2). You can easily link e-mail, contacts, notes, documents, and other items related to an account and then view and manage those items from a single point. The result is the capability to organize all account data in one location, quickly find information, and improve customer response, which ultimately should mean cost savings and potentially more revenue.
Business Contact Manager also enables you to keep track of sales opportunities and the product information associated with those sales from initial contact through after-sale customer support. The item type, shown in Figure 3, stores information about a sales contact, potential or actual orders, product items, and other details related to the potential sale.
The Communication History folder (see Figure 4) is a Journal folder that keeps track of events associated with each contact, account, or opportunity. By automatically journaling items, the Communication History folder makes it relatively easy to search for and locate these items.
In addition to these special-purpose folders, Business Contact Manager also adds reporting capabilities to Outlook 2007 to help you manage and analyze the information you’ve stored about your accounts, contacts, and sales. They include several predefined reports for each item type, which you can use as is or modify to suit your needs.
In a nutshell, Business Contact Manager adds new item types and folders to Outlook 2007 to give you a set of tools for managing your business accounts, contacts, and sales opportunities. As you begin to experiment with Business Contact Manager, you’ll develop a better understanding of how Business Contact Manager can fit in with your business practices. Before you can start, however, you need to have Business Contact Manager installed.
Note: You can assign categories to each of the Business Contact Manager item types, just as you can for standard Outlook 2007 items. Categories help you organize and search for data. This chapter doesn’t cover categories.
Configuring Business Contact Manager
The first time you run Outlook 2007 after installing Business Contact Manager, you’ll be presented with the option to begin using the software with Outlook 2007. (If this option is not automatically displayed, you can initiate it by selecting Configure Business Contact Manager on the Outlook Help menu.) If you decide to use it, Business Contact Manager automatically creates a new database in which to store your Business Contact Manager data (if one does not already exist). If Business Contact Manager detects a database, it gives you the option of selecting an existing database or creating a new one (see Figure 5). To create a new database, choose Create A New Database and click Next. To use an existing database, such as one you copied from another computer, choose Select An Existing Database, select the database from the drop-down list, and click Next. After the database is created, click Finish and you’re ready to start setting up your business items. First, however, you might want to know a little more about Business Contact Manager.
Where is Business Contact Manager?
As you first start to use Business Contact Manager, you might not need to know where it’s located on your computer. But as time goes on, and you need to perform other tasks such as backing up your database, you’ll want to know where its files are located.
Setup installs Business Contact Manager by default into the \Program Files\Microsoft Small Business\Business Contact Manager folder. This main folder stores the Business Contact Manager core executables and dynamic-link libraries (DLLs), as well as support files such as templates, scripts, icons, and documentation. The following subfolders contain additional items:
HomePage This folder contains the default HTML page, icons, and graphic files used in the Business Contact Manager home page.
ImportUtility This folder contains the files that support import and export operations between Business Contact Manager and other business management applications such as Act! and QuickBooks.
SetupBootstrap This folder contains the setup program for Business Contact Manager.
<language>\WelcomeMessage This folder contains the HTML information page that Business Contact Manager displays when first selected.
The Business Contact Manager database, however, is stored within the user profile information:
Business Contact Manager database This database is stored in the user profile account, specifically in the \Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Business Contact Manager folder, which also contains the Cache, Config, and Logs folders.
Adding and removing Business Contact Manager for a profile
When Business Contact Manager is installed on a computer, you receive a Startup page asking whether you want to enable it (see Figure 6) the first time you open Outlook 2007 with a profile that doesn’t include Business Contact Manager. (If the Startup page shown in Figure 6 is not automatically displayed, you can also initiate the Business Contact Manager Startup wizard by selecting Configure Business Contact Manager on the Outlook Help menu.) Simply click Next and follow the prompts. If no database already exists, one is automatically created; if a database exists, you are prompted to select an existing one or create a new one (as explained in the section “Configuring Business Contact Manager,” earlier in this article, and shown in Figure 5).
If you decide you don’t want to use Business Contact Manager with a particular profile after it is enabled, you can close Business Contact Manager easily enough. Open the folder list (by clicking the Folder List icon at the bottom of the Navigation Pane), right-click the Business Contact Manager branch, and choose Close Business Contact Manager. Outlook 2007 removes the folders from the folder list and removes the Business Contact Manager–related commands from the Outlook 2007 menu. This method affects only the current profile; it does not remove Business Contact Manager entirely from the computer, nor does it affect other profiles.
Perhaps you are creating a new Outlook 2007 profile and want to explicitly add a Business Contact Manager database to the profile. Or, after you remove Business Contact Manager from a profile, you might decide you want it back again.
You can add a Business Contact Manager database to a new profile or to an existing one. If you choose the former approach, simply create a new Outlook 2007 profile that contains your existing Outlook 2007 data. When you start Outlook 2007 with that profile, Outlook 2007 asks if you want to use Business Contact Manager. Click Yes to add it to the profile.
If you click No, Outlook 2007 will not add a database to the profile. However, you can add one manually. To add or restore a Business Contact Manager database to an existing profile, follow these steps:
Open the Mail tool from Control Panel (Classic View) or right-click the E-Mail (Microsoft Office Outlook) icon on the Start menu and choose Properties.
Click Show Profiles and select the profile to which you want to add Business Contact Manager; then click Properties.
Click Data Files and in the Outlook Data Files dialog box, click Add.
Select Business Contact Manager Database and click OK.
To add an existing database, select Use An Existing Database and select the database previously used with the profile. To create a new database, choose the Create A New Database option. Then click Next and click Close.
Click Close and click OK to close the remaining dialog boxes. Start Outlook 2007 and verify that your Business Contact Manager data and folders are now available in Outlook 2007.