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Re: Mindmaps, Lotus Organizer, and ACT!

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  • Derick Miller
    Comments below... ... Neatness is big for me, since I use it for presentations, but you wanted to know about other advantages, so here are a few. 1.
    Message 1 of 4 , Oct 17, 2001
      Comments below...

      "Joseph N." wrote:

      > This is really a consolidated posting, addressing three different but
      > interrelated issues.
      > 1. There's been a lot of discussion about Mindmaps. I looked at the
      > website, but cannot see anything in the description of the program
      > that differs from an old-fashioned, pen-and-paper splash pattern. I
      > did not download the program, so I am going only on the basis of what
      > I've read here and there. What are the differences between a Mindmap
      > result and a splash pattern, and what advantages--beyond
      > neatness--does the program deliver?

      Neatness is big for me, since I use it for presentations, but you wanted
      to know about other advantages, so here are a few.

      1. Mindmapping software gives an advantage just as a word processor does
      for writing. If you only make one version and get it right the first
      time, you could use a typewriter. But some of us are spelling-challenged,
      want to edit our work, want to release a second version, want to modify an
      existing map for use in another situation, etc.

      2. You can organize material with hyper links. For example, if I am
      working on a project and it involves a number of different types of
      materials for different aspects of the project, I can hyper link them into
      the appropriate places. Then, with one click, on a branch, I can open a
      word document, another mindmap, a spreadsheet, etc. Some even use
      mindmaps to organize their hard disk (I'm not one of them ;-).

      3. You can keep the material on the computer. Paper files may be a
      necessity, but I prefer to have everything I can on my computer. I can
      always put my hands on what I want quickly and without having to sort
      through drawers, files, etc. If I have ACT open to a customer and I want
      to look the history of our meetings, I can launch the mindmaps I used to
      organize the meeting and launch the notes I made after the meeting, along
      with any proposals, etc.

      4. Although this falls out of 2, you can create and manage complex maps
      more easily by linking parts of one map to another map and jump between
      them. This is like expanding and contracting levels in an outlining

      > 2. For some reason, there's rarely a mention here or in the various
      > personal PIM lists of Lotus Organizer, although it is the world's
      > best-selling PIM and regularly outranks others in side-by-side
      > comparisons.

      Interesting. I would have thought Outlook was bigger. I'm not surprised
      that Lotus is better, since most will have Outlook as a "freebie" (it
      comes with office, it comes with pocketpc's, I think it came on my laptop,
      it must come with lots of other things).

      > I use it, am incredibly pleased with it, and just
      > mention this in case it is helpful to anyone. It organizes calendar,
      > contact, task, and other information in extremely flexible and
      > powerful ways. It does not have the AI functions of Agenda; for that
      > I use Zoot. Zoot's ability to use folders, categories, databases, and
      > projects amounts to a workaround for what was described as a
      > 250-category limitation, although that seems so high it is unlikely to
      > pose a problem for most users.)

      I don't have a thousand contacts yet, but I'm not that far from it ;-).
      Also, I keep the companies customers who are not mine in another database,
      but many people don't.

      You might be right that there is a workaround for the limit. It just
      seems like I would need to get hip-deep in the program before I could work
      it all out.

      I don't have the experience to answer your last question (#3), but I can
      tell you a few things about ACT that matter to me. The sales reporting
      features do not, since I don't have to give reports on my activities to
      anyone and I don't track things that way for myself.

      What is useful are the ways in which you can easily log activities. It
      logs all the notes, the next meeting, etc., and it is all integrated with
      an efficient interface that is ready to do the appropriate thing with
      little digging through menus. For example, I can set up appointments and
      it knows who is in front of me and links it all together. When I am
      checking off the appointment, there is a button for follow up activity.
      If I get off the phone and we agree to meet, I click that button and set
      the appointment, I add notes about the conversation in the dialog and tell
      it I am done. If you have a complex process you go through a lot, it can
      automate the steps of the process (this is not a macro feature -- which I
      think it also has -- but an automatic population of the database with the
      relevant process steps).

      My only complaint is that the search feature could be less hassle to use
      (i.e. it often takes an extra button stroke that it shouldn't take). I
      realize this is a small complaint, but it adds up every time you look
      someone up. Perhaps there is an easier way I haven't figured out ;-).

      As a final comment, there are advantages to industry-standard tools. For
      example, if you use Outlook, it will work with pocketPCs and zoot. If you
      use Lotus, it doesn't integrate seamlessly. If you use the Palm, you are
      better off than with a PocketPC (I feel the pain a lot right now on this
      one, but I want the extra power -- the bleeding edge at the cutting
      edge). If you go to the act web page, you can see that they have pages of
      third-party add-on products. I only use one of them, but I'm sure glad it
      is available. If you use office, everything integrates with it and you
      can easily exchange files with others. I may not always like using
      industry standard tools (and filling the coffers of companies that do not
      have the best interest of customers in mind), but there are advantages to
      be weighed.


      . Organizer does not have the sales reporting features of Act!, but

      > it does have history and activity links (in ver. 5 and above). If
      > anyone has thoughts on the relative merits of Act! and Organizer, I
      > would be interested. Even better if one can also comment on the
      > merits of those two programs as compared with the combination of Zoot
      > and Outlook, which many or most Zoot users find to answer all their
      > PIM-based desires.
    • Joseph N.
      Isn t that Easy-Clip thing amazing? How does it know?? What I ve gathered from postings in web and Usenet discussion forums (fora?) is that IBM will continue
      Message 2 of 4 , Oct 18, 2001
        Isn't that Easy-Clip thing amazing? How does it know??

        What I've gathered from postings in web and Usenet discussion forums
        (fora?) is that IBM will continue development on Organizer. No one
        who knows is talking. While Notes has developed its PIM functionality
        to be at the top level, a minor few of those functions (at least
        through R5; I don't know about Rnext) are dependent on a Domino
        server. IBM is focused on the enterprise market, so Organizer is the
        subject of much speculation. However,IBM has declared its continuing
        support for SmartSuite, and Organizer has been bundled as part of that
        suite for years.

        About once a year I decide whether to switch PIM-type and support
        programs. I'm currently toying with the idea of going to MS Office
        and Zoot, or MS Office, Zoot, and Act!. But it's looking--once
        again--like I will stick with Lotus SmartSuite, including Organizer,
        and use Zoot for specific functions. It all fits together perfectly
        and has long had what other providers, including MS and Time& Chaos,
        are now touting as new features.

        > Message: 2
        > Date: Wed, 17 Oct 2001 10:42:45 -0500
        > From: "David Dawson" <dawson54@...>
        > Subject: Re: Mindmaps, Lotus Organizer, and ACT!
        > Thank goodness another Organizer fan spoke out. I have used Organizer for
        > several years and have yet to find anything better. I particularly like the
        > Easy Clip feature, that grabs anything from an address (and somehow deposits
        > the info into the proper fields in the Contacts section) to Web pages. Call
        > tracking, daily notes, the notebook -- all are well designed and function
        > flawlessly. I've wondered why I never see it mentioned on these mail lists.
        > Definitely worth a try for all who are interested in PIMs.
        > I, too, use Zoot for storing old columns and articles that I write, but as
        > yet I can't find the time to noodle with it enough to have it behave in any
        > sort of AI capacity. Seems like a great program, and I look forward to
        > developments in future releases, but for now Organizer seems plenty
        > powerful, flexible, and intuitive enough for my needs.
        > A question: has Lotus/IBM abandoned Organizer in favor of Notes? If so, I'm
        > disappointed.
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