This is my Outlook address book:
Couple of points of clarification:
- Yes, the time stamps are real. It took about a minute to sync, and three minutes for me to save the first capture and reload the snipping tool
- Columns are resized and whited out to protect the innocent
- Note the size of the slider bar. 1600 member names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses imported in about a minute
- Windows 7 compatible (XP and Vista as well).
- All the normal view options in Outlook are available
So, what is this? It’s an Outlook(2007) plug-in that goes to AccessACS, grabs your data, and imports it. It creates an additional contact folder much like hotmail.com does if you use the Outlook connector. The official post from ACS Technologies is here.
Notice the miniature icon in the tool bar? That is your sync button. Everything is “One-way” so no one can change records in their Outlook and mess up your data. You cannot (at least I could not) create a distribution list from this contact list. You can add categories and filter that way, but the next time you synch, they will be overwritten. To interact with a group, your best bet is still the web login. However, you now have your member database in Outlook. Which is where our people work. This makes it SO easy to look up a member address, email, telephone, etc.
AND it is linked to an indvidual’s AccessACS login. So, this can go out to the whole staff (technically your members too, but you will have to support them).
The beauty? A member changes their personal info, church office does an upload, you sync your Outlook. All addresses are the same. There is now no reason for staff to maintain email addresses of members in their Outlook “silo”. Beauty.
No logging into ACSW or even into AccessACS or your self-branded version of it. In our case www.pinkpres.me.
I as well as members of our staff have been using the beta “look-up only” version for about a year. In fact, it was that original beta version that finally got our technologically challenged Sr. Pastor to handle his own email. No more printing it out and him dictating a response. This tool alone probably saved a dozen trees and at least one secretary from a nervous breakdown.
Member data within Outlook really is that handy. I personally had three instances yesterday where I had to respond to an email but needed to include a third and fourth party in the conversation. This tool made everything possible from right where I was.
Too bad it doesn’t work on the calendar…
But wait, there’s more!
It DOES work on the calendar! Imports all published events from the church calendar into a new, separate calendar within your Outlook!
You have the option to import ALL published events, or preselect only those calendars you want.
Want the Youth calendar but not the Children’s calendar? Done. Want just the main calendar, but not the school calendar? Done.
You can overlay this calendar with your Outlook calendar or drag and drop items from the AccessACS calendar into your Outlook calendar, which would then end up in your phone, etc.
That is right, I said “drag an event, meeting, whatever from the church calendar and drop it in your personal Outlook calendar”.
Imagine the following scenario:
- I am a small group leader. We are finishing our current study and want to have a fellowship dinner at the church to celebrate.
- There is a volunteer that approves and administers all calendar event requests.
- Members of my small group need access to this info.
That is now possible if you are willing to support your small group members with this plug-in. It certainly is a boon to staff!