While workgroup messaging and database solutions such as Lotus Notes are very useful tools for larger corporations, smaller companies can rarely justify the cost of such products, since they don’t need all the advanced functionality provided. OfficeTalk 98 is aimed at smaller companies, primarily those with between 50 and 500 users.
Once installed, OfficeTalk 98 does bear some resemblance to Lotus Notes and Microsoft Outlook, but has been designed from the ground up as an entirely independent groupware product (or Enterprise Information Manager, as Sareen would call it). A database at heart, OfficeTalk 98 supports multiple data types such as Web and e-mail addresses, with custom fields available for any table. It is possible to set up quite complex company databases, as we saw from the sample file included for review purposes, while the program also supports internal mail as well as Internet mail to and from any user account.
OfficeTalk’s simple interface makes it easy to use, giving fast access to features such as the diary and built-in contact manager. Most important of all, it makes the creation and modification of user groups an easy task, allowing users to share diaries and projects without fuss. Moreover, groups can be accessed by users in remote locations with relative ease, which will be handy for companies with offices in more than one country.
The basic OfficeTalk 98 package comes with a link tool for PalmPilot users, while a Windows CE and Psion connection will be available free of charge from Sareen’s Web site at a future date. OfficeTalk 98 is available as client-only as well as Client/Server packs, with the latter including Sybase SQL Anywhere and supporting Microsoft SQL Server.
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