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Strawberries And PIM
Fire your secretary. Put your Rolodex online. Thank us later.

First of all, what does an online information management tool do, other than tie your tongue up in knots? Well, it usually allows you to do the following:

Contact management: Names, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, pager and fax numbers - every mode of communication known to mankind, and quite a few we haven't heard of ;-) A good contact management tool allows you to specify all the different ways to reach out and touch someone, and it also allows you to retrieve this information quickly and efficiently.

Schedules: So you need to be in Alaska at midnight on the 13th of April, 2006? That's where scheduling comes in - it allows you to plan your timetable on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis. And it's much more than just an appointment book or calendar - intelligent scheduling applications can send you email before an important meeting, remember birthdays and holidays for you, or warn you a month before an anniversary so that you can get cracking on that surprise Caribbean vacation for you-know-who.

To-do lists: Come on - surely you don't need us to explain this?!

Synchronization: While this whole idea of grabbing your schedule off the Web is very romantic, it's not very practical [or cheap] to stay plugged in all the time. That's why synchronization is so important - it allows you to download your latest appointments off the Web onto your laptop or PDA, which you can then unplug and carry around with you. And it works the other way too - so you never have to worry about having the latest amd most up-to-date information at hand!

Information exchange: So now you've got all your information up there on the Web - what happens if you need to share it with someone else? That's where information exchange comes in - if you're planning a trip to Hawaii, and you enter it into your online calendar, the system can immediately cross-check it against a list of your known friends or business associates, and send you mail telling you which of them will be in that part of the world at the same time! And it can even schedule meetings automatically for you, if you instruct it accordingly.

It isn't just limited to birthdays and anniversaries either - you can even put up documents online, allow trusted users to edit or revise them, and have the various revisions available to you for perusal. The possibilities are endless - and the potential, tremendous!

So now you know what we expect of an online information management tool - read on to find out about the best ones around!

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