How Well is Your Mobile Office Working? Not Good, You Say, Try This.


A personal database management software for sales reps or anyone who needs to manage, update, maintain or view complex lists, get Google Maps, record voice notes or manage digital assets all on a mobile device–either your iPad or iPhone.  Wouldn’t that be nice?

My third data crash and loss of contacts information either from my phone, or my email system or my computer.  This last crash has me asking a question.  How well is this thing called the Mobile Office working?  Please share your experience and solutions.  If you can relate to my experience of database crashes and lost of data, does it really, really work.  I suspect most will say marginally at best, at least for now.  It will get better I’m sure.  Here is a solution I’m trying now and like.  Bento also made PCMAG’s list of 100 Best iPad Apps.  It works well syncing to my iPad or iPhone.

BentoI’m like every other sales rep who wants every piece of information possible at his or her finger tips and yes, I would love everything I need on my phone.  But this latest crash causes me to reconsider my wish for a “everything in my phone” solution.

So, I started looking for other solutions and stumbled upon Bento 4 by FileMarker –an Apple company.  They advertise on their website how you can have databases on your iPad.  An idea I like very much.  So, I made the purchase for my MacBook Pro $49 and also purchased the iPad app for $9.99.  I transferred 4 databases from my Windows machine containing about 30,000 records.  The upload into Mac was very easy and fast.  Each database is called a Library.  On the iPad, there is a sync function that works if both machines are on a wireless network.

After playing around with both the mac and iPad versions, I’m impressed with the easy and   functionality built into this solution.  I can customize forms for data entry.  There are side-by-side views  to help view records with lots of fields.  There is one really cool feature I have to mention.  As you’re building your forms for data entry, you can include an “Address Box” or Address Widget on your form so that with one click you can view a google map of that record’s address.   I’m sure I’m not the only person who has been looking for a way to display maps of my addresses in simplified way.  But wait!!! There’s more.  Do you have customers in remote locations.  For example, I visit customers during windfarm construction and natural gas sites.  Very remote.  No addresses.  But once I find the location, with Bento 4 on my iPad, I can double tap of a Map Widget which will give me a map of my current location, in either google map capture or Lat/Long coordinates and load those coordinates into my database automatically.  Now that is very cool.   You can do this on both your iPad or iPhone.

I recommend you download the trial version to experiment.  It’s a simple mobile solution to access, view, update, databases.  Any kind of database.  There are free templates you can download.   For example, a log-in passwords template, which will also encrypt the passwords as you type,  wine list template as well as customer and prospect list.  When you’re done, you can sync it all to your iPad.  It’s pretty cool.


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