Recommendations on using exchange / calendars / outlook / comapanyweb ? to schedule people

We have a situation with 5 field guys and 1 scheduler in the office.  Right now and for the last few years they have been using a big whiteboard to schedule tasks.

With SBS 2003 R2 and either companyweb or exchange's calendars (we are much more familiar with Exchange and it's calendars), we're debating if we can make that whiteboard go away / do this electronic.

In exchange, if the scheduler sets up a public calendar, she can invite the field guys to do a task.  But Exhcnage warns that the replies won't be tallied because the calendar isn't in her group of folders.  That won't work because we want to be able to see the status of the repondee.

We want each field guy to see their own tasks that they've been assigned / accepted.  THat could either be by looking at their own calendar or filtering the public calendar.

What about creating a user account that is shared between scheduler and her substitutes.  In that, have the calendar, she could invite guys, they reply and the reply gets tallied, etc.

that seems better?  She'd have her own mailbox / calendar and this schedule mailbox / calendar.

any thoughts?

They don't need something as exotic as connectwise - they just need to assign guys to do things through the day. no updates, etc. like connectwise can do.

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mass2612Connect With a Mentor Commented:

You have probably thought of this but I've had a similar situation with a group of users previously using a Lotus calendar product. To switch them over as supporting this app for 5 users was a nightmare I simply used the shared calendar idea. Why don't you set the scheduler up as a delegate to each salesman's calendar's so she can open each of their calendars to assign tasks or view what they are doing she can also send meeting requests etc as normal.

Outlook > Tools > Options > Delegates > Add - select the scheduler and make them an Editor or Author for tasks and calendar on each salesman's mailbox.

The scheduler can then open these via Outlook > Open > Other USers Folder
Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyConnect With a Mentor Principal ConsultantCommented:
To be honest, if you want the best solution, get the users upgraded to Outlook 2007.  Because with OL2007, calendars can be overlayed, including overlaying a SharePoint calendar.  It's really a phenomenal improvement over Outlook 2003.

You might want to download the trial version to see how well this works.

babaganooshAuthor Commented:
mass - can you set up the delegates from exchange or at each person's outlook?

and there's several schedulers. what we are envisioning / looking at at this point is a scheduler account that sends out invites to meetings.  that one account's calendar will show all the users at 1 glance.

jeff - I still have strong reservations with office 2007 in general - the ribbon, for users that know 2003, seems to be a major relearn.  and 99% of the people I deal with use just very basic features and things are moved all over.  They are very hesitant to move to 2007.  and they have to buy outlook 2007, right?  there's no free upgrade to 2007 as part of SBS cals, right?
Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
"I still have strong reservations with office 2007 in general - the ribbon, for users that know 2003, seems to be a major relearn."

I can only tell you that it's NOT.  Users will learn how to use things with Office 2007 that have always been there but they never knew how to access.  EVERY SINGLE deployment that I've upgraded folks from 2003 to 2007 have "learned" how to use the Ribbon within two days tops... it's that much better.

Yes, you'd have to upgrade them... but Outlook is included in any version of Office 2007... it's worth the upgrade though.  Ask anyone who's used it.

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