Use BrightWork to Integrate Lists and Libraries with Outlook
I often get asked, “Can I use BrightWork to integrate Lists and Libraries with Outlook?”, and the answer is “Yes”! And it is quite simple to implement.
Some users like to be able to manage everything in Outlook out of habit, and would still like to get this information passed over. With BrightWork, this can still be passed over and a dynamic link created so that any update made in one, will be reflected in the other.
So, what can be passed over? The main ones I get asked about are Calendars, Tasks, and Contacts. I’ll look at each and show how it can be done.
It is worth nothing, you would need to have a BrightWork license to view the information in Outlook as it will prompt for a username and password.
If you have a project calendar set up tracking key information, this can be added to Outlook so you can view and use when planning other activities.
To connect with BrightWork, browse to the “Calendar” ribbon bar, and select “Connect with Outlook”:
I can now see the project calendar in Outlook – it will be under “Other Calendars”. I can start creating meetings in Outlook knowing that these will be reflected back in the project site for the rest of the team to see. A very handy feature especially if you have people working on the project that may not be able to see your own calendar!
With BrightWork, you can also view the project documents in Outlook. Like before, I browse to the “Library” ribbon and click on “Connect to Outlook”:
I’m going to look at the “Advanced” options here:
It’s worth noting that the permissions level here is set to “Read”. There is no option to edit etc. If you want to do any update, this must be done back in the project site on BrightWork.
I want to point out some key areas:
If I have a previewer installed, I can view the document in the Previewer Pan in Outlook
2. Document Data:
I can view information about the documents e.g. if it’s checked out, who updated it etc.
3. Library Information:
I can switch between different connected libraries and see how many I have read and need to read.
I can also pull in the “Tasks Update” list into BrightWork. I can then view and update the tasks directly from Outlook.
Like the other 2, I go to the ribbon and select “List” and then click on “Connect to Outlook”:
If I want to change the setup, I can go into “Advanced” but I’ll just leave it as is. Now in my “Tasks” in Outlook, I can see all the Project Tasks:
But, what if I have a huge project with over 100 tasks and I’m only working on a few – I don’t want to be scrolling up and down trying to find my work – in Outlook you can do some formatting on the tasks list.
I right click on the headings (not on the task), and I click on “View Settings”
I can do a lot of changes here, but I’ll only look at the “Filtering”.
If I’m looking for all of Anne’s work, I can filter on “Anne Wallace” in “Frequently-used text fields”
And that will show me all of Anne’s work:
If I click on the task, I can update and the changes will be reflected back into the reports on BrightWork.
But (there is always a but!), I’m not too fond of this. From experience, I find the “My Work Reports” a lot better when tracking my work on a project. Syncing with tasks with Outlook can be useful to remind me of work, especially if I’m on a long project with very few tasks, to tell me to hop onto BrightWork and update the status of my tasks.
If you’d like to know more about how to send notifications on the My Work report check out this recent blog entitle Improve Project Clarity with Emailed Reports.
To sum up, BrightWork and Outlook do work well together. For those that find it hard to give up Outlook to manage tasks, documents and calendars, there is a 2 way sync between the tool to keep the level of collaboration between team members, but also give the ability sync and to roll up the information in BrightWork into the project reports keeping both team members and stakeholders happy!!