Calendar, Contact Sharing, Web Interface (Independent SM EAS Review)
Idea shared by Dave - May 25, 2015 at 12:26 PM
Proposed
I wasn't too sure where to share this bit of info. Figured I'd start here and email to support as well. See what kind of feedback we can get. 
 
Brief Outlook:
Almost everything a user would want to do that they could do in Exchange through Outlook must be done through SmarterMail's web interface then added to Outlook. From sharing a calendar to adding a domain's Global Address List requires the user's input. The user is somewhat forced to log into their web space, hunt through the their own settings and locate the not-so-visible Add to Outlook button or Attach shared resources then Add to Outlook. Below you'll see the areas that have been tested with a review. Since my company is really curious about the Exchange ActiveSync feature of SmarterMail the reviews are for EAS.
 
Smart Devices EAS:
Connecting a Smart Device is not an issue at all. It's just as easy as connecting to a MS Exchange server. Same style of settings, same way. Use the Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync mail option. Tested on BB10, Android and iOS. 
 
Autodiscover:
It works! With our test setup using domain.ca, SmarterMail automatically generates an autodiscover.xml. This detail was obtained from here, the SmarterMail community. Thanks much! Testing autodiscover through Microsoft's Remote Connectivity Analyzer tool it can locate the URL. This is without DNS records set up. Not to say that with more domains we wouldn't need to setup Autodiscover DNS records but with this test, with a single domain, it worked without needing autodiscover DNS records.
 
In SmarterMail's main Admin web interface there appears to be only one area to enter in an Autodiscover Host for Exchange Web Services & EAS which I have set as domain.ca. That may be why it is working. 
 
Calendaring EAS:
You can share your Calendar from Outlook 2013 to another user via email but those calendars will not sync. You must venture into the web interface, have the user share their My Calendar to another user in his/her domain. That other user must then log into their web interface, hunt for the Attach shared resource, then hunt to locate the web interface's calendar and locate the Add to Outlook button. Not any better than if we used SmarterMail for IMAP/POP.
 
SmarterMail 14.x Beta does allow having multiple calendars but you can still only share your My Calendar. My Calendar is attached to your Outlook 2013's default Calendar. Please correct me if I am wrong - don't mind at all. 
 
Conference Rooms Calendar (or domain-wide calendar?) can't seem to be added to Outlook so the users will need to access the web interface. Would be nice to see a domain-wide calendar option that the domain admins can grant access to other users in the domain and allow it to be added to Outlook. 
 
Once all the work is done, however, excluding the Conference Rooms Calendar,  it works perfectly. It is difficult to see, though, a user wanting to go through all that. Granted it is cheaper than Exchange but for users that have experienced Exchange with Outlook this will be seen as a step backward. Even if the users come from a non-Exchange environment, personally, I can't see them wanting nor understanding why they can't do it from Outlook or their Smart Device app. 
 
Contacts EAS:
Works very similar to how Calendaring works. You need to use the web interface to share your contacts. One of differences being you can't have any more than one Contacts folder unless it is a mapped resource from another user.
 
Once all the work is done, if sharing is needed, it works perfectly.
 
Global Address List EAS:
Not a huge issue as most users don't care much about it. But if they do and wish to have everyone in their domain in a contact list they will need to hunt for the Add to Outlook button. 
 
Final Thoughts:
 
Personally I feel it would require much effort on our part as technicians to educate users in learning how to do the things they need to do to get the full benefit of SmarterMail. That or we keep track of all passwords and usernames and set things up on behalf of users. But the users will still be required to hunt for the Add to Outlook button for shared resources and the GAL.
 
Forcing users to use a web interface isn't the way. It is the way to frustrate them especially if they're used to Microsoft Exchange with Outlook. I do understand that these SmarterMail features may not be able to happen without using the web interface and bet other Exchange alternatives function much the same way.
 
For emailing and keeping email messages organized, no contact or calendar sharing, it works perfectly. Allows users to sync email across devices and provides a full personal web interface including web mail for them to use.
 
For Smart Devices EAS, SmarterMail is good.
For Outlook EAS, SmarterMail is good.
For Calendar sharing & Contact sharing with Outlook and/or Smart Devices, not good. 
 
It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.
~ Albert Einstein

8 Replies

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4
Welcome to my world.
If you scroll down, and look at the last post of this
You'lll see where I am at.
 
I have debated about starting a user's group, or something that might get SM's attention about the need for the sync/contact update process....  I have offer to pay $$$$.   I am at a loss at what else to do.  As I said in that post, we have enable.mail; which I don't care for many reasons... but mainly SM is a better product except for this point.  I have exhausted my postings.. while SM has been quiet silent why they won't address this.  AND in addition, it's not addressed in SM 14.X beta either.   Go figure.
 
6
Good luck getting SmarterTools to address your issue. There have been multiple times that I and others have requested the ability to let users create and manage their own contact groups. Any product that advertises SM to be an appropriate replacement for Exchange MUST have this function, IMO. It is ridiculous to expect an admin to create and manage contact groups (or mailing lists, alias, whatever you want to call them) for hundreds of users. Had I known in advance of this glaring weakness, we would not be running SM. The pain and $$ of changing back to Exchange is hard to swallow...but is something that we are considering.
Since setting up an alias is a function that is already built into SM, I just have real difficulty understanding why ST will not make this available as a per-user function for end users. Actually, I have more trouble understanding why they won't even answer the many requests for this functionality.
Starts to leave a sour taste in your mouth after awhile.
 
Joe
6
I also vote for a more smooth contact and calendar sharing. If we want the enterprise world we need those features! Right now we cant out perform Exchange !!
0
Maybe the functionality we want isn't possible solely with the EAS protocol?

Not sure. But I hear ya! The pain and $$ is a killer!
It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.
~ Albert Einstein
2
So .. any news here? I have also client which needs to share his calendars between users in Outlook and he is also seeing his own calendar only.
1
SmarterMail devs? Any news?
1
I've just lost a client coming from Exchange over the difficulties sharing calendars in SM (15 Enterprise).
0
As you can see - and sorry to say - this is a long-standing issue. 

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