Calendar invites on windows phones do not work

Calendar invites and other frustrations on Windows phones

I have been using a Windows phone for just about 6 months now. There are things that take getting used to, but overall, I quite like my Lumia. My other phone is a vintage Android and due for a replacement; the more choices I see in the market, more I delay!

So, I read with interest Mukund Mohan’s piece on why he thinks the Xiaomi MI3 is just not the phone for him. His reasons are unexceptionable. I only want to point out that one of the reasons he uses a phone, is email.

Mukund has an issue with receiving configuring emails on the MI3 with Microsoft Exchange. To quote:

First: email. As I mentioned, I have Exchange and our corporate policy requires encryption of the phone to access email. That does not work with MIUI. After 5 restarts and 4 hard resets, I still dont have my Exchange email. Which also means my calendar is not available. It is a known bug according to Xiaomi and there is no ETA on the fix.

The work around is I downloaded another email client, which seems to work, but my contacts and calendar on Exchange still dont sync. That absolutely is a deal breaker for me.

Now, I have been using the Windows phone (Lumia) and it does not handle calendar invites in mail at all- UNLESS, you guessed it, the invite is created from a MS-Outlook client.

How lame is that?

Broken calendar invite

If I send a calendar invite from my Google Apps email, he will receive an email, but it will not have the .ics file as an attachment – forget the embedded calendar invite that shows up in other mail clients. I did a Google search for this issue and came up with this on the Microsoft forum. As you can see, the issue is pretty old and there is really no solution. Does Microsoft really think the whole world uses Outlook?

This, in a quick succession is my second frustration with MS- the last one was when we figured their Outlook API will share all details of the Contacts except where they work. Think; they will share the email, mobile everything- but apparently the place of work is classified information.

When I started using the Lumia, I was floored with the battery life and the smoothness of the scroll even in a cheap phone. The display is great as is the screen- no screen-guard for the last 6 months and the screen is scratch-less.

The first major irritant was the inability to mark emails as spam from within the phone email client. Apparently Microsoft voted for minimalism here in their design- but, with me doing almost all the email work on my phone, it really is a pain to use the laptop to manage my mail filters. I have lived with it, not happily but .. well! The issue with the Calendar invite is more serious, however.

Since the Windows phone marketshare is 3% of the smartphone market worldwide and not showing signs of increasing, Microsoft has to do all the running to ensure it does things that others already do. If I am unable to accept your calendar invite on my Windows phone, I will not campaign to have the world work on Windows phone or Outlook.

Let me show you how the same calendar invite created from Saleswah CRM shows up on a colleageue’s phone email client running Android 4.3.

Calendar invite showing up on a Android 4.3 phone mail client Calendar invite - options to accept or refuse

 

 

Just in case you were wondering, the Windows email client shows the calendar invite email as this (see below to the left):

Windows phone calendar invite email

See above, to the right how the same calendar is displayed on my ancient Android 2.3.6 phone- a phone I am almost ashamed to show in public :).  I rest my case.

We are MS- fanboys. We develop first for Windows and Phone and then on to other platforms. Why do I get the feeling that MS simply does not listen?

Mobile first Cloud always

Mobile first Cloud always

Mobile data is also in cloud

Among the biggest challenges of working with customers are the 3 C’s of currency, comprehensiveness and context.

Currency

How current is the information that you have of your Contact?

That is why, we allow you to sync your contacts and Tasks with your Google Apps account; so that your information is current and relevant- saving you time as well. And if you are using the Saleswah App on Windows Phone- we allow you to pull in your Contacts from phone.

Comprehensiveness

wp_ss_20141011_0001Do you have all the information in one place? (Add another C – Cogency: can you make sense of the information at a glance, in a digestible format?)
That is why we show you all the contact history, activities- open as well as past, and a summary of all involvements in sales opportunities: in one place.

Context

Your contact is in your phone, in Outlook or Gmail or LinkedIn or maybe even in Facebook. But, when the context is sales, you need the Contact and his activities in your CRM.
That is why, when you call your CRM contact by tapping his phone number from within the Saleswah App, it asks you if this was in the context of an ongoing Deal or pending Task.

The advantage of being mobile

Since Saleswah launched on the desktop as a Windows 8 app, I have been spending less and less time using the web and more time with the app. I like the speed- even though even today, after eight revisions, it is still not as powerful as the web version. The web version is the most comprehensive that there is.
Now we launched the Saleswah on Windows phone and I anticipate spending even less time on the web.wp_ss_20141011_0005
For one, it is convenient. For someone who is traveling. And it is light- I deliberately work with a 2G network and it never stalls.
I like the feeds- of messages, activities of my team as well as that on the business dashboard which updates all the time.
But, here is something the phone app did which even the Windows 8 app did not do.

Mobile first

For long our philosophy was we would do everything on the web and only some small subset of the work while we are mobile. It worked a year back; it does not now. Our customers are all moving to mobile first.
Then, the phone offers its own unique capabilities that my laptop connected to the web does not. The ability to call customers from within the Saleswah CRM app for instance, import phone contacts with a minimum of fuss to the database etc.
To be fair, a phone or a tablet will still be primarily used to consume content- so, I expect you will still go to the web to create your HTML templates, for instance or to create a target list. So, the phone app is largely focused on contact management, task management and managing individual deal workflows. For that purpose, it is a killer- I unabashedly use it more than my laptop.

What is interesting though is that my team uses the phone with increasing regularity. They like the freedom of updating on the go.

Mobile first cloud always

Of course, when it comes to uploading an excel spreadsheet, doing initial set ups of the Saleswah account or indeed, checking out the reports- go to the web. For all history, go to the web- like closed deals and tasks.
While designing for the phone, we liberated ourselves from the constraints of the web- we did not ask ourselves: “Has it been done for the web, first? Does it exist there?”.
And, that will continue to be our philosophy going forward.

We want you to stop worrying about accessing your CRM- just be assured that your data will always be current, consistent and comprehensive- no matter on the web, tablet, laptop or phone.

Mobile first cloud always with Saleswah CRM

Because they all meet in the cloud. We may want to be Mobile first but we are Cloud always. And we will stay like this always.