It is no secret that as a current Blackberry user, one of my favorite CRM services is Gist, acquired earlier this year by Research in Motion.
In fact, for those of you who may have seen the leaked photos floating around the Internet, the address book/contact list in the new BB OS 10 (which will power all future Blackberry Devices, including the current Playbook), is based on thieir technology.
Recently, I decided to reset my GIST account and see what changes, if any, has been made to the process for new users. One feature in particular caught my eye
As I have mentioned numerous times, one of the main causes of duplication, or corruption, of contact import/synchronization is due to poor cross-platform formatting and mapping. This feature is a major leap forward towards reducing future issues, and I applaud GIST for implementing it.
Unfortunately, they didn't go all the way with their implementation, which, as it turns out, leads to unexpected and unwanted results.
In the long run, the GIST CRM database is the equivilant of a "dumb terminal". It pulls information from multiple sources (ie- Blackberry, Google Contacts, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc...), an puts it into a single central contact repository.
That is both its strength (because you don't lose any data) and its weakness (forced to clean up each contact manually, by hand).
The only proactive feature is the occassional notification of duplicate contacts, but all that does is merge them together (all the fields).
Whether the sources are multiple services or duplicate contacts, there is one major issue that is consistent: even if the field content(s) match, the field name(s) may not.
When that happens, since GIST is a central repository, it simply duplicates the information within the contact itself.
For example, the following contact has their cell phone labeled "Mobile" on the Blackberry, but "Mobile Phone" in Google:
Instead of showing as 2 distinct fields, they are appear as duplicates.
The only way to know that they fields were distinct is in the EDIT mode:
This is why I happen to like scrubly.com [SPONSOR]. While it is not an on-line address book, or a CRM, it does have the most advanced, and sophisticated De-duplication tools to clean up contacts that I have even seen. Regretfully, no matter how accurately or detailed I scrub my address book, even if I keep 2 different services in sync with each other, it won't mean anything as long as those same 2 sources have different field names.
Some of you might be asking yourselves, if the Blackberry and Google Contacts are in sync, why connect both to GIST? Excellent question. The reason is because there are some fields on both clients that don't map at all to the other. Therefore, if I want a whole consolidated picture of a contact in GIST, I, unforuntately, have to pull from both sources.
Until GIST resolves this, there are 3 possible solutions:
- Manually change every contact by hand
- Leave them as is
- Choose to only import from one source or the other, not both