Redtail's email hosting services utilize the Zimbra Collaboration Suite which enables the seamless use of Microsoft Outook as an email client, while providing multiple connectivity options to the server depending on the type of account setup you use. For simple Outlook use as an email-only client, subscribers can configure Outlook to Connect to the server as an IMAP or POP account. But, for more complete functionality, the Zimbra Connector for Outlook (ZCO) was created by Zimbra to utilize the MAPI protocol most commonly used with Microsoft Hosted Exchange accounts. The ZCO leverages the MAPI interface to sync not only email but calendars and contacts as well. This functionality is not supported by IMAP or POP.
Let us take a look at some of the benefits and how they compare to the basic connections of POP and IMAP:
Offline Mode and Asynchronous Online Synchronization:
The ZCO is intuitive in that it will automatically detect online connections. As a result the user is never required to wait for a server-side operation or synchronization process to complete. ZCO user's interactions with Outlook are identical whether online or offline. For users of POP and IMAP, Outlook constantly pops up dialog boxes which at times require you to close and re-open Outlook. IMAP accounts will not display messages and/or folders when offline thus creating more headaches for the end user. With the ZCO, data is accessed from a local data store in both online and offline environments. As a result of this, users have the advantage of working with the local data at all times.
Share and Delegate Access:
When utilizing the ZCO, you have the ability to share and delegate access to mailbox folders, calendars, and address books to internal and external users. With other email protocols, this functionality is not available.
The performance of an IMAP connection can decline as your mailbox grows. IMAP accounts store their information within personal folders referred to as PST files. As PST files grow larger they become prone to corruption and reduce the quality of performance of your account within Outlook. You will experience latency when sending/receiving emails, the inability to connect to the server and random online/offline status changes. With the ZCO use of a data store and bi-directional syncing, these issues are behaviors that you will not experience.
Building on the flexibility of the Zimbra Connector for Outlook
Combining the ZCO with Redtail's proprietary sync client, Retriever for the Desktop, you can sync your Redtail CRM contacts and calendar to your Outlook, which in turn syncs to our mail servers. This data can then be synced over to a mobile device such as iPhone, iPad, and Android devices by setting up an ActiveSync account. The ActiveSync on your mobile device will pull down the contacts and calendar from the mail server over the air without having to be tethered.
Below you will find a graphical representation of this particular setup:
Below you will find the setup instructions for all the outlined items above: