While the idea of using an application that is specifically catered for business usage might sound attractive, like what someone mentioned during the presentation, does the Business Calendar app have a chance in a market that is predominated by enterprise solutions;MS Outlook and the popular Google Calendar?
Syncing of Tasks
One of the points that was strongly highlighted was the ability to easily synchronise tasks on the calendar across different emails or accounts. Implying from the presentation, this was the differentiating factor of the Business Calendar.
Foremost, it is indeed a powerful feature. As we proceed with our work nowadays, we switch across different accounts, different devices and sometimes even different applications. Therefore the ability to create a task and sync it without worrying about forgetting to update something else gives me a peace of mind.
However, that said, I also believe such a feature is one which is derived from using the application in the first place. Prior to the presentation, I would not have known what syncing of task really meant as there was no common use of it. Users of Google Calendar would share calendars instead to ‘sync’ their tasks. Whereas, users of MS Outlook keeps everything to Outlook itself sometimes due to company standards. Therefore, I doubt users who are already using either Google Calendar or MS Outlook would not see the potential of syncing of tasks and be enticed to switch over to Business Calendar instead.
As for a new user, syncing of task would probably not be a ‘must-have-feature’ right off the bat. I feel that the need for such a function only becomes apparent after a certain amount of usage of calendars. Thus, such a feature albeit is powerful, doesn’t really contribute much to differentiating the application from other Calendars currently out there.
Lack of Supported Platforms
As pointed out in the presentation, Business Calendar is only available on the android phones. To me, that is a big problem for it to be termed as the “Business Calendar”. When working in offices during part times, internships etc, we usually have a work station and sometimes (more often that not) when work gets busy, we have to rely on mobile devices to keep up with assignments and tasks. Therefore the business individual would be constantly working from both the phone and the desktop and the inability to view the calendar on the desktop would definitely be crippling.
Although Business Calendar allows you to still export schedules and provide limited usage outside the application, you will definitely be missing out on the familiar interface when using it on the phone (unless you boot up an emulator but that’s another story).
The lack of supported platforms is therefore a rather serious issue for business usage. As pointed out during the presentation, the name of Business Calendar could be misleading as the presenter himself uses it often and is a student. However, I feel that the application could actually be more suited for non-business users instead who don’t mind not being able to enjoy the application on the desktop and just looking for a better phone calendar.
Complex vs Intuitive Usage
Lastly, I believe the application prides itself as a complex calendar that can suit your business needs. However, concurrently, it also prides itself of it’s ease of use and intuitive controls. Indubitably, it has a ton of customisations and features however, at the same time, I believe complexity compromises ease of usage.
I would prefer mobile applications to be simple as after all, screen space is hugely limited and controls are limited to the touchscreen unlike the desktop where you can have large monitors, (or multi-monitors) a keyboard and a mouse. Therefore, I never really learn to appreciate complexity such as being able to view the entire month’s schedule as shown below, in a small screen space except to admire how extensively I have used the app.
On the other hand, I would have appreciated more if I was just given a simple calendar with big CTA numbers of the date where I can click to view the popup box. Flooding the screen to provide the schedule at a glance would have worked better if it was a desktop web application as there’s more screen space to display nicely. I might even want to be able to add more coloured labels to the calendar than compared to if I was on a mobile application.
Current leading calendar applications, namely Google Calendar, would still be the standard choice for most users. That said, I certainly do not doubt Business Calendar is in any way lacking in features and customisation options compared to Google Calendar. However, it would be very difficult to top Google’s ‘all-encompassing’ ecosystem that we are trapped in and simply their popularity. With a pay-gate on top of the list of why not to use Business Calendar, I certainly do not see myself escaping Google’s clutches.