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Jewish World Review
Oct. 6, 2006
/ 13 Tishrei, 5767
New PlanPlus Program, Two Ways
FranklinCovey Corp. recently launched two new versions of its PlanPlus
software. One is Microsoft Windows-friendly, running within Outlook. The
other stands alone as a Web-based version, meaning those with Macs or
Linux-based PCs can run the program as well, via their Internet browser.
I like both, but the PC software gets extra winning points. Let's start
with the online version: The screen, and this is one Web site where it
pays to have a large display handy, looks very much like the paper
planner. There's a daily task list on the left, appointments on the
and on the bottom, a space for notes.
Entering tasks is easy, although there was a display glitch when using
Safari: the text entry window wasn't visible. I typed and hit the
key, and, presto, the item appeared. One can then prioritize it
to the Franklin system: A1, B2, or whatever. Dragging and dropping tasks
on screen changes their priority level as they move up or down the list;
you can re-edit the priority manually.
Appointments show up on screen as well as in a reminder line atop the
page. Again, this is good - if you haven't cleared an appointment, then
you can do so thanks to the reminder. Note taking is also a positive
feature, but the note-taking window can shift to a contact list, a
business opportunities, or an e-mail inbox, although each of these
This is where the online PlanPlus system departs most radically from
paper: behind the main screen is a "CRM," or customer relationship
management, application that tracks things such as a sales calls and
process is progressing. A manager can aggregate the records of his team
and find out how employees are doing.
That means there's a cost for all this, $25 per month per person up
people; between 11 and 49, it's $22.50 each, and other price breaks are
available for larger groups. If you're an individual user, I suspect
need to be really dedicated to fork over $300 a year for the online
service, unless you're in sales and can truly benefit from the
That's why I like the PlanPlus for Outlook software as much as I do. For
one thing, most of us who use PCs already have Outlook in place. If
full-price copy is $95. Add to it the $99 cost of PlanPlus and you're
still over $100 ahead of the online system, and you're running the
software locally, which has an extra appeal for some users.
Layout and functions for appointments and tasks are similar to PlanPlus
Online, with a key difference: it all sits within Outlook. That makes it
easy to use the Outlook data you already have - contact list, e-mail
inbox, and so on. By putting a FranklinCovey "front" on all this, users
get the best of both worlds.
I especially like the tools to craft a personal "mission statement,"
something I need to revise often, as well as track goals in life and
business. There's an excellent project management section, and while you
might not want to schedule an entire U.S. Presidential campaign with
it seems up to such a challenge.
Two other features stand out: One is that PlanPlus for Outlook should
brilliantly with Tablet PCs, making handwritten annotations truly
The other is the seamless incorporation of help texts, called the "Coach
Me" section, which guides users through features such as PowerNotes,
are more ad hoc than daily ones, can include graphics, and are
Bottom line: If you're a FranklinCovey devotee, and if you have Windows
and Outlook, run, don't walk, to get this software, or go to
www.franklincovey.com to order. Otherwise, PlanPlus Online offers a good
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JWR contributor Mark Kellner has reported on technology for industry newspapers and magazines since 1983, and has been the computer columnist for The Washington Times since 1991.Comment by clicking here.
© 2006, News World Communications, Inc. Reprinted with permission of The Washington Times. Visit the paper at http://www.washingtontimes.com
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