The manager's organizer. (personal information manager) (evaluation)
by Daniel Janal
If you manage people, there's finally a Personal Information Manager (PIM) for you. PIMs have been a hot item lately because they help organize people, projects, and ideas in one convenient, free-form program. Because PIMs are so free-form, however, unless you're a computer wizard, you may have trouble harnessing their power.
The Manager's Organizer from MECA is different. Managers don't need to be computer-jockeys or organizational geniuses to use this $199.95 program. With TMO's five modules, you can organize time, calculations, personnel, travel expenses, and agreements.
The Desk Menu is a comprehensive time organizer that lists daily appointments, reminders, phone calls, and follow-ups in an easy-to-read report format. TMO lets you build a business-card file, telephone contacts with its auto-dialer, and write voluminous notes with its Spartan word processor. You can export files to ASCII, from which they can be imported to any word processor. TMO can't read or write directly to a WordPerfect,file, an inconsiderate flaw. The card file allows you to print onto labels and provides sorting. It won't import your current records or export them to a database, however.
The Calculator can do some nifty numerical gymnastics. You can easily figure compound interest, loans and annuities, bond yields, yield versus interest, profits, cash flow, buy/lease/ rent options, and loan amortization. I liked using the days-between-dates calculator to figure out when a project was due. The profit calculator finally ended my frustration of figuring out what to divide by what.
With the Travel menu you can report expenses, trips, and auto mileage. The Agreement menu lists company contracts, such as insurance, rentals, leases, and maintenance, with such information as vendor, price, terms, date, and notes. While you can do this with a word processor, TMO's advantage is that it adds the figures for you and provides a total. This helps managers control budgets.
While many PIMs offer the features mentioned so far, TMO shines when you explore its special tools for managers.
The personnel menu keeps track of employees' days off, job descriptions, and office policies. For every manager who dreads giving performance reviews, TMO gives you the flexibility to become the perfect one-minute manager. You can catch people doing something right and note it in the file. When it is time to do the review, you'll have all the documentation to perform an effective critique. TMO provides fields for the employee's goals and accomplishments as well.
The compensation menu helps managers determine raises. You list each employee's salary and bonus. You can change these figures quickly by either percentage or money. The program adds all employees' salaries so you can see how much the department is paid-an effective tool for budget planning.
One wonders why TMO lacks a project manager. With the program's hefty $199.95 list price, this feature should've been included.
TMO can be used as a standalone program or a TSR. However, it take a deadening 18 seconds to load as a TSR on a 386-class machine.
The documentation is well organized and easy to read, and it even includes hints that can help any manager get more organized.