Way back in 2009, when Mac.AppStorm was in its infancy, we reviewed Daylite, a really easy way to manage your business using just one app — and it impressed us. We really loved the range of features, different business areas present within the app and the tight e-mail integration.
Since then, though, a lot has changed with Daylite so let’s take a look at the fourth version to see if it is still as good as we remember it to be.
As Daylite is designed to be run across multiple computers, you’ll need to set up one of your Macs as a server so that others can access the company database easily. But don’t worry: Daylite includes a server administration program in the package, so all you need to do is install it and get it up and running (which takes no time at all).
You can create as many different databases as you like (though it’s best to keep one per company, in my opinion) and through the Server Admin panel (as you can see in the screenshot above), you can manage all the devices accessing your database (including iOS devices, which we’ll come onto in a minute) as well as configure the backup schedule. Your database is normally backed up once a week (in the example above, my database backs up every Sunday at 2 AM) though this can be altered to suit your individual preferences.
As I currently only have one Mac, I’m going to set up Daylite to access my database locally (rather than over a local or wide-area network) however setting it up over a network is really simple — all you have to do is enable server access over the internet by clicking on the relevant option in the Server Admin panel.
Daylite is designed to replace your existing content management system (CMS) in your business through integrating your company’s calendars, contacts, objectives, tasks, notes and so on. Individual features can be accessed via the menu which runs down the left-hand side of the screen and the Home panel gives you a quick overview of what’s going on for the day, including a list of any events planned, tasks due and any upcoming events in the next week.
The app features an in-built notifications system (which also show up as a badge icon) that alerts you to any important upcoming events, tasks and so on. You can click on Dismiss to get rid of them or More to be taken to that particular notification within Daylite.
You can quickly add an item to any section of Daylite by clicking on the plus button, meaning that you don’t have to navigate to that particular section of the app. I personally found this quick-access toolbar highly useful — Daylite is a complicated app with plenty of features and this made it easy to add something really quickly, rather than flicking to the relevant section.
Calendars and Contacts
The Calendar and Contacts section of Daylite throws back no surprises to the novice user and there’s pretty much everything you’d expect in there from a business-orientated app.
Daylite focuses on collaboration, so with individual appointments, for example, you can see all the tasks assigned to that particular event. In my example above, for my client approval meeting, I have to plan and execute the DVD release event (which is due on July 11th). You can also create multiple calendars and assign them to various staff members (for example, I’ve created a calendar especially for the sales team).
Your contacts within Daylite can be sorted into individual groups (I’ve got groups for my clients, my potential sales leads, my suppliers and so on). Just like with calendar events, clicking on an individual contact brings up a list of any activity associated with him or her, allowing you to keep track of everything really easily.
Project management is a really powerful feature within Daylite. Not only can you add tasks, notes and appointments to individual projects but Daylite will also help you keep track of each stage through the Progress view (shown in the screenshot below).
And of course, as everything in Daylite is accessed from one database, any changes made will automatically be pushed to every single user, ensuring that your team (or entire company) stays up to date with all the latest changes. There are plenty of other features within Daylite that come in useful when it comes to managing projects, such as the ability to define individual objectives and tasks and support for sales opportunities. It really does seem that whatever business you’re in, Daylite will work for you in some way or another!
Of course, accurate reporting is vital to any business and Daylite features this built-in — there’s no external software to use (and no messing around with complicated Excel spreadsheets!) at all. There are a number of built-in reports (the one in the screenshot below shows me an analysis of my sales opportunities by type, and whether or not they have been won or lost) however users can set up customised reports by clicking on the Preferences pane.
Any reports within Daylite can be tailored to a specific date range and can be printed or saved as a PDF for future reference. Unfortunately, there’s no option to export reports to, say, a spreadsheet format, however given the complexity of Daylite you probably won’t need this.
On the Move
With the iOS version of Daylite, you needn’t be tied down to the office. Both the iPhone and iPad version of the app allow you to access most of the features in the desktop version, including your business objectives, contacts, calendars and tasks. Due to the larger screen, the iPad version (as you can see in the screenshot below) is more similar to the desktop version and shouldn’t throw back any surprises.
To access your database on either your iPad or iPhone, you’ll have to have both Daylite Server and Daylite 4 set up and configured on your company’s network. Administrators can control which iOS devices can access the database and any access can be revoked if necessary.
This review really doesn’t do Daylite justice, as the app is so feature-packed and thorough that it’s impossible to cover everything without making the reviews hundreds of pages long. I really admired the seamless integration and collaboration that Daylite emphasises and the range of features was simply the icing on the cake. It really is a great business app and Daylite can easily replace a whole host of existing software with one, unified solution.
What is interesting about Daylite as well is the one-off fee of £189.95 (around $290) per user. Although this may sound like a hefty amount, especially for smaller businesses, it may work out cheaper in the long run than paying for a subscription-based model. The disadvantage, though, is that one of your company’s Macs has to act as a server (there’s no cloud hosting at the moment) and this may sway some users away from it.
Having said that, though, the app thoroughly deserves its 9 out of 10 rating, purely for making business apps sexy. Daylite is functional, yes, but the developers have managed to squeeze in some really aesthetics and design features that cements the Mac firmly in the world of business. Of course, you can try before you buy at Marketcircle’s website, which I’d highly recommend as it gives you the opportunity to explore this great app further. It’s simple to use yet immensely powerful and I can see Daylite becoming one of those apps that businesses rely on heavily in a range of different scenarios.