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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

This page contains answers to common questions handled by our support staff, along with some tips and tricks that we have found useful and presented here as questions.

Note: In these answers, we will follow a few shorthand conventions for describing user-interface procedures.  Key combinations will be presented like this: Ctrl+Alt+Delete, which means that you should press and hold down the Control key, the Alt key, and the Delete key at the same time.  Menu selections will be presented like this: File,Open, which means that you should open the File menu, and then make the Open selection.


What is Ziata!?

Ziata! is an productivity suite of products that can be implemented by almost any office.  It starts with implementation of the proprietary Pronexus<tm> database engine.  Pronexus<tm> manages the data, while the productivity suite supplies a user-friendly suite of office applications.  For example, you can do the following:

Pronexus

  • With QuickFinder and QuickEntry, track data using the Pronexus<tm> database system by connecting people, companies, locations and telecommunication addresses in any manner without limitation!  Easily move between the web of data object connections!
  • Enter data once, use it many; e.g., enter a corporation once, enter each person once, then connect the people to the company with a relationship called "employee" then if you lookup the person, you see all affiliated companies, if you lookup the company, you see all employees!  Edit one record and all affiliations are updated; 100 persons living at a location, change the address and everyone's updated.  Lookup a telephone number and see all persons, companies and locations related to it!  Very cool, very powerful.

E-MSG! Module

  • Easily take and enter "telephone" messages using e-mail with the E-MSG! Pad, with any new information AUTOMATICALLY updating the core Pronexus<tm> database
  • Each telephone message taken by anyone stored in common lookup database in the Lookup database
  • Deposit messages in a common database to give to callers in the Waiting Messages Pad
  • Track staff using the InOut Pad, automatically notify the receptionist when a person changes their in/out status if the person is in the receptionist's Watchlist
  • When taking a message in the E-MSG! Pad, automatically notify the receptionist if the caller is an "exception" such that the person called wants to be interrupted even though not otherwise available, or let the caller know that one or many persons have deposited a message; ala the E-MSG! Pad, the InOut Pad and the Waiting Messages Pad are integrated!

Client Management Module

  • Track your clients information, including details such as rank, etc.
  • Track all files and documents in your office, using a File/Subfile/Documents paradigm; when you take a file from, or give a file to, someone, you can log it out of the database and have an automated e-mail send  a notice to the person
  • Track each item of mail in your office, the cost, etc.

Office Management Module

  • Create and track Standard Operating Procedure to get your company systemized
  • Track library books, library cards, etc.
  • Manage shared resources with the Resource Logger so that multiple persons can "log out" a shared resource

MindSaver Docketing Module

  • Create a to-do item, with one or more associated dates/deadlines
  • Each to-do has its own properties, as does each date
  • At user-defined intervals, the server software will interrogate the database and look for upcoming deadlines (based upon the date entry information) and AUTOMATICALLY send e-mail to the responsible parties that the deadline is approaching--you can even flag MindSaver to automatically send your clients/customers/patients e-mail with an upcoming appointment, etc.
         
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Is Ziata! a Personal Information Manager (PIM)?

That is one of the toughest questions we encounter.  Apparently, the reviewer at TUDOGS also had this trouble as part of their 5-star review; but, they got it right: given the available categories, we don't know how to categorize it either!

It does wrench us a bit when we see Ziata! called a PIM, but that's okay, we understand and are sensitive to their plight of trying to categorize a product that can equally fit into many categories.  

It really begins with a definition of terms.  Ziata! is a data manager.  A very powerful data manager.  It manages the relationships between or among entities better than anything on the market.  It also has the best integrated workflow modules on the market.

Because PIMs use old technology and do not manage relationships between or among entities very well, and because PIMs do not have business workflow modules, and because PIMs do not integrate email as a message base for data information, we do not consider Ziata! to be a PIM in the traditional sense.  Ziata! is really a business tool that you can use personally on a very basic level.  PIMs are often personal tools that people try to use in their business.  Ziata! is intended for use on a business network, the more the better, and the workflow modules, like E-MSG! and In/Out, are core business tools.

But here is the rub: Ziata! encompasses Data Tracking, Phone Message Pad, E-mail Integration, Staff In/out Tracking, Client Tracking, Labels, Electronic Mass Mailings, E-Mail Notifications of Deadlines, etc., etc., and Internet sites just can't figure out which section to put Ziata! into.  

Ziata! could equally be put in the Business, Email Tools, Data and Information Management, Project Management, Mass Emailing, Mailing List Programs, etc.  So, sometimes, Ziata! will just end up in the PIM section.  The easiest way to find Ziata! on a site, is to search for it.  

As a final note, Ziata! does not in any way compete with Outlook, which is truly a PIM.  See Does Ziata! compete with Outlook.

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Does Ziata! Compete with Microsoft Outlook?

Absolutely not!  In fact, Ziata! uses Outlook very effectively.  When we developed Ziata!, we knew one thing: we could not control e-mail protocol over Microsoft.  Microsoft would be updating and changing the way email worked.  We wanted Ziata! to keep working for you, even if Microsoft changed their basic email system.  Therefore, we made the decision to use the Microsoft-compliant MAPI protocol.  

Ziata! uses your email package to do it's dirty work of informing you of crucial information in your database: that is, it hands the message to your email package, and your email package sends the message like any other email.  You then get the benefit of having messages stored in your SENT MAIL folder, etc.  Plus, if you use or upgrade to WordMail, great, Ziata! really doesn't care.  If Ziata! hands the message to Inbox, Exchange, Exchange Server, Outlook, etc., it really doesn't matter.

A very nice feature of Outlook and some other packages is the ability to color code email and show a few lines of text without opening the message.  You can setup Outlook to display deadline notices, E-MSG! message, etc., with color coding, and it really can save you time!

Overall, the problem with Outlook and PIMs is that they are basically "flat-file" non-relational databases.  That is, you are always limited to a certain number of home addresses, telephones, email addresses, etc., and you can't create the unlimited relationships.  This is unrealistic!  Ziata! can save and retrieve vCards for contact information interoperability with Outlook, but we suggest that you don't use Outlook for your contact management: it's just too weak.  Use Ziata! to manage the contact data aspect and Outlook to manage the mail aspect.  Just setup Ziata! to recognize Outlook (or Outlook Express) as your default email package, and just by clicking the Mail Icon in QuickFinder, you will be presented with an Outlook New Mail screen with the recipient's default email address already entered.  You get the best of all worlds!

We kept the same concept of using the power of other core package with label generating.  The market share for Microsoft Word is huge.  Forcing you to learn how to print labels in Ziata!, with page definitions, etc. is just too much to ask.  In the old days, circa 1994, you needed to learn every different package's nuances of printing data.  Ziata! will create labels ready for you to paste into your preferred word processor, which is usually Word (but could be WordPerfect, etc.).  You can then fully manipulate the text, page sizes, etc., with no additional learning curve.  Ziata! gives just enough options to make that process a breeze, like number of blank lines between labels, etc.  Our research clearly shows that users don't want to learn more than one package to do the same task.  And, our research also shows that the average person does not know how to perform a true data form mail merge.  But, a simple right-click cut/paste is perfect!

By the way, in Ziata! the simple address block task is nothing more than, in QuickFinder, putting the cursor on the person and Ctrl-C, and pasting (Ctrl-V) into your word processor.  For example, assuming that you've entered the core data and created the relationships, you'll have a nice:

Gregg R. Zegarelli
President
Ziata! Solutions, LLC.
Allegheny Building, 12th Floor
Pittsburgh, PA  15219-1616  USA

Dear Gregg:

---

It's that easy.  That's all there is to creating an address block in your letters, it's always up-to-date and accurate.  See the sampleDB document for more examples (it is online and in your local c:\program files\ziata folder after installation).

A core Microsoft platform might look like the following.  (Certainly, other platforms are also excellent, but the following is listed to provide an idea of a usual office setup):

Sever: 

Microsoft NT (any version), possibly with Exchange Server (not required), or Windows (any version), whether or not dedicated to serving the network.

Workstation: 

Microsoft Windows (any version) or NT (any version)
Microsoft Word for word processing
Microsoft Excel for spreadsheets
Microsoft Outlook for email
Ziata! for information management and workflow
Accounting and Time and Billing package

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What are the System Requirements?

Ziata! is fully 32 bit compliant, so it only runs in Microsoft 95/98/2000/NT.  To take advantage of the powerful messaging, Ziata! runs with Microsoft Inbox, Exchange, Outlook or any MAPI compliant messaging system.  If it's important to receive message, but not take them, then Ziata! only requires that the recipient have the ability to receive MAPI e-mail, e.g. Windows 3.11, etc.  We recommend at least a 486/33 with 8 megabytes of RAM, but, really, because of the database accessing, you should have a Pentium 100 with at least 16 megabytes of RAM.  It is also important to have adequate extra hard disk space to allow for memory caching.

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Does Ziata! Integrate with Inbox, Exchange, Outlook?

    The answer is yes, functionally.  That is, Ziata! is completely compatible with Inbox, Exchange, Exchange Server and Outlook.  In fact, it requires a standard MAPI-compliant email transport to send its mail.  When you click the mail icon it launches your standard email form.  Mail sent via Ziata! is stored in your SENT MAIL mail program folder (just like any other mail), and can be forwarded, etc., just like any other mail.

     Ziata! also can import and export vCards for Outlook.  Regarding contact lists, however, remember that Ziata! is far more powerful than other contact managers, because of the strong, broad, relational nature of the data.  For example, Ziata! is not limited to one home address (there could be 2,000 or 2,000,000 or more) and it is not limited to two or three telephones at that address (there could be 2,000 or 2,000,000 or more).   Therefore, we recommend you use the programs where they are strong: use Ziata! for contact data management and your core workflow information, and Exchange and/or Outlook for the email and simple calendaring.

See Also

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Is Ziata! Client-Server?

Ziata! is purposely not client-server software.  This allows it to be compatible with the smallest and largest network installations.  You do not need to purchase Exchange Server, SQL Server or similar other, very expensive, products.  Ziata! will operate as wonderfully on a simple standard Windows network system as it will on a full blown multinational corporation network system.  Although Ziata! does not require Exchange Server, if you have it, Ziata! will work great with it.

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Why is the Pronexus<tm> Database So Special?

Old technology usually has one record per person, with a few user-definable fields for home, work, fax numbers. You know, space for a Name, Home Address, Home Phone, Work Address, Work Phone, Email.  Problem is: your limited by the database paradigm.

PRONEXUS changes it all.  Now, you look at data as Persons, Companies, Locations and Telecommunication addresses as objects.  Each object has its own properties and is independent.  Then, once an object is created, it can be reused multiple times.  For example, 5 persons are employees of a company, three of those five are also employed by another company.  A husband, wife and child live at an address, which is also the company office.  Usually such situations create a nightmare of data redundancy, each of which piece of redundant data must be re-entered and RE-EDITED if there are changes.  Using the proprietary Pronexus<tm> database engine, you enter each piece of information only one, then reuse it many times.

Most database packages become uncontrollable after a large volume of data is entered.  Ziata! actually gets easier to use, because, as time goes on, more data objects are already in the databases.   

Keep in mind, also, that Ziata! uses SOUNDEX technology to ensure that similarly sounding data entries are flagged for you.  That is, if you have John Doe entered and you try to enter Jon Doe, Ziata! will prompt you to confirm.  This keeps your data clean and organized.

You have got to see it work--it's revolutionary, not just evolutionary.

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Can Ziata! Do Something as Simple as My Wedding List or Client List?

That and so much more.  Because of the Pronexus database engine, Ziata! has full control over every separate data object.  You want to do envelopes?  Sure, just pick your format.  Ziata! will create a list of labels which can then be pasted into your word processor.  Because of Ziata!'s power, this is simply done by creating a Physical Publication (Alt-File-Office Management-Mass Mailings), then adding your subscribers (your list).  With a mouse click, pick your format: do you like "Ted and Alice", "Mr. and Mrs. Ted and Alice Smith"?  Do you want middle initials and Jr./Sr.?  Just a click.  If two people live at the same address, do you want the envelope consolidated?  Easy...  Ziata! will also count the number of persons and invitations for you.

If you want to send to your client list, just create a publication and click the "Send to Clients" checkbox.  Whenever you generate a mailing, it will be sent to all of your clients.

Another powerful feature, is that you can create a subscription (mailing list entry), using various addresses: home only, work only, try home first then work, try work first then home.  That is, if the subscriber does not have a home address, then use their work address.  Can your database do that?

You can also do unlimited mass electronic mailings with a simple text file.  There is just nothing like Ziata!

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How Much Does it Cost?

That depends upon which modules you want and how many users you have.  The software is very powerful, but we completely understand that a small business  needs access to the best software to be competitive.  Therefore, we tried to price the software in a manner that made it affordable for a small business.   As a result, call for pricing at 412-765-0490.  There is also a price sheet in the program folder following installation.

Ziata! 5.1 is a completely "freeware" version.  It is operational for 100 users, has full existing functionality and will not expire.  This is a great way to get started! 

If you need support, training, customization or other services, you can still register Ziata! 5.1, but registration is not required; that is, for example, it will NOT expire in 30 days.  So, please use it and get comfortable with the new paradigm of data management.  

After you get used to Ziata!, you will never want to go back to any other way to manage your data.

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How Do I Register?

Download the software.  Go to the File, Configuration, Passwords menu item.   Call us.  Give use your Licensee Code, tell us what modules you want and how many licenses, and we give you back a code which will automatically upgrade you!  See the User Documentation for more details.

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How Do I Become a Distributor?

See the User Manual or contact us for details.  

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How Do I Develop My Custom Software to Work with Ziata!?

Ziata! has a powerful data engine.  If you are a software developer, you can "tap into" this power for your applications.  Contact us for details.  

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Ziata Solutions, LLC
Allegheny building, 12th Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15219-1616
Pittsburgh, PA 15219-1616
Voice: 412-765-0490
Fax: 412-765-0531
www.ziata.com

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Revised: February 20, 2005.

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