Contact manager

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A contact manager is a software program that enables users to easily store and find contact information, such as names, addresses and telephone numbers. They are contact-centric databases that provide a fully integrated approach to tracking of all information and communication activities linked to contacts. Simple ones for personal use are included in most smartphones. The main reference standard for contact data and metadata, semantic and interchange, is the vCard.

Sophisticated contact managers provide calendar sharing features and allow colleagues to access the same database. The main reference standard is the vCalendar.

In management terminology, advanced contact managers can be called individual resource management (IRM) or contact management (CM) tools – systems for managing an individual's interactions with current and future contacts, to organize, collaborate, and synchronize health, lifestyle, and financial needs.


Contact lists have been available for a long time. The original contact management system (CMS) was ACT! 1.0 for DOS in 1987, though some beta copies were out prior to this.


A contact management system (CMS) may be chosen because it is thought to provide the following advantages:[1]

  • Centralized repository of contact information
  • Ready to use database with searching
  • Sales tracking
  • Email integration
  • Scheduling of appointments and meetings
  • Document management
  • Notes and conversation management
  • Customizable fields
  • Import/export utility

Differences from customer relationship management[edit]

A contact manager is usually used for instances where the sales interaction model of the organization is a one-to-many interaction model, in which a single sales representative is responsible for multiple roles within a company. Alternatively, a company with a many-to-many interaction model, in which many sales representatives are targeting a single job role, a customer relationship management (CRM) system is preferred.:[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Aberdeen Group (January 2009) Automating Success: The Choice Between Contact Management and Customer Relationship Management [1]