>Is the best option to have a merge replication? Is the best way to >replicate data to have the end-users manually replicate or is there an >application out there that makes this easier?
In my opinion, you should start using merge replication. Writing your own procedure to replicate data is not wise especially if you have complex database structure... and I don't know any third part applications that can do it for you
>The problem is that any of these people could be modifying the same >fields.
Even though you're using merge replication, you should avoid simultaneous editing of the same data because it leads to data losing. Of course you can write your own conflict resolver...
Merge replication allows people on all servers to update data on each and then, when connected, the records may be merged together. If the same records are edited, you have a conflict.
Conflicts can be automatically resolved in several ways. If different fields are edited the records could be just "merged". Otherwise since there is a conflict you would have to choose which one "wins".
During setup you choose which server is the winner by default, but you also get a conflict report, where you get to go through each conflict record and choose yourself wins.
This may take awhile to understand, but I hope, using the terms listed above, you will be able to find the key points in help or a book.