With OS and Office upgrades, when ACT! was with Symantec, while they never supported the beta releases, they did release patches within 30-60 days of retail release.
This changed when MS released Vista and Office 2007... This wasn't an issue to most users, as the uptake of these was very slow and users saw many other products took some time to add support also.
However, the current policy caused quite a bit of pain when Microsoft released Office 2010... Not just because of the extended time (and upgrade fee) for it to be added to ACT! 2011, but because Sage kept saying there would be an "announcement" regarding ACT! 2010 support for Office 2010 for months (even after the release of ACT! 2011. I mentioned this in this blog post:
Many of the vendors ACT! connects to are moving to more rapid development cycles - Windows 8 due next year; Windows Server 2011 out now; Office 365 due soon; IE 9 out now; Firefox 4.0 out now and 5.0 due soon; Google Chrome; Citrix; VMWare; etc...
One of the issues with some of these is that they are auto-rolled out to users (the three browsers for example) or will be installed by default on new hardware (eg Windows and Office).
With ACT! 2012 about to go beta, and being demonstrated in a North American Roadshow, I think it's crucial that Sage management implements a plan to support upgrades for products they support in a version of ACT!. More importantly, they need to announce the policy for this publicly - either that updates won't be supported for any of these till the next major release (and users will need to make the choice to wait or look at other options); or that they may be supported, depending on the effort required. If the later, Sage must be prepared to announce the fate of each of the possible patches at (or prior) to the release of the upgraded products you integrate with.
Every ACT! add-on vendor has to test (and usually update) their products with each Sage release of ACT! ... they start testing during Sage's beta period and try to have their updated code close the the release by Sage.
I accept that some updates require to much resources to do in a patch ... when this is the case, Sage should communicate this to users before they have started rolling out updates that prevent access to the functionality of ACT! that they need.
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