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Introduction and One Stop on the Act! Road Map

by Moderator on ‎07-09-2012 08:29 AM (3,351 Views)

My first task will be Sage Act! 2013 Service Pack 1. We have two main goals here; to address any in high priority market feedback from Sage Act 2013 and to  provide support for new OS's, browsers, and/or versions of Office.

 

The first task is relatively simple. We've been stregthening our communication with the community, support, sales, and development and I feel confident that we'll be able to listen and act on important feedback. 

 

The second task is a challenging one this year. In the same few months we'll see Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, Internet Explorer 10, Office Version 15, and Apple iOS 6 for new iPhones and iPads. As someone that rides the edge of technology with new toys and beta software, I hope that the changes that these new platforms bring are transformative to the way we use our devices. As a manager of development and testing resources, I hope the changes are small enough that we integrate as seemlessly as if we were developed for that product. 

 

Either way we are in for an interesting next few months.

 

Which device/platform are you most exited about?

Comments
by on ‎07-09-2012 08:32 PM

Congrats on the promotion and thanks for being a bit more public on the plans for the road-map

 

Regards,
Mike Lazarus
ACT! Evangelist
GL Computing, Australia
http://about.me/GLComputing
http://Blog.GLComputing.com.au
http://twitter.com/GLComputing

GL Computing Facebook Page - http://www.facebook.com/GLComputing
LinkedIN ACT! Fanatics Group - http://www.linkedin.com/groups/ACT-Fanatics-49896

by Bronze Super Contributor benhamilton on ‎07-10-2012 12:08 AM

Benjamin, thanks for the update, great to hear.

 

I'm most anticipating that 2013 APFW/m and it's improvement. My testing of the beta is positive. I'm excited that someone such as yourself, who has been with ACT! for some time, and someone who has advocated for it's improvement is now in this position to both drive it's development and communicate it's direction to the public. Looking forward to the coming months.

 

Ben.

 

by Moderator on ‎07-10-2012 08:29 AM

Thank you for the support!

by Bronze Super Contributor mmoldofsky on ‎07-11-2012 02:48 PM

i think you are an ACT fanboy so I was happy you got the promotion.

 

please don't hang up on me if if i ring you up.  :smileyhappy:

by Bill_Bosler on ‎07-13-2012 01:10 AM

Mike:

I'm most excited about simplifying my life!

 

ACT! can help with that by providing very clear, reliable syncing with Outlook’s iCloud Contacts and Calendar! Right now, that is not the case.

 

I have >14,000 contacts, since ACT! contains the history of the last 20+ years of my entire life! Only about 1,000 Contacts need to be Active in Outlook.  Currently, there are over 2,000 in Outlook and it is not obvious how to define the ones that are active – without losing any information on either side. I have tried all the documented options to sync ACT! and Outlook and the do NOT work :smileysad:

 

Once information is in the iCloud areas of Outlook, iCloud manages the sync with all my Apple devices and iCloud for my level of data usage is FREE!

 

FYI, ACT! runs in Fusion on a MacBookPro. I’d love to have my 1.6 GB of ACT Data Files on the Mac side! All my other data, including ~10 GB of PST Files are on the Mac side. Data Files are either replicated to DropBox or CrashPlan from the Mac side. Yes, I have the unlimited plan from CrashPlan; so, the ACT! files on the Windows side are also dynamically backed-up.

The only Data Files I have under Fusion are ACT! and Quicken, since neither one of them allow the data to be on the Mac side. The sad thing is that, even with this minimum of data files under Windows 7, the windows 7 image is ~55 GB. Yes, I have a LOT of Applications and they are all bloated L I had to upgrade to a 500 GB HD to be able to run windows 7 and maintain a Fusion image to quickly restore.

 

I live in Moscow, Russia and plan to buy one of the new MacBookPros with the retina display and more memory, etc. next time I go to the States. But, that’s another story.

 

Hope that you can facilitate some of these enhancements.

 

FYI, I have been an ACT! user from version 1 or 2, I no longer remember which version :smileysad: Oldest data is 1992. I have been a Beta Tester on and off. Currently got involved with this Beta Test at the last minute.

 

 

 

 

by Moderator on ‎07-18-2012 02:58 PM

Bill have you had an opportunity to check out our Sage Act Premium Mobile platform? No syncing, you get live access to your data over the web. 

 

There are technology challenges to sync solutions and as a product direction I'm more in favor of stable web access points than disconnected models. Do you find that you frequently need contact data when you don't have internet access?

 

It's great to hear that you are having success running on a Mac. At least the price of hard drives are getting cheaper!

 

Windows 8 is coming! 

 

http://windowsteamblog.com/windows/b/bloggingwindows/archive/2012/07/18/windows-8-will-be-available-...

by on ‎07-18-2012 05:18 PM

Ben ... the real challenges with a sync solution are mainly if sync'ing to the native phone apps that just don't have the ability to store the data types necessary for CRM.

 

There are significant challenges with the browser based model - some of these include:

1. Off-line access ... many areas have poor cell coverage, which limits web apps. Or for access on planes that don't yet have internet access. Also note that using free wifi  hotspots means the data (eg user/pass) can be intercepted and read very easily and creates a security risk - even when using SSL
2. Alarms ... no alarm notifications on web apps
3. CallerID for received calls ... can't be done with a web app
4. Ability to record the body of emails/sms and hist of phone calls made from device

 

Regards,
Mike Lazarus
ACT! Evangelist
GL Computing, Australia
http://about.me/GLComputing
http://Blog.GLComputing.com.au
http://twitter.com/GLComputing

GL Computing Facebook Page - http://www.facebook.com/GLComputing
LinkedIN ACT! Fanatics Group - http://www.linkedin.com/groups/ACT-Fanatics-49896

by Bronze Elite Contributor on ‎07-18-2012 05:58 PM

In response to Mike's points:

  1. Off-line access is hardly ever raised as a challenge now, it's an ever declining request or driver to sync solutions. As more and more web apps support local caching under HTML5 it isn't an issue. BTW: Right now, for one customer, we have been contracted to build in caching for a web app for ACT!,  data entered on a tablet using HTML5 - should be finished in 6 weeks. As to SSL being vulnerable in the real world scenario, that is just plain wrong.
  2. Supporting ACT! Alarms - could be built into Sage ACT! Premium for Mobile, just hasn't been done yet.
  3. Valid point - CallerID is a challenge for a web app  
  4. Valid point - similar to CallerID it's the lack of support,connectivity to the native app.

So of that list, I would still choose to go web apps. Sync is absolutely on the way out but it has some diminishing value still. 

 

Graeme Leo

Xact Software

http://xactsoftware.co.nz

by on ‎07-18-2012 07:14 PM

Graeme, and yet major web based products like Facebook, Google+ and SalesForce are moving from HTML5 to native apps to get faster speed and integration.

 

As to SSL not being vulnerable, there are several ways of driving holes through it. Here's one simple way:

http://www.ethicalhacker.net/content/view/31/24/

Other common mothods include spoofing the WiFi connection in a number of ways.

 

In order to alleviate fear of internet banking, many backs offer a guarantee for users who are hacked, providing the user hasn't given away their password. The Commonwealth Bank has this statement:

The safety of your money is 100% guaranteed.
This means we’ll cover any loss should someone make an unauthorised transaction on your account using NetBank – provided you protect your Client number and Password, and immediately notify us of the loss, theft or misuse of your password and of any suspicious activity on your account.

 They then have it insured ... and most of the banks have had to pay out after various security breaches.

 

Regards,
Mike Lazarus
ACT! Evangelist
GL Computing, Australia
http://about.me/GLComputing
http://Blog.GLComputing.com.au
http://twitter.com/GLComputing

GL Computing Facebook Page - http://www.facebook.com/GLComputing
LinkedIN ACT! Fanatics Group - http://www.linkedin.com/groups/ACT-Fanatics-49896

 

by Bronze Elite Contributor on ‎07-18-2012 07:50 PM

I have nothing more to say on this point and leave the audience to make judgment on their own behalf.

 

Graeme Leo

Xact Software

http://xactsoftware.co.nz

 

 

by Moderator ‎07-19-2012 07:45 AM - edited ‎07-19-2012 07:47 AM

App development gets tied to specific device/OS. We get more bang for the buck by focusing on an HTML5 platform that will work on a large number of devices, desktops, and the car consoles and home devices of the future. 

 

It has been a historical struggle for us to stay on top of new devices as our customers stay on the bleeding edge of technology. Apple, Android, Microsoft, Symbian, Blackberry, what's next? Each app development is to some degree independent. And then one of the companies moves the target and comes out with a change in architecture. 

 

We need a solution that doesn't change it's foundation every 12 months, has a large range of compatibility, and a solid feature set. HTLM5 has been the direction that made the most sense for Sage ACT!

 

Additional features like caching, alarms, and automatic history generation are all areas of investigation as we develop our road map further. 

 

Stay tuned. I'll keep talking. 

by Nickel Super Contributor tmwilli on ‎07-19-2012 01:11 PM

Ben,

 

Congrats on the promo, and thanks for opening this thread to discuss the future of ACT. Looking forward to more info along this line.

 

Best regards,

 

Therese "Terry" Williams

ACC

Sacramento, CA, USA

by on ‎07-19-2012 03:26 PM

I do agree, Ben, that HTML5 makes a lot of sense for the vendor (if not the users) ... it's simpler and cheaper to develop. This must be a strong driving force for ACT! now that Sage US have publicly classed it as a "non-core" product, expected to be "sunset" as per http://lnkd.in/BjpZia

 

Facebook, like many others, have recently announced that they'll be dropping their current model of HTML5 inside a native container in favour of true native apps. They say it's significantly faster and gives access to far more functionality... although it will take a bit more time to roll-out updates

by Moderator on ‎07-23-2012 11:37 AM

Let's be clear. Contrary to the third party analisys of an investor presentaion, there are no intentions of sunsetting or reducing resources available for continued development. 

 

We have a long bright future ahead of us. 

 

by Bronze Super Contributor vivek on ‎07-26-2012 09:21 AM

I must admit I also thing the move towards an HTML5 client is the wisest move for the moment. I think the extension of the WCF engine to drive this is the key to anable developers, both internally and 3rd party external, to create the native apps. Caller ID is an important feature for any solution that resides on a mobile device. I've got a Galaxy S3 and since I use Sac in a very limited fashion I am able to link my Mobile Contact with the Sac Contact so this works for me.

 

Moving away from proprietary platforms is critical for any enabling software now, even MS recognise this (apple seems to resist it) and that is another reason why adoption of WCF should be another key target for development I feel. It wont tick any marketing tick-box and only really impress techies but CRM software is a combination of people, process and technology.

 

I think going hand in hand with this concept, act really needs the SData layer. With a slight reference to the on-going core vs non-core debacle, I think we can leave bundled suites now to the core products and we can strike out in a new direction towards embracing integration and at the centre of this lies HTML5, SData and WCF.

by Moderator on ‎09-11-2012 08:47 AM

We are headlong into our certification of Windows 8 and IE10.

 

Did you know that IE10 has two modes; regular and Metro mode is the full screen app. Unfortunately it doesn't support ActiveX plugins which means no Word Processing or Reports in that mode...

 

 

by Bronze Super Contributor mmoldofsky on ‎09-11-2012 09:03 AM

i'm most excited about the IBM Selectric III i got at a yard sale for $12 over the weekend. i'm tired of tech.  :smileyhappy:

by Bronze Super Contributor vivek on ‎09-11-2012 09:28 AM

IE metro-mode is for data consumption only from my understanding which makes sense to me. Reporting from ACT! could be presented within a metro-tile if the Dashboard presented the data via HTML5 rather than embeded within a 3rd party component. We have the new Act.Server.Host WCF engine, that could be used to serve out these Dashboards and so we get something akin to the SSRS.

by rkeesecker on ‎11-20-2012 03:18 PM

Long-time ACT user.  I understand the code and programming for Sage ACT is a lot more complicated than most consumer software programs, but the length of time that ACT 2013 users are without access to their database in Windows 8 has me scratching my head.  3-4 months that I won't have access to ACT 2013 after having had to purchase a new computer, one with Windows 8?  It would have been not smart to purchase a new computer without the new Windows OS, but I assumed Sage would put more resources into releasing an SP right quick for its ACT clients.  Wow.  I'm dumbfounded. 

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