01-11-2013 04:30 PM
We are a company with approximately 12,000 clients. We are currently using a 1980 vintage DOS based software as our contact manager and scheduler. Many of our clients pay us monthly for a service so we need to be able to do a twice monthly upload of billing account information to our bank. Additonally, we provide income tax services to approximately 5,000 clients, using 20 tax preparers in three cities in NC and GA. Scheduling these tax clients is a major concern I have should we decide to purchase ACT.
Does anyone use ACT in this type of business evironment?
01-11-2013 06:53 PM
If the company has been able to function using 33 year old DOS software, what exactly is your anxiety about ACT!?
ACT! uses Microsoft SQL server as it's backend, so it will scale.
20 users is not a significant challenge.
The number of clients - guessing that these would be your "contacts" in ACT! - you mention is not that large.
ACT! Premium offers direct access to a database via client/server technology to multiple users on a network, data syncrhonization for people in different locations and access via browser, so having users in three cities is not a hurdle.
Perhaps you can offer some greater insight on your business requirements and your specific concerns...
01-13-2013 09:10 AM
Thanks for your insight into ACT.
My anxiety is less about ACT than it is about the way the company has operated over those 33 years. Just the fact that we have 33 year old software managing our client database indicates that change does not come easy. We're using Foxbase for our contact management. It was designed to meet the needs of the company and has never changed. We've discussed converting to an off-the-shelf product many times in the past 7 years, but it wasn't until Microsoft announced that it will no longer patch XP after April, 2014 that management agreed to find a replacement. (It's 16-bit and even with XP Mode installed, it will not load in full-screen mode on a Windows 7 Professional workstation.)
I'm also a little concerned about pricing. $549 per user. Is that per computer on which the product is installed? Right now, at least 6 users regularly access our software to schedule appointments, update client information and run reports. That's just in our main location. Our two smaller offices have at least six other users. What is now "free" could cost us in the thousands plus conversion costs. If it's $549 per office, I think I can "sell" that to management. If is per workstation, I think not.
Any additional feebback will be greatly appreciated.
01-13-2013 10:19 AM
Actually the licensing is to the names user. A user can have ACT! installed on a desktop and a laptop with a single license however six users in an office would require six licenses regardless of the number of workstations.
The fact that the old database was Foxbase which was using the same database engine as ACT! 3-6 means that a conversion of most of the old data into the ACT! program would be very possible.
01-14-2013 05:47 AM
Keep in mind that nothing is "free" - the costs are just extracted in different ways. Often "free" costs much more to an organization that something paid in the form of limitations, low user efficiency, risk, etc.
Your management should be focusing on discovering the benefits of ACT! to the organization and remembering that fact that they got 30+ years out of the previous system in essence makes upgrading to ACT! $0.
In any case, it doesn't seem unlikely that you would use this version of ACT! for 5 years based on prior behavior, so $549 divided by 60 months comes $9.15 a month per user...
01-14-2013 06:19 PM
I like your math. 10-15 years is more likely, so it's even better! We're paying the price for our snail's pace at investing in new software. Who knew that Outllook 2002 would have issues playing nice with Windows 7! Upgrade computers, upgrade Office, upgrade contact management..... It's going to be an expensive year.
01-16-2013 06:03 AM
That is a real threat to productivity and a huge "hidden" cost to putting off having some form of software "renewal" program.
Also keep in mind, that there are price breaks on ACT! depending upon the number of seats purchased that can be relatively significant, so you real world investment will be less than the list price.
Reach out to an ACT! Certified Consultant and they can help you make sure you get what you need, get a good price and make sure you migrate successfully. An ounce of preventions is worth... You know.