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Smart task - great idea, but terrible execution. Anyone remember Trash-80 and punchcards?

New Member
Posts: 3
Country: USA

Smart task - great idea, but terrible execution. Anyone remember Trash-80 and punchcards?

What were you guys thinking?  Smart tasks is easily the best idea I have ever seen from ACT in the 5 years I have been using it - but what is up with the execution?

 

You would have thought that when you have a smart task that is to send an email, you could select from one of your existing templates, add a hyperlink or two, and send a nice, pretty functional email to your customers and prospects.  Instead, all you can send is plain text that looks like something from 1980!.  This needs fixed ASAP!  I'm dying to use it, but if I sent a plain text message to my customers, I'd probably end up loosing business.  Come on!!!  Smiley Tongue

Platinum Elite Contributor
Posts: 6,537
Country: USA

Re: Smart task - great idea, but terrible execution. Anyone remember Trash-80 and punchcards?

[ Edited ]

Hello limotom,
Smart Tasks is in its infancy right now, as it was just made possible in ACT! 2011 by the addition of the Windows Presentation Foundation in .NET 3.5. You can expect many upcoming enhancements to this function in updates and future releases. Please post any suggestions or feature requests you have for Smart Tasks to the Ideas board in this forum, so our product managers and developers can evaluate them. Thank you.

Greig Hollister

Note: Effective 6/1/13, Sage no longers provides support for the Act! software. This is now provided by Swiftpage.

Copper Contributor
Posts: 198
Country: Canada

Re: Smart task - great idea, but terrible execution. Anyone remember Trash-80 and punchcards?

I posted a number of deficiencies over the last few months and I've talked to a few high level support people over the past few months. From the feedback received I have come to the following conclusions:

 

Act! support staff do not understand how Smart Tasks work, it is difficult to get consensus on a solution to a problem.

 

It will be a few years before smart tasks becomes a useful workflow addition to Act!

 

Very few people use it, so they tell me.

 

Posting on smart tasks on this forum rarely receive a reply both from moderators or users.

 

There are currently a number of unsolved bugs in smart task.

 

Anyone agree or would like to share their experience with this "great idea but terrible execution" addition to Act!

RJT
New Member
Posts: 5
Country: United_Kingdom

Re: Smart task - great idea, but terrible execution. Anyone remember Trash-80 and punchcards?

With you the whole way. Smart tasks should not only be improved upon (then more users may then be able to use effectively !!) and meanwhile they should work as implied (and already promised when queried) rather than excuses being made for clear inadequecies that prevent them from functioning as should reasonably be expected.

 

One of the first problems in generating momentum about the particular topic is that salient threads are not easy to latch onto ( I have been jumping around for nearly an hour so far looking for the last critisisms I saw a few weeks ago and responded to!!)

 

Anyhow now here, a couple of immediate issues for others to latch onto again.

 

1 - It is ludicrous for a timed smart  task that sends a swiftpage email to a dynamic criteria to require manual inervention for every record via a dialog box. No purpose timing it for auto !! I have already noted a past moderators reply concerning this issue which makes no sense at all.

 

2 - Even though a letter can be sent via a smart task, only a basic email can be issued. No templete facility of format box in the smart task e-mail screen. Why the difference. In this day and age, e-mail saves time and costs and it is my view that one should have either letter or email facility with similar features. It is this inadequecy that in fact forces the use of swiftpage (or an alternative) when Act could do the more run of the mill email jobs if this similar level funcionality were present.

 

A number of other issues exist but the above 2 irritate the most and I too hope that others joinn the thread as a leverl of automation saves us all time - if it works !!

Copper Contributor
Posts: 198
Country: Canada

Re: Smart task - great idea, but terrible execution. Anyone remember Trash-80 and punchcards?

I agree.

 

I think that unless Act! is planning to fix this oversight (or carelessness) then I am bracing myself for a slow and painful money grab as they roll out fixes and improvements at a snails pace with each successive release.

 

There is no reason why we are now not able to automate sending an email personally addressed to a client and being able to edit that letter prior to it being sent due to recent changes. This is a huge deficiency to many of us in industries where we are in ongoing telephone and face to face contact with our clients.

 

What were they thinking? Many of us would never think of sending out an email that at the very minimum didn't include our client's name. 

 

I am shocked that Act! has not fixed this and that there aren't a barrage of complaint emails on this forum. Note that as far as I know they have no intention of including ST mail merge in the 2013 release.

 

 

 

 

RJT
New Member
Posts: 5
Country: United_Kingdom

Re: Smart task - great idea, but terrible execution. Anyone remember Trash-80 and punchcards?

Thanks for that. Some months ago I was assured that the issue was to be dealt with in 2013 and am very concerned that it is apparently not included or not considered of sufficient importance to remedy. I am still pushing for a 'quick fix' as an alternative and would ask for as much support as possible. My view is quite simple, more will use if the Smart tasks if they work properly anyhow.
Copper Super Contributor
Posts: 37
Country: Australia

Re: Smart task - great idea, but terrible execution. Anyone remember Trash-80 and punchcards?

Are there any plans for SP to resurrect this potentially fantastic feature? The market is already using similar functionality in other products like Hubspot etc… and customers are crying out for easy to use marketing automation. Many are switching to marketing automation rich systems, even though they have poor core CRM functionality. The great thing about Act! is it is a proven winner in the core areas. Why not in the newer, 21st century functionality like automation and supporting analytics feedback from google and the like etc.

 

Marketing automation, even if it was only available to those with a subscription (to ensure better support and ongoing development), would be the number 1 on my features list.

 

The Smart Task workflow design engine and current functionality is almost complete. The current lack of stability and inherent back end design issues are severely holding it back.

 

We need:

  1. Support for Mail Merge fields into template body/subject lines for at least custom contact fields (Opp/Group/Company/Activity.. fields could be future enhancements)
    1. Act! eMarketing doesn’t let you do custom fields, the old SP system does, but there is an annoying confirmation message that appears after every send – if you have 100 people matching your criteria, it will ask you to confirm 100 times before you can do anything in Act!
    2. Error Message sample attached
  1. Support for all user environments (currently Smart Tasks will only work reliably on a single machine environment - when it is working and doesn’t get corrupted ☹)
    1. I have been told that due to the way it is structured in the database back end, remote syncing is not supported as this could cause multiple instances of a Smart Task to trigger off on different PCs – remote database functionality is a popular and a point of difference that Act! has over competitor products – why would you not support it for all functions?
  2. Future functionality to trigger Zapier app actions etc…

There are other things that I'm sure I've forgotten to mention, but please get this on the current road map. It is not a nice-to-have anymore, it's a must in the CRM market now!

Kind regards,

Matthew Wild
Act! Certified Consultant

Act Today Pty Ltd | 0755 712 344 | 0434048190 | matthew@acttoday.com.au | www.acttoday.com.au
Gold Coast
Administrator
Posts: 4,024
Country: United_Kingdom

Re: Smart task - great idea, but terrible execution. Anyone remember Trash-80 and punchcards?

Hi Matthew,

Thanks very much for the useful feedback here. I'll be passing this along to the product management team to review.

I know that there are significant analytics updates on the roadmap, and the current deficiencies in Smart Tasks are an often commented on topic by our Partners.

As you've already noted, there have been updates to the system since the feature was introduced that have delivered the functionality asked for in the original post, mainly with the inclusion of automated Act! emarketing campaign sending.

The expansion of the currently available Zaper triggers is linked to our ongoing development of the Act! Web API, which is one of our current primary focuses.

Bronze Elite Contributor
Posts: 2,546
Country: New_Zealand

Re: Smart task - great idea, but terrible execution. Anyone remember Trash-80 and punchcards?

[ Edited ]

Gary W wrote:


The expansion of the currently available Zaper triggers is linked to our ongoing development of the Act! Web API, which is one of our current primary focuses.


Hi Gary,

There is no comparison between Zaps and a well designed, fully functional, reliable work flow automation that is in easy reach of the customer. If you want to sell more product then this is the 'low hanging fruit' you need to target. It isn't difficult just make things function that are already in the product and re-build confidence. It isn't about the technology,  it's the delivery and ease of access i.e doing what the customer wants to do. They don't want to faff about with Zapier!        

Graeme Leo
Xact Software - consultants and developers
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