An ACT! Certified Consultant recently suggested the following feature:
Since a History typically begins as an Activity, why not just display Cleared Activities in the History tab, rather than having to Remove Cleared Activities with the Tools > Database Maintenance?
And you would also be able to see manually created Histories as Cleared Activities on the Calendar. Print the calendar, and you've got a graphic Weekly Progress Report!
What do you think?
Dashboard charts are a great way to make data contained within ACT! easily visible to everyone in the organization, and a couple of changes could make them even more useful.
One of the common management reports required by many companies is "How many outbound telephone calls did we make today / this week / this month". Strangely, it is not possible to obtain this information using the Dashboards and it is not a straight forward matter in the Task list either.
The first challenge is to decide how the organization is going to record this information in ACT! Essentially, there are two options; either schedule a call then clear it when completed, which many people find too laborious, or Record a History which is much quicker.
The problem is that whilst a Dashboard will let me see calls that have been scheduled in ACT! the filter options won't let me show just the completed ones, the default option shows all the open activities, but not the cleared ones, or I can check the "Show Cleared" box which then shows me both open + cleared activities.
What we need is an additional check box for "Show Open Activities", the user would then have complete control over the data displayed and would be able to see and record work that has actually been done as opposed to work that was just scheduled to be done! The same additional filter would also be useful in the task list.
The difficulty with recording calls as History records on the other hand is that History is currently not available at all in the Dashboards, which I believe it should be. I do however share the views in another post that having completed activities recorded in both Activities and History is confusing and should be addressed. I would be in favour of reducing History to be the "audit trail", and focus on Acivities for management reporting purposes. So instead of a "Record a History" button why not move the functionality to the Activities area and have a "Record a Completed Activity" button to speed up the recording of calls and to-dos that have not been scheduled.
The easier it is to get useful, common management reports out of ACT! the more likely it will be that organizations will want to use it as a key sales management tool.
We have an issue that has come up with our ACT installation. We have ALL of our vendors saved in our ACT database so that everyone has access to the contact information for these vendors. This includes our benefits company, our financial planners (handling our 401K accounts and such), our payroll contacts, and our bank contacts. We have our ACT Premium v17 installation set to attach subject and message to the history of contacts. Therefore, whenever anyone in the company sends a message to our financial planner containing sensitive personal information, or our accounts payable/payroll person sends emails to the payroll company, all of those messages are attached to the contact. For now, our only recourse has been to delete those contacts out of the database. However, new hires need to get all this information - it would be nice to have it in our database. Also, if any contact info is updated for any of those contacts, then we have to circulate it to the whole company as opposed to just updating it in ACT. Another issue is emails that do not belong in the ACT database. For example, we have a company-wide football pool during football season that some of our customers play in as well. We send soooo many non-business emails within the company among employees as well as to customers that contain football information, and all of these emails are saved in the ACT database. This is junk data which does not need to take up space in our database.
I suggest the following two features: (1) Add a feature to the Outlook Add-in that creates a new button next to the "Send" button in Outlook. This new button could be called "Send and Attach". If you type an email and hit the "Send" button, then the email sends without attaching any history. However, if you type an email and hit the "Send and Attach" button, then it will send the email and attach that email to that contact's history. (2) In each contact record, under the "Contact Access" tab, create a checkbox or radio button that allows or disallows email histories to be attached to that contact. This would be a universal rule. If the box is checked, then even if someone hits the "Send and Attach" button in Outlook, the history would not be recorded. You can make this checkbox only accessible to admins of the ACT database.
Tracking communications and promotions is always a challenge. What would be neat is if I could create a Group for all the contacts who responded to a specific email blast or newsletter.
You an create a history record for say "090607-Email Sent" or "090607-Email Responded". What I would like to do is to create a Dynamic Group for all the people in say London who responed to the 090607 mailshot.
If we could include History and Activity Items in Advanced Queries we would be able to do this sort of thing more easily.
Can we go back to the old way of recording with jus one line?
Field Changed Mobile phone XXXXXXXXX
Field Cahnged Field Changed
Field Change from "Mobile phone xxxxxxxxxx" to "yyyyyyyyyyy"
it is very difficult to read when you have many in a row. or at least take away the top field changed. It's redundant.
If there is a way to do that now let me know!
I find the current handling of history more difficult to use than the previous version of ACT! I used (2000). I use ACT to record non-ACT activities in a "last results" field that allows me to enter notes about a contact so that I can record things like "met Paul at the EDI show in May" "told me his project was delayed by mgmt until spring". While the latter might cause me to reschedule an activity, it is helpful to see this stuff independent of the activity when viewing contact data.
Here is a suggestion for improvement:
1. In ACT 2010 when you set a field to track history, it creates a history record that records both the previous value of the field followed by the new value of the field. This makes it very difficult to read the history. Instead, I would suggest that history simply record any new value. You can look through the history display to see all the previous values. This would make it much easier to read and use the history data and NO information is lost.
2. Alternatively, I could replace the use of historized field data by specifically entering a new history record BUT: I can't display the contents of this kind of history entry on the contact form because their is no 'history enty" field for me to add to my layout. Having to bring up the history tab separately doesn't allow me to view this data while looking at scheduled activities which makes it more difficult for me to decide quickly what immediate actions to give me quick context when processing a new activity with that contact.
Therefore, either clean up the historization of field data (#1 above preferred) or allow me to access the manually entered history records on a layout.