I have started to use ACT after 37signals for the ability to added more customizations. However, one feature that I really miss, is the ability to see a running feed of all activity. Act kind of has this feature in the activity and histories of each contact, company, opportunity and even my record, but there is no centralized way to see all of the most recent activity. Currently, the Task List has a filter that you can show cleared activities, but that is not inclusive of all histories. The history tabs are only for the record you are on/viewing, and if you use the "record history" button, no activity is created and therefore, it don't show up in the cleared activity. This provides a great way to see what you and others in your company have done without having to run a report.
I think they should add a another navigation view for "Latest Activity" (contacts, groups, opportunities, calendar, task list, latest activity).
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.
I'm constantly looking for ways that the average user can extract useful "report" type information from ACT without having to resort to the baffling process of customizing Reports or creating SQL commands for Dashboards.
It occurs to me that now we have better filter options on History we could extract a huge amount of useful information if we could access a "History List", i.e.. History pulled from potentially every contact, company, group or opportunity.
Because of the vast number of history items available the filters would be important to reduce the size of the list to something manageable. In addition to the usual date filters (This Month, Last Week, Custom Range), Result/Regarding, Users, I would add History Entity (Contact/ Company/Group/ Opportunity/All), "Containing" and filter by Groups.
The final requirements would be to Save different List Views so that they can be set up as pre-defined "reports" (a useful addition to other List views in ACT!) and finally Print/ Print to Excel.
This would give the average user huge scope to get at all the information currently buried in the depths of an ACT database.