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The direction of ACT!

by larryr on ‎02-08-2008 04:15 PM - last edited on ‎07-28-2011 10:55 AM by (74,420 Views)

Glenn recently posted a reply to David van Toor’s blog in which he commented that he thought ACT! had deliberately moved away from the single user to the larger customer, and asked this question “…is ACT!/Sage in any way trying to retain the individual user who is NOT a member of any larger corporate entity?.”

Yes, we do intend to retain individual users.

In the early days of ACT!, it was the only game in town for keeping track of customers and contacts.  From running a Pop Warner football team, to a wine club, to a Financial Planning business, ACT! was the answer.  In addition, ACT! also emerged as a very popular tool for sales professionals – whether operating solo or as part a sales team in a corporation. 

This success led us to split the product into ACT! and ACT! Premium tiers in late 2004.  The intent of the Premium product was to provide additional features like security, scalability and administration -requirements in the corporate market.  This enabled to us to keep ACT! squarely targeted for the individual and small business.  Generally speaking, our intent is to provide the same user productivity features independent of ACT! or ACT Premium.

As Glenn notes, customers that were used to ACT! in the v6 days will notice some different behaviors in the newer versions of ACT!.  From a performance standpoint, it takes today’s ACT! longer to start-up than v6.  A primary reason for this is ACT! was re-written after v6 to use .NET and an SQL database.  While the benefits include a modern programming language and a more robust database, they also come with a larger memory footprint. 

We have and will continue to invest considerable energy into refining and improving ACT! in each major release and in-line release.  We carefully measure a variety of intra-applications steps and the new ACT! is generally faster than v6 in many of these areas.  We will continue this.  Also, I hope you recognize new features and benefits in the new ACT! like support for the latest productivity applications, new OS’s, companies, opportunities/group list views, export to Excel, dashboard, etc.

Glenn, I thank you surfacing this important topic by posting this question.  It provided me the opportunity to create my first blog on the ACT! community site.   I want you and all ACT! users to know that I appreciate your support of the ACT! product and overall experience.  You truly represent an amazing community of users.     

I want you to know we remain committed to continuous improvements in ACT! – for both the individual and corporate user.


Larry

 

Comments
by
on ‎02-15-2008 10:43 AM
Thanks for posting Larry.

I thought I'd add that for those who remember the change from ACT! 2.0 to the first release by Symantec with 3.0 (a re-write to support XP), the issues and questions were nearly the same (actually 3.0 was worse than 7.0)... but the results of the pain with 3.0 was that Symantec found some good guys and by 5.0 it had won back all the users and many more.

I guess that with a product that is as complex as ACT! and with as many users operating it in diverse ways, combining a complete re-write with a change in management leaves no way to avoid the teething issues.

It has taken a long time, but now with the direction I've seen in the development and the willingness of senior level staff like yourself, Pierre and Dave making themselves more accessible to the user base, it justifies my decision to stay with this product I have used and supported for over 20 years.

Thanks
Mike Lazarus
by ctman
on ‎02-26-2008 11:31 AM
I would hope that plans are now being made to develop a version that links to the iPhone from the PC and perhaps, later, developing a Mac version.
by
on ‎03-03-2008 01:39 AM
ctman, just a quick point on the iPhone. Apple were going to release the SDK in Fab, but are now saying March. Also, they are saying they'll want to approve offical apps for it.

So commercial developers won't have seen the final SDK yet, and after that it will take some time to develop the necessary skills.

As to ACT!, a lot will depend on if it gets market share against Blackberry, Windows Mobile and Palm in the corporate and SME market... so far it's mainly been a consuner product because it lacks direct MS Exchange support for corporate email (rumours are that Apple may announce something for this when the SDK is released).

Bottom line... if it happens, I don't think it will be soon

As to MAC... they used to have a MAC version

Mike Lazarus
by jqs
on ‎04-22-2008 02:40 PM
I was very disappointed in performance when we upgraded to ACT 2006 by Sage from ACT 6.0. We came close to canning ACT and moving to something else but didn't want to start over with something new training wise and financially. It hasn't improved much. We also have 4 PCs using our ACT database and one employee who has a Mac. He has to use my PC laptop to update customers in ACT in PC database. I hope a multi-platform ACT is in the future.
by cap1ln
‎05-30-2008 02:02 PM - edited ‎05-30-2008 02:26 PM

What are the plans for just remote acess?  Many small companies do not want to setup sync servers, do not have VPN servers and want to use ACT just like they do when on the LAN from remote locations/offices.  Furthermore, some of these small businesses are in shared corporate centers so they could not even setup VPN servers for remote access to ACT! 

 

We have seen many many small businesses use our software to create on-demand zero-configuration VPNs to enable remote access to ACT!.  It let's them create private networks without any firewall/router configuration.

 

These users have repeatedly asked to see if there is anyway we can somehow make Leaf Networks more integrated with ACT!  If you would like to talk about how we are enabling remote access for your product, please let me know.

 

Thanks,

 

Jeff Capone

Leaf Networks, LLC

http://www.leafnetworks.net

 

 

Message Edited by cap1ln on 05-30-2008 02:13 PM
Message Edited by cap1ln on 05-30-2008 02:26 PM
Message Edited by cap1ln on 05-30-2008 02:26 PM
by larryr
on ‎05-31-2008 11:51 AM
Jeff,

Thanks for your message. I also received your email. There are a number of options available to customers without requiring a VPN. One that is quite popular is ACT! Premium for Web. It enables browser based access without any local software installed, no VPN or sync servers. For customers that would prefer to not even set up a web server themselves there are a number of ACT! partners that provide a managed service through the HPP (Hosting Partner Program).

Of course there are customers that desire to use ACT! or ACT! Premium with synchronization. Since you are vendor of a product that may be helpful in this use case I would invite youto join our network of more than 100 ACT! Add-on products.

Larry

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by PhillipB
on ‎06-25-2008 10:15 AM
Is Sage/ACT! pursuing acceptance onto Federal Desktop Core Configuration effort being required of federal agencies by OMB? Currently ACT! is not a part of the accepted configuration and I am not able to access it.
by wrs3rd
on ‎07-30-2008 08:09 AM
task list to look up: little info and assistance please

Hi did this feature just get left out? I cannot understand why when you create a task list in the time frames and dates you would like to handle these tasks in then when you right click the task list screen for create a lookup you then get a look up in alphabetical order via COMPANY??? this is such a basic feature and you have forgotten it or removed it very disappointed in ACT by Sage 2008 (10.0) Version 10.0.1.199 Please have someone get back to me on when or how to fix this, I spent hrs trying to determine what I was doing wrong and your cust service person told me that you left out this BASIC feature,

HOW DO YOU ORGANIZE A TASK LIST, YOU DO IT BY TIME AND DATE NOT ALPHABETICALLY

best regards,
Bill
by larryr
on ‎07-30-2008 06:26 PM
Hi Bill,

You raise a very fair point and the behavior you request has been recorded as a desired enhancement. We will be actively reviewing this request and others as part of our release planning. As a practice we can't commit to a specific release or date but be assured the team is aware of this and we intend to improve the behavior of this feature.

Larry
by Nick B
on ‎08-07-2008 05:41 AM
I would like to see a fully functioning link with Pocket PC and existing Smart phone technologies which have been in the marketplaces already for years.
by Nick B
on ‎08-07-2008 05:47 AM
I am struggling with a very basic activities report. All I want is the company info, contact name and the activities within a certain date range. I can't seem to get a contact report without a huge amount of wasted paper as it will only provide one contact per page even if you have had only one activity with that contact.
by Employee
on ‎08-20-2008 03:33 PM
Nick -

If I'm correctly understanding your goal, you can do this by creating a new Contact Activities report. In ACT!, select New Template from the Reports menu. In the "New Report" dialog, select Report type "Contact" and Template "Activities Report."

When you run the report, set your date range on the Activities tab on the Define Filters dialog that appears when you attempt to run the report.

This should work for you.
Richard McMakin
Manager, ACT! Product Design
by jmkaras
on ‎08-27-2008 09:17 AM
Hi Larry,

I'm a small one man operation using ACT 2008. I purchased a 64 Bit PC and was just told I'd have to re-purchase ACT to use it. I have a 32 bit laptop and it works fine. I only use the laptop when I hit the road. I'm concerned that I have to buy it again. Basically, two different version versions. That would indicate a moving away from the individual toward the bigger clients with servers and multiple users. This does not help my business.
by
on ‎08-27-2008 11:31 PM
jmkaras, the 64-bit operating systems required a different edition of Microsoft's SQL Server. This was only added in ACT! 2009. So, you need to upgrade to ACT! 2009, which will run on both systems.
by larryr
on ‎08-29-2008 11:28 AM
On 64 bit - yes, the latest release of ACT!, ACT! 2009 (v11) does indeed support the 64 bit systems. For most companies, there would be negligible benefit to the ACT! application from a 64 bit perspective. Our rationale was to be compatible with 64 bit machines that are are increasingly being sold which appears to be your case. As pointed out, you could upgrade to ACT! 2009 and it will run equally well on 32 and 64 bit systems. Another option, if there isn't a specific need compelling you to run 64 bit on your PC, you could install a 32 bit OS on your new PC and have the desired compatibility with ACT! 2008 on both your new PC and your laptop. Larry
by
on ‎08-30-2008 08:00 AM
Hi Larry, I think the only advantage of 64bit would be the ability to have over 3GB of RAM... which would only really benefit ACT! on a server.
by lizcollier
on ‎09-27-2008 03:42 PM
Hi,

I am an individual user who also got frustrated along the way with the newer versions of ACT. I went away from ACT for a while because I could never get the mobility options (palm link not ACT for palm) to work.

I have realized that I am so much less productive, I want to re-start using ACT again. Then I went looking for mobility options and discovered that it's still pretty limited to Act for Palm, or a subscription cost with a 2ndary software that is usable on the Windows Mobile 6 phones.

When I looked at all the phones - it got clear very very very quickly that the windows mobile 6 phones for me were by far the best choice, and that Palm was the least desired option.

I was so hopeful this would be a workable solution.

But to find that the only really workable link with the ACT program required an ongoing subscription is incredibly frustrating!!

The Companion Link solutions, the built in Link solutions, all those other less complete solutions I have ever tried never ultimately worked well and left a lot to be desired, especially if you have any specialization in your own ACT dbase!

But I am a single person shop, have no one else I am trying to coordinate with, have no need to be live connected with a database stored on an outside server, etc. So paying for a monthly subscription does not make any sense.

Please - are there any plans at all to come current with the smart phones and phones using Windows Mobile 6?

I am really really hoping there are. And also concerned at the same time as with ACT I have found over time buying the newest version of anything is sometimes not the best idea as there are bugs to work out.

Open to suggestions, and hoping ACT has some kind of solution coming??

Best,
LC
by larryr
on ‎10-03-2008 08:27 AM
Liz, thanks for your post.

I understand and empathize with your situation. Sage is committed to working with the latest mobile platforms through the current Sage and third party offers. With respect to Mobile 6, ACT! 2009 (v11) currently supports these smartphones with the included in-product links. Further, Sage continues to make mobility investments so we'll have even more to say in the near future.

In terms of current and future offerings that use outside servers to host and sync data provide additional benefits beyond sharing data with others. Such solutions also provide the availability of, always up-to-date software without the need to download/update local software, and benefits of data management since data is stored on safe, professionally maintained computers with greater physical security and multiple points of redundancy than most individual users would provide themself. . Something to consider even if you don’t need the real-time updates such solutions offer.

Liz, again I thank you for your post and we are definitely focused on improving and expanding our support for mobile users.

Larry
by plekawa
on ‎01-05-2009 12:11 AM

Please include a very basic search item. If you haven't noticed many people are using a single phone number these days.

 

To require me to individually search each category of phone number to find a single number is a real time waster.

 

Please include a meta-phone number search that would allow me to input a phone number once and have the search go across all phone number based fields.

 

Better yet, allow me to create and save any custom search, so that I can create a button for it for the toolbar. I don't meam a single item query. That I know I can save. But if I want to create any custom search, than retrieve the query via the buttom on the toolbar and put in the search item, just as if I was searching for a phone number.

 

These are simple things for you to do, and I feel the only reason you haven't done it it becasue it might be a feature on one of your add-on partner's product that would require me to spend more money.

 

I'm a single user, and I don't need the enterprise grade add-on costs. Just provide the product with the tools that most of us need. And please, re-connect with the single user. Your product is being driven by database gearheads and programmers, not by small business users who use this on a daily basis!

 

Thanks!

by larryr
on ‎01-06-2009 02:38 PM

Thank you for the post, 

 

Regarding your request to have a phone number search that searches all numbers.  This feature exists in the product. When performing a Lookup there is a field called "Any phone". Selecting this field let’s you type in any phone number and ACT! will search all phone fields in the database. We are working to improve the visibility of this feature as many users don't realize it is there.

 

With regards to adding custom lookups to a toolbar, that would seem to require custom scripting. This is something we have as part of our search roadmap and hope to have in a future version. While it doesn't directly solve your request, there is another feature where you can right-click on any field and quickly lookup contents for that field. This feature may improve your speed of searching without adding the query to a toolbar. There is also dynamic group membership that will run queries every time you access a group.

 

I’ll admit to getting some help from our technical team on the above, if I don’t have it right please send your contact details and perhaps we can connect outside of the community.  

 

As always, thanks for your interest in ACT!

Larry  
by Copper Elite Contributor
on ‎01-11-2009 08:15 PM

Hi,

 

While we are on the discussion of ACT migrating from it's roots to SQL etc, I would like to ask if the development team has a checklist of all the features that got lost in version 7. I know many of them have been recovered but I just ran into a feature I never knew got lost. Unfortunately it is a 15 user client I talked into upgrading.

 

If you open the detail of an Activity and click the print button in version 6 you get a very nice printout which includes the following information. Type, Date, Time, Duration, Scheduled With, Priority, Regarding and of course Details.

 

In ACT version 11 you get the contents and not even the heading telling you it is in fact a Detail. In essence a completely usless piece of paper.

 

Any advice on how to make my customer happy?

 

Thanks,

 

Bob

 

 

by KSS
on ‎01-31-2009 08:27 PM

Dear LarryR from SAGE,

 

Tried your suggestion for ANY PHONE Lookup and it almost works.  It searches all phone # fields EXCEPT the Secondary Contacts.  Is there any way to get it to include these also?

 

I would like to add the ANY PHONE LOOKUP to my menu/toolbar.  I followed the directions as listed in SAGE article: How to customize a Menu or Toolbar in ACT!  ANSWER ID # 14284

 

Unfortunately that article does not explain how to set up a COMMAND LINE for this type (ANY PHONE LOOKUP) of Custom Menu/Toolbar, so I was not able to complete this task.  I wanted to place this menu item in the LOOKUP Dropdown menu under the ALL CONTACTS LOOKUP.  Could you possibly direct me to an article that does specifically answer this question or post the answer directly.

 

Thanks,

K

 

 

 

by Big Red
on ‎10-06-2009 10:15 AM
I am trying to run a phone list report in ACT 9 (Premium) that includes Secondary Contact names and phone numbers with company alomng with the primary. It doesn't seem possible or is it?
by alex@gemfind.com
on ‎02-16-2010 05:13 PM

I am having a problem whit my ACT 7.0 Ver 9. when i try to run a mail merge, it give me an error:

"exception has been thrown by the target of invocation"

 

can anyone help? i woould be greatful if anyone had soluion to this problem..

 

Alex

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