Best Software Puts Windows Perks Into Act For Web


Best Software says it has crammed all the GUI perks of its Windows client into a Web version.

Available as of Monday, Act For Web "puts all you know and love about Act for Windows and mirrors it in a Web interface," said Beth Nagengast, vice president of product marketing.

Acutely aware of the battle going on at the low end for CRM and CRM-related products, the company is touting a $249.49 per-user price. For that price, "you own it; it's not $65 per-user, per-month forever," she said. Hosted CRM applications from Salesforce.com and Upshot charge monthly fees of about that much for their software.

Offerings like those can add up to some pretty hefty fees, she noted. At $65 per user, per month, a 10-user Salesforce.com shop will end up paying $39,000 over five years, Best said.

Adding fuel to the low-end fire, Microsoft finally shipped its low-end CRM offering earlier this year, touting ease of use over the feature glut of higher-end packages from Siebel Systems and others.

With new Act For Web, mobile users can access their contact or scheduling information inside the firewall as long as the company is running one $199 copy of Act on the server. The current Act Web Access product does not have the familiar Act interface, she noted. This new Web product was completely revised and requires no plug-ins, Nagengast said.

Previously, Act had offered up Act Web Access, a product developed by WiredContact, Plymouth Meeting, Penn.

Brian Astle, president of Oakhurst Systems, a Vienna, Virg. Act consultant said the new Web client will ease IT maintenance. "From a user's point of view, it's a simpler user environment. With classic Act [for Windows] there are a lot of contorls and capabilities for a user to use or abuse. Act for Web nails down the user environment. There's no app installed on the C drive so no management issues," he noted.

Act for Web allows remote offices to "log onto a single database in realtime, which is very hander and doesn't require the end user to have any special software installed other than Internet Explorer," said Susan Clark, president of Cornerstone Solutoins, a Houston solution provider.

Act is hugely popular among salespeople who use it to keep their contact and appointment lists. Best Software hopes to build on that base. As customers require more advanced CRM capabilities, Best hopes to migrate them to its SalesLogix line.

Editor's note: This story was updated with partner comments and additional information about the Act Web Access product.