Sage Previews Next Act, Saleslogix

In the wake of a major reorg, Sage Software is about to preview two new CRM staples.

As the company kicks off its Insights 2007 conference in Kissimmee, Fla., the company will show off a new version of its popular Act contact management software for financial professionals.

Due to ship late this month, the product targets financial advisers, insurance professionals and others who manage people's accounts.

Chief among new features is a "linked contact" capability that will let husbands and wives be "householded" into one account, automatic age calculation, and compliance tracking, said Larry Ritter, vice president of Act and SalesLogix product management.

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Also at the show, the company will preview Saleslogix 7.2, a higher-end CRM application that will now sport some Act-like user interface icons and a redesigned Web client.

Partners or users can customize the Web interface to include a "mid pane" that would help users avoid annoying scrolling. The company will offer up its release candidate today and promises final shipment in mid-June.

A new Saleslogix Mobile client, version 5.0, adds support for more smart phone devices and is slated to ship June 29.

And finally, the company will show off a new Visual Analyzer business intelligence tool for Saleslogix that promises to ease creation of easy-to-understand-and view turnkey dashboards. The company partnered with CliqTech on this tool. It is due to ship May 31.

Sage Software fields an array of sometimes confusing CRM and ERP brands. The company positions Act, which starts at around $400 for one user, for lower end contact and account management tasks. SalesLogix, at about $1,000 for single users (the visual analyzer and mobile clients carry additional charges) is usually specified by what one Sage executive characterized as "business process owners" at the customer company.

"We see it more on the best-of-breed end of the scale whereas Sage CRM is more integrated and more likely to be specified by financial managers, said Joe Bergera, senior vice president and general manager of CRM.

Despite the brand confusion, which flows from a raft of earlier M&A activity, Sage has a strong presence in small and mid-market accounts that are now much sought after by Microsoft, SAP and Oracle. Intuit also makes a play for these accounts with its QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions.