Sage Beefs Up Its ACT To Compete With

CRM Software

Sage has some 700 channel partners that work with ACT, including VARs, consultants and add-on solution providers. "Our business was built on ACT," said Chris Horn, chief operating officer of Bullfrog Solutions, a Sage reseller in Pasadena, Calif. Bullfrog also works with Sage's other CRM products: Sage CRM and SalesLogix. But Horn said Act accounts for about 90 percent of Bullfrog's sales.

Sage CRM and SalesLogix compete more directly with and Microsoft Dynamics CRM. But Act has been moving up-market as Sage adds more functionality, according to Horn. "It's really blurring the lines," he said, noting that many of his customers have installed ACT for more than 100 users. He expects "a significant percentage" of his customers to upgrade to the new release over the next three months.

Cornerstone Solutions, a Houston-based solution provider, started using ACT 20 years ago around the time the application debuted and then began reselling it shortly thereafter. Today it's the focus of the company's business, said president Susan Clark. "We actually do a lot of conversions [to ACT] from other products," she said, citing and FrontRange Solutions' Goldmine application. Some users find difficult to use, she said, and businesses say the monthly fees add up.

Officially known as ACT! by Sage 2008, the new version is the 10.0 release of the software. The most important addition to the product is a new set of dashboard capabilities that provide users with interactive reporting tools and a snapshot view of their sales activities and opportunities. The entire dashboard or single components such as charts and graphs, to-do lists and lists of pending and closed sales can be copied into other applications such as Microsoft Office for use in reports and e-mails.

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"I've been using the beta product since April," Cornerstone's Clark said. She called the new dashboard the most significant enhancement to the 10.0 release, noting that users can set the dashboard to be their startup view of the application. "They did a lot of thinking through on the new features," she said.

ACT 10.0 offers new productivity features such as the ability to edit fields within a contact, group or company list-view without having to open records individually. The application provides expanded search capabilities and allows administrators to limit individual or group access to records for security purposes.

ACT for individuals and teams of up to 10 networked users carries a manufacturer suggested retail price of $229.99. ACT Premium for small and midsize businesses has an MSRP of $399.99 and ACT Premium for the Web is also priced at $399.99.