ACT Revamp Focuses on Outlook Integration

Sage Software Tuesday shipped the 11th edition of its customer contact management software, ACT, tightening the product's integration with Microsoft Outlook.

New features include the ability to create ACT activities inside Outlook; "one-click" copying of calendars from ACT to Outlook; and an improved lookup function. The new version's scheduler tool can also automate tasks such as database backups.

The company claims some 2.8 million users and 43,000 corporate customers for ACT.

ACT is largely used in industries such as insurance, where deals get negotiated "one to one or one to many" as opposed to with a team approach, said Larry Ritter, senior vice president of global product management for Sage CRM solutions. "A lot of them are in the agent-broker type of models."

451 Group analyst China Martens noted that ACT generates a good deal of CRM (customer relationship management) sales leads for Sage and therefore is "a really vital product for them, and it's crucial that they keep updating it."

"It's all about usability and trying to hold onto those users and position them to move up," she said of the 11.0 release.

The basic edition of ACT costs US$229 and the premium edition is $399.

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