The History of Act! CRM
Act! is a customer relationship management (CRM) software application which is used to keep track of client and prospect details in a single database that can be shared by multiple users.
How it all began
The company Conductor Software was founded 1986 in Dallas, Texas by Pat Sullivan and Mike Muhney. Its product, ACT!, was released in 1987. The original name for the software was “Activity Control Technology” then “Automated Contact Tracking” before finally just using the acronym.
The name of the company was then changed to Contact Software International. In 1993, Contact Software International was sold to Symantec Corporation, who then sold it to SalesLogix (later renamed to Interact Commerce) in 1999. The Sage Group, plc purchased Interact Commerce in 2001, through Best Software, then its North American software division.
In 2004, the name was revised to ACT! by Sage and later changed to Sage ACT!. In 2012, Sage handed over the Australia/New Zealand distribution to Melbourne based company, ACT CRM Pty Ltd for a period of 2 years. This was in preparation for the changeover of ownership to Swiftpage in 2013. ACT CRM was directed and managed by Act Today CEO Michael Bryant to ensure a seamless transition from Sage to Swiftpage. Swiftpage had been a partner of Sage for over 10 years and it was their love of Act! that lead them to invest and further develop the product line. They re-branded the product back to Act! and have since introduced many improvements and new features. Act! has a user base of over 2.8 million registered users with the Act! version 19 being the current release.
And 30 years later
As of 2017, there are four editions of Act!:
- Pro: Limited to 10 active users and utilises Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Express. See Act! Pro
- Premium: Premium enables access via Windows or Web browser or a combination. It is designed for small to medium-sized businesses. Premium can handle much larger user numbers and can use more scalable editions of SQL. Premium has all the features of Pro plus additional team and admin functionality. See Act! Premium
- Act! Premium Cloud: Enables users to access Act! via the cloud. Premium Cloud is not available to Australia and New Zealand customers. Act Today offer our own version of Premium in the cloud where the data is hosted in a secure local environment. See Act! Cloud
- Act! Essentials: A very basic cloud version of Act! designed for single users. It does not have all the features of Pro or Premium and your data is stored off-shore. Upgrading from Act! Essentials to another edition of Act! requires a 3rd party AddOn. Our Act! Cloud service enables single users to get started quickly, easily, with no long-term commitment and minimal upfront/ongoing expense.
Act! Features & Deployment
Act! features include contact, company and opportunity management, a calendar, communication tools, the ability to track prospective customers, “dashboards”, reports, and the ability to synchronise data from other applications or other Act! users over the web. The software allows multiple users to access the same data simultaneously and can interface with popular word processing, spreadsheet, and email software. It features a variety of “dashboards” which are graphical representations of key activity that allows users to spot new business opportunities, and can generate a wide variety of statistical reports. Act! integrates with Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook, Google Contacts, Gmail, and other popular applications via an in-built API. What’s new in Act!
Act! has multiple deployment options. Your data can be accessed from Windows desktops (XP and later) with local or network shared database; synchronised to laptops or remote officers; Citrix or Remote Desktop; Web browsers (Premium only) with self or Act! Cloud; Smartphones and Tablets via HTML5 Web (Premium only); Smartphones and Tablets via sync with Handheld Contact.
A number of third party companies develop AddOn products using Act!’s software development kit that expands the functionality of the software.
Reviews of Act!
According to 2013 CRM Switch survey, Act! is currently the 6th most popular CRM software application for US Businesses, and 4th most popular amongst companies with less than 100 employees making it a perfect CRM solution for small to medium businesses. Act! was also ranked as the 2nd most popular CRM solution in Capterra’s 2013 Top CRM Software Infographic.