Written by   |   Jan 8 2018   |   Read 2556 times

Act! v20 has some exciting new features to take Act! into a modern era of CRM.

Swiftpage released Act! CRM version 20 in Australia/New Zealand in October 2017. It is the 5th release of Act! software under Swiftpage’s ownership since taking over from Sage in 2013 and the strongest version yet!

Along with a fresh new look, Act! has introduced some fantastic new reporting tools, leading edge voice integration and other enhancements that save time and streamline your workflow.

And it’s not just the new features that make Act! v20 a strong CRM choice. Swiftpage have invested a lot of time and money into enhancing the core product which has resulted in major improvements in the stability and reliability of Act! and in particular, ease of installation and integration with other applications.

With the subscription licensing model for Act! now well into it’s second year in this region, Act! Subscriber benefits continue to grow. Instead of having to wait each year for the big release of the next version, Swiftpage are releasing new features during the version cycle that are only available to subscribers. Additionally, with other business software and browsers constantly updating, your Act! Subscription provides ongoing updates to ensure compatibility. In today’s tech environment this is crucial as an update to one program can interrupt your processes and slow down productivity.

John Oechsle, CEO of Swiftpage explains that “the next generation features in Act! v20 are a clear demonstration of our commitment to equipping our subscribers with the tools they need to stay competitive.”

Here is an overview of the latest features:
Fresh new look

The Act! user interface has a new look that provides a clean, modern and easy to use design that is now consistent across Windows and Web. There are significant improvements with the refresh rates across both Windows and Web resulting in the navigation between views being a lot faster. There’s a new navbar, big button menu design, new Web login screen, and contemporary icons. But don’t worry, all the features and functionality you love are still right where you’d expect to find them.

Act! Insight Dashboard*

The new Insight Dashboards are really powerful. Straight “out-of-the-box”, you get more than 10 dashboards that give you a dynamic, visual snapshot of your data. From each dashboard, you can simply click on the different areas to drill down on key information. As a manager, Insights will enable you to easily analyse KPIs and understand more about your marketing efforts, sales pipeline, top performing products, the win/loss analysis, and the overall health of your business to guide you to make better decisions. Each team member can personalise their dashboards and configure their Act! Insight view to display data most relevant to their role.

Act! Companion*

For those of you older enough to remember, Act! has been available on your handheld device since the ‘Palm’ days. Things have progressed a long way since then with the latest release of Act! Companion – an app for IOS and Android devices. Perfect for people on the move, Act! Companion allows you to:

  • Create, update, and delete contacts on-the-fly.
  • Schedule and update activities and to-dos.
  • Receive alerts for upcoming activities so you can plan for what’s next.
  • Capture important history items and associate history to contacts or users with @mentions.
  • Get driving directions, find nearby places of interest, and navigate to meetings with maps.
  • Gain insight into business and team performance with interactive, graphical Act! Insight dashboards. (new with v20)
  • With many more enhancements scheduled for 2018, Act! Companion will ensure you always have knowledge of what is going on in your business wherever you are.
Act! E-marketing

With email marketing still one of the most effective methods to communciate with your customer base, it makes total sense to use an emarketing tool that integrates with your CRM. Act! has always had a strong synergy with emarketing. In v16, they introduced a new emarketing platform simply called Act! Emarketing (AEM). The big benefit of using AEM over other third party emarketing programs is that it directly integrates with Act! so you can quickly access existing contacts and groups to build targeted lists. After you’ve sent a campaign, you can view campaign results ranked by level of interaction and schedule follow-up activities.

With v20, AEM is now fully integrated into the Act! UI to create an easy-to-work-through process for your campaigns (no more bouncing out to a browser). Everything you need to create, send, and track campaigns is available within the five newly designed views.

Whilst the AEM editor it still in the improvement stage (with some big things planned for 2018) it does allow you to easily create flashy looking emails with no previous emarketing skills. Additionally, a mobile version of your email is automatically created and translates extremely well for your mobile readers.

With an Act! Subscription, you get a free AEM account that allows you to send unlimited emails to 500 contacts. For more contacts, the pricing is extremely reasonable compared to other emarketing providers. See AEM Pricing

Ask Act!™ with Amazon Alexa*

Ask Act!™ is one of the biggest feature additions in Act! history and is set to revolutionise the way subscribers interact with Act!. Users will be able to access their Act! data quicker and easier than they ever have before. By simply asking a question, you’ll get access to contact details and reports, be able to add customer information, inquire about what’s on your calendar, and more!

In order to use Ask Act!, you do need one of the Amazon speaker devices (Echo, Dot) that connects to the voice-controlled service Alexa. This techonology has been around since 2014 however it has really taken off in the last 12 months with Amazon expected to sell more 10 million Echo devices in 20171.

Whilst these devices are not currently available in Australia/New Zealand, we expect local sales to start in 2018. If you are lucky enough to be travelling and get hold of one, there is no reason that you can’t use Ask Act! now.

Compatibility updates and system improvements

Like all software, Act! experiences bugs in the software and issues with compatibility when another software vendor releases an update. The Act! Development team are constantly working hard to overcome any issues that are brought to their attention and improve Act! in order to offer the best value for subscribers. Here are a few of the v20 improvements:

  • Act! is now officially supported on Chrome for Mac users. In order to access your Act!, you will need to have your database setup on a Windows server either locally or hosted/cloud. Also, to integrate with Outlook for Mac, a connection with Act! Premium Contact Link via the Web API is required.
  • Quickly identify opportunities that need attention with the new opportunity field ‘Days in Stage’. For example, create a dynamic group of all contacts that have been at the ‘Negotiation’ stage for more than 2 weeks so you can ensure they are promptly followed up.
  • Use right-click functionality in Windows® to change the status of an opportunity.
  • Use ‘freeze columns’ functionality in Windows® when working in list view. This enables you to lock in columns so that they do not scroll off screen when scrolling horizontally.
  • Ability to disable ‘Delete records’ by user. Managers and Admin are able to determine which users have the ability to permanently delete contacts from the database.
  • Improved installation process so that the API is installed by default.
  • Microsoft Outlook 2016 synchronisation is now working with Act!. Several updates were released to address the issue for v18.2-v19.2. These fixes have been included in the v20 install.
    For a detailed list of all the issues that have been resolved, see What issues have been fixed in Act! updates?

If you would like to upgrade to Act! v20.1 see Act! Premium or contact us on 1300 362 046 (AU) or 09 428 2281 (NZ).

*Subscriber feature only

Michael Bryant

Michael Bryant is the Founder of Act Today. Michael’s vision for Act Today was born from his realisation of the importance of businesses having a deep and strong relationship with their customers. 

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