While ACT! 17 is geared toward small businesses, it also makes sense for those not running a business who need to keep track of contacts with more detail than a simple address book can muster. While most address books can handle the basics, names, numbers, and the like, if you need to keep up with emails sent, attachments, activities, and even grouping your contacts together, a comprehensive program like this permits organization of disparate data.
Over the last few versions, ACT! has become more and more Web savvy. Integration with social networking like Twitter, Facebook, and whatever type of networking you want to add is possible.
Within ACT! is as web browser. This translates into working with a contacting, obtaining online information and never having to ever leave the program, or open a browser. There is smooth integration with Google contacts and calendars that means those based in Android and the Google ecosystem are not going to have difficulty integrating their data.
A real plus to ACT! is that it has a cohesive feel. The parts that make up this very comprehensive program are integrated. There is a smooth feeling to act that makes interaction with it feel fluid. The contemporary interface gives Act! a polished finished look.
Even if you are not a “power user,” there is so much here that makes sense for people that need to do more than simply have a list of contacts. The fact that you can connect large pieces of information with an individual, or group, fills a niche in contact management that consumer software has really not addressed. Once you have been in the world of software like ACT!, it is very difficult to depend on consumer based programs. In short, they are limited. ACT! is expansive and highly customizable.
Being that ACT! is a professional based program for sales, there are a plethora of sales management items within the program to keep track of interactions with individual and companies. That has not changed. Reports, history lists, e-marketing, opportunities, all of that is there. There are also detailed search and view functions. Much of what has made Act! popular on that front is still present.
In some respects, ACT! is very onion like. The deeper you unfurl the program, the more there is to do with it to make handling contacts that much easier. There is also an extensive online help system. My recommendation is to start looking at online Web instruction. There are numerous web videos that make accessing this program easier and unlock features that you need, but may not know exist.
Problems have plagued previous versions of ACT! Sluggish performance, memory consumption and other ills. ACT! 17 has not been plagued with such in my use. However, it does have some short comings.
ACT! 17 integrates with Outlook, that is Outlook 32 bit. For 64 bit users, ACT! 17, not unlike previous versions, does not exchange data. There is an included email client, but I found it impossible to configure. However, I have been informed that future releases will include integration with Outlook 64 bit.
Moving towards an even tighter integration with the web, future versions of this venerable program are going to be subscription based. It is possible that this maybe the last boxed version of the software. That is still an uncertainty. Support for existing customers will be continued.
Over the years ACT! has changed and grown to accommodate the emergence of the Web as being the centerpiece for contact interaction. Even though the program has passed ownership several times, the core look, feel and functionality have evolved rather than dramatically changed. However, as the new versions emerge, it will be interesting to see how this program alters over time.