February 2015 sees the release of Service Pack 1 for Act! V17, which will take your installed version 17.0 to version 17.1. (Click Help > About Act! to see what version you currently have).
So, why should we all rush out and upgrade? After all, this isn’t a major version release, just a mid-term Service Pack isn’t it? Well actually, there’s a lot of good stuff in this update that’s well worth having.
Okay, technically this has been available since V17.0, but we now have access to the new email Template Editor (V2.5, if you’re interested) which has some nice usability improvements over the previous version. And, did I mention ALL users now get free email marketing to 500 named contacts per month?
Doesn’t seem like much, but it’s a big deal if you have to record lots of new Activities or History records every day. In recent versions this defaulted to “Appointment” which you really shouldn’t be using at all as it’s only there so you can spot stuff that was scheduled in Outlook rather than Act! So every time you scheduled a new Call or Recorded a Call in History you had to change the type to “Call”. Now, not only is “Call” the default, but you can also change the default to whatever you want. AND it’s a personal setting so you can do your own thing. If they could just let us be able to set the default “Result” as well that would help even more. In the meantime, the free add-on from www.exponenciel.com still works better that the Act! solution.
Traditionally this involved (a) Creating a new field, then, (b) remembering you should have created the drop-down list for the field first. So (c) you close the Create field dialog, and create your new dropdown list, then (d) open the field properties again and attach the dropdown list you just created. Now you just create the drop-down as part of the field creation process. Logical eh!
Yep, you can now do a lookup in a field called Opt-Out to see who doesn’t want to be bothered by you anymore.
At last you can customise the big “Global Icons” at the top of the screen. You can remove individual icons if you wish and also change the order they are displayed. The only thing that’s a bit weird is that the width of the remaining icons might change, depending which icon you remove. Apparently it sets itself to the width of the shortest text label, which looks to me like a programmer went a bit overboard on this one.
The Documents Tab finally gets a Browse to a Folder button that works in the same way as browse to a File, so you can now easily put a link to a Client folder on your server if you wish.
You also have to ability to link to a URL so you can link to a Dropbox or OneDrive folder if you prefer.
The implications of this are a little more far reaching than might at first appears. If your organisation attaches a large number of files to Act! records it can become a problem for users who have synchronised remote databases used outside the office. By taking advantage of cloud storage which is now readily available, there’s no need to synchronise the file attachments which both speeds things up and reduces problems that can sometimes arise.
Act! emarketing now lets you create a lookup of contacts in a Call List. If you have paid for the Call List functionality to monitor the response of your email campaigns within Act! you can now do a lookup of the contacts who responded well, for example, then schedule the next task; a follow up phone call, maybe, or the next email.
Previously, when importing data using the Import Wizard, the system used the rules that had been set up previously in Preferences for Duplicate Checking. Problem was that unless you had remembered to take a look before starting the import you had no idea what rules had been set. Now you can not only see, but also change the duplicate checking rules on the fly within the Import Wizard, which should save a lot of angst!
Duplicate checking on importing data is now available in the Act! for Web interface so you can control what happens to duplicate records as they are imported from Excel or *.csv.
And, as a bonus….
With every Act! update they like to throw in a surprise; a feature that’s never been discussed or requested, and in 17.1 it’s pop-up notifications. Managers can now set up little pop-up “toasts” that display messages of their choice to the Act! users. e.g. “Work Harder!” or “Download the new version of Act! now!”.
You get the idea.
For details on how to get the 17.1 upgrade visit https://www.bigbluemarketing.co.uk/downloads/act-software-updates/
If your organisation needs training or support with Act! then the Act Partners are here to help. We provide on-site training and development for Act! together with remote support packages to keep thinks running smoothly.
Call Jeff on 01902 756836 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.