ACT! still a top 5 CRM <100 employees #ACTCRM | 05/02/2013
Now that the dust is starting to settle from the recent purchase of ACT! and SalesLogix from Sage, I was doing some research to see where ACT!’s standing is in the CRM market and came across some figures I thought worth sharing.
The first is from CRMswitch in their article: U.S. CRM Market Share 2013
ACT! is in 4th place in the 1-100 Employees demographic
I’m pretty certain that for sites of less than 50 seats, ACT! would be higher still – and more so under 25. I consider to be the “sweet-spot” for ACT! to be 10-25 users
Not only that, the article had ACT! in 6th place overall, which shows how big the SMB market is in comparison to the total.
As a nice point for Swiftpage, SalesLogix came in 5th overall giving them a combined total of 8.6% of the CRM market
Additionally, from the Gartner analysis Customer Relationship Management Software, Worldwide, 2012 (April 18th 2013), we can see that:
- Worldwide CRM market grew from $16Bm to $18Bn, experiencing 12% growth in 2012, three times the average of all enterprise software categories
- 40% of all CRM software sold in 2012 worldwide was SaaS-based. Gartner expects this figure to grow in the coming years
What this shows is that, while some outside the ACT! community see’s ACT! as somehow “old”, those who use it know that pound-for-pound, ACT! still packs a great punch … it’s very easy to use and is feature rich.
More so, it has expertise in some very core areas – from The History of ACT!, you can see it’s been available in the cloud since 1998 and on mobile devices since 1992. This gives ACT! the advantages of being:
- On-premises - with the additional security, speed, integration and control
- Sync – for remote offices and laptops
- Mobile – with options for HTML5 or native add-on, Handheld Contact, for additional functionality
- Cloud – for simpler admin of remote users via public or private hosting
With Swiftpage saying that they’ll be using their web expertise to add a multitenant cloud version this should help ACT! grow as a product in this expanding market, and also to increase it’s market share.
Please let me know your thoughts in the comments.
Office 2013 integration in #ACTCRM 2013 SP1 | 04/30/2013
I was watching this video by Will Ingleby of BluebirdCRM on the integration of ACT! and Office 2013 and, as I’ve fielded quite a few questions on this, I thought it worth reposting as well as adding a couple of comments below.
Sage ACT! 2013 and MS Outlook 2013 Compatibility Overview by BluebirdCRM
Some points to note:
Office 2013 isn’t formally supported, but I’ve found it works well with the following provisos.
- You must use a full install of ACT! 2013 SP1 (15.1) – not 15.0 then the SP1 update.
If your CD/download is only 15.0, contact your ACT! Consultant or GL Computing to get the later installer.
- As with previous versions, Office must be installed as 32-bit (even if running on a 64bit operating system. This is Microsoft’s recommended way also as per this post (check the links in the comments):
Office 2010 support with ACT! by Sage #SageACT
- As Will says, History is not recorded when replying from the Preview pane … this is due to Microsoft not providing the same controls to track the sending that way.
You don’t need to open the email first in order to send the History – from the Preview reply, click “Pop-Out” before sending will work.
- One correction to Will’s video: ACT! 2013 needs to be installed as 15.1, not 15.0 then adding the service pack update. If your install CD is 15.0, contact ACT!, your ACT! Consultant or GL Computing to obtain the later installer with 15.1 already added
- Most important – you need to have the full install of Office 2013, not the Office 365 Home Subscription with the Click-To-Run install that doesn’t include all components.
I have found that, while Microsoft don’t recommend this, I’ve found it can work by installing the full trial, then the CTR version over the top … this has kept working (for me at least) after the trial period expired.
Other than these points, it should work the same as for previous versions of Office … please let me know in the comments if you find anything else worth noting
ACT! Users Celebrate: Sage sells ACT! & SalesLogix to Swiftpage | 02/17/2013
For those who haven’t heard:
Sage is selling ACT! and SalesLogix to Swiftpage
And it’s great news for all involved
Here are the relevant official releases:
As someone who has spent more than 25 years supporting ACT! and supported more ACT! users than anyone else over that time, I have had hundreds of messages and questions about this since the Friday announcement. Mainly focused on these areas:
- How many owners has ACT! had?
- Why would Sage sell the products?
- Is Swiftpage a good choice for ACT! and the ACT! Community?
- What does this mean for Mike Lazarus
Let’s discuss these one at a time – However, as I haven’t worked in the SalesLogix space, my views are from an ACT! perspective.
How many owners has ACT! had?
From The History of ACT!, this is the 4th sale of ACT! – and, if you don’t count Pat twice, the 4th owner:
- In 1993: Contact Software International (ex Conductor Software) purchased by Symantec
- In 1999: Sold by Symantec to SalesLogix (owned by Pat Sullivan, one of the co-founders of ACT!) – later renamed as Interact Commerce Corporation
- In 2001: Interact Commerce Corporation purchased by Sage Group Plc (Best Software in the US at that time)
- And now sold to Swiftpage
Why would Sage sell the products?
It’s useful to understand the reason Sage wanted ACT! (and SalesLogix) in the first place … a decade ago, companies in the ERP arena like Sage, Microsoft and others believed that they could gain advantages in the small-mid business market by providing a front-office solution to complement their accounting and ERP solutions, in a similar way that solutions sold to larger enterprises had done to lock in users to a single vendor.
This essentially failed for a number of reasons:
- Sage never managed to achieve the promise of real integration between ACT! and their accounting products to a level where they could show an advantage in an SME customer purchasing both from the same vendor
- Unlike with the enterprise users, small-mid businesses do not make the decisions on their accounting and their sales/marketing solutions at the same time or from the same management needs
- Sage never fully understood that the CRM market is different to ERP in it’s use – especially for small-mid market users and for those in international markets
Also, like SalesLogix (Interact), they thought that the ACT! base would become a feeder channel that they could convince to move to their bigger products – this belies the passion that most ACT! users have for the product and the reason why both Symantec and Sage couldn’t remove the ACT! branding to replace with their corporate ones. It also failed to appreciate how the needs of ACT! users differed from those of the other products.
Sage has had a tumultuous relationship with ACT! and the community surrounding it:
- They did recognise that, in order to add functionality that users wanted, ACT! needed to be re-engineered from the CodeBase architecture that the Symantec re-write had been based on. However they made the mistake of jumping on .Net and MS-SQL well before it was ready for prime-time (most tech support issues are related to the Microsoft components rather than Sage code) and this further limited the product in portability to Mac or other operating environments.
- Most of the long-time ACT! staff were let go instead of being promoted. This created a vacuum of requisite knowledge of both the product and the users within the organisation
- With the exception of the brief stewardship of David van Toor, senior management refused to engage the users and partners with any communication about problems or the direction of the product – to me, this was the single biggest error that Sage made. Although, since the more recent promotion of Ben Lederer to the Product Management position, this has been improving as I stated in the post: Looking ahead with #SageACT! 2013
- They gave up on ACT! in many international markets such as Asia, India and recently outsourced the Australian and New Zealand market to ACT! CRM – at least this last one improved the resources for ACT! users and partners
- Sage also failed to understand the mobile needs of the users – or that the mobile users for ACT! and SalesLogix have quite different needs. ACT! has been in the mobile market longer than most (since supporting HP95LX in 1992), but Sage’s years of trying to get their Sage ACT! Connect product (renaming it several times) working has been a distraction and a failure. It was the first time I’d ever publically advised against using a product with the ACT! brand in the post Getting ACT! on your phone and again in Problems with Sage Mobile for ACT! (new ACT! Mobile Live) and, most recently in this Sage ACT! Mobile Solutions Comparison. While the newer Sage ACT! Premium Mobile interface has some good functionality (when they get it right) for Premium users who can administer an IIS infrastructure, I’d suggest that Connect should be put to rest and that Swiftpage should work with Handheld Contact to provide a complete solution.
I do not feel, as some others do, that making ACT! a pure SaaS product would have been the right answer for Sage. One of the long-time ACT! consultants, Paul Marentette, put it this way:
I'm seeing a real backlash in the marketplace against high-cost, slow response plus the restricted controls endemic with SAAS. Remember, ACT! is uniquely positioned to work well over the web, but even better in on-premise/self-hosted environments while supporting mobile and remote users with the full features and fastest response only available from a local database.
ACT! has, in fact, been available as a hosted solution (browser or remote desktop) since 2003 – and I agree with Paul, in that one of ACT!’s advantages has been the variety of remote support options and third-party integration products that are not available in full SaaS offerings. As well as the higher expense that monthly fees typically entail and the fact that ACT! was built around the mobile sales-warrior who will often need access where the internet is not readily available.
That Sage has been wanting to sell off these products should come as no surprise. Most of us arrived at this conclusion seven months ago when Sage defined ACT! and SalesLogix as “non-core” as you can see in this discussion thread (despite Sage’s denials at the time)
Sage has realised that it’s good business sense to focus on the solutions it knows best … and, like when Symantec made the same decision previously, I believe this is the right call and will be good for both Sage Group, plc and for the products they are selling.
There are some who may think that the lack of corporate backing by Sage might hurt ACT!. Sage will maintain a 16.1% stake in the new ACT/SalesLogix operations, so there still is that backing to leverage off when it has value
Is Swiftpage a good choice for ACT! and the ACT! Community?
My answer: A resounding YES!
The Friday announcement is the public statement of intent. It’s still subject to final regulatory approval (which can take from a few weeks in up to 3 months) and no specific details of their plans have been revealed.
So, what is it about Swiftpage that I find so compelling and exciting?
- Swiftpage understands the products and the market
They have been working with the ACT! Community, as an add-on vendor, since about 2004. Senior Vice President and General Manager - Sage ACT! and Sage SalesLogix, Dan Wilzoch, pointed out:
As an existing partner and provider of Sage E-marketing for Sage ACT! and Sage SalesLogix, Swiftpage also brings a thorough understanding of our customers, partners, products and the markets in which we compete.
- Their partners find them great to do business with and they inspire loyalty
I should point out that, unlike other members of the ACT! community, I haven’t had a lot of dealings with Swiftpage as I don’t sell directly to end-users and my client base tends to be ACT! Consultants, Resellers and Add-on vendors that prefer communications and news via forums such the LinkedIN ACT! Fanatics Group – in fact, I previously produced add-ons for ACT! that directly competed with them, such as MergeMaster! for ACT! 5/6. My only connection with them is that I have, at times, recommended them to users via this affiliate link: Swiftpage
But, I know from all the many resellers and users that I deal with that Swiftpage has been a superlative organisation for them to deal with. They have been responsive and supportive of users and community, alike.
- Swiftpage understands the sales and marketing mentality
As their focus has been in digital marketing, they come from an appreciation of the needs of sales and marketing, which is quite different from those looking for an ERP or accounting solution.
- They understand the real value of ACT!
As a long-time add-on vendor, they know that ACT!’s value is in having a great, easy-to-use, core-product with users able to build the solutions they need via the huge number of add-on products available. Hopefully, this will means they will make it easier for such solutions to be created.
- Swiftpage has been in the cloud for a long time
While most ACT! users prefer the speed and functionality of local copies – as regional internet access improves and the market continues to mature, the benefits of having hybrid systems combining hosted (or SaaS) and on-premises solutions will be an area that ACT! is better enabled to take advantage of.
- Swiftpage is an entrepreneurial enterprise – like most of the ACT! user-base
ACT! has always flourished best when not constrained by the controls and red-tape associated with larger corporations that try to pigeon-hole it within their broader product range.
- Swiftpage has the necessary financial backing
Via investment from Accel-KKR, one of the preeminent private equity firms in the US. Accel-KKR has a reputation for creating high growth software companies. They would not be investing in Swiftpage if they did not think they have the skills and resources to make ACT! a big success
- They intend to make the international market a focus
Swiftpage has a lot of activity internationally and expects the international ACT! market to be an important point of growth going forward.
- I spoke to Swiftpage’s Chairman and Founder, Bob Ogdon, on the weekend. He reaffirmed that Swiftpage wants to reignite the energy and passion that the communities of both products still have in heavy supply. It is the intent of Swiftpage to include the ACT! community in a very active role. He told me that they want to make an impact and they need the key players in the ACT! community to be involved for that to happen.
One can see from this thread that the “ACT! Fanatics” in the Community are very much behind this change:
Announcement from ACT! Fanatics - ACT! and SalesLogix sold to SwiftPage
What about the future?
- They are bringing over 250 of the ACT! staff … this includes UK and US staff. Time will tell as to how many of those stay in place. There are many that I hope do just that – I won’t name those I especially think are important here, for fear of upsetting any I may inadvertently miss
- As I mentioned above, ACT! CRM is distributing in Australia and New Zealand and I’d expect this to continue. While there are some changes I might make to the local policies, I have considerable faith and trust in Michael Bryant (the long-time ACT! Consultant behind the new distributor). He knows the local market, has a considerable investment in both money and time behind the product, and has shown himself to have exceptional business and entrepreneurial skills
- I hope they listen to, and work with, the local Consultants in Europe and South America as well as looking at reigniting the markets in Asia, India and others that Sage left. Most especially, they need to understand some of the international issues that Sage had ignored. I’d be more than happy to assist them in this venture.
- I do hope they remove the artificial barriers of international regionalisation that Sage implemented (especially amongst the partners). While this is de rigueur for ERP and accounting solutions, it’s counter-productive for contact managers and CRM
- They should look at ending the annual upgrade cycle that makes more sense for ERP products than it does for CRM … good products should have their releases determined by development and QA, not by marketing, accountants and analysts.
- They should refocus on the core product – and look at the options to leverage off both on-premises and SaaS. Then promoting the third-party vars for functions they are already doing so well.
- More specific plans will be discussed and announced as the transfer proceeds to a close.
The ACT! world is going to be fun again - In fact, the only negative I can see is that searching the web for “ACT!” produces far too many unrelated results, compared to “Sage ACT!” or #SageACT on Twitter
Well, after 25 years supporting ACT!, including over 13,000 posts to the Sage ACT! Community site, winning the Experts-Exchange Titan Award 3 times and running the LinkedIN ACT! Fanatics Group, I can’t see myself going anywhere in the near future … but I am looking to see what opportunities this may present.
I must say that I have been delighted, humbled and a little amused by the posts in this ACT! Fanatics thread – while I don’t see the option of Pope being available, I would certainly be open to talking to Swiftpage and see how they could best leverage my skills, on-line reputation and passion for the product.
It the mean time, I’m looking to set up an ACT! Fanatics Club to provide the type of training indicated in this thread – please let me know if this would be of interest to you and worth putting the effort in?
Looking ahead with #SageACT! 2013 | 01/02/2013
Welcome to the new year, I hope you all had a wonderful time over the festive season are are looking forward to making the most of your contacts in the new year.
I am feeling more positive for the direction of Sage ACT! at this time than I have been for a few years. Those of you who have seen some of my posts in the LinkedIN ACT! Fanatics Group will know that I have had some issues over the past 5 years with the way that Sage management has been developing the product and especially with their head-in-the-sand approach in avoiding any communication with the users.
ACT! is still one of the best and most loved products in its class. Its millions of users worldwide depend on its operation and ease-of-use to run and grow their businesses by maintaining and tracking the relationships we have with our contacts.
Well, last year, there was a change at the top and Dan Wilzoch took over as General Manager for the product. My conversations with him have so far been quite positive. The best sign that this is a positive change, is that, while there has been a loss of a number of staff who really knew the product and the needs of it’s users … this time they have promoted one of the ACT! stars, Benjamin Lederer, to the position of Product Manager.
For those who don’t know Ben, he’s been with Sage since 2005 (and Symantec before that) in a variety of technical, development and product management roles. I have spoken to him many times and I can tell you he knows the product. He talks to those that deal with the users and he understands how to make the technology work. I have had situations where I had explained a bug to a number of Sage staff and nothing was done. A 10 minute call from Ben for me to explain the cause I had identified and he had it fixed quickly in a patch.
His first responsibility as Product Manager will be ACT! 2013 Service Pack 1 – due January 8th.
The best thing about the management change, so far, has been that Ben has already been communicating the intended road map publicly …
For Service Pack 1, Ben has stated the following:
- Microsoft Windows 8 and IE10 certification.
Note: IE10 works in 2 modes, Regular and Metro.In Metro (the full-screen app), Microsoft has not included ActiveX controls, so ACT! won’t have word processing or reports in that mode
- Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2011 and Windows Server Server 2012
This includes improving the APFW installer to work in SBS environments. This will have a positive effect on any deployment that has existing 64 bit web services (SharePoint, Exchange) and reduce the setup problems after ACT! is installed
- Microsoft Office version 15 (2013)
Note: This will be unofficial support at first. They have removed the code that would prevent you from using this product. It will still require Office to be installed in 32bit as Microsoft still hasn’t added the ActiveX controls to the 64bit version. But, this really doesn’t make a difference unless needing spreadsheets larger than 3GB and Microsoft recommends the 32bit install as I posted in a comment to this blog article
Microsoft has added a new feature in Outlook that will create some problems. Now you can reply to emails within the preview pane. Actions performed in the preview pane do not trigger any add-ons. The Microsoft third party developer groups are looking for ways around this, but as of now no workarounds are available. If you use Outlook the way you always have, we suspect there will be no problems. If you use the preview pane to reply to messages history will not be recorded.
- Other Enhancements
- All record type checkboxes are now checked by default in the Copy/Move Data wizard
- Database Startup view preference can now be any relevant view
- Significant changes to the social media integration – see the Screencast demo Ben posted here
- Over 25 customer reported bug fixes
This is a big improvement on the previous management who didn’t add Office 2010 support till the next paid upgrade rather than patching it in the current build.
There are still a number of issues with international data (phone numbers, dates and currency) both in the core product and in Premium Web. I have suggested to Ben that he calls me so I can properly explain these. Hopefully he’ll take me up on the offer as soon as he has time.
I will be posting some articles soon on mobility and social media for ACT! users as well as data security and a look at how hosted or SaaS. I think these are areas that are becoming more important to all of us.
Please add a comment to this article if there’s any topic you’d like me to address in a future article or if there are specific areas you think Sage needs to improve in the product. But remember that not all feature requests can be added as I explain in the article: How Are Product Management Decisions Made?
Well, that’s all for now … I hope you all have a successful 2013 and that Sage ACT! continues to help grow your business.
Taking your ACT! on holiday | 12/05/2012
As we approach the festive season many of you will have your minds turning to travel … some of you to warm climates enjoying beaches and swimming, while others to cooler areas that might involve building snowmen or some skiing. So I thought it would be useful to discuss a couple of important areas before you finalise your plans:
- Have you checked your backups?
- Will you have access to your Sage ACT! data if you need it on the road?
Checking your ACT! backups
- If you have not already done so, set up the Sage ACT! Scheduler to automate your backups as per this ACT! Knowledge Base article:
How to Use the ACT! Scheduler to Automatically Back Up Your Sage ACT! Database
- If you have done this, make sure you check the Scheduler logs to be sure it’s running ok as it doesn’t notify you if it’s been failing
- As an extra precaution, use another backup utility to store the backup in the “cloud” in case of a disaster. One easy way is to use Dropbox and backup to the Dropbox folder.
- Before you go, do a test restore from your backup … use “Restore As” and restore to a different name or folder, then test you can log in and access your data. You really should do this about once a month anyway.
Accessing your data on the road
While most of us prefer not to think about work while we’re having our much needed rest and relaxation, for those of us in small business we know this simply isn’t a realistic wish. It’s pretty certain that when we don’t have access is when something will arise that needs your data on hand.
There are some things we need to consider to ensure that we have that data and can use it:
- For those of you travelling outside of metro areas, you might find yourselves without decent WiFi or cellular data (or the costs to access these might get prohibitive). This could mean you can’t rely on access to web browser versions of Sage ACT!. So it’s always best to have your Sage ACT! data synchronised to a mobile device (smart phone or tablet).
- If you’re travelling to another country, many of the sync links to ACT! do not properly support international country codes and dialling rules to dial in the country you’re in or to dial back to contacts in your country.
The product I use that does the best job of keeping my Sage ACT! data with me is Handheld Contact. It syncs data to iOS (iPhones, iPad, iPod touch), Android (phones and tablets) and Blackberry (phones and Playbook). It fully supports international dialling and has many other benefits that will save you time as well as taking away the stress of being away from your data so you can enjoy yourself.
For more information or assistance with this, please contact your local ACT! Certified Consultant.
Wishing you all a very relaxed, happy and safe time over the holidays and a successful and prosperous new year.
Happy 25th Birthday #SageACT! | 03/31/2012
ACT! was originally released on the 1st of April 1987 – No, not an April Fools’ Joke
How many software product can maintain market leadership over 25 years?
Here are some images from the original hand drawn layout coding of ACT! – click on them to see full-size
This is the original computer used by Randy Haben to code the first ACT! for DOS … an AT&T 8086
I’ll be posting some more old pictures to the Facebook page here:
To see the history of ACT! timeline, see: The History of ACT!
If you would like some logos to use to celebrate this occasion, I have designed some (together with Geo of SJR) and made them available on this Dropbox page. There are various sizes so you can put them on websites, blogs, Facebook/twitter profile images, email sigs. The PNG files are transparent so will work on backgrounds of any colour.
A Spring Clean for your system and Outlook | 03/17/2012
As many of you will know, systems slow down with use and can cause many issues in Sage ACT!. Consequently, I recommend running an occasional maintenance of your system to deal with these before they become a noticeable problem.
With March 20th being the Vernal Equinox (first day of Spring, at least in the Northern Hemisphere) I thought this would be a good time to recommend a Spring Clean routine.
Many of these function are much easier if you have installed Xobni. I highly recommend this product for any Outlook user. There is a free version (Plus) for Outlook only or a paid version (Pro) that will link Gmail, Blackberry, Android and iPhone. You should install the latest 2.x (Pro) or 1.x (Plus) on a system that meets the requirements.
Although the steps below are generally safe, some systems are corrupted to the point of irreparability. Neither GL Computing nor Xobni is responsible for any data loss or other damage that may occur. We recommend that you perform regular full backups of your system, so that if anything should go wrong you can always revert to a good copy. For more about backup, see this article for Windows 7 or this article for Windows XP.
You should back up your ACT! databases, Outlook files and system first.
Not all steps are required and the technical difficulty level of each step is listed from easy to advanced.
1. Before You Start: Create a Restore Point (Easy)
To create a restore point
- Open System by clicking the Start button , right-clicking Computer, and then clicking Properties.
- In the left pane, click System protection. If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
- Click the System Protection tab, and then click Create.
In the System Protection dialog box, type a description, and then click Create.
For more information about System Restore, see What is System Restore?
2. Back up Xobni Data (Easy) – Xobni Pro user
Xobni Cloud is included with Xobni Pro, which keeps your Xobni data backed up and synchronized across multiple instances of Xobni. To ensure that your data is up-to-date, please perform the following step:
In Outlook, select Xobni > Update Xobni Cloud
3. Apply Microsoft Updates (Easy)
Make sure that your system is up-to-date by running Windows Update.
Click the Start button, click All Programs, and then click Windows Update.
Apply latest service pack for your version of Office.
4. Microsoft Office Repair (Easy)
Lot of issues are caused by corrupt Microsoft Office components. This can happen when one component overwrites another component, for example when multiple versions of Office are installed (say, 2007 and 2010). Microsoft recommends to keep all Office components the same version. You may see COMexception errors in the InspectorX report in these cases. If you just installed the latest service pack in the previous step, you may skip Office repair.
To repair, please try these steps:
- Click Start > Control Panel -> Add or Remove Programs (XP) / Uninstall a program (Vista/Win7)
- Scroll down the list and select the version of Microsoft Office you are running
- Click the Change button
- Select Repair
- Click Continue
5. Disable Add-ins (Easy)
In order to eliminate conflicts with other add-ins, please disable all Outlook add-ins using Inspector X:
- Restart your computer
- Click Start menu > All Programs > Xobni > Diagnostics > Xobni InspectorX
(Vista/7 users right-click to "Run as Administrator")
If you don't have the latest version of Xobni installed, you can download InspectorX and extract the contents to your Desktop or other convenient location:
For Outlook 2003, 2007, and 2010 32-bit: InspectorX.zip
For the 64-bit version of Outlook 2010: InspectorX_x64.zip
Right-click the InspectorX.exe file and select Run as Administrator
- In Inspector X, select the Plugins menu > Disable all Plugins except Xobni
You can re-enable the add-ins you need once stability has been confirmed by using the Plugins > Plugin Manager menu option.
6. Repair the Outlook data files (Easy)
This is arguably the most important step (with or without Xobni)! If you are experiencing stability or indexing issues, for example, if emails or contacts are missing information, showing up as "Empty", "No subject", or "Message body unavailable", this step will help you resolve this. If you use IMAP, please see this article as well. Make sure to complete all steps.
Warning: If you are storing .pst files on a network share, do not run scanpst. It is unsupported by Microsoft and can cause irreversible data loss!
- Restart the computer (if you have not already).
- Run InspectorX: Click Start > All Programs > Xobni > Diagnostics > Xobni InspectorX
Or, download the latest version of InspectorX:
Most people (those with Outlook 2003, 2007, and 32-bit 2010) will need the 32-bit version: InspectorX.zip
If you have the 64-bit version of Outlook 2010, use the 64-bit version: InspectorX_x64.zip
Extract the contents to a folder and run InspectorX by double-clicking the InspectorX.exe file
- Select Special > Automatically Repair All Outlook Data Files
This process may take from several minutes to several hours, depending on your data. It is recommended not to use the computer at this point, as it is very i/o intensive. The process may appear to be not responding, so please by patient. Do not attempt to click on the buttons - it is all automatic.
If Xobni is currently installed, please clear the Xobni data files:
Select Special > Clear Xobni Data Files...
Note: This will remove any customizations or merging, although InspectorX will create a backup copy of the Xobni folder named "xobni.bak" in case you need to revert. Xobni recommends to back up your Xobni data using Xobni Cloud, which comes with Xobni Pro.
After Xobni does the initial indexing, start a full index operation:
Select Xobni > Index Outlook Mail
If you use Xobni Plus 1.x, you may need to re-activate by selecting Xobni > Options > Xobni Plus > Activate.
7. Registry Cleanup (Easy)
- Download CCleaner
- Install CCleaner
- Launch CCleaner
- Click on the Registry button on the left
- Click "Scan For Issues..."
- After scan is complete select "Fix selected issues...". CCleaner asks to make a backup of your registry. Choose a backup destination and click “Save.”
- After doing so click "Fix All Issues"
- When that is done, you can quit CCleaner
- Repeat as necessary (at least once a month)
8. Scan Disks for Errors (Easy)
- Double-click My Computer, and then right-click the hard disk that you want to check.
- Click Properties, and then click Tools.
- Under Error-checking, click Check Now. A dialog box that shows the Check disk options is displayed
- Use one of the following procedures:
- To run Chkdsk in read-only mode, click Start.
- To repair errors without scanning the volume for bad sectors, select the Automatically fix file system errors check box, and then click Start.
- To repair errors, locate bad sectors, and recover readable information, select the Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors check box, and then click Start.
9. Defragment your Disks (XP Only) (Easy)
Disks get fragmented over time, and Windows XP leaves it to the user to defragment them (Vista and 7 have automatic defragmentation). Fragmentation, in which files are not stored in contiguous blocks, will make your system slower over time and you should ideally perform this weekly.
- Open My Computer.
- Right-click the local disk volume that you want to defragment, and then click Properties.
- On the Tools tab, click Defragment Now.
- Click Defragment.
10. Repair System Files (Easy)
In order to repair the Windows system files, please follow these steps:
1. Open a command window as Administrator:
Start > All Programs > Accessories > Command Prompt (Vista/Win7: Right-click and select Run as Administrator)
2. In the command prompt, type:
11. Fix mapi32.dll (Medium)
If you see MAPI errors in the InspectorX report, it is commonly because another add-ins has overwritten the default mapi32.dll. To repair this library, please follow these steps:
XP: Download and run xpmapifix.bat.
Vista/Win7: Download mapifix.bat, then right-click it and select Run as Administrator.
If you wish to run the commands manually, follow these steps:
1. Open a command prompt as Administrator:
Start > All Programs > Accessories > Command Prompt (Vista/Win7, Right-click and select Run as Administrator)
2. Run the following commands:
ren %windir%\System32\mapi32.dll mapi32.dll.bak
You may copy the text above, then right-click in the window to paste.
1. Open a command prompt as Administrator:
Start > All Programs > Accessories > Command Prompt (Vista/Win7, Right-click and select Run as Administrator)
2. Copy the following commands:
takeown /f %windir%\System32\mapi32.dll
cacls %windir%\System32\mapi32.dll /g %username%:c
ren %windir%\System32\mapi32.dll mapi32.dll.bak
3. Right-click in the window to paste the commands.
12. Reinstall .NET Framework (Advanced)
Xobni depends on the Microsoft .NET framework, which may become corrupted over time. You can repair your .NET framework by removing it completely and installing from scratch. Make sure to complete the backup steps (#1 and #2) prior to starting this process.
- Restart your computer.
- Download and run the Brute Uninstaller. (Vista and Windows 7 users, please right-click to "Run as Administrator")
- Click Start > Control Panel -> Add or Remove Programs / Uninstall a program
- Scroll down and remove each and every .NET framework entry, including service packs and hot fixes that have the word ".NET" in the program name.
- After every trace of .NET has been removed from your machine please restart your computer.
- Restart your computer.
- Download and run the Brute Uninstaller. (Vista and Windows 7 users, please right-click to "Run as Administrator")
- Click Start > Control Panel > Add or Remove Programs / Uninstall a program
- Scroll down and remove each and every .NET framework entry, including service packs and hot fixes that have the word ".NET" in the program name.
- After every trace of .NET has been removed from your machine
- Click Start > Control Panel > Programs > Programs and Features
- Find the product named Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5.1 and uncheck the box
- Please restart your computer.
Trouble removing .NET?
If you are experiencing problems during the uninstall steps, please download the .NET cleanup tool:
- Double-click the .zip file to see the contents (or extract to a folder)
- Double-click cleanup_tool.exe to run the tool
- Select .NET all versions
- Click on "Cleanup Now"
Download and install .NET 3.5 from Microsoft's download link.
If you had .NET 4 installed, please install from this link.
Download the latest version of Xobni
Please use this link.
13. Create a New Outlook Profile (Medium)
If all else fails, please follow these instructions on how to create a new Outlook Profile. It's totally safe. You can always revert to your old profile. Please refer to this article for instructions. If you use Google Apps, please see this article.
Reprinted with permission (with minor changes and edits) from:
Certified ACT! Genius @ExpertsExchange #SageACT | 01/18/2012
GL Computing’s Mike Lazarus has become the first Certified ACT! Genius at Experts-Exchange
Click image to see EE Profile or here to see PDF Certificate
Is #SageACT! getting too complicated? | 10/05/2011
I was reading this article on Mashable: Facebook Is Getting Too Damn Complicated and can see a point.
Like Facebook, Sage ACT! has been the leader in it’s market for some time… and largely for the same reasons. It has had the right mix of ease-of-use and flexibility to deliver the solution – most of the time.
I discussed the typical process that decisions on new versions are made in a previous article:
How Are Product Management Decisions Made?
Priorities are not easy to determineThe setting of priorities (as per above link) is a really difficult line that most software vendors walk… trying to keep the product usable in it’s target market and dealing with the need to create new functions that appeal to potential new users or encourage current users to upgrade. For those with responsibility for the development of Sage ACT!, this line is more fine than most:
- The product has consistently outsold it’s competitors (many that are more functionally powerful) because it has had the reputation of being the easiest to use while still maintaining flexibility to cope with most users’ demands. New features should be implemented in a way that doesn’t increase the complexity unnecessarily
- There is a large core base of users that have been with ACT! for 10-20 years (or longer). Changes to functions (or worse, removal of them) causes users not to upgrade or even to look elsewhere. This was really evident in the first releases by both Symantec (3.0) and Sage (7.0) when items were left out - either because the new development team didn’t realise people used them, or simply didn’t know the function was there.
Not all the reasons are good onesThis process becomes even more complex when we add some of the less valid reasons for priority selection:
When feature bloat is attributed to this last item, new functions are typically plagued with a number of flaws:
- The need to stave off potential competitors by imitation a feature list;
- To avoid the perception of being stale; or the worst reason:
- To add items that produce PR content, while adding little to the user experience – sometimes this is exasperated by the product management decisions being made by people who don’t use the product “in anger” and don’t fully comprehend the scenarios it gets used in.
- They lack the depth of options for real-world use of the feature
- The UI makes the operation less obvious to understand and use
- They are often not properly integrated with all the current components
- Sadly, they are often done at the expense of “less flashy” but more useful improvements
Some examplesThere has been a number of times in ACT!’s history where, in my opinion, product management has been guilty of such decisions… where features added that don’t seem to have users requesting them or are implemented in a questionable way that marks a checkbox, produces a press release, but falls short of being usable. Some of these include:
Both of the co-founders of ACT! (Mike Muhney and Pat Sullivan) feel that the product is losing (or has lost) the essence of it’s direction. You can see Pat’s comment here and Mike’s here
- Sales Opportunities in ACT! 2000 (5.0) – these were hardly usable for a few versions
- Resources – can’t be used in a sync environment, making them unusable for many sites
- Smart Tasks – really don’t go far enough to be usable, can’t be administrated or run as service
- Social Networks – doesn’t link contacts to accounts (only search), doesn’t update data or record communications. See: Social Media and CRM – thoughts on how they should connect
- Google Integration – it leaves out the most important part, the ability to send and merge emails
- Web browser support – doesn’t support Chrome, Safari or current versions of Firefox and doesn’t support Office integration unless using IE
- Sage Connect – doesn’t support international phone numbers (neither does Outlook/Google sync)
It doesn’t need to be like thisI think Apple are one of the best companies at avoiding this problem. Their iOS operating system (iPhone/iPad) lacks much power functionality that Blackberry has had for years (see this post) and Android are now doing, but their choice to have kept the UI simple (at the expense of those functions) has worked for them. Apple prove that you don’t need specific features for the market to accept the product as “cool”
So, what does Sage need do?Don’t get me wrong – I still believe that Sage ACT! is the best product of it’s type… but an urgent cultural change is needed to maintain that position. Basically, I think they need to stop relying on focus groups and instead actively engage with users (and the ACT! Consultants who support those users) in public forums.
For a while, when David van Toor was running the product, he did this … and the two versions released under his guidance were the most well accepted on release for his efforts.
Additionally, I think they would benefit from dropping the annual upgrade cycle – with release date dictated by bean-counters’ needs for numbers boost prior to Sage’s end of financial year.
I’m not sure of the likelihood of the current management taking this path, but one can only hope.
What do you feel?
What's New in #SageACT! 2012 – released Sept 1st | 09/01/2011
This is the official information from Sage. I will soon post an article on my opinions of the new version.
Update: Sage have release a day-0 Hotfix 1 … Any installs from now will get this update slipstreamed and there will be a download soon for the early birds. As soon as I find out what this fixes, I’ll let you know.
The Sage ACT! 2012 release is focused on a number of significant enhancements including Google® Integration, Scratchpad, Connected Services, Universal Search and much more. All this enables you to work and communicate more effectively, become more productive and efficient, and better serve your contacts. Click on one of the links below for more information on the specified topic.
New Features and Functionality
For details regarding each new feature, click the link for Knowledgebase article for that feature.
Google Contacts, Calendar and Gmail Integration
Knowledgebase article: 27988
- Contact Synching capabilities from Google to Sage ACT! and Sage ACT! to Google.
- Contact Sync set capabilities to allow users to select a sub-set of their Sage ACT! contacts to synch over to Google.
- Calendar synching that allows users to update both their Google and Sage ACT! Calendars and have them synch regardless of where events were created or modified.
- The ability to choose which systems alarms display in for events.
- Users can select whether they want Sage ACT! or Google to “win” for conflict resolution when both calendars have been changed.
- Activity type synching options allow users to choose which activity types will synch. The defaults options are Appointments and Meetings.
- Scheduling synching options as frequently as one minute is available, but to limit performance impact, the suggested synching interval is 10 minutes.
- A new Google Integration synchronization panel from the Tools menu is available to set up both Contact and Calendar synchronization at once.
Sage ACT! Scratchpad
Knowledgebase article: 28077
- Provide Sage ACT! users with a virtual piece of paper on their desktop to do the following tasks:
- Quickly jot down notes, reminders, and to-dos in one simple user interface, with or without Sage ACT! running
- Organize items in the list
- Check-off or delete items
- Print the list so you can take it with you
- Add items as notes, history or activity in Sage ACT!
- Items from Sage ACT! Scratchpad will be sent to the Sage ACT! database that the user is currently logged into.
Knowledgebase article: 28034
- Users now have the ability to find that key documents or piece of information they need in their contacts, groups, companies, opportunities, notes, history, and attachments, because search is faster and more expansive than ever.
- The ability to perform advanced search using operators
- Filter search criteria by all dates, last 24 hours, last week, and last month
- View search results displayed by relevance and double-click on the item of interest to be taken to that particular field or attachment.
- Users can also filter search results for secondary contacts and products
Services Discoverability/Connections View
Knowledgebase article: 28094
- A new Connections view within the Sage ACT! application that helps users sign-up and learn more about Connected Services that could improve their bottom line and efficiencies in running their business.
- Users can manage their existing Connected Services through this view.
Knowledgebase article: 27964 (Sage ACT! Pro), 27971 (Sage ACT! Premium)
- For new customer installs, third party applications such as Microsoft® Office, Microsoft Outlook® and Internet Explorer® do not need to be closed before Sage ACT! installation. Users can now continue to be productive while Sage ACT! installation is progressing.
- Installation panel that provides prerequisites and average times to install before installation begins.
Knowledgebase article: 28142
- Improved usability in opening and sharing databases
- Shows all databases attached to the local SQL Server® instance and the most recently used databases in a dialog.
- Users can also share databases from within this dialog – no need to find the buried menu.
Knowledgebase article: 27976
- Import logs are now available to give counts of successful records imported and details of what records failed.
- Import log is displayed at the final stage of import.
- Users can quickly get out of the import process (no need to confirm that they want to cancel an import process)
- When Sage ACT! detects that the user is attempting to integrate Microsoft® Outlook® 64-bit with Sage ACT!, a message dialog will be displayed that states that Microsoft Outlook 64-bit is not supported, and that the 32-bit version is supported.
Web Administration (Sage ACT! Premium web client)
Knowledgebase article: 28095
- Ability to manage critical administration tasks from Sage ACT! Premium (access via web) client.
- Manage users
- Manage teams
- Lock/unlock a database
- Manage password policy
Fixed Issues for Sage ACT! Pro and Sage ACT! Premium
Synchronization – Remote Databases
- In previous versions, changing fields to a different drop down field list does not sync to remote databases. This issue has now been resolved.
- In previous versions, updates on the parent database do not get synchronized to remote if both sides modify the same contact. Original data on the remote replaces the changes on the parent. This issue is now resolved.
- The changes made in the document attached to a contact in the remote database are not synchronized to the document on the parent database. After editing and syncing to parent, a GUID number is added to the file and updated properly on the remote database. On the parent, the document is still linked to the original file name. On remote, the document is linked to the edited attachment. This issue is resolved.
- Outlook contacts are removed from the remote database after syncing to parent. Issue is now fixed.
- Resolved issue of not being able to change settings on multiple remote databases.
- There was an issue where Contact and Calendar sync were failing with the following combination of conditions: User Account Control (UAC) in Windows® is turned ON, sync is run from the Sage ACT! menu or sync is run from the Sage Integration menu, and both Outlook and Sage Integration are run as/by a Windows Standard user. This issue has now been resolved. In other user privilege combinations and if a failure occurs, the proper messaging guiding users on how to resolve the issue is displayed.
- Issue where the Outlook add-in for Sage ACT! displays a runtime error during loading when upgrading to Sage ACT! 2011 SP1, is now resolved.
- Performance degradation when loading task list after sending an email using Outlook. Specific to Windows 7 and Office 2007 environments. Issue has been resolved.
- In Terminal Services environment, Act.Outlook.Sync.exe errors display when logging in with multiple users. Multiple users can now log on to the same machine and sync Sage ACT! and Outlook simultaneously.
- When attempting to send an email to two separate distribution lists on the same email, the email will not attach back into Sage ACT!. Issue has been resolved.
- Issue of not being able to continue using Sage ACT! without saving company name has been resolved.
- Salutation field is deleted when users have set a preference to not fill the salutation field. Issue has been fixed.
- Error while editing data in Company list view while in customize columns mode. Issue has been fixed.
- In the Company detail view, if a user creates a company with divisions and then expands the tree view in the left navigation to show divisions and then switches the layout of the detail view to another layout, the expansion in the left navigation collapses.
- Company name is right justified after performing a lookup. Issue is now resolved.
- If contact with several names is not mapped in the multiple contact name dialog, nothing is imported into the database. Issue has been fixed.
- Contacts of Opportunities are not exported when export from one database to another database. Issue has been fixed.
- Import from Microsoft Excel® showing incorrect date format. Issue has been resolved.
- Emails sent to other users incorrectly adds the file to the attachment supplemental files folder. Issue has been resolved.
- No response after clicking Go to Advanced Query link on Lookup Opportunities view. Issue has been fixed.
- Record Manager listed as Manager when doing lookups. Issue has been fixed.
Copy Database/Save As/New
- The issue of not being to delete users in empty copy databases after applying Sage ACT! 2011 SP1 has now been resolved.
- The issue of not being able to change default duplicate checking criteria in empty copy database after applying Sage ACT! 2011 SP1 is now resolved.
- Teams created when setting team level security in empty copy database.
- Gross Margin by Product calculated total cost incorrectly. Issue has been fixed.
- Opportunity by Product does not display correct information. Issue has been fixed.
- Issue of Group reports coming up blank when all sub groups are selected for selected groups is now resolved.
- Deleting or changing an attachment to a Smart Task step after that Smart Task has been set to auto-run will result in no attachments being included in the Smart Task step. Issue has been resolved.
- When adding a resource to an Activity in Sage ACT!, the activity is duplicated in the task list if the filter criteria for the task list is set to “all users”.
- Database Restore does note restore custom layout.
Workaround: Use "Restore As" function instead of "Restore".
Sage ACT! Email Client
- Attaching emails to contact history is not working from the Sage ACT! Email client. History recording to Groups or Companies does not work as well for emails from Sage ACT! Email.
- Error message displays when users select “Add Permissions” link in Manage Users dialog. The link now opens correctly without error message.
- Sage ACT! Office Add-in disables Quick Print function in Microsoft Word 2007/2010 after applying Sage ACT! 2011 SP1 update. Issue has been resolved.
- Company Web Info tab links are not refreshed with current entity data if Web Site field has never contained data. Issue has been resolved.
- Information on relationship between two contacts is not saved when using the Relationship hyperlink. Issue is now fixed.
- When printing calendars using Quick Print, data from days other than those showing on the screen are printing.
- When using the Facebook® and Google® links in Internet Explorer® 8, information will not display in the web info tab because of changes made by these sites to not display in frames. Issue has been resolved.
- OLEDB Provider – Ambiguous Column Name when querying table with spill-over tables.
- Alarms – Snoozing alarms causes error: Index was outside the bounds of the array.
- Follow up activities not marked private even though the preference of "Make new activities public" is unchecked. Issue is now resolved.
- If a user edits a layout within the first two minutes of opening Sage ACT!, Sage ACT! will switch between views and the layout designer 5 times. This behaviour is intentional; therefore we do not have plans to turn off background loading at this time.
Workaround: Wait for more than two minutes before editing layouts after opening Sage ACT!.
- When performing a mail merge to a Microsoft® Word document using Microsoft Word 2010, no history record is created for the record.
Fixed Issues for Sage ACT! Premium (access via web)
- Syncconfigfile.xml file not copied during install, resulting in not being able to set up the Sage ACT! Internet Sync service. Issue has now been resolved.
- Contact Detail view is blank after selecting contacts from the contact lookup list, and when users navigate to other views, they are logged out of the database. Issue has been resolved.
- Clicking on an email address in contact list gives a 404 error. Issue has been fixed.
- When Customizing Columns in Contact List view, the dialog is in a distorted view that displays only the Available Fields. Issue is not resolved.
- Resolved the issue of not being able to sort activities by date or time from Web client when start time is after 5:00 PM.
- Outlook displays error about missing .dll files when loading Outlook integration. Outlook integration is now loaded without errors.
- Sage ACT! address book is not listed as an available address book in Outlook for Outlook integration. Issue is now resolved.
- When updating the time on a Sage ACT! activity and checking the “send invitation email” box on the activity dialog, the sender will get an updated iCalendar invitation, but the time still shows the original time for the activity.
Workaround: The sender must manually change the activity time and/or date inside the email message. The manually updated message does update the receiver’s existing Outlook Calendar.
Note: Microsoft currently has no plans to refresh the cache more often or provide a mechanism for Sage ACT! to refresh their cache due to performance.
- Act.Outlook.Sync.exe errors when logging in with multiple users in Terminal Services. Issue has been resolved.
- Fixed the issue of not being able to change record creation options from the Web database client.
- Custom date ranges on opportunity list filters does not return any results/data. Issue has been fixed.
- Sorting on results of contact column after performing keyword search does not sort in any logical order. Issue is now resolved.
- Lookup Keyword Search does not find all records, specifically is searching the Current Lookup. Issue has now been resolved.
- When Microsoft Word is set as the word processing editor for Sage ACT! Premium (access via web), if a user opens the mail merge fields dialog to add fields to the mail merge template, the fields are not in alphabetical order. Issue has been resolved.
- Mail merge to Microsoft Word and print does not record history. Issue has been resolved.
Firefox™ Web Browser
- Unable to perform advanced queries when accessing the web database client via Firefox®. Issue has been resolved.
- User logs in and in a varying time from 5 minutes to 20 minutes, the user will start getting a pop up message stating "Continue to stay logged in". The user then receives this same popups every 1,2, or 5 minutes asking them to click to continue. Issue has now been resolved.