Who Is Mike Lazarus, the Act! Evangelist – A Bio

352LAZ_20_30Mike Lazarus, the Act! Evangelist, was born and raised down-under in Sydney, Australia. He lives and breathes Act! CRM and has been involved with the software for nearly 30 years.

After going to NSW University to study Computer Science, he went into hardware engineering. First at IBM on 80xx series mainframes. Then at Digital Equipment Corporation, where he won an Engineer of the Year award. This was also when he moved over to the faster pace of the software side of the computing industry.

With personal computing taking off, he joined Sourceware as a Product Manager. Tasked with looking after the Australian and New Zealand marketing and support for a range of software products including the Australian-made, Tracker – one of the first Contact Managers.

In 1987, PC Extras, which had just picked up distribution of a new Contact Manager called ACT!, asked Mike to take over the Product Management role for it and other products. In the first year, sales went from four seats of Act! in the first month to a thousand in the twelfth. Thus began three decades of Mike’s association with Act!. It was also at this time that Mike Muhney (one of the co-founders of Act!) called him, what soon became his internationally recognised title, “Act! Evangelist”

In 1991, Mike got the urge to put into practise many of the ideas he’d been teaching Act! users to do. He started his own business, GL Computing, which specialised in small to medium business computing. Through his business, his love and passion for Act! continued to grow.

As part of his dedication to helping small to medium businesses reach their potential, Mike developed and added a range of skills to his own portfolio. He has helped a huge number of Act! users make the most of their customer data through training and support services. In addition, he’s supported many the Act! Certified Consultants to improve their skills. Mike also assisted a number of the Act! add-on developers with design input, quality assurance and beta testing for their products that provide a range of solutions for act! users. A special focus of his has been with products that enable Act! users to be mobile with smart phones, tablets and web browser access to their data.

On a personal note, he is very passionate about his family, friends, Rugby Union (a Life Member of the NSW Waratahs) and Blues music … Not necessarily in that order!

You can find links to other various on-line profiles here: About Mike Lazarus of GL Computing

Additional Achievements:

  • One of the first ACCs to have a web site – 1995
  • Selected to train Symantec’s technical staff when they purchased Contact Software International
  • Served two terms on the Act! Advisory Board (the first member not from North America)
  • Awarded the Community Contribution Award in 2002 – voted by all global ACCs
  • Wrote the History of Act! and most of the content on Act! CRM Wikipedia page
  • Is the most prolific Act! poster on on-line forums, since Symantec started them on CompuServe. This includes fourteen thousand posts on the Act! Community Site, alone
  • Founded and administers the Act! Fanatics Group on LinkedIn, which has more members than the vendor's own group

Qualifications and Awards

  • Swiftpage Act! Certified Consultant – 2014
  • Certificate III in Micro Business Operations – 2014
  • Experts-Exchange Certified ACT! Genius – 2012
  • Sage – First ACT! Community Development Partner – 2011
  • Experts-Exchange Titan Award – 2010
  • Willy Award - Unsung CRM Hero – 2010
  • Sage ACT! Community - Platinum Elite Contributor – 2010
  • Experts-Exchange Titan Award – 2009
  • itToolbox ACT! Top Contributor Gold Achievement – 2009
  • itToolbox ACT! Enthusiast Gold Achievement – 2009
  • Experts-Exchange Certified ACT! Sage – 2009
  • Experts-Exchange Titan Award – 2008
  • Sage ACT! Community Leader – 2008
  • Experts-Exchange Certified ACT! Guru – 2008
  • ACT! Certified Consultants - Community Contribution Award – 2002
  • Symantec ACT! Certified Consultant – 1994
  • Novell Certified Netware Engineer – 1994
  • Contact Software International ACT! Authorised Trainer – 1992
  • Digital Equipment Corp - Engineer of the Year 1986

 

Act! CRM Fanatic Links

If you’re interested, here are a few other Act! related feeds, forums and tools that I monitor:

 

The Twelve Days of CRM

actsnowy

Let’s face it. Who knows the values of partridges in pear trees or even five golden rings? Certainly they have been substantially diminished in recent times.

Hence my rewrite of the lyrics here: but please substitute your own preferences in the comments…

Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukkah. Good Kwanza. A successful 2015

On the first day of Christmas my CRM gave to me a database full of customers and leads

On the second day of Christmas my CRM gave to me Two-way sync to mobile on the road and a database full of customers and leads

On the third day of Christmas my CRM gave to me Three web browsers, Two-way sync to mobile on the road and a database full of customers and leads

On the fourth day of Christmas my CRM gave to me Foreknowledge of activities, Three web browsers, Two-way sync to mobile on the road and a database full of customers and leads

On the fifth day of Christmas my CRM gave to me … Five times the sales … Foreknowledge of activities, Three web browsers, Two-way sync to mobile on the road and a database full of customers and leads

On the sixth day of Christmas my CRM gave to me Six times the accounting integration … Five times the sales … Foreknowledge of activities, Three web browsers, Two-way sync to mobile on the road and a database full of customers and leads

On the seventh day of Christmas my CRM gave to me Seven types of communication, Six times the accounting integration … Five times the sales … Foreknowledge of activities, Three web browsers, Two-way sync to mobile on the road and a database full of customers and leads

On the eighth day of Christmas my CRM gave to me Eight hard-working staff, Seven types of communication, Six times the accounting integration … Five times the sales … Foreknowledge of activities, Three web browsers, Two-way sync to mobile on the road and a database full of customers and leads

On the ninth day of Christmas my CRM gave to me Nine management reports, Eight hard-working staff, Seven types of communication, Six times the accounting integration … Five times the sales … Foreknowledge of activities, Three web browsers, Two-way sync to mobile on the road and a database full of customers and leads

On the tenth day of Christmas my CRM gave to me Ten Pipeline processors, Nine management reports, Eight hard-working staff, Seven types of communication, Six times the accounting integration … Five times the sales … Foreknowledge of activities, Three web browsers, Two-way sync to mobile on the road and a database full of customers and leads

On the eleventh day of Christmas my CRM gave to me Eleven Marketing templates, Ten Pipeline processors, Nine management reports, Eight hard-working staff, Seven types of communication, Six times the accounting integration … Five times the sales … Foreknowledge of activities, Three web browsers, Two-way sync to mobile on the road and a database full of customers and leads

On the twelfth day of Christmas my CRM gave to me Twelve monthly bonus cheques, Eleven Marketing templates, Ten Pipeline processors, Nine management reports, Eight hard-working staff, Seven types of communication, Six times the accounting integration … Five times the sales … Foreknowledge of activities, Three web browsers, Two-way sync to mobile on the road and a database full of customers and leads

 

Backup Act! CRM Data to the Cloud with @Dropbox as a Service

Dropbox-Cloud-Storage-ServiceA couple of years ago, in an article called Taking your ACT! on Holiday, I discussed the use of Dropbox to help with off-site backups. One of the issues with this is that Dropbox only uploads the files when you’re logged into the system and that means it’s not a great option for backing up the database on your server.

A little research and some testing later, and I have the solution for you –

Run Dropbox as a Windows service


What this means is that, when Windows is running, Dropbox will also be running without you needing to be logged in to the server. The benefit of this is that Dropbox will be able to keep uploading backups created by the Act! Scheduler to the cloud.

So, how do we go about this? Well, we need to install Dropbox and set it up as a service.

Setting up

  1. Log into your Windows Server as a local administrator
  2. Download the Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit, which you can download from:
    https://www.microsoft.com/en-au/download/details.aspx?id=17657 
    Note: There isn’t a later version of the Resource Kit. Don’t worry about that if on 2008
    You just need the files INSTSRV.EXE and SRVANY.EXE from this kit
  3. Install the Server Resource Kit or just copy the two files (INSTSRV and SRVANY) to:
    C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Resource Kits\Tools
    Note: You only need the two files mentioned.
    They can be in any folder – I’ve used the location from the default install. If you change the location, you’ll need to adjust those paths in a few spots.
  4. Download Dropbox from: https://db.tt/82ZOShy 

Install and setup Dropbox

  1. Install Dropbox as per normal
  2. Select a folder for Dropbox to use – I prefer not to use the user folder for this, so create C:\Dropbox or add a Dropbox folder to your Data folder on the local system.
    You’ll set the Act! Scheduler to save the backups into this folder (or a sub-folder)

    Dropbox-Folder
  3. Open the Dropbox Preferences, by clicking on the icon in the SysTray, and turn off
    • Show desktop notifications
    • Start Dropbox on system startup

    Dropbox Prefs
  4. Exit Dropbox from the SysTray

    Dropbox-exit

Setting up the Service

  1. There are two options here, depending on which Operating System you’re using:
    • If Windows 2003 or 2008,
      Open a command prompt, change directory to
      C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit\
      and type:
      instsrv Dropbox "c:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Resource Kits\Tools\srvany.exe"
      If it worked, you should get: The service was successfully added! .
    • If Windows 2008 R2, open an elevated command prompt (Run As Administrator) and type:
      sc create Dropbox binPath= "C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit\srvany.exe" DisplayName= "Dropbox Service"
      If all ok, you’ll get: [SC] CreateService SUCCESS.
  2. Next open the Services applet – Start > Run > services.msc
  3. Scroll to the Dropbox item in the list. Right-click and select Properties
  4. Switch to the “Log On” tab
  5. Click “This account”, and enter an Admin account with Full Access to the Dropbox folder. Set the appropriate password for that account.
  6. Click Apply
  7. Switch back to the “General” tab
  8. Change “Startup type” to Automatic
  9. Click Apply and OK
  10. If this is the first time you have done this procedure for the administrator user, you may get an notification saying that the “Administrator user has been granted log on as service rights”.
    DO NOT START THE SERVICE AT THIS TIME.
    Dropbox-serv
  11. Next is to set up some registry settings for the service. Open the registry editor
    Start > Run > regedit
  12. Navigate to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Dropbox
  13. Create a new key “Parameters”
  14. Add a new string value “Application”, (type REG_SZ). Set the value to the path to the dropbox.exe binary.
    Find the location by right clicking the Dropbox icon on the desktop. Select Properties and copy the Target.
    Dropbox-pathDropbox-reg.
  15. Close the Registry Editor
  16. Start the service either from Services.msc or by:
    Run > Net start Dropbox
  17. If you check your Task Manager, you will find both Dropbox and srvany running
    Files saved by you or the Act! Scheduler to this folder should be automatically uploaded.

Important Notes and References

Please post in the comments if you have any questions.

 

What’s new in Act! v17 – with KB links and videos #ActCRM

Say hello to Act! v17, the newest and most intelligent version of the #1 best-selling contact and customer manager. With enhancements to integration and automation, it's easier than ever to turn your marketing efforts into successful sales.Swiftpage box pair rgb

Act! v17 is not just fixes – there are significant enhancements that make it easier than ever to turn your marketing efforts into successful sales.  With the new enhancements to integration and automation, it’s easier than ever to turn your marketing efforts into successful sales. Finally – sales process meets nurture marketing.

Grow and connect with your audience – the newly enhanced, intelligent, integrated Act! emarketing experience helps you attract new customers and get more from existing relationships. Optimize your workforce and drive productivity with enhancements that help you save time and stay organized, including a dynamic view of all your contact interactions with Contact Timeline, new Smart Task automation, and numerous usability, installation, and configuration improvements.

 

Discover the new, modern look of Act!

Act! v17Marketplace

  • Easily access resources, tools, and a variety of apps that help you get more out of your solution.
  • Explore the new look of Act! – updated icons, colours, and layouts help you navigate more easily, save time, and focus on what’s important.
  • Explore the new look of Act! – updated icons, colours, and layouts help you navigate more easily, save time, and focus on what’s important.
    Easily access a variety of apps, right from within the integrated Act! marketplace, that help extend the power and possibilities of your Act! solution – including dozens of premium apps for integrated accounting, data management and reporting, plus, exclusive discounts for Business Care Members!
  • Get the most out of Act! with helpful tips, access to webinars and tutorials, and updates on the latest news from Act! from the new Act! Welcome Page.
Modern Look Knowledgebase Articles
Modern Look Videos

To be added

 

Enhanced Act! emarketing

Act! eMarketing

  • Enhanced Act! emarketing fuses your marketing and sales efforts together for individuals and now teams, by automating key follow-up activities driven by intelligence from campaigns and web forms.
  • Easily create simple web forms to capture leads from webpages, newsletters, emails, and more with Act! Lead Capture, now included with Act! emarketing!
  • Create, send, and track professional, eye-catching email campaigns that reach customers and prospects with the right message at the right time.
  • Know who to follow up with first with intelligent, prioritized Call Lists that close the gap between Marketing and Sales.
  • Find your best emarketing fit, with a new tier designed for teams, including additional contacts, Call List, and multiple profiles for sending email campaigns on behalf of your company, department, or individual team members.
  • Save time by automating key follow-up activities based on dynamic criteria you define, with new Smart Task options for Act! emarketing – such as automatically sending an email to welcome a new customer, scheduling activities to follow up with hot leads, and assigning contacts to a new owner.
  • NOTE: Act! emarketing Features are subscription-based services, Additional Fees apply
Act! emarketing Knowledgebase Articles
Act! emarketing Videos
Getting Started With Act! emarketing
Get to Know Act! emarketing
Sending Emails
Editing Templates
Getting Leads Using Lead Capture

 

Optimize your workforce and drive productivity with enhancements to save time and stay organized

v17Contacts Screenshot

  • Now you can view all your interactions with a particular contact at a glance, with a new interactive visual timeline that helps you prepare for and personalize your customer interactions.
  • New Outlook sync options allow you the choice of 1-way sync of your Act! Contacts and Calendar to Outlook, 2-way sync information back to Act!, or to keep both separate.
  • Update contact records on-the-go, with new Act! Premium Mobile photo and document attachments.
  • Easily link documents from popular business tools such as Dropbox, SharePoint, iCloud, Google Docs and more, to contact records in Act!
  • Take advantage of new Smart Task options for sending Act! emarketing messages, assigning activities, and contact owner reassignment that give you powerful automation, so you don’t miss a beat.
Productivity Knowledgebase Articles
Productivity Videos

To be added

Get more done with streamlined configuration and access options

  • Make sure more of your team is in-the-know – create read-only licenses for additional members of your business or team – at no extra charge!
  • Easily create and distribute Act! Premium for Web remote databases and offline clients, directly via your web browser.
  • Improved global preference management allows you to automatically deploy, activate, and customize default user preferences for multiple users in a snap. Thus allowing you to set up instances quickly and easily.
  • Hide inactive users from drop-downs to help speed up data entry.
  • Seamlessly import contacts from CSV files to Act! Premium for Web.
  • Behind-the-scenes performance and usability enhancements for peace of mind.
  • Automated silent install for larger deployments and enhancements to Global Preferences – all designed to help your efficiency.
Configuration and Access Knowledgebase Articles
Configuration and Access Videos

To be added

 

Other Information

 

Act! Fanatics Club–Viability Survey #ActStory @ActStory

 

Some time ago, I was looking at setting up an Act! Fanatics Club (click on the link for more details) – well, the time to look into this has come.

Take-the-surveyI would really appreciate it if you would fill out this short Viability Survey - http://www.swiftpageemail.com/survey/ActFanaticsSurvey1

From this, we can determine how many of you are interested and what topics we should focus on.

This survey is open to Swiftpage staff, Act! Consultants, Act! users and potential users.

Please fill it n this week and share with anyone you think may be interesting.

Thank you,

Mike Lazarus
Act! Evangelist