Third update since last week's #ActCRM v19 release.

Flame 3 digit phone wallpaperUpdate 3 is being rolled out now via the Act! notifications and slipstreamed into new installs. It’s quite the mess. So far, I can’t see a published Knowledgebase article on what it fixes and it's not on the downloads page yet.

  • It notifies the user that there is a new update.
  • When the user clicks on the toaster message they just get told they need to be an administrator
  • So, you open Act! as an administrator, but there’s no obvious method to "Check for Updates"
  • You need to select "Act! Notifications" from under the Help Menu
  • It informs you that it updates the database when opened with this update, but the database version in Actdiag doesn't change. So you can't easily tell which databases might have been updated. Edit: It doesn’t seem to actually update the database with this update

According to Swiftpage’s President and COO, Lorcan Malone, they supposedly held held off on releasing v19 till January to ensure stability and avoid exactly this type of mess. Makes you wonder if the Product Manager in charge of version 19 has stayed on holiday – Or should have stayed there.

Makes you also wonder how many more updates it will take before they start addressing some of the serious issues with this release that adds nothing new and is essentially just bug fixes

 

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What’s coming in Act! v19 – Good, bad or very ugly? #ActCRM

Act! Logo

 

As Swiftpage is expected to release Version 19 of Act! this week, I thought I’d post a summary of what to expect with this release.

Update 13th January 2016 with first look opinion on the Act! Companion.

64-bit MS-Office Compatibility

Microsoft OfficeAct! will now work with 64-bit versions of some Microsoft Office applications: 
Outlook, Word and Excel. While their marketing is making claims about Act! being “64-bit compatible”, it’s just the MS-Office integration that has changed.

It has taken a long time for Swiftpage to do this. However, I have found several disappointing bugs with the new version, with both 64-bit and 32-bit versions of Office 2016.

These include incorrect handling of international data and some functions just crash and kick you out of Act!

Swiftpage have decided they don’t want to hear about bugs I uncover, so I’m not aware if they even know about these, yet. I will provide more details in a future post.

At this time, I would avoid upgrading to version 19 if Office integration is important to you.

Act! Companion mobile app*

Act! Companion mobile app

I haven’t had access to this product to test, so I don’t know how reliable it is.
Certainly the functionality of it doesn’t come close to Handheld Contact.

Here’s a screen shot and summary from their marketing guff:

Act! Companion mobile app - screen shotStay connected to key Act! Premium details when on the move with Act! Companion — a native mobile app designed for your iPhone® or Android™

  • Contact, activities and history are available. Users get alerted when new contacts, activities or history items are created.
  • Capture notes during meetings
  • Email or call your Act! Premium contacts from the app
  • Do work in a social way with @mentions and simple text updates
  • Intelligent notifications sent directly to the home screen of your phone keep you on task and on time

They say it will support iOS versions 9.x and up, and Android Lollipop, KitKat, and Marshmallow

Their marketing acknowledges that this doesn’t have the functionality to replace their Act! Premium Mobile product.

Update after some testing:

  • When the Login fails, it gives no indication of why
  • The fields are not named the same as they are in Act!, causing confusion.
  • The buttons are very small and not easy to select
  • Search doesn’t seem to work
  • Most of my activities aren’t showing
  • Notifications don’t show enough detail to let you know what the activity actually is
  • The adding of History, add a To-Do with a Blank Regarding

I honestly can’t believe that anyone who uses Act! actually tested this in beta. It’s not release quality.

Additionally, It requires the v19 WebAPI, which has some serious security implications that I’ll be blogging on in the future. I don’t recommend installing or using the WebAPI at this time.

Note: This feature will only be available to Premium subscribers. Users of Pro won’t have it.

Act! Premium Contact Link*

I’m not sure why Swiftpage list this as a new feature.
This is NOT something new for v19 as it has already been available in v18 Premium

Act! Premium Contact in Outlook Act! Premium Contact in Outlook

The functions included are:

  • Create new Act! Premium contacts or edit existing ones. But it doesn’t correctly handle international data and only lets you add/edit a very small range of fields
  • You can schedule new activities with the contacts – But only if you are scheduling To-dos.
  • You can view some of the history of the contacts
  • Attach the text of an Outlook email to contacts – With less functionality than the normal Outlook integration.

While it does look pretty, it is at best a proof concept idea and not ready for prime time
It’s slow, clumsy and lacks functionality available in the standard Outlook integration for Act!.
I’d guess that no-one that really uses Act! had a hand in it’s design.
Which sadly seems common for functions that Swiftpage have been adding.

It requires the v18 or v19 WebAPI, which has some serious security implications that I’ll be blogging on in the future. I don’t recommend installing or using the WebAPI at this time.

Note: This feature is only be available to Premium subscribers. Users of Pro won’t have it.

Act! emarketing improvements

Swiftpage have made the following improvements to their Act! emarketing

  • Send Act! emarketing campaigns up to 5 times faster
  • Campaign management improvements:
    • Get instant feedback on your current Act! emarketing service level before sending email campaigns
    • Quickly and easily see email campaign history for a given contact
    • Don’t worry about accidental sends! A send confirmation dialog will now check to make sure you’re ready to send an email campaign
  • Enhanced send email campaign dialog - See live details about your contact limit, usage this month, and new recipients
  • Campaign history overwrite creates and updates one history entry

The Act! emarketing product still has a very long way to go in order to match competitive products like MailChimp (which can be integrated with Act!), or even their own (seemingly forgotten) Swiftpage emarketing for Act!.

The only reason to not consider a better emarketing system is if you’re only using Act! Premium Web.
The Act! emarketing product is the only one that currently works with the web version.

Customer-­driven feature enhancements

Swiftpage’s marketing lists a section called “Customer-­driven feature enhancements”. It’s a shame that they don’t listen to customers with their other features.

  • Refreshed standard reports with some minor improvements. There is hope that they’ll be adding integration with Microsoft’s Power BI sometime in the future to add the type of reporting functionality that users really need.
  • Added more functions to the Web and Cloud versions, that were previously only in the Windows desktop product:
    • Scan for duplicates
    • Formatting toolbar in the Layout Designer
  • Defects fixed. You can see an extensive list of fixes listed in this Act! Knowledgebase Article: What's new in Act! v19

Final Comment

All in all, it’s a pretty poor effort of an upgrade. More like an 18.5 than a v19. While there is an extensive list of bug-fixes, it seems the new functions have added plenty of bugs of their own.

I’d strongly advise holding off any upgrades unless you require integration with 64-bit Office. Sadly, those using Swiftpage’s Cloud product won’t have an option as their Cloud is likely to be updated on the first weekend after release.

Also, as I stated above, I’d avoid installing WebAPI, at least until Swiftpage chooses to address the security issues in it. They also really need to improve it’s functionality to be close to what’s been available for a long time with the Act! SDK such as UI modifications and the creation/using of custom tables.

I find it very saddening to see, after 30 years I have supported the product, that what is essentially a set of bug fixes is masquerading as a “new” version.

 

New versions of Handheld Contact for #ActCRM and a special

logo2

Handheld Contact is very pleased to announce new releases for Android and iOS (iPhones and iPads).

* See the bottom of this article for a special December-only offer

This is a list of functions that have been added, or are planned to be added very soon to both OS versions:

  • User Interface enhancements to further replicate the Act! experience on the mobile
  • NEW Home screen for easy access to popular Handheld Contact features.
  • NEW “Searches” feature that allows mobile users to create look-ups with up to ten fields, and save them for later use.
  • Send e-mail blasts from Handheld Contact to your Searches and let Handheld Contact effortlessly create History records for you.
  • NEW “Favourites” button that allows users to quickly access the contacts they call most, while preserving the Act! History tracking they’ve come to rely on
  • Download free app for Business Card Scanning (Camcard.com) to creates contacts in native address from a photo of the business card, and then use the new HHC Contact Importer to import that new contact into Handheld Contact, and then sync to Act!.
  • You can also use the new HHC Contact Importer to capture any contacts that are only in your native contact list on your iPhone/iPad, and import them into Handheld Contact, which will then create a new record for them in ACT once the syncing process has taken place.
  • History items now give you a warning to check the details before saving.
  • NEW Reschedule button has been added to Activities.
  • When dialling extensions, you can choose if you want a 3-second pause before automatically dialling extensions, or if you’d like to tap to dial the extension. This can be changed under Settings > Contacts > Extension
  • Monthly calendar fills screen width-wise on portrait mode.
  • Task List date filter has been moved from settings to the Task List, accessed via a funnel icon.

    When scheduling an Activity, the Timeless button is easier to press on some devices.

    Have a look at these videos, to see these in operation:

    Handheld contact v3.0 for Android

    Handheld Contact v7.0 for iOS (iPhone and iPad)

    Special Offer for December Only

    act4outlook

    ‘Tis the season for giving!

     

    With the new releases of Handheld Contact, the biggest upgrade in years for HHC users, what better way to say thank you to new Handheld Contact customers than to bundle their subscription with the new “Act4outlook” – a terrific enhancement to your desktop integration of Act! & Outlook.

    Act4outlook is an Actcessory designed to enhance your Act!-Outlook integration needs, while breaking the shackles of the performance sucking Act!/Outlook Address Book. Finally you can disable the Address book integration between Act! & Outlook, without compromising the email History attaching your business relies on. Act4outlook passively attaches all outbound Outlook email to the appropriate contact History quickly, and provides enhanced options for creating contacts & activities from your Outlook inbox.

    Act4Outlook includes the following features:

    • Send Outlook contacts to Act! by simply right clicking one or more contacts from your address book.
    • Send an email from Outlook (even with Act! closed), and it will be attached to the matching record in Act! within a second.
    • Disable the Act-Outlook address book integration that so often slows down computers, and get all the functionality back with Act4outlook. Select an email and automatically convert it to a Contact or Activity, but in a way that is faster than ever before.
    • Link Contacts to Companies, Groups, or Opportunities after sending to Act.
    • Send one or more Activities to Act! from your Outlook calendar.
    • Select an email in your inbox, and click on "Go to Contact", and Act4Outlook will find the matching contact in your Act! database.
    • Act4outlook reduces duplication by keeping track of previously imported activities. If an activity is updated in Outlook with new data, simply re-send the activity to Act which will update the previously imported Act activity.
    • Attach one or more email messages directly to Contacts, Groups, Companies, or Opportunities. Linking the email to more than one type of record at a time does not create a duplicate entry in the Act attachments folder.

    More information on the Act4outlook page

    That is why we're offering all Handheld Contact customers this new Actcessory for FREE with each new subscription from now until the end of this year.

    For clarity, any Handheld Contact customer that either signed up new or added a new subscription (excluding renewals) in December 2016 will be eligible for this promotion, and receive Act4outlook for free (a $25USD value).

    Happy Holidays from your friends at Handheld Contact and GL Computing

     

  • Some Handheld Contact for Act! tips #ActCRM

    Hansheld Contact for Act! CRM - iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry

     

    Recently, I’ve been asked a few common questions about Handheld Contact, so I thought I would put them all in this single article.

    First, a couple of worthwhile articles to read:

     

    How to upgrade to the current version of Handheld Contact?

     

    Updating the HHC console on the PC/Server

    If there is a later version, here are the steps needed to update the PC/Server HHC console:

    If you are unable to access Handheld Contact on the PC or server, go directly to http://www.handheldcontact.com/downloads.php to obtain the latest installer for your version of Act!

    1. Open Handheld Contact on your computer or server.
    2. Once you are in Handheld Contact click on Help-->Check for Updates
      A pop-up should be displayed on the bottom right of the screen.
      If it says:  "Download available click here to download" click on it.
      If the pop-up does not appear, see above to obtain upgrade install file.
    3. You will be taken to the Handheld Contact Downloads page (mentioned above).
    4. On the downloads page click on the Act! version that matches your installed database.  If you do not know this, open Act! first and click on 'Help' and choose 'About Act!'.
    5. Download file "HHC-3_x_x_x.exe" (for Act! 12.0/2010 to Act! 14.0/2012) or "HHC-4_x_x_x.exe" (for Act! 15.0/2013 and higher) and save it to the desktop.
    6. Once the file has been downloaded close the Handheld Contact application on the Desktop/Server (if it is still open).  It cannot be running while the upgrade is started.
    7. Find the HHC-3_x_x_x.exe (or HHC-4_x_x_x.exe) file and run it.  When prompted, choose yes to update 3.x.x.x (or 4.x.x.x) to this version.
    8. Once the install has completed, click Finish and Handheld Contact should open automatically.
    9. Then click Maintenance-->Synchronize Users, select the checkbox beside all users accounts and then hit Sync Now. This will take some time to send the current Act! data to each of the devices.

    Updating HHC on the mobile device

    Apple iOS - Includes iPhone and iPad

    In order to upgrade the software on this device, you must do it through the 'App Store'.

    1. Open Safari.
    2. Go to: www.handheldcontact.com/ota 
      This will redirect you to the Handheld Contact app on the Apple App Store.
    3. You can also go directly to App Store and click on 'Updates'.
      Click on Handheld Contact Professional, then click on 'Update'.
    4. Enter the Apple ID and then the download/upgrade will begin.
    5. No reboot is required.

    Android

    Upgrading Handheld Contact will be performed through Google Play.

    1. Go to www.handheldcontact.com/ota on your device's default Internet browser
      This will re-direct you to Handheld Contact on Google Play.
    2. If not, go directly to the Google Play Store and search for 'Handheld Contact'. 
      From there you can press 'Upgrade'.
    3. You may be required to enter your username/password for Google Play.
    4. No reboot is required.

    Note: For Android users there is an option for 'Allow automatic updating'.  This is found within the Google Play Store when viewing Handheld Contact (after installation).  If this option is selected, then the upgrade will take place automatically.

    BlackBerry 10

    1. On the BlackBerry 10 device, open the Browser icon.
    2. Go to: www.handheldcontact.com/ota 
      This will re-direct you to the Handheld Contact app on BlackBerry World.
    3. Select Download/Upgrade button in the top right to begin the process of upgrading.
      This will overwrite the previous version installed.No reboot is required.

    What are the default fields that sync with Handheld Contact?

    Below is a listing of all the default fields that sync with Handheld Contact Professional.  You have the ability to add up to 42 more custom fields.  The total number of fields that will sync are 73.

    Company
    First Name
    Last Name
    Title
    Department
    E-Mail
    Personal Email
    Phone
    Extension
    Fax Phone
    Home Phone
    Mobile Phone
    Pager
    Alternate Phone
    Alternate Extension
    Address 1
    Address 2
    Address 3
    City State
    ZIP Code
    Country
    Spouse
    Home Address 1
    Home City
    Home State
    Home Zip Code
    Home Country
    Web Site
    ID/Status
    Last Results

    How many characters can sync in a field between  Act! and a handheld device?

    When making changes in Act! and syncing to the device (or back to Act!), Handheld Contact has some character limitations (including spaces) that must be met.  Please see below.

    Syncing from ACT! to device:

    • Activity Regarding Field - 256 characters.
    • Activity Details Field - 985 characters before truncation - HHC will show "(Truncated)(RO)" - 'RO' meaning Read Only.
    • Notes - 1500 characters.
    • History Regarding - 256 characters.
    • History Details - 985 Plus HHC will show "(Truncated)(RO)" - 'RO' meaning Read Only.
    • Contact Character Field - 450 character MAX due to Act! limit.  Go to Tools - Define Fields to determine field max limit.
    • Contact Memo Field - 236 characters before truncation - HHC will show "(Truncated)(RO)" - 'RO' meaning Read Only.
    • Contact Location Field - 128 characters.

    Syncing from device to Act!:

    • Activity Regarding Field - 256 characters.
    • Activity Details Field - 1000 characters.
    • Notes - 1000 characters for iOS devices, 1500 for Android/BlackBerry devices.
    • History Regarding - 256 characters.
    • History Details - 1000 characters for iOS devices, 1500 for Android/BlackBerry devices.
    • Contact Character Field - 450 character MAX due to ACT! limit.  Go to Tools - Define Fields to determine field max limit.
    • Contact Memo Field - 236 characters.  Handheld Contact on device does not limit what can be entered into the field but if you exceed the max, the contact changes do not sync into Act! and no errors are produced.

    Most Common Issues with Handheld Contact

     

    Desktop/Server (console) application:

      1. Error message when syncing: "Communication with sync engine failed! The syncing process has been aborted! HHC Service is not running or doesn’t have the required permissions". Click here for solution.
      2. Message Queuing Service is not installed.  The error message is "Unhandled Exception occurred: Message Queuing is not installed or running on this PC".  Click here for solution.
      3. Logon Error when attempting to sync.  Error is "The user: {ACT NAME} failed to log on to the ACT! database: {DATABASE NAME}".  Click here for solution
      4. Cannot get beyond "Act! Administrator" screen on set up. Click here for solution
      5. Upgrading the desktop software.  Click here for solution.

    iPhone/iPad:

      1. Getting caller ID on device by exporting Contacts. Click here for solution.
      2. Handheld Contact on the iPhone/iPad unexpectedly closes.  Click here for solution
      3. Close Handheld Contact and restart it properly.  Click here for solution.
      4. The Contacts, Task List and Calendar icons are not available on the device.  Click here for solution.
      5. Syncing with both iPhone and iPad.  Click here for solution.
      6. Upgrading the device software.  Click here for solution.

    What’s New in Act! v18.2

    Act-newlogo

     

    Web API and Integrations


    Act! Connect Link

    A new service that unlocks the power of the Web API for Act! Premium desktop/on-premise users. Provides meaningful integrations with no complicated setup, just install and go!

    • Doesn’t require Act! Premium for Web, a dedicated web server, or special configuration, removing any setup barriers to using the Web API
    • A link to install the Act! Connect Link is included on the Act! Premium CD Browser
    • A prompt to install the Act! Connect Link will also appear on completion of the Act! Premium installation process
    • The in-product Act! connect page shows the service URL which can be used to set up new integrations

    Subscription Entitlement for the Web API

    New entitlement check ensures that the Web API is a benefit exclusively available to Act! subscribers
    • Access to the Web API is disabled if an active subscription or Business Care contract is not found

    Subscription Entitlement for the Act! Connect View

    New entitlement check ensures that connections using the Web API are a benefit exclusively to Act! subscribers
    • A different Act! Connect page view is provided if an active subscription or Business Care contract is not found

    New User Permission for Web API

    New user permission provides Act! administrators with control over how the Web API and integrations are used in their business
    • A new database permission is available for Act! Web API
    • Can be added/removed on Standard and Manager level users
    • Users without this permission will be unable to connect to the API, great news for businesses wishing to manage their integrations centrally

    Windows/Web Parity Improvements


    Manage Opportunity Process list

    Greatly improves the usability of opportunities for users of the web client, by allowing them to manage opportunity processes.
    • A new option for Manage Processes is available within Tools > Define Fields for web users.

    Manage Opportunity Product list

    Extends the usability of opportunities for users of the web client, by allowing them to manage opportunity products
    • A new option for Manage Products is available within Tools > Define fields for web users

    Copy/Move Contact Data

    Provides web users with the tools they need to manage the integrity of their data, and more effectively deal with duplicate records.
    • A new option for Copy/Move Contact Data is available from the Tools menu

    Act! emarketing Enhancements


    New user permission for Emarketing send
    Provides Act! administrators with control over who can send an Act! emarketing campaign
    • A new database permission is available for Emarketing Send
    • Can be added/removed on Standard and Manager level users
    • Removing the permission makes all Send Campaign options unavailable

    Configure who can use Sender Profiles
    Provides Act! administrators with control over who can use each sender profile they create.
    • A new area appears under Tools > Manage Sender Profiles to specify which users are allowed to send using the selected profile.

     

    Localized Releases

    French, German, and French-Canadian
    We are pleased to announce that these localized releases of Act! will also be available at the same time as our International English release!

    Defects closed in Act! v18.2

    • D-04544 ActDiag - Clear Out Licenses not working
    • D-04592 APC - Trial mode web.config entries contain unsecure references to buy now
    • D-04518 APFW/APC - Returned to login screen when switching between companies.
    • D-04533 APFW/Chrome - Custom date range option is missing from web task list/history list when using Chrome.
    • D-04532 APFW - Export to Excel in Opportunities not exporting correct list.
    • D-04562 APFW - Cannot multi select on history list.
    • D-04413 Groups - Lead capture Tab - Rename "Lead Capture" Tab to " Web forms" in Windows and web for Int Eng, FRE, CFR, DE
    • D-04297 Opportunities slow to save after upgrade to v18.
    • D-04515 APFW - Opportunity Lookup icon is disabled
    • D-04530 APFW/Chrome - Selecting custom date range just shows today.
    • D-04531 APFW - Attempting to set a custom date range causes APFW to hang in IE.
    • D-04542 APFW/Chrome - Second opportunity being created when adding product to an opportunity in Chrome if done from the drop down menu.
    • D-04541 LC - Applying changes made in Preferences gives Object Reference error
    • D-04513 APFW - After selecting a Favorite Report, the lower grid blanks out.
    • D-04523 APC - Non-Secure content prompt for IE11 when navigating to APC Logon page
    • D-04524 APC - Non-Secure content prompt for IE11 when navigating to Opportunity List View
    • D-04525 APC - Non-Secure content prompt for IE11 when navigating to Group List View
    • D-04527 APFW - Default Web Info links need to be secure.

    Note: For additional defects that have been closed in additional updates, refer to the following knowledgebase article:
    What issues have been fixed in Act! updates?
    Answer ID 36573