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Curtain goes up on new ACT

It's one of CRM's longest running shows. Now, Best Software has rewritten the 17-year-old ACT contact management application and rolled out a new edition.

Best Software Inc. today rolled out two new versions of its popular ACT contact management application for small businesses, including the first edition designed for workgroups.

ACT 2005 and ACT 2005 Premium for Workgroups both feature new end-user customization options, such as the ability to add custom fields and custom calendar views, as well as change navigation bars. In addition, a quoting component lets users upload contact data into Microsoft Excel to generate a proposal that can be faxed or e-mailed.

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Other enhancements include new list options for viewing opportunities and the ability to manage company contacts. Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Best will also provide additional software development kits to partners and end-user companies interested in creating ACT add-ons.

Best is calling the updates the most significant in ACT's 17-year history. It rewrote both versions of ACT on Microsoft's .NET platform and built them on a Microsoft SQL back end. The premium edition includes one SQL license with each purchase.

ACT 2005 Premium also supports large contact lists without losing speed, especially during searches. It also syncs users' ACT calendars, letting employees see their co-workers' availability for meetings.

Plus, the premium edition lets users better define who has access to specific contacts and adds new user roles, ranging from casual browsing rights up to administration privileges.

Best decided to add the premium edition for two reasons: to satisfy the needs of its estimated 300,000 users working in companies with more than 100 employees and to bring ACT closer in line with Best's higher-end CRM software, ACCPAC and SalesLogix.

ACT 2005 lists for $229.99 per user. The premium edition costs $399.99.

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