Friday, October 08, 2004

Act! Users: Upgrade with caution

As a fan of Act! Contact Management software for over ten years, it pains me to say this, but I don't recommend upgrading to Act! 2005 without careful consideration.

New users to Act! can begin with this new version and work happily for years. In fact if you haven't taken a look at Act!, there's no reason to keep waiting. Outlook doesn't do a fraction of the tasks helping you manage people, time and projects.

But for upgrading users, Act!, now owned by Best Software, has gone through a full make-over, written in MySQL, a structured query language program. The result is the entire program is slower -- slower to open, slower to run. Little things like look-ups went from speedy to poky and display the results in a list so you need to take another step to choose a record.

An important consideration for you is the conversion from earlier versions does not go smoothly, especially for custom fields and custom layouts. Plan on a day or more to complete the migration if your database is highly customized.

For upgraders, there are a few features that are improved: Notes & History are separated, so easier to search. Groups are more useful and flexible. But slower operating speed, difficulty converting AND the fact that you can't go back to the old version are reasons to take a pass on the upgrade.

If I can be of help, you know where to reach me.