The announcements are out. The Sage website is updated. It's Happening! Actually, it has happened! And now I am frequently being asked my opinion, so here it is (in short)...
For the last few years, Swiftpage has been "integrated" within ACT! as the e-marketing platform.
I am using Swiftpage with ACT! to send my clients correspondence.
I believe that this new ownership of ACT! will be extremely positive
for ACT! users: Swiftpage will offer a focus and synergy that will benefit everyone. You may be asking yourself, "So AGAIN, Why Do I Care Who Owns ACT!?
"Because Small Businesses Understand Small Businesses!
Small businesses offer a seemingly infinite variety of products and services, but small businesses have a common denominator:
They have to find the most cost efficient, effective manner to get things done
or they simply cannot survive long term!
Regardless of if you sell services or widgets, all
small businesses suffer the challenges of marketing, organizing leads, follow-up, juggling the phone calls, etc.
That's where ACT! comes in: Gather all your leads in one place, and you save yourself the frustration of sorting through piles of business cards and/or post-it notes, scraps of paper, and so on...
But then the electronic age also presented us with the use of e-mail, and then problem of SPAM. (Here is a little article on why you need an e-mail marketing program
) That's where Swiftpage came in.The two, together, are simply better than the sum of their parts.
Now, why is Swiftpage a better owner for ACT! than Sage?
Sage is a big company. Swiftpage is much smaller. ACT! was built for small businesses. Small businesses understand small businesses, and Swiftpage understands ACT!
Yes, any good excuse to get me back on my soap box ;-)
I see so many times, that when we need a backup, something went wrong. We figured our backup system was backing it up (but ACT! backs up differently so whatever backup system needs the right kind of file to backup, so we can easily restore the database.) Or maybe we just figured "auto-pilot" was good enough? Or maybe we're just busy and we forgot?
So let's stop what we're doing, and do ourselves a favor! You must have the Administrator or Manager User Role to backup your database, so if you do not, then pass this to someone who does.
From the Tools menu, select "ACT! Scheduler". This will open a window that shows Tasks that have been created. (If noting is listed, see this article on my blog
about backups and specifically how to schedule a backup.)
Now select "View Task Log"...
This will open another window, that will show you scheduled tasks and their status: This should show you a decent amount of useful information, like the database name, the database host computer name, user name, location of your backup, etc...
But what you really need to see, is that the Type of Event is "Backup with Attachments", and the Result is Task Completed with "Errors: None"!
If you see an error or incomplete task, check the blog article linked above, check the ACT! Help Menu, check the Sage ACT! Knowledgebase, google it, call me… DO SOMETHING TO FIX IT!!
And replace the batteries in your carbon monoxide detector too ;-)
I often find Sage ACT! users whose layout lacks the usual buttons, and text does not properly fit within the designated area on the layout. When I check, I find that the screen resolution is set to 125% or 150%, or the "DPI" is set to something other than the default.
Very few people have 20/20 vision (without glasses or contacts). A significant portion of us have "aging eyesight". And a lot of us work long hours and our eyes just get tired! We need to see our computers and the data on the screen, so we change the settings so we can!
We can see our computer screen in a more ideal manner, but that generates a new problem: Our ACT! layout "loses" certain things. We simply have to "pick our poison", but this may help:
We can set the font size on a "per program basis", allowing ACT! to be "normal". With your screen resolution is set to 100% and from within ACT!, you can change the ACT! fonts as follows:
| || |
From the Tools menu,
This will open a new window,
and several tabs will be
available: Select the 2nd tab
from the left, "Colors & Fonts".
The next window will allow you
to select (#1) the view you wish
to change, and (#2) the characteristics
of that view.
Just press that little "Font" button and you have a good number
of options for the Font, Style, and Size...
While it is NOT ideal that each View has to be set
individually (there is no universal selection),
this does allow you to set only what you use:
You do not have to reset everything that you don't use.
Once you make any changes, be sure to select "Apply",
and then OK so your changes will be saved.
The bad news is that now your other programs are
"back to normal":
They too, have to be set individually...
And that "opens a whole new can of worms'.
At this point in time, many of us have computers running 64-bit operating systems, so it initially seems logical to go with the 64-bit version of Microsoft Office. Then we install ACT! and we receive an ugly error!
In short, here
is Microsoft's word on who should use 32-bit Office:
The 32-bit version of Office 2010 is the recommended option for most people, because it prevents potential compatibility issues with other 32-bit applications, specifically third-party add-ins that are available only for 32-bit operating systems."
is the word from Sage on 32-bit Office:
"Currently, Sage ACT! does not
support the 64-bit version of Office 2010, only the 32-bit version. However, Sage ACT! and the 32-bit version of Office 2010 can be successfully installed and integrated on the 64-bit versions of Windows Vista®, Windows 7, or Server 2008 operating systems."
As more programs become available in 64-bit, I suspect ACT! will too. For now, we must wait ;-(
Some days things just don't go as planned. We all have those days, and sometimes several of those days run together!
What do you do when you attempt to sync your remote database, but it fails?
The first thing to try is to simply go to the Publisher (main) Database, and verify that “Accept Incoming Syncs” is enabled.
While it was previously enabled and working, sometimes it stops. This could be due to a number of things (electrical surge, system downloading automatic updates, etc.), but I think this most often happens due to
“Computer Gremlins” (Hey, I saw the movie: Someone fed them after
Whatever the reason, from your Tools menu in the Publisher Database, notice“Synchronize Database”, and “Accept Incoming Syncs”.
“Accept Incoming Syncs” will have a checkmark on the left if it is already enabled, or it will NOT have a checkmark if it is NOT enabled.
If “Accept Incoming Syncs” in the Publisher Database already shows a checkmark on the left, then that was not the problem so further troubleshooting is needed. If you are technical and have the time, great. If not, contact me through the contact page on this website: I normally respond in a timely manner (but I don't publish my number so I don't get electronic 3am calls!)
If it was not checked and you selected it, you should be in luck! Now return to the remote database and attempt to sync...
Sage ACT! backs up in a much different manner than other programs, and I have seen more than one failure. "Anything goes wrong, anything at all... your fault, my fault, nobody's fault... it won't matter" and you have a significant problem. So let's understand the process, and then how to prevent a problem!
Foremost, we must understand that your normal system back up and restore will not give you the proper tool (zip file of your database) to restore to a new computer in the event of a loss. Even if you back up your entire computer to Carbonite, SOS, an external drive, or some other external location, you cannot restore your database without an ACT! back up file (zip file generated from within ACT!). An ACT! back up file is generated in a different manner than a regular back up, and from within ACT!
ACT! has built in security features preventing just anyone from copying your database, thus an ACT! user with the User Role of Administrator is the only one who can back up and restore a database on a new computer. You must back up ACT! from within ACT!, manually or in an automated manner on a schedule.
By default, ACT! will back up to a Back Up file on the same drive and within the same file path as your database. This makes it easy to find, however, there are certain times where this could go wrong. For example, if your drive crashes, your laptop is stolen or lost, or the building burns down with your computer inside, (if you have no off site or independent copy of your back up,) your back up goes with it and thus your back up does you no good.
Personally, I believe in and I practice redundancy. I live in the "Redundancy Department of Redundancy"!
First, to back up manually:
1. From the File Menu in the top, left of your ACT! screen, select "Back Up" and "Database".
2. A default Back Up file location will show. If you wish to change this, browse to your desired location (flash drive, external drive?) This is where you can rename your back up too.
3. Leave "Include Attachments" checked if you wish attachments to be included, and do not check Password protect file unless you wish to do so.
4. Once you have made your desired selections, select "OK" to proceed.
Second, automated back ups: ACT! has a Scheduler which you can set to automate your back ups on a schedule such as every day or every week.
1. From the Tools menu, select "ACT! Scheduler".
2. This will open a window where in the top, left, select "Create a task".
3. Browse to find the .pad file for the database you wish to back up. Select it, then type in the User name and Password, then Next.
4. Select the Task "Database backup" from the pull down. (At this point, you also have the option to run Database maintenance, but that is another topic.) Select Next.
5. The default settings are usually best: Leave "Include Attachments" checked if you wish attachments to be included, and do not check "Password protect file" unless you wish to do so. Select Next.
6. Select the quantity of backup files you wish to keep. Someone once told me that when you make a copy of something and that copy is damaged, you better have a second copy. Another case for the "Redundancy Department of Redundancy": I stick with the default of "Keep only the last 5 backup files." Again, select Next.
7. Now set the desired days and times: Do you want a back up every day? Every week? How often do you work in your database? How much are you willing to lose?
8. Once you decide, select "Finish".
* While we want to set it and forget it, the integrity of this process must be monitored! To check, go back to the ACT! Scheduler (Tools menu) and select "View Task Log" from the list on the left. Check this regularly and if it's not working as intended, change the settings, call me, or somehow, someway... find a solution!
Ok, that covers "either/or", but it's not completely the "Redundancy Department of Redundancy". Here's what I do:
1. Automated back ups via the ACT! Scheduler on a daily basis, each day around 3am (I'm usually not on my computer at that time ;-)
2. I check the ACT! Scheduler task log at least once a week to make sure it's all working properly.
3. I use SOS online backup that backs up my entire system every day, which should pick up my backup files from the automated backup.
4. I back up ACT! manually at least once a week to a flash drive that lives in a fire safe.
By protecting my database, I protect my ability to communicate with my clients and I protect my income. What's the value of your client base, and what are you doing to protect it?
I am seeing more and more, people who work for a larger corporation, and feel that their professional contacts could easily be taken away! It is sad that company loyalty is a thing of the past, but I truly believe it is.
Mortgage industry professionals, insurance professionals, realtors, recruiters, etc. More and more feel that anything can happen, but their contacts are THEIRS (NOT the company's). I hate to play off of fears, but...
What will happen to your contacts if they are in the corporate database and you are no longer in that corporate environment? Do you have a "No Compete"? Is your contact list proprietary? Would you have the ability to contact the clients with whom you have built a relationship? Could you sell them a new product or service if you went to a new company or went into business yourself?
Sage ACT! has about 3 million users worldwide because it is affordable, and easily customized for specific needs. I have seen it implemented in medium and small companies, and within the "solopreneur's" environment.
If YOU want to keep YOUR contacts, let's talk. Leave a comment, contact me via the Contact Me link, Tweet @BrendaACTsUp, find me on LinkedIn, etc...
ACT! works differently than other programs, and you can't just move the database or a remote database from one computer to another as you move other programs. This is a benefit and a security feature: You must have adequate permissions set within the program to do so! Notwithstanding that, to simply move the primary database to a new computer, you have to create a back-up of the database, then "Restore As" on the new computer.
When a remote database is involved, to move the remote database, you have to either create a new remote database (which ultimately creates a "path of breadcrumbs" back to the "master") or you have to "draw it a map" back to the "master". Here is the Sage knowledgebase article on how to do this, before
you start the move: http://kb.sagesoftwareonline.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/19817/kw/move%20remote%20database
But I normally get the call after the remote database was moved, and time has passed. If you are lucky, you may be able to simply change the name of the computer: http://kb.sagesoftwareonline.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/19817/kw/move%20remote%20database
It may get significantly more technical: You may have to check the port and the IP address... You may have to ping things... http://kb.sagesoftwareonline.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/14590/kw/RDB%20change%20IP%20address%20for%20host
I know some people who would be perfectly comfortable taking that info and diving in. I know others who should not! Prior to diving in to all that, you may wish to call me.
When you send an Activity to a client, the e-mail does automatically include details. You can easily edit the e-mail to include only the details you wish to include, however you cannot change the defaults.
When you clear the activity, be sure to check this box: