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Act! Pro Will Retire Soon

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For decades Act! Software has released an annual version release of the software called Act! Pro. This has been offered to the end-user as a non-subscription, one-time purchase of a particular version of Act! software. In the recent years Act! has offered a subscription to Act! software, which includes entitled access to annual version releases, Act! Technical support, and other ‘subscription-only features’. -click here to see subscription features.  This post serves to inform you of the changes taking place with Act! software and to help make an informative decision for your business moving forward.

On June 30, 2020, sales for Act! Pro will be coming to an end.

This means, starting on July 1, 2020 the only way to purchase Act! moving forward will be a subscription offering.

I’m sure this will raise some questions.  If there is anything you would like to discuss, please leave a message in the comments or you can schedule a call with me here.

What action may Act! Pro users want to take at this time?

  • For users in need of a long-term solution we recommend looking into the Act! subscription offering as there are some concerns for those that wish to use Act! Pro for long-term use. We will highlight these concerns associated with continued use of Act! Pro moving forward further below.
  • Users with older versions of Act! may look to upgrade their existing version to the final version of Act! Pro available while this purchase option is still exists.
  • For those that are currently on a version older than v18 (2016) we HIGHLY RECOMMEND an upgrade of some sort-either a more recent version of Act! Pro (v21/v22) or consider the Act! subscription offer. Note: Versions older than v18 (2016) can no longer be activated. In any event that you need to reinstall the software, you will be unable to activate the license due to the shutdown of the Protexis license service, which was used to the activate Act! license on these versions. This is why we HIGHLY RECOMMEND upgrading your Act! software immediately. Users that wait to address this after June 30th 2020 would result in a subscription.
  • For users with the latest versions – Act! v22, v21, or v20, You may consider adding additional users to their license to allow their business to scale-up for potential business growth. You do not want to be stuck in a position 6 months from now where you must move into a subscription because you are 1-2 users short in your Act! database.

Concerns with Act! Pro Moving Forward:

It is hard to say how long everything would function as expected beyond the end of support of Act! Pro (v21/v22 support ends 6/30/21). Although we don’t envision any issues to immediately occur, we must forewarn you that staying on the Pro platform for long term usage, you are taking a gamble. Once the support date for the Pro has ended, we simply cannot guarantee full functionality of the software. We do not have a crystal ball to see how future releases of Microsoft updates may impact your usage of Act!, but once the software platform is no longer being updated, your software becomes at risk.

If you expect to be working in the year 2030, at some point between now and then, components used will become outdated or go unsupported. This inevitably leads to upgrade your version of your Act! software in order to sustain compatibility and desired functionality. Act! Pro users all have their own upgrade cycle. Upgrades are mostly dictated by changing operating systems, unforeseen issue in need of a supported version, or getting a later version of Microsoft Office or other business tools and needing a compatible version of Act!. We typically see major changes of technology being implemented into the workforce about every 5 years, and most Act! Pro customers upgrade cycle is 3-5 years. Think back to your last upgrade of Act!. Think why the upgrade was needed and how long ago it was. The phrase, “Not if, but when” comes to mind when thinking of the need to upgrade your Act! again.

Best Business Strategies Act! Consultant Recommendation:

For several years in servicing our clients, I have always advised the best, most effective product to our clients as long as it would meet their needs. As a result, most of our end users are using the Pro platform with the knowledge that they are able to continue following their upgrade cycle to get a compatible version at that time. Now that we know there will not be a future release of Pro, my tune has taken a 90-degree turn.

Forget the extra bells and whistles. Unless you are looking to retire in the next 3 years, Act! subscription is well worth the peace of mind to receive continued releases of the software that will guarantee functionality and also include a level of Act! technical support available to you- something that not been included in the Pro platform before.

Act! Subscription is a good choice for the following:

  • Users not looking to retire within the next 3-5 years.
  • Businesses that use Act! as a main cog in operations and plan to use long term. Think of this as Act! insurance.
  • Businesses looking to utilize Email Marketing in their operations.
  • Users with Microsoft Office 365 (Outlook, Excel, or Word) and have a desire to integrate with Act!.
  • Users with a desire to access on mobile device or cloud. (can be installed locally on server/workstations as well)

The Act! Subscription has different offerings and different tier levels available. For information on these different offerings, click here.

If you still wish to remain on the Act! Pro platform
, Here are some things to give thought to:

To maintain functionality best moving forward, it is highly recommended to stay within the system requirements of the version of Act! in which you own. This does come with the price to pay as we will address.

If you are using other software with Act!, such as Outlook, it is better to be on a perpetual license of office such as, Office 2016/2019 rather than Office 365. Office 365 without a doubt would eventually lose it’s functionality over time. As Office 365 continues to receive updates, a static version of Act! Pro becomes outdated and incompatible. The connecting pieces with Act! would all need to be static to remain within the system requirements.

The concern with staying static, is that of over time you will become limited to the technology that is available to you. We are coming to live in a subscription world. We had noted that technology noticeably enters the workforce about every 5 years. This seems to get shorter and shorter, year after year. As new technology becomes available, you will not be able to introduce this into your business without causing a chain reaction of upgrading your business tools. We have come to notice that things of the present don’t tend to work well with things of the past. Holding on to old software and technology is like the Comcast commercial with the ‘Slowskys’ and they are stuck in their shell.

Considering moving to other software? Here are some things to give thought to:

Considering another software solution because you are frustrated may not play the best outcome. I know it is upsetting to hear that Act! will no longer be releasing the Pro software, but you can’t blame Swiftpage, manufactures of Act!, for making this move. Act! has been around for over 30 years. I have felt fortunate to be working with a software that in the present year- 2020, still offers non-subscription software while subscription offerings have been in the marketplace for over a decade now. Act! has been able to provide a great software solution for years without bounding their users to a subscription.

For those that are interested in changing software solutions because the changes Act! has made, I ask: Does other non-subscription software still exist?  If the answer “No”, then the end game is a subscription.

Comparing subscription rates, I’ll pose this question: Can you get a supported CRM software for under $30/month?  If that answer is “Yes”, now consider if it is worth the following additional costs:

  • Cost is involved in moving data from one system to another or possible data you may part with.
  • Time/money investment of customizations/set up layouts/fields/reports etc.
  • Time/money needed to navigate proficiently in new software. Moving away from familiarity will have it’s downtime in production and may need to incur training costs.

I hope this can serve as some guidance to help determine which direction you may want to go. People often fear subscription software because you must ‘’Marry the software”, but after 30 years, haven’t you already made that determination?

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