Sage North America is preparing to release Act! 2011, the latest version of its contact management software, with new features including live synchronization with handheld devices, synchronization with Outlook Contacts and Calendar, workflow capabilities, and a link to business information services such as Hoovers.

Sage Act! 2011 has been in beta testing since June, but the full release will be available to the public on September 1.

Sage made the enhancements, as it has been doing with many of its products of late, based on numerous suggestions from Act! Users through the product’s online community site, according to Sage senior vice president and general manager of CRM applications, Larry Ritter.

“We have a very active user community and what people don’t realize is that although Act! has approximately 3 million users, that is comprised of 56,000 customers, many of which have 10 users or more [on Act!],” said Ritter. “All of these enhancements [for Act! 2011] are based on their feedback.”

One of the key aspects of Act! 2011 will be the ability to learn more about accounts that customers work with, as well as the ability to prospect, due to its ability to directly import company information from Hoovers.

Workflow capabilities, known as Smart Tasks, are another notable improvement in the Act! 2011 release. The feature automates common tasks and comes with 10 pre-defined templates.

In addition, Ritter said that Sage is working on integrating Act! 2011with the company’s other accounting software products, and it can currently connect with Sage 50. Later this year, users will see integration with Sage Peachtree and eventually Simply Accounting and other accounting and enterprise resource planning software products.

Mobile synchronization is also available for an additional monthly fee.

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