Sage Software has launched a new Act! by Sage Online Community to provide users with a place to share information through a variety of themed discussion forums and blogs covering best practices, product usage tips and feature requests.

Available at http://community.act.com, the contact and customer management system has more than 2.8 million individually registered users and more than 43,000 Act! corporate customer accounts.

"We have created an online community where sharing personal opinions, ideas, and information will help our customers learn more about using Act! to grow their businesses," said David van Toor, senior vice president and general manager for Sage CRM Solutions North America. "Through the Act! Online Community we can encourage and more actively participate in ongoing dialogue with our customers, and believe the knowledge shared will exponentially benefit everyone for years to come."

The online community includes a discussion board for individual and small business Act! users to post ideas and questions, as well as share information about their experiences using the product; a forum for those users who are using Act! Premium in a workgroup or corporate environment; a developer's network that discusses the product line's architecture, technology and development of add-on solutions; a forum for members to share marketing best practices, how-to's and support tips; a discussion board for users to swap success stories; and a section called Act! Extras, which provides links for Act! eNews, submitting feature requests to the product development team and providing feedback and suggestions about the Act! Online Community. The site even offers a place to buy Sage Act! gear.

Van Toor's personal blog will also be featured on the Act! Online Community - focusing on how the Act! business is run and other related topics- and is the first of several subject matter expert blogs planned for the site.

While Sage will monitor the community to make sure correct information is being disseminated by its users, van Toor said the communication exchanges will be mainly between customers.

"Ideally you want this to be driven by customers so you want customers answering questions by themselves for themselves," van Toor said. "This is exciting. My approach to this is that I think you want to keep it hands off. You want your customers to interact as they want to."

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