Swiftpage, a provider of software and services to small and medium-size businesses (SMBs), today launched version 18.2 of its Act! product, an update that features the Connect Link tool, which, according to Lorcan Malone, chief operations officer at Swiftpage, goes a step further in connecting Act! to the "greater ecosystem of business solutions available to SMBs."
The Connect Link feature in 18.2 builds on improvements Swiftpage made to versions 18 and 18.1 of Act! over the past year. In version 18, released in December 2015, Swiftpage introduced its Web API platform, which enabled Premium users to hook up with outside programs without a software development kit (SDK). With update 18.1, Swiftpage announced Act! Connect, which leveraged the Zapier platform to link Act! with up to 500 different business solutions, including Microsoft's Outlook, Slack, Wufoo, QuickBooks Online, and PayPal, among others.
"One of the issues we had with version 18.1," Malone explains, "was you needed to install a web server to take advantage of the API, [and] expose the API for all of our users. With version 18.2, we worked with one of the leading cloud API integrators out there, and we have established technologies that allow a desktop user of Act! to expose their web API with very little effort—just a very simple installation of 18.2."
Malone adds that the simplicity is significant because 80 to 90 percent of the companies using Act! are using the desktop edition. Many of those customers are not yet ready to migrate to the cloud, and include fewer than 10 users. The requirement to install a "very heavy web server" has been a problem for them, Malone says.
According to Malone, Swiftpage's competitors in the CRM space haven't allowed users comparable levels of integration without requiring them to implement Web servers. "Act! is quite different to our competitors in its installation options," Malone says. "We have a lot of competitors that are pure cloud play, whereas Act! offers cloud and desktop installations…. What we're doing with exposing this Web API to desktop users is quite innovative and a competitive advantage."
Act! 18.2 also features an enhanced version of Swiftpage's emarketing solution that better integrates with Act!, as well as added security. Emarketing administrators, for instance, now have more facility in managing who can send emails on behalf of an organization. "We enhanced security to allow the admin to control who has access to elements of the API," Malone says.
Version 18.2 has undergone a seven-week beta period, to which testers responded favorably, Malone says. "What you'll see over time is our development partners building more solutions on the Web API."
In future releases of Act!, Swiftpage will continue to introduce upgrades to its emarketing component, as well as overall usability, and increase the levels of communication possible between Swiftpage's API and outside business intelligence solutions. The upcoming version of Act! is scheduled for release in early November.