13 September 2011

SageACT! Google Integration

September of 2012 marked a new release of SageACT! - version 14, or as most people call is 2012.  As an avid Google user - in fact, I run most of my day-to-day activities in GMail and GCal - the addition of Google integration is most welcome.

This post is not so much about the setup and inner workings, rather more of a "what you get" in the integration.
 I've seen questions about why certain groups of contacts are not transferring, using templates to email - so below are my observations on what you will see in both ACT! and Google applications.  Please contact me with any questions or comments.

[Note: see links at the bottom of this post for specific technical documents (Knowledge Base Articles) from ACT! in regards to the setup and configuration.]

First, all integration for all services/apps is on a "sync" basis - you configure the individual applications in regards to what data is exchanged, the configure the overall integration to synchronize data on a schedule - daily, hourly, etc.  I currently have them syncing every 15 minutes.

Setting up the integration is initiated through the Sage ACT! Tools>Integrate with Google>GoogleIntegration Preferences menu.

ACT syncs with GMail's Inbox and Sent Items folders, putting the email message in ACT's History tab as an E-mail history type.  It's important to note that it is only the Inbox and Sent Items.  Two areas to take note of:
  • If you get a message, then delete it before the next sync, it will not show up in ACT
  • If you "move" a message to another folder/label - out of the Inbox - before it syncs, that message will not appear in ACT either.
Originally, I had ACT/GMail syncing every 30 minutes, but I found I move messages out of the Inbox rather rapidly, so I was missing some.  The 15 minute sync I have now (for me) seem to be a good balance.

Additionally, unless you use Outlook linked to GMail, you *cannot* send directly from ACT!  Clicking on an email address will bring up the application registered by your system for new emails (mailto: protocol).  Since GMail (again, for me) is run through a browser, this does not work for creating messages.
[Note: if you have Outlook installed and linked with Google, there is an Outlook integration in ACT that will do this *with* Outlook already.  Please contact me if you need help setting this up.]

Lastly, related to the above point, Mail Merges and/or templates do not work either.

Google Calendar
This integration is a bit more configurable than GMail.  Here you can choose which Activities get transferred between ACT! and GCal.  Just want Appointments and Meetings, or all Activities - Calls, ToDos, etc.

You can also specify how long in the past, and how far in the future to sync entries.  Additionally, you can choose where to ring an alarm, and which calendar "wins" when one is changed.

The most important thing to realize with GCal integration is that from Google to ACT!, the only calendar sync'd is your main Google account calendar, and from ACT! to Google every item will be put on your main Google account calendar.  Most of us have more than  one calendar *in* our Google account (e.g. I have my main one, a Marketing calendar, and a Personal calendar), furthermore, we often have imported calendars from other business associates or family members.  Although you might see 10 Google calendars when viewing via Google, remember that is your main Google account that integrates with ACT.

Here's how the different activities are handled in the transfer:

ACT! to Google
ImageGoogle to ACT!Image
  • A Sage ACT! Timeless activity or To-do syncs to Google as a Task with a date, but no time. 
  • An "All Day" event in Google synchronizes to Sage ACT! as a Timeless activity. 
Field mapping of Activities: 

Google Contacts
ACT! to Google Contacts uses a predefined sync set to determine which contacts from ACT to push to Google.  Since my Google Contacts also syncs with my iPhone, I don't necessarily want hundreds of extra ACT contacts on my phone, so I've chosen a sync set *from* ACT to only sync a small subset of "active" contacts to Google.

Like the calendar, you do have some configuration options regarding which contact "wins" if they are both changed.  Since I tend to update contact information in ACT rather than on my phone, I choose ACT to overwrite it's changes to Google, which then goes to my phone.

The one area to keep in mind with Contacts sync is that in Google, ONLY the My Contacts tag/folder will sync *to* ACT, and any contacts *from* ACT end up in the My Contacts folder/tag group in Google.

Hope this helps understand the integration.  I think with the Google integration ACT! has raised the bar again for CRM systems.  I've been running this for some time, and have not had issues with the integration at all.  Hopefully, ACT will include sending directly from the ACT application, along with templates, in the near future.

ACT Knowledgebase Articles

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