Sage to target real estate with first Act vertical

Sage Software is putting a vertical spin on its Act contact and customer management software, releasing an offering for the real-estate market Monday.

Sage Software embarked on a new vertical industry strategy for its Act Premium contact and customer management product, releasing an offering for the real-estate market Monday.

Act by Sage Premium for Real Estate 2006 will be the first in a series of products aimed at specific market sectors, according to Larry Ritter, vice president of Act product management at Sage Software. Next likely targets will be other industries that feature an agent or broker type relationship such as mortgage refinancing and insurance, he said in a recent phone interview. The aim is to both build on existing Sage business and attract new customers, Ritter added.

Real estate was a natural choice as the first Act Premium vertical since about 6 percent of existing customers describe themselves as being in that business, Ritter said. Additionally, Sage announced support for the Palm operating system earlier this year and, according to a recent Sage survey, around one-third of realtors polled use handheld devices, he added.

Initially focused on North American realtors, Act Premium for Real Estate is integrated into multiple listing service systems, but the vendor expects to convert it for use in other geographies, with the U.K. the obvious next market, Ritter said.

Sage Software is the North American business of The Sage Group, which is based in the U.K.

In August 2004, Sage Software, then known as Best Software, split Act into two products, a standard version for stand-alone or small office home office usage and the Premium release aimed at workgroups of at least five users and a maximum of 50 users. While users typically use the standard Act release as a CRM (customer relationship management) product, Sage has been careful not to brand Act Premium as a CRM solution to avoid conflict with its Sage CRM and SalesLogix software, Ritter said.

Act for Real Estate is priced from US$469.99.

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