A Closer Look At Act! CRM Custom Tables

Act! Custom Tables are new feature which is exclusively available to Act! Premium Plus enabling users to manage more processes within the application.

Best of all, these customisations can be quickly configured without the need for custom coding or development skills.

In addition, to contacts, companies, activities and opportunities, custom tables can be used to track property, vehicles, applications and licenses. In our previous post we demonstrated how support cases could be managed within an Act! custom table.

To share more examples of this new functionality, in this post we'll demonstrate how a further custom entity will track contracts or agreements, and link this to the Cases entity we previously created.

For this example a new Support Contracts custom table has been created which appears on the main Act! nav menu:

This entity has been configured to track detail about each support agreement that an organisation has sold to its customers.

In this B2B scenario, Contracts are sold to a business so we have configured this entity to appear on the Company tab as well as the Contact tab.

This table is also linked to Company and Contact records which means these records can be linked to both types.

Fields configured for this Support Contract custom table include:

  • Contract name
  • Start / end dates
  • Contract value
  • Service level
  • Contract reference

Let's highlight a couple of customisations across these fields.

Firstly, a default value has been set for the Contract Name field. 

The majority of support contracts sold by this company cover the same type of agreement so some standard wording has been applied to avoid users having to type the same information each time:

Another approach could be to use a drop-down list of different contract names - we demonstrated drop-down fields and dependent drop-downs for custom tables in our earlier post.

Sequential Fields

A further customisation has been applied to automatically apply a sequential number for each new contact reference.

This has been configured to apply a standard prefix and suffix that will wrap around each unique contract number.

To define a sequence, an initial value is entered and a minimum number of digits is defined that each new record must consist of.

From a company record the new Support Contracts tab appears. 

Clicking the 'add' button brings up the new Contract record. 

In line with the above defined rules the next sequential number has been applied to create a unique Contract Reference and the Contract Name has been automatically populated using the default value:

Parent : Child Related Tables & Fields

The above record was created from a company record so it has automatically linked this back to this organisation and within this record there is a grid to list all Case records which have been linked to this Support Contract. 

That's because a Parent : Child relationship has been defined using custom tables.

In the first instance, the Support Contracts entity has been defined as the Parent:

Next, this requires a linked field to be referenced from the child Cases entity.

This will usually have the same name as the Parent entity and is added to the Child custom table layout. In this instance, a 'Support Reference' field has been added to the Cases layout that will link the two tables together.

This will be a look up field enabling new Case records to be linked back to a Parent Support Contract:

With the Cases custom table selected, the Manage Parent wizard is then used to defined the Support Contracts table as the Parent as shown above. To complete this process, the Support Reference field is selected to complete the link:

When a new Case record is added the Support Reference lookup will be used to link this to the associated Support Contract. 

As a result, this rolls-up each new Case to a Parent Support Contract table. 

Opening one of these records shows a list of the associated cases that have been logged enabling Act! users to see at a glance how many tickets have been logged, what type of issues have been reported, and which cases remain outstanding:

Customising List Views

Clicking the Support Contracts item in the Act! navbar shows a list of all Contract records.

As we featured in our earlier post, this list view can be customised using conditional formatting to highlight important detail. 

In this example, we've applied a rule on the Expiry Date column to emphasize expiring contracts and on the Service Level field another rule has be set to highlight Contracts with a 'Gold' service level status:

This display can also be adapted to group records between different categories.

For example below, the list view has been grouped between active and expired contracts using the status field, and then by expiry date enabling users to clearly see what upcoming renewals are due:

Advanced Customisation

While Custom Tables do not require any scripting, there is an option for users to create their own scripts in order to apply more actions to their table. 

Scripting in Act! Premium Plus Custom Tables uses C#, which can programmed to carry out calculations between fields, perform commands on exit, and roll-up values from tables.

Scripting is not included within the scope of Act! support but Preact and other Act! partners will able to offer development support for any customers who want to utilise scripts within their custom tables.

What Next?

This is just one example to demonstrate how easily Act! custom tables can be created to handle more processes that will extend the capabilities of Act!

To find out more, or to request a quotation for Act! Premium Plus including Custom Tables please get in touch