If I started this review by stating how fascinating contact management software can be, you’d probably think I had gone mad. And you’d be right – contact management is not the most scintillating of software categories. But it is, arguably, one of the most important. Any business wanting to attract new customers – and hold onto the ones they already have – needs a good contact management database.
This is not a particularly diverse marketplace. Act!, Goldmine, Tracker and a few others fight for dominance against the makers of this particular package, MultiActive. Maximizer 5.0 retains the interface seen (and praised) in earlier versions. This interface is a model of intuitiveness: if you expect that double-clicking on an entry will bring up the notes editing window, then the chances are it will. Also, if you don’t like the layout, or even the colours, of the interface, you can change them, opening some windows and closing others.
A new feature in this version is the 10-step Web wizard, which will create a Web page based on your company information and upload it to either your own ISP or MultiActive’s server, where it will be hosted for free. E-mail messages generated from the site can automatically be entered as new contacts within Maximizer 5.0, which offers tight integration with VIM- and MAPI-compliant mail clients such as Eudora and Outlook.
Full scheduling facilities are built into the program, for both single users and workgroups (which are supported with up to ten users), and a peg-board shows where users are at a given time. In fact, all the features that you would expect from a PIM (personal information manager) are here, including a calendar, world clock, address book, hotlist, campaign planner and alarm. There are powerful reporting and graphing functions, too, along with a fairly capable word-processor. Links to other, mainstream word-processors are supported, for mail-merge operations, and Maximizer 5.0 supports ODBC, DDE and OLE integration with other applications.
Based on the Btrieve database engine, which appears to be very fast indeed, Maximizer 5.0 comes with templates for the more common types of business, or you can draw up your own using unlimited customisable fields. Notes, along with files and documents, can be attached to contact entries, making it easy to come up with comments such as “Jim Smith? Ah yes, we met at the sales conference last August. How’s Jane?” even if you have no recollection whatsoever of the person on the other end of the telephone line.
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