SuiteCRM - ACT! Replacement - Standalone Desktop

I would like some guidance in determining if the SuiteCRM is a viable replacement for ACT! in my situation (personal use, 1 user with the remote possibility of a 2nd user). I am in the process of migrating from a XP desktop system to a new desktop computer (Intel i7 CPU) with a dual-boot Windows 7 Pro and Linux Mint configuration. If possible, I would like to convert many of my existing Windows applications to the new Linux Mint environment.

I have some questions regarding the installation of SuiteCRM on a standalone desktop:

° Can I run SuiteCRM on the new standalone desktop systems without impacting my ability to use the desktop system for other application?

° How should I configure the desktop SuiteCRM installation?

° Which account should I use for the installation: admin, existing user, or a new SuiteCRM user?

° How do I configure the IP addresses of the desktop and the SuiteCRM application? My router currently assigns the 192.168.0.x addresses.

° Any other advice is welcome regarding SuiteCRM or any other options that I should consider?

ACT! Background Information

I started using ACT! v3 in 1995, and I am presently running the application on a Windows XP desktop (circa 2005). I upgraded to ACT! 2000 (ACT! 5.0), but I was not able to upgrade to ACT! 2006 when I purchased the XP system in 2005 because of extremely slow performance. ACT! Technical Support was not able to solve the problem on 2 different upgrade attempts resulting in money down the drain. So I stayed on the ACT! 2000 version. Also, I think this version of ACT! is not a relational database, so exporting and importing my existing data will probably be somewhat challenging.

I use Eudora OSE (a Thunderbird derivative) as my current email client, and I plan to migrate to Thunderbird on the new system. But, I am open to other options.

SuiteCRM Features

I have looked at the SuiteCRM demo, screen-shots, and some of the online documentation. I think the data fields that I need seem to be available in SuiteCRM. Or, I can added custom data fields using your Studio module option (which seems very useful). I am not sure about some other features such as printing address labels, grouping of contacts, and recurring calendar entries for meetings, phone calls and tasks.

Some of the key ACT! features that I use are:

° Contact names, company (not a required field), postal address (need 2+), phone numbers (need 3+) and email addresses (need 2+).
° User defined fields for birthdays and other secondary information.
° Contact Grouping (one-to-many): eg. travel, restaurants, family, friends, career, Xmas mailing, etc.
° Priorities: ACT! has 3, I would like 4 or 5.
° Calendar: appointments, recurring events, calls, and to-do tasks with priorities.
° Notes/History: Completed activities are logged in the Notes/History data field along with any additional details that I enter related to that activity.
° Reports: to-do listings, calendar, and contact & calendar history.
° Mailing labels for a subset of contacts (Grouping).

SuiteCRM Installation

SuiteCRM seems to require a LAMP client-server architecture which I have never setup. The client-server architecture implies 2 different computers: a server and a client. I only plan to have the one new desktop system. I guess I could repurpose the XP system into a server, but it is old hardware with the associated reliability concerns. I already experienced 2 hard drive failures.

I think I can install SuiteCRM and the LAMP stack using the Bitnami or TurnKey installers, or the Debian/Ubuntu package listed on your website.

Thank you in advance for your assistance.

I’m in the process of importing from Act! at the moment myself and I’ll give my observations in case that helps. I’m by no means an expert on SuiteCRM though.

I don’t see why not but why would you? put it in a server somewhere where you can access it via the web, an your staff can also.

as above.

I’m not clear which sort of user you are referring to. If you mean the computer username to run it under, I don’t think it really matters. just use a user who has appropriate permissions to access the database and run the web server.

if you are referrign to the user in SuiteCRM, then I think it defaults to installing as Admin, but after that its simple to create new users with various levels of access, including new admin users if need be.

if you are running on your local machine, then you would access it via the address your local machine gets, or via locahost.

I’m finding it non trivial to get the data out of Act and into SuiteCRM. In Act! we typically have 1 record for each contact, smushed together with the company name. We never got the hang of using the Act! company feature to assign nultiple contacts to 1 company. suiteCRM enforces this somewhat more than Act! and so I found it best to export companies from Act and then import them into SuiteCRM, then export Contacts and import them and rely on the import process to assign the correct contacts to the companies (called Accounts in SuiteCRM). I’m not sure how you plan to get the data out of Act, but I’m pulling it via SQL directly as i found the Act! export process to cumbersome. I can share some of my sql scripts with you as a guide if that would be of interest.

The other problem is Act! stores history and notes as RTF text. This is bad as its hard to extract the text from the RTF. I have yet to solve this problem.

Yet another problem is as far as I can tell, the SuiteCRM import does not in any way cope with multi line fields in the CSV files for importing. We use a number of memo fields, and the notes and history in Act are also memo fields that can span multiple lines. This is another problem I am still tackling and have yet to find a solution.

Another point to consider is Groups. SuiteCRM doesn’t really have a groups concept i nthe same way so if you use groups you need to find a way to do that in SuiteCRM

I hope that helps somewhat?

1 Like

Jason, thank you for your response.

I installed SuiteCRM on a laptop (dual boot Windows 7 Pro & Linux Mint 17.1) as a test system using the Bitnami package. However, I am still having some problems that I will address in a separate posting.

I found that the GUFW firewall was blocking my remote access from a 2nd computer, which I had to resolve before starting to learn how to use suitecrm and how to migrate the ACT! data.

I finally figured this out today (firewall block). I disabled the firewall and I was able to remotely access suitecrm from a 2nd computer. I then added GUFW firewall rules to allow port 8080 and 3306 access. However, I am not sure about the long term security implications of allowing the ports. I may want to change the type of access from ACCEPT to LIMIT, which will require more research.

I use Group a lot in my ACT! application, so I will need to find a workaround for them in SuiteCRM.

Again, thank you for your response. I will also post any useful ACT related infomation.