Searchable product management application

I have a company that has about 500 products. They are looking to develop a product database in SQL or Act! that has a GUI that allows for product searches. This db will contain all product information (including competitor's products) such as weights/measures, specs, and product descriptions to name a few. There needs to be an admin panel that can control access via permissions (independent of LDAP). There also need to be the ability to export search results to xls format. Finally, this will be used across a network by multiple users and a SaaS as well as a server-based solution is acceptable. My question is this: Is there anything out of the box that can give my customer everything they're looking for? Thanks in advance!
jarmstrong77Asked:
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Mike LazarusAct! Evangelist - CRM ConsultantCommented:
Why would you be thinking of doing that in Act!?
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jarmstrong77Author Commented:
They already own it and view it as a viable option. I'm trying to dissuade them from this option, but it's cost effective from their perspective.
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PortletPaulfreelancerCommented:
product catalogs
not my territory - but I'd be very surprised if such things didn't exist off-the shelf.

>>but it's cost effective from their perspective
that would include several assumptions about the cost of customizing Act! that may be unrealistic.
warning: last time I saw Act! was in a DOS version (maybe Widows 3, all I remember it was something I did not want to pursue)
Thought I'd just check out a site that offers Act! add-ons/custom solutions, this caught my eye:
Typically custom solutions fall into one or more of the following categories:

Storing and managing people and "things" from within ACT!: As ACT! is a contact database it does not support "things" out-of-the-box. Examples of "things" include products, items, or anything else that you might want to assign to a contact. See our Vehicle Management and Service Management solutions for real-life examples.
http://www.xactsoftware.co.nz/development

I didn't see any specifics of a "product oriented" solution when diving further.
What I would "suspect" from the suggestion to use Act! is that there may also be the assumption "it'll be easier for our users" to find/use that data and it will somehow enhance that CRM. Maybe there a desire to include that products data into bids/quotes/offers - and that would be CRM territory.

So if trying to "head off" the Act! proponents I'd be looking to learn what their 'for' arguments are, and do this with an open mind as there could be logic worth considering, and perhaps an "interface" into Act! may truly be needed.

ps: I have no association with company mentioned above.
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Mike LazarusAct! Evangelist - CRM ConsultantCommented:
While it is "technically" possible to build this within the act! system, using custom tables, I don't think it would be the best option

Act! is a CRM ... it's product functions are limited without a LOT of custom effort

The normal practice for this would be to have the Products in an ERP and Accounts type product or a custom built database, then, if they wanted it linked to the companies/contacts, to do that separately

We've built links that sync data between Act! and product related systems ... and, by doing it that way, you get the right CRM functions for CRM and the right product functions for that side.
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PortletPaulfreelancerCommented:
In agreement with GLComputing; stated much more directly and succinctly than I did.

On the wanted application, I just did a search at force.com for 'product catalog' and there are several (as I thought there might be) - however at a cursory look most seem oriented to quoting. A search for 'product management' (as a phrase) produced way fewer and one that was listed I believe is not relevant* here.

I don't know what it is you want really - so I'll leave it as this.

Trust you get a good outcome. Cheers.

*an agile project management product, which 'product management' might use for developing products and/or related marketing projects etc. i.e. not directly relevant I think.
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jarmstrong77Author Commented:
I ended up going with FileMaker Pro, but using it as a SaaS solution. Thanks for all the replies! Act! would work, but FM Pro is much easier to get up and running and ended up being much more cost effective.
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