Wednesday, January 20, 2016

SmartSimple's January 2016 Upgrade Features and Highlights

To get the New Year started on the right foot, the SmartSimple team is pleased to bring you our first round of system upgrades for 2016. This cycle, we’re focused on improving the flexibility of your system. We’ve made it easier for you to control your screen views, customize batch update buttons and added new List View options. This upgrade goes live on Thursday, January 28th.

Maximize and Restore Button on Title Bar - Global System Feature
Now you can maximize sections in Arcadia X to better focus on the data and tasks you need to accomplish. This gives you more control to see your information, your way.

Customizable Batch Update Options - On-Demand Feature
This feature offers the ability to create multiple unique batch update buttons, each having its own discrete batch function. For example, Batch Approve Status, Batch Change Manager and so on.

This means System Administrators have the ability to make customizable batch update buttons available to users based on their role. This improves flexibility by making specific batch update buttons viewable to specific users.

Level 1 List Views can now include Organization and Owner fields - On-Demand Feature
Level 1 List Views can now been configured to include fields found on the Organization (also called Company), fields found on the Owner and Person contact records (i.e. Applicant, Employee, Client, Case Manager), as well as fields on the Branch connected to the Level 1. This means more List View options and makes it a much more powerful reporting tool.

Associate Multiple Roles to a List View - On-Demand Feature
Now, instead List Views being associated with a single role, you can add multiple roles to any List View, offering greater flexibility for assigning user roles. This means you no longer have to use the “Everyone” option when you want to assign only a select number of roles to a particular view.

Login Page with Multiple Languages - On-Demand Feature
Based on the language parameters entered, users can be directed to a language-specific login page, improving the user experience and user accessibility. This means that, no matter how many users your organization has and how many languages are required to accommodate their community, each user has the option to log into your system in their prefered vernacular.

We’ve also made some enhancements to our reporting, payment allocation and invoicing features. See the full list of all our January enhancements on our Wiki. And be sure to sign up for one of our Upgrade Webinars on Tuesday, February 2nd and Thursday, February 4th by visiting our Events Page.

Monday, January 18, 2016

New Year, New SmartSimple Community Portal

The SmartSimple Community Portal is your personal gateway to the SmartSimple system. To ensure it continues to be a valuable tool, we’ve given the portal a face lift, using feedback and suggestions provided by you, our clients. You’ll automatically see the new Community Portal when goes live on Monday, January 25th at 9am EST.

What’s Changed?
We’ve divided the SmartSimple Community Portal home screen into four categories to make finding information more intuitive.
  • Keep up to date with SmartSimple on your tickets through the Support Inbox.
  • Community News and Events displays all invitations and latest news items happening in the SmartSimple community. The tabs help keep your Upcoming Webinars, Registrations and Community News organized.
  • Quick Links offers fast access to Live Chat with Support, the SmartSimple Wiki, our YouTube Channel and an option to change your password.
  • Contact Support provides a direct line to our Support Team or immediately open a new ticket.

All your open and closed tickets as well as enhancement requests are still available to view and export from the Support tab at the top of the page. Here you’ll also see a tab to open a New Ticket whenever you need to send us a request.

New! Discussion Board
Based on your requests, we’ve created the opportunity for you to discuss tips, tricks and discover how other clients are using their SmartSimple systems. Collaborate with industry peers and ask questions of SmartSimple experts in the Discussion Board accessible directly from the Quick Links menu.

Take a Video Tour!

Check out a video tour of the new SmartSimple Community Portal for a walkthrough of its new design and features. You can always refer back to this  video by visiting the Quick Links section.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Why SmartSimple's form creation process is better than other grants management systems

Creating forms, whether they be grants applications or funding status reports, within any database system is easy. Just as long as everyone is meant to see and fill in the same fields on the same form.

However, in the world of grants and research management, this is not the reality. Grant seekers need to see one version of the application form when they apply for funding. Staff need to see additional fields in their version (in the old paper-based world this would be labelled “for office use only”). Then, of course, additional fields are needed for the reviewer that may not contain all the visible fields that staff need to see and use. Add post-award reporting forms, site visit forms and payment request forms to the mix and you’ve got a lot of work ahead of you.
It’s all about resource efficiency
This becomes a full-time job for someone just to develop, design and update all these applications if you’re using what’s known as a form-based system.

A form-based system uses static form fields, meaning that if you want a field to somehow be different for different users, you need to duplicate the entire form. Someone needs to dedicate their time to managing all fields and all versions of your form that contain variations of those fields. The downside is, with so many potential versions, the potential for errors increases exponentially, not to mention that users wind up seeing odd gaps in their online forms where fields have been blocked from their view.

And, at the end of the day, many organizations just don’t have the bandwidth to dedicate a single resource to this kind of work. So the question is, do you really need to dedicate this amount of effort for a successful online application process?

Not if you opt to use an object-based system instead.
Centralize and simplify with dynamic flexibility
With an object-based system, forms are dynamic rather than static, meaning that fields seen in any form are based on role, permissions, status and form type. For example, a grant applicant will only see the fields they need to successfully complete their application. Additional fields that a reviewer may need to evaluate the application will not be visible to the applicant, only the reviewer.

SmartSimple uses an object-based system because it’s so dynamic, offering greater flexibility for our clients:
  • Only one master form is needed containing all required fields
  • The more powerful field permission management in an object-based system provides greater flexibility in form construction
  • You control what roles and permissioned users can see which fields
  • You control both the record and form type
  • Changes in statuses only need to be done once rather than multiple times for each role
Object-based systems also ensure the view of any form fields are current to the status of the application. This means whoever has access to view a particular application (grantee, grants manager, grants administrator, reviewer) is seeing the latest form version of that application.

And the benefits?
The benefits are significant in terms of time required to initially configure and manage the system.
  • Forms with dynamic fields that can be changed quickly and easily without needing to know complex logic or programing languages
  • Since there’s only one form to manage, your staff have more time for higher value activities
  • Needing to manage a single form lessens redundancies and chance of errors
  • There’s no limit to the number of fields you can create so your forms reflect your applicant requirements

See the advantages in action!
If you’re ready to take your grants or research application process to the next level and discover the advantages of taking your grants management system into the cloud, contact us for a demo of how SmartSimple’s object-based grants and research management system can save your organization time, money and resources.