3 Ways to Use Social Solutions Apricot Software Bulletins
Bulletins are the gateway to your Social Solutions Apricot™ database. They are a starting point for data entry and system navigation. Bulletins are also a hub for dashboard reports. Apricot bulletins are a blank canvas and are infinitely customizable. Customize Apricot software with three specific types of bulletins to improve your database’s user experience and capability.
Announcement bulletins are the simplest of the three types of bulletins and are the easiest to implement. The bulletin builder uses an HTML editor to customize the content of a bulletin. Use the HTML editor to add text, graphics, tables, and other content to a bulletin.
An announcement bulletin communicates a message to a single user, a group of users, or all users in your Apricot database. Use permission sets to assign the bulletin to users that need access.
1. Due Dates
Announce a due date to the group of users that are responsible for the task or item. Set start and end dates on the bulletin so the announcement is visible at the right time. Enter a message or set of instructions to remind users of the task deliverables.
2. Database Updates
Notify users when administrators will make updates to the database structure. You may ask users not to enter data in certain places while forms are reorganized or modified. These types of notifications are primarily used for internal database updates, not Social Solutions system updates. You can also notify users when Social Solutions is making updates to the database if updates are relevant to your users.
3. Links to Resources
Your organization may have special instructions for making referrals to community partners, links to specific online resources, or other technology portals for data entry. Place those links in an Apricot bulletin so users have direct access from Apricot software.
Announcement bulletins can also be used for fun messages, morale boosters, or even company-wide updates. Add a bulletin if it is someone’s birthday, there is a team meeting coming up, or link to a feedback survey when you need staff input. You can also add announcement bulletins to remind users to be safe walking on icy walkways during the winter or when input is needed from the internal workplace safety committee, among other human resource related topics.
2. Navigation Shortcuts
Apricot bulletins also have functional application beyond basic announcements. Bulletins can simplify data entry and navigation.
Navigation bulletins reduce the number of clicks to get from one place to another in Apricot software. For example, it normally takes two clicks to enter a new Tier 1 record using the navigation panel on the left of the Apricot home screen, but a navigation shortcut can reduce this to one click. One click may not seem like much, but it adds up if you create many new Tier 1 records each day.
A create new Tier 1 shortcut is one of many navigation shortcuts you can add to a bulletin. All shortcut bulletins have one thing in common. They embed the unique URL of the location you’re navigating to in an HTML button script in the bulletin builder.
1. Tier 1 Create Button
A create new Tier 1 shortcut is a must-have navigation element in Apricot. All data entry in Apricot begins with a Tier 1 record. Reduce the number of clicks to create a new Tier 1 record with a button in a bulletin.
2. Tier 1 Search Button
In addition to a create new Tier 1 shortcut, add a second button to a bulletin for the Tier 1 search. A Tier 1 search might be for a list of clients, volunteers, donors, or referral partners. This button doesn’t reduce the number of clicks in Apricot, but it is a perfect pair for a Tier 1 Create Button in a bulletin.
3. Tier 1 View Folder Links
A link to a specific Tier 1 folder removes multiple clicks in navigation and lets users jump around the database. Create links to view specific Tier 1 folders with custom expressions in reports (so this bulletin type is technically a dashboard report). This navigation shortcut is only feasible for small batches of Tier 1 records. For example, you might generate these shortcut links for all active clients by case manager (a caseload), that way a case manager can quickly access information about that client without searching for the client in the Tier 1 search.
4. Tier 2 Create Links
A link to create Tier 2 records is similar to a link to view a Tier 1 folder. Tier 2 records cannot be created without an associated Tier 1 record in Apricot software. As a result, users must navigate to a Tier 1 document folder to create new Tier 2 records. A link to create a Tier 2 record is created with custom expressions in reports (so this bulletin type is also technically a dashboard report). This navigation shortcut is also only feasible for small batches of Tier 1 records and only for Tier 2 records that are created frequently. For example, you might generate these shortcut links for all active clients by case manager (caseload) for a specific type of record, like a case note. That way a case manager can quickly create a case note in one click rather than the normal three clicks using standard Apricot navigation.
3. Dashboard Reports
Dashboards are the envy of all Apricot users and Apricot dashboards are within reach of all users. Every Apricot database has the capability to create dashboards on the Apricot home screen and each dashboard can be customized to match a user or group’s requirements.
Dashboards present data visually and make data actionable. Dashboards are as flexible and customizable as Apricot reports because Apricot dashboards are Apricot reports set to display in a bulletin. Display anything you can imagine in reports on the Apricot home screen as a dashboard.
The Apricot report bulletin type is a setting in the bulletin builder. Flip the bulletin settings from HTML to report and select the report in Apricot you want to display in the bulletin.
1. Operational Stats
Apricot dashboard reports display actionable information. Actionable information helps your organization manage operational workflows. An operational stats dashboard might display total active cases or clients or a queued report showing the next follow-up date for a case or client. Operational dashboards display the data you need to “operate” and “manage” your programs or services. These dashboards are often day-to-day reports used to make real-time decisions about program or service workflow.
2. Annual/Quarterly Benchmarks
Use Apricot dashboard bulletins in a management capacity as well. Build dashboards that display quarterly or annual metrics. Measure aggregate performance to determine if your organization is on track to achieve its goals. These dashboards may track client demographics (who you serve), total services provided by month (how you serve), or the outcomes of a group of clients (the impact of your services).
Other tips for Apricot bulletins
Here are some other tips and best practices to consider when building new bulletins in Apricot software.
- Set a start date when the bulletin should be visible and an end date when it should no longer be visible to users.
- Manage bulletins in categories so they are organized, and assign bulletins in bulk to permission sets using categories.
- Assign view access to bulletins in categories or one bulletin at a time with permission sets.
- Use the “Start Collapsed” mode to minimize a bulletin on the home screen or keep bulletins open for greater visibility.
Use the power of Apricot bulletins
Apricot bulletins are often a forgotten element of Apricot functionality, but don’t forget about them. Apricot bulletins enhance user experience, streamline workflows, customize the Apricot home screen, and make Apricot your own unique software.
Add Apricot bulletins to your implementation project when you first set up Apricot software. Also add Apricot bulletins when your organization’s needs match any of the use cases defined in this post. If your Apricot home screen is blank or underutilized, now is the time to build bulletins that will take your Apricot database to the next level.