4 Features to Activate in Social Solutions Apricot Software
Every Social Solutions Apricot™ database comes with a standard set of features out-of-the-box. Apricot software can track custom data using custom forms and fields. Apricot can also aggregate that data in custom reports and manage user permissions, access, and rights for data entry and reporting. The base Apricot platform will tackle most nonprofit database tasks you’d expect, but the import tool, custom report expressions, the dynamic field query tool, and form logic are four features that will take your Apricot database to the next level.
Social Solutions offers a variety of advanced features for Apricot software. Advanced features require activation and some features require a fee for activation. In our experience, most organizations will need all or some of Apricot’s advanced features.
We recommend new users activate advanced features prior to implementation. Adding these features before implementation gives your organization a full picture of Apricot’s cost and allows your organization to implement Apricot with a broader feature set.
1. Import Tool
The import tool creates new records and updates existing records in Apricot in batch. The import tool uses pre-defined Excel templates (CSV format) to import data that is external to your Apricot database.
The import tool can import Tier 1 records, Tier 2 records, and links between forms that have linking fields.
Benefits of the import tool
- Use the import tool to migrate historical or legacy data from another database system during Apricot implementation
- Use the import tool to move and manage data between Apricot and another database or software system post-implementation (e.g. donor management software, volunteer management software, online web forms, or a funder mandated database system)
- Use the import tool to update, edit, or rearrange data within your Apricot database (e.g. export data from Apricot, modify it in Excel, import the modified data and overwrite the existing data in Apricot using the Apricot Record ID as a perfect duplicate check)
- Use the import tool to bulk import data collected manually using paper forms (e.g. collect data on paper forms, enter the paper form data into Excel, import the Excel data in batch)
The import tool is a critical data management feature that impacts the efficiency of data entry, the quality of your data, and your ability to manage data that is internal and external to Apricot.
2. Custom Report Expressions
Custom report expressions are mini-SQL statements in a column of data in a report.
An Apricot report section is like a spreadsheet. Rows are records and columns are fields on each record.
Apricot comes out-of-the-box with filters and calculation columns that segment data and mathematically combine columns with formulas, but those features aren’t always enough.
Occasionally a report may need more depth and dimension. Custom report expressions transform column data using SQL statements. The output is either a custom text or a custom numeric field as a column in your report.
Common uses for custom report expressions
- Changing the color of text in a column based on conditional logic
- Changing the value of a field to something new based on logic
- Creating custom links to create new Tier 2 records for the Tier 1 record in the row of a report
- Creating custom links to a Tier 1 document folder for the Tier 1 record in the row of a report
- Changing text-based data into numeric data or numeric data into text-based data
- Changing null values (blanks) into discrete points of text or numeric data
Custom report expressions increase the flexibility of reports. Custom report expressions let you transform Apricot data when filters and calculation columns aren’t enough.
3. Dynamic Field Query Tool
Dynamic fields are custom features on forms. Dynamic fields come in four types: dropdown, checkbox, text, and number. Dynamic fields populate options based on the conditions of a query (a selection of data in Apricot).
Example dynamic field application
A dynamic field could be used to link a client profile Tier 1 record to a staff member Tier 1 record. Staff members are a dynamic list of people that is constantly changing. Staff members are added and removed regularly. You need a way to identify a staff member on the client profile form without updating a static “Staff Member” field every time someone joins or leaves the organization. A dynamic field will display a list of staff member records dynamically based on the current list of active staff members that have Tier 1 records. These records are produced in a query (part of the dynamic field tool) that finds all staff members and then returns those members in the dynamic field (most likely a dropdown field) on the client profile form.
Dynamic queries can be linking, text, or numeric. There are nuances to the setup and functionality of these fields, but as the name suggests a dynamic field creates a “dynamic” user experience in Apricot.
Dynamic fields enhance the user experience by streamlining data entry. Dynamic fields also simplify an Apricot administrator’s role because certain database management tasks are automatically updated with the formatting of a dynamic field.
4. Form Logic
Form logic is a data entry tool on Apricot forms. Form logic dictates the workflow of data entry for users based on conditions and actions.
Each form logic rule is driven by a condition. If a condition is met, the dependent actions are enforced for that condition. Conditions are filters and determine the qualification for triggering a form logic rule.
Actions are based on fields and sections. Actions can unhide, lock, highlight, or require a field. Actions can also unhide, expand, scroll to, require all fields within, and lock all fields within a form section. Actions are triggered by conditions.
Benefits of form logic
- Manage data quality by completing required data or leaving data blank that shouldn’t be completed
- Maintain user focus by stepping them through each phase of data entry rather than showing data entry to them all at once
- Combine multiple forms of the same style or type to minimize the number of forms in your database (e.g. client profile types, two different assessments).
Form logic helps users with front-end data entry and also helps Apricot administrators increase data health and quality.
Get the most from Apricot software with feature activations
Each Social Solutions Apricot software feature activation makes Apricot more capable, functional, and user-friendly. Whether you are evaluating Apricot for purchase, are a new Apricot user, or are an existing Apricot user, get the most from your Apricot database with the import tool, custom report expressions, the dynamic field query tool, and form logic.
If you’re hesitant to activate these features, we will happily walk through the pros and cons for each feature based on the setup of your Apricot database. We can help with your decision making process. Send us a message to get in touch.