Looking Ahead To 2015 - Colleague Consultancy Trends - Triggers and Automation



This is the second article in a three part post regarding the consultancy trends of 2014.

My first post was on: Reports and Dashboards. To recap, 2014 was an interesting year, a number of the new features within Colleague’s latest release offered some interesting opportunities for clients to consider, and over the course of the year certain trends became apparent.

Having gone through the consultancy requirements of 2014, I thought clients (and readers in general) might be interested to learn some of the most commonly requested configuration requests along with a few interesting ideas.

This article is dedicated to Triggers and Automation.

With software now managing our calendars, tasks, reminders and scheduled activities; we have become more and more comfortable with technology prompting and guiding us throughout our working day.

Getting a system to work for you will help ensure your records are kept up to date, time consuming emails are sent without effort and procedures are followed without users needing to think about it.

Over the course of 2014 we saw a number of innovative ideas and useful functionality to help consultants stay on top of their data. Here is a list of great ideas, alongside a few old favourites:

Placement Announcement (Email Notifications)

Great for team building and fuelling a competitive sales environment. Whenever a placement is made/authorised, a background trigger sends a templated email announcing to all staff that a placement has been made and congratulating the consultant.

With the right setup, this email can contain a picture of the consultant as well as details of the placement that has been made.

Update Custom Alert Text

In 6.4.8, Colleague introduced a new feature called ‘Alert Levels’. This feature allows for a consultant to set a coloured banner across the top of a record (along with some custom text), to ensure that any key information is relayed to users viewing the record.

Custom Alerts Colleague

This works fine as a manual process, but the alert level and custom text can also be populated by a trigger, which opens the feature up to numerous configurable options, for example

- Update the Alert Text to advise if a candidate is Placed In A Current Placement
- Set the Alert Level based on the candidate’s status (i.e. Green for ‘Active’)
- Offer a brief summary on the candidate – How many times has the candidate been attached, sent, interviewed and/or placed?
- When was this person last contacted?

There are often immediate questions that need to be answered when accessing a record before it can be worked on. Getting these answers into an Alert Level can be a huge time saver.

Customer alerts colleague 2

Scheduled Reports

If, like many, you are keen to view certain reports at set times in the week or month, Colleague can be configured to generate scheduled emails that contain a unique link to your report.

This unique link would be hardcoded with the criteria appropriate to the report you’re looking to run (i.e. set with the date range of the previous week - if it’s a weekly report - or filtered to only your user/team if it’s an activity analysis, etc.).

This is a powerful way of saving time and keeping your team focused on their stats.

Please note: As Colleague is not a data warehouse, the URL will only be valid for a short time. When you click on the link it will run the report with the criteria specified, but this is being run against current data (i.e. not the data at the time the URL was generated). A work around to this issue can be to populate the email itself with summary content from the report.

Contract Placement Expiry Updating Candidate Status

When a contract expiries (without renewal) the status of the placed candidate is automatically updated to state that they are now active.


Candidate Notification Emails

Setup a standardised email that will send (in the background) to a Candidate when they have been sent to a Contact, or attached to a Requirement.

This ensures external and/or internal parties are automatically updated when certain tasks are achieved in Colleague.

Field Update Creating History

Whether it be a date field, tick box or alphanumeric field; there can often be the need to keep an audit trail recording when and who updated a certain field.

Colleague can be configured to monitor when a field has been modified and create a History note logging who changed a field and what is was changed from and to.

Credit Check Registration

When registering a new company on the system, if the consultant wishes to create a requirement for the first time, an email to the Accounts Department is sent requesting that a credit check is carried out on the business.

Reminder Emails (Daily, Weekly, Monthly)

Reminder Emails can be implemented to notify a user that a contract placement is nearing its end date, highlight if timesheets are missing from a placement, follow up on an interview or perhaps list the contacts the consultant owns that they have not spoken to within a targeted period of time.

A great tool for prompting, motivating and ensuring your consultants are being given the right information at the right time.


Automatically Populate Fields and Notes When Running Workflow Or Updating Records

When you’re running workflow In Colleague certain fields will be updated as standard (i.e. Date Filled, Availability Date, Currently, Registered, etc), but you may wish for workflow to automatically populate custom fields, append notes perhaps even add custom skills.

This can be useful for tracking full registrations. (i.e. if certain key fields need to be filled in before a candidate can be considered live - when all the criteria is met it sets a flag and/or updates the status.)

Birthday Message

Send an automated email to your candidates/contacts wishing them a Happy Birthday.

Great for keeping in touch and ensuring your contact information is still valid.

N.B All triggers that create emails require a fully licenced SQL.

New and exciting ideas are being thought up almost daily. If you can think of a way to streamline workflow and improve your productivity please ask the question. We may be able to make your lives easier!

If you are interested in any of the points discussed in this article or would like to learn more about Colleague’s products and services please contact our sales team on 01603 735935. Alternatively, if you’re a Colleague client please speak with your Account Manager on 01243 629850 or email support@colleaguesoftware.com.

Look out for part three of this article: Training and Self Help.