Job / Project Alerts, keeping your agency informed

In some scenarios, a prompt response can stop a minor hiccup becoming a major headache. And it’s here that an active alert – triggered intelligently and automatically  is far more effective than relying on a user checking an on-screen view or report.

Sample alerts include:

  • costs have reached X% of estimated budget on job
  • overdue timesheets
  • late jobs / phases / tasks
  • costs being added to final invoiced jobs

Making alerts work for you

An intelligent business system is one that helps you to work smart and make important and complex actions with the least effort. Synergist’s project management-based system is a good example of this, and alerts are one important aspect of it.

Alerts bring to your attention key issues, problems, reminders and notifications that you might otherwise miss. Alert systems are like having a smart assistant who doesn’t forget anything and keeps an eye open for things that are crucial to your work.

This includes warnings of emerging problems that even the most disciplined worker would probably not have otherwise discovered – before it was too late to do something about it.

Synergist has a comprehensive system of alerts at your disposal. There are two overall types: Immediate alerts and Reminder alerts. Here are some pointers on both.

Immediate alerts

These are typically triggered by a single action or event.

For example, you may be the person who approves draft sales invoices. Rather than hope that the person submitting them will remember to inform you when they have done so, you can initiate the system to let you know automatically. It lets you know this by email, complete with a convenient link to the page in question.

Here are some more examples that Synergist gives you:

  • Costs being added after the final invoice. If someone wants to post a cost of any type – whether time, materials, purchase or expense – to a job that has been closed and the invoice sent, an alert can be created to notify the appropriate handler.
  • Queried expenses. The person submitting an expense sheet is alerted if the expense is queried, rejected or returned.
  • Acceptance of expenses. The person submitting the expenses can be notified when it has been accepted, posted and passed onto Accounts for payment.
  • Change of status. All jobs have a current status: ‘Live’, ‘Quotes’, ‘In-house’, ‘On hold’, or ‘Special’. The job (or phase) handler can be notified when the status of a job changes.
  • Timesheet not previously estimated. This alerts the handler if a charge code has been entered that was not previously estimated for that job.
  • New job creation. Here, the job handler (or the team) is notified when a new job has been created.
  • Locked estimate. Estimates in a particular phase can be locked and unlocked, and the handler can be notified of the change in status.
  • Task completion. When a stage is completed, the handler of the phase can be notified.
  • Purchase Order approval. The person submitting the PO can be notified when it is approved.
  • Invoice approval. The approval of invoices is a 3-part process: 1) Draft ready for approval. 2) Draft approved. 3) Draft made real. Each of these steps can have user controls allowing or preventing actions, and alerts can be made.
  • Business opportunity tracking. The handler can be notified when a sales lead is promoted to a prospect, or a prospect is promoted to a client.

Note that all these alerts are optional.

Reminder alerts

These are typically triggered when the system sees that data relating to a schedule meets certain criteria. Examples:

  • Percentage of estimate reached. The phase handler is alerted at certain key points, such as when a set percentage of the budget has been spent. It is both a reminder that the milestone has been reached and an instant comparison with whether things are on track. This is a very powerful and popular alert.

Several options are available, such as which company is affected (if you are running several companies), whether an individual or the team should be alerted, whether internal jobs should be excluded, or whether to exclude certain types of costs such as time, materials or purchases.

  • How long the warning is. You can choose how much warning is appropriate for the particular activity. For example an individual can be alerted anything from 5 minutes to 3 months in advance of the event.
  • Overdue timesheets. This alerts the user, and their manager, if their timesheet is late. The deadline can be set by specific hour and day of the week.
  • Late phases and jobs. A job that becomes late can be set to trigger an alert.
  • Charge exceeded quote. This compares the quoted price with the actual charge, and triggers an alert if exceeded.
  • New time estimates. People can be notified if new time estimates have been posted.
  • Report generation. Reports can be saved as views for authorised user viewing and run against a schedule. The reports are then emailed to the right people on the right date and time, typically in PDF format or spreadsheet format.

Note that these, too, are all optional alerts. You are in control as to which you want to receive, depending on your (changing) circumstances and priorities.

The power of email alerts can hardly be overstated, and their flexibility and diversity mean that just about every role can benefit from them.

It’s therefore interesting to see, for example, a part-time worker using alerts to see that their expenses have been approved, and exactly the same tool being used by a Finance Director discovering that a multi-million pound project has reached 50% of its spend yet the work is only 42% completed.