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Heads Down, Grinding Away

I’ve been hearing a bit of chatter the last 2 days; concerns that we’ve suddenly gone very quiet on the blog front leading to rumors of some big announcement.

Apologies for that.

The reality is I’ve held off writing anything thinking that our next big announcement would be the iPhone app launch.  Unfortunately Apple is slow to review and approve its release into the wild.

But that doesn’t mean we’ve been lazing around drinking margaritas and cashing in our Groupon coupons for a week of day-long, day spas.  Quite the contrary; all heads are down, grinding away, staying out of trouble.

Deadlines and Reminders on Support Cases

Last week we rolled out some new features to support cases which included the ability to set a deadline on a case and to create future reminders to review a support case.

Recurring Tasks

Sometime this week we’ll turn on the new recurring task features.  This really has taken much longer than anticipated.  On the surface it seems really simple.  Create a task then set it to repeat every week.  But once you dig into the various scenarios it becomes exponentially more complex very quickly (and all the while we need to keep it easy!).

So not only will the new recurring task have a multitude of repeat scenarios, you can also simply address operational issues such as one week you might be on holiday (!) and need to delegate those tasks off to someone else without having to create separate new, tasks.  Oh and recurring tasks will sync back and forth with G Suite Calendar.  I’ll make a more detailed announcement when it is live…

Google Contact Synchronization

We are also ruthlessly testing Google contacts Sync.  As with all automated two-way sync scenarios there is always the risk of total disaster and in fact if you look at a few G Suite reviews where a vendor has a feature, you’ll read the odd screaming review that the app has shredded the users contacts.  We’d like to obviously avoid that...

An outcome of this work is we’re looking at the feasibility of a single “quick edit” screen for contacts where you can see and correct any Synchronization issues, as well as edit and add basic contact information on the fly.  Hopefully we can get this live over the next 2 weeks.

Search Engine with Complex Filters

And then in the background we’re working on a new lightning fast search with a whole range of filtering options.  This work is the precursor to the new Sales and CRM tool; specifically the ability to build and save custom views of your customer database.  A new powerful search engine will allow complex search options along the lines of:

  • Show me all projects that include the word “graphic design” for these customers, created in 2010
  • Show me all customers that have purchased this product and who have lodged a support case
  • Show me all support cases for customers with the tag “priority 1” that were answered by employee Tim

The search project is fully spec’d out with an internal beta running a fully rendered page of results in less than 1 second  <1 second (!!!).  What we’re working through now is an intuitive way to display filtering options.

Web Forms

The other project that is well under way is a revamp of Web forms.  This includes greater control over the look and feel, easier set up with What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get layout and a range of new question/answer types.  More on this soon.

G Suite Email (Gmail) Plugin

If you haven’t tried it out yet, you absolutely need to switch to G Suite e-mail and install the WORK[etc] app for your domain.  What this does is let you instantly send any email to a project, sales lead, support case and more.  It is a massive time-saver, so much so that one of our longest subscribers, Sharmil McKee (McKee Law Office) had this to say yesterday:
This feature is out of control (in a good way). The ability to link emails and attachments to a project is revolutionary. You have just made my job 100% easier. And the ability to create a to-do or a new project from the email is unbelievable. The reason email is such a PITA for me, is that it generates work. No one emails me just for fun. People email me because they want me to do things. Being able to create and link a task/event/project/whatever from the email, is almost too convenient. I believe this feature pushes WORK[etc] heads above your competition.

Sharmil’s statement really says it all.  When you think about it, most of our day-to-day work email is activity related; comment on a project, help me with this issue, sell me a product.  The WORK[etc] integration lets you effortlessly turn your email into an activity.  Get yourself a G Suite account and try it out (and then give us a 5 star review – it really does help us out)

Redefining this Blog

To date the WORK[etc] blog has always been all about product updates but after all the chatter from not having written anything this last few weeks, I’m wondering if anyone is interested in reading how we actually run the business, why we’re running it, the challenges we face and what we’ve learnt from running a micro-multinational.

Any thoughts?  Please voice in the comments below …

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