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June 16, 2010
  A Feature You Should Know About - Search Request Report
A client is starting to use CE's built in full text search tool on their web site, and I thought it would be a good time to highlight a great feature in CE that may not be widely known - the Search Request report.

The Search Request report is found in the Reports module in CE and shows what words and phrases users are searching for on your web site. This data is a great way to understand what your users are looking for and can allow a client to make adjustments so that sought after content is easier to find. Like most reports in CE, this report data can be exported to .csv / Excel files to be shared with others who may not log into the web site to review the data there.

This feature points to an important advantage CE has over comparable solutions, especially those where the web site, data management, and even search are separate products. With those kinds of solutions, you may have to find a 3rd party search tool to work with your website / content management system. Then, once you get those systems put together, the search may not easily be able to include password protected content in its search results. And then, if there is search reporting data available, it is usually in the search tool or the website management tool which is separate from your contact database. That means it won't be located with a lot of your other reporting by default. And then, of course, you will have to hire technical consultants to try and tie all these systems together, make sure that they don't break during upgrades, and so on. So, although some of these basic tools can be "free" (like with open source tools), putting them all together and maintaining them can be a real pain.

With CE, a great enterprise search tool is included out of the box, it can be dropped into your site with ease and styled with minimal effort, and the reporting is right there in the Reports module with all your other reports. And it just works.

   

    Posted By: nickg @ 06/16/2010 07:11 PM     Community Enterprise     Comments (0)  

June 13, 2010
  New Feature Preview - Job Board
While I'm talking about new features, I just want to quickly preview one that is essentially done and will be included in the final release of CE version 7.0 (which is currently in Beta). That is a new Job Board module. The core functionality is fairly simple. Users can:
1) Search Jobs
2) Post Jobs
3) Search Resumes
4) Post Resumes

This will be very useful to community oriented clients who want to provide their community members with a way to get the word out about jobs and resumes.

And, this is yet another example of how broadly featured CE is. Most AMS / CRM / CMS systems do not include this kind of functionality out of the box and as a native part of the application. And, those that do are typically more expensive.

We'll have more information on this feature soon. In the mean time, anyone who is interested in this should feel free to post a message in the forum or in our Contact Us page.

   

    Posted By: nickg @ 06/13/2010 05:45 PM     Community Enterprise     Comments (0)  

  Improvement to CE's Email module de-duping
This improvement may be obscure to some users, but for others it may be important so I just want to note it here briefly. In the past, CE has de-duped email lists automatically. For instance, if you pull in a new segmented list to an existing list, CE will not allow duplicate email records to be added to the list.

However, if you sent an email to multiple lists and the same address was on two or more of those lists, CE would send to that address multiple times. That is what we have changed.

CE didn't always work this way, and to be honest, I can't quite remember why we made the change in the first place. But, I think it was one of those situations where something that seemed like a good idea at the time didn't end up being an optimal solution for the majority of clients. So, we have changed this back to the original functionality in which, when you send an email to multiple lists at the same time, if an address is on more than one of those lists, it will only receive a single email. Yay!

So, now there are two ways that CE's email module de-dupes automatically for users.

Hope that helps!

Nick

   

    Posted By: nickg @ 06/13/2010 05:39 PM     Community Enterprise     Comments (0)  

June 7, 2010
  Another Cool Feature Enhancement - Document Views and Reporting
I just wanted to let you know about another cool new enhancement in CE's reporting. This one is for tracking document views / downloads on your website or within your password protected areas.

One thing that we did was to add date range filtering. Before you could just track downloads from a single dates or the whole history. Now you can filter across a date range. That's kind of a no brainer.

A bigger enhancement is that you can now see most data about the document views, including who is downloading them (if they are logged in at the time of download). This gives you a lot more information not only about what is being downloaded but who is interested in which areas of your content.

But, the biggest enhancement relates to the way that document downloads are set up in your web pages in the first place. In the past, you could link to a document in a CE page, but the link would take a user to a summary page for the document before allowing them to download it. This was fine for some clients but was an unnecessary hassle for others. There was an easy work around to allow direct linking to documents from a web page, but it circumvented the reporting mechanism meaning that you would not be able to see reporting data on what documents were being downloaded / viewed. That is no longer a problem. Now, when you add a document link to a web page, the Link Tool gives you BOTH options - you can have the user link to the document summary page first OR you can allow the user to link directly to the document with no summary page. And, both of these options will be reportable.

Clients asked. We listened. New feature.

   

    Posted By: nickg @ 06/07/2010 11:32 AM     Community Enterprise     Comments (0)  

  Cool New Reporting Feature - Login Tracking
Going forward, we'll be using the blog a lot more. Last year we did some initial posts, but now we'll be using the blog more consistently. One of the ways we'll be using it is to highlight features of CE. That's what this post is about.

Login Reporting Enhancements

In the new version, which is in beta now but which some clients are using already, we've done some cool enhancements to the login tracking screen in the Reports module. First, we've expanded the number of fields of data that is shown in the report. Second, we now show both successful and failed logins so clients can get a sense of which users may be having problems with logging in. Third, we now track failed logins where the username was wrong as well as the password. That is, initially we only tracked scenarios where the username or email was entered correctly. But, after a client asked to also have visibility into failed logins where the username was incorrectly entered, we added that too!

So, now you have a lot of visibility about who is logging in and trying to log in to your CE system.

Another Reason This Is Cool

This feature points to something relatively unique about CE, which is that CE has both a full blown, native content management system AND a full blown CRM system with reporting. Most systems available to associations and non-profits don't have that, and the ones that do tend to be quite expensive. Among more affordable options, like ours, you will typically have a separate content management system (to manage the web site) and constituent relationship management (CRM) system OR association management system (AMS) to manage the data. That can be a pain in a lot of ways, including tracking logins because in that scenario, your login tracking (if it exists at all) is going to be located somewhere in the administration section of your content management system while most of the rest of your reporting is going to be in your CRM or AMS.

It can get even more complicated because when your CMS and CRM/AMS are separate, then logins and users will likely have to be tracked in BOTH systems for the reporting to work, especially if you want your CRM/AMS to be able to provide this data (rather than having it located separately in the CMS). That is, the login records will be tracked in the CMS. And, if you want this information to be consistent with data in your CRM/AMS, then you will need the data to be synced. And, that may require additional fees and / or customizations. And, of course, customizations can disrupt upgrades if not done correctly. So, it can get complex and messy quickly.

Long story short, login tracking can be done when you are using separate systems, but it may not be with the rest of your data reporting and if it is, it may imply other challenges and complexities to make it work. While this is a relatively small issue so some, it's a good example of how CE makes life easier by tracking all your data in one place.

Edited: 06/07/2010 at 11:19 AM by nickg

   

    Posted By: nickg @ 06/07/2010 11:10 AM     Community Enterprise     Comments (0)  

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