Configuring Secretariat to meet your company’s needs is largely intuitive; however, there is a specific order that needs to be followed. You may encounter errors and reduced or invalid functionality if you change the order. The following is configured from within Suite Manager:
- Users – Users’ login IDs and passwords are managed on this tab. Password expiration settings are maintained on the Security Settings window in Suite Manager. See “Creating a User” on page 215 for more information.
- User Groups – Allows you to assign users to user groups. Configurations such as access rights can then be made by security attribute, which will affect all users assigned to that user group. Exceptions may be made by editing a user record. See Creating a Group for more information.
- Types – Allows you to specify the classifications for entity records, then assign position types to the entity types. See Creating an Entity Type.
- System Settings – Allows you to configure settings for Secretariat, including entity ownership requirements for your company. See Configuring System Settings.
- View Profiles/Type Profiles – Provides a method of individually adjusting tabs, tab labels, fields and field labels. Customization by view profile will only affect user groups assigned to the view profile. Customization by type profile will affect all users. See Creating a Type Profile and Creating a View Profile.
The following are other areas of the Suite Manager application that can be used to make Secretariat meet your company’s specific needs.
Hide fields and tabs you don’t need or that contain sensitive information; change field labels to match your corporate terminology; make data fields required to ensure users are entering vital information. See Working with Modules and Tabs.
User fields can be created to enter information for which Secretariat does not already provide fields. The available types, which are specified when creating the field in Suite Manager, are:
- String: alpha-numeric text (up to 255 characters)
- Number: numeric values only (up to 17 digits, including up to 4 decimals)
- Lookup: allows selection of one value from a predefined list
- Logical: checkbox (yes or no)
- Multi-Select: allows selection of one or more values from a predefined list
- Hyperlink: URL for launching a Website (up to 2000 characters)
- Date/Time: allows only for entering a date and time; provides a popup calendar for ease of data entry
- Comment: text field for holding large amounts of text (equivalent to several pages of straight text)
Selecting the correct type of user field can be helpful in ensuring consistent data entry and can reduce errors. For example: Use a Lookup field when the required data can be limited to a few choices (such as Region: North, South, East, or West). Using the Lookup field ensures that spelling and capitalization will be consistent (important when the data will later be used for searching). If data has been improperly entered as “Region = Souht”, for example, then that entity will not be included in a search where a user is trying to locate entities where “Region = South”.
Another example is proper use of a checkbox field. A checkbox implies a simple “Yes” or “No” answer. However, sometimes the information might be unknown. In that case, an unchecked checkbox could imply that the value should be “No” or that the user simply does not have the information. Therefore, a better choice would be to create a lookup category with values of “Yes”, “No”, or “Unknown” so the user can proactively state whether the value is “No” or “Unknown”.
Provides an area to maintain the selections available in the dropdown lists. See Working with Lookups.
Making a report available from a tab makes it easier for users to find information they need quickly. Use tab-specific reports to give easy access to relevant data right from the data entry pages. Reports can be made tab-specific using Suite Manager.
This feature is especially useful when clients have distributed areas of responsibility. Use the WorldView security to segment entities into managed groups and provide read-only, read/write, or no access as appropriate. See Configuring WorldView.
One of the most common issues Secretariat clients face is commonly referred to as “dirty data.” This term encompasses a variety of issues including outdated information, duplicate entry, improper data (such as spelling errors), etc. In addition to some of the best practices described above, several other features in Secretariat can be used to help avoid the accumulation of unusable data:
- Duplicate Check – This feature automatically searches for duplicate people and entity records as the records are being added to the system. Duplicate checking must be enabled for each user (or group of users).
- Hiding Hot Add Buttons – Secretariat has a convenient feature called “Hot Add” that allows users to enter records (such as new people or new entities) on-the-fly. However, users are sometimes quick to add a new record without properly checking to see if it is already in the system. This practice leads to several issues (for example, Joe Smith has been entered twice; within one of the data records, you can find his address, phone number, and some of the positions that he holds at various entities; however, other positions have been entered into the second record; therefore, neither one holds an accurate depiction of Joe Smith’s profile) and can manifest as inaccurate reporting, besides being time-consuming to clean up. Therefore, many administrators prefer to hide the Hot Add feature, which forces users to go to the People module to add a new person record, guiding them towards identifying duplicates before adding a record.
- Reports – Several “administrative” reports exist that allow administrative users to periodically audit the database to look for problems. Mitratech recommends you periodically run and review these reports.
- Database Auditing – Enabling this function will record every edit to the database (all adds, edits, and deletes to data records). This feature is often used to indicate compliance to SOX regulations and can be a helpful tool for identifying improper use of the system. For example, one client complained of losing historical information within the system. By using the audit logs, they were able to identify that they had a user who was improperly editing records. For example, if the name or entity type of a company changed, the user would deactivate the existing company and then add a new entity record using the new name or type. Therefore, all historical information tied to the old entity did not carry over to the new one. The client was able to identify and re-train the user to make these changes to the existing record by viewing the audit logs.
- Information Overload – Hide what you don’t use (such as data entry pages, wizards, reports, and documents). These items can be hidden based on view profiles assigned to groups of users. Eliminate confusion in the system by only granting access to the functions your users need.
- Reports and Documents – It pays to customize. Secretariat provides a number of standard report and document templates. However, every client has different needs. Our clients who have invested in having their report and document templates customized to fit their needs have enjoyed a great return. Instead of running reports and documents and then making modifications to the final product after-the-fact each time, they get what they need in the format that they need every time. Many clients have staff that can modify our templates or even build reports and documents from the ground up. If you don’t have the time, resources, or expertise, Mitratech provides this service.
- Using Third-party Integrations – Make use of the integrations with Calendar and Document Management Systems in order to leverage tools already in place. Automated integrations reduce the amount of redundant data entry across applications.
- Configuring Your System – Leverage the built-in tools to design data capture screens in the way that best suits your company's needs. This configuration is typically part of the implementation process, but many Secretariat clients don’t fully appreciate the flexibility of the application until they have been using it for a while. Take some time to get to know the features that can be used to tailor the application to your processes:
- Rules Engine – Have Mitratech create customized workflow rules to perform tasks such as sending alert notifications when an event occurs (for example, send me an e-mail if someone changes the status of an entity) and data modification (for example, when I create a new registration record, automatically create a calendar event to perform annual filings in the new jurisdiction for next year).
- Consider a Tune-up – New software features become available, work processes change, rules change, staff turns over, things always change. Many of our clients have taken advantage of our services to provide a tune-up anywhere from one to several years after the implementation. This reassessment basically is an opportunity to review and re-implement portions of the implementation to fit your requirements.
- SuperViewer – Once you have solidified the data, use SuperViewer to reduce your incoming phone calls and inquiries. Use either the built-in reports or customize your own to ensure maximum usage.