After one of the strangest years in recent history, we here at Accelo are hopeful that 2021 will bring more health, wealth and happiness across the globe than 2020 brought - and we intend to do our best to contribute to our collective recovery by delivering on our promise to be the best system to run a professional service business. Therefore, our plans for this year are focused on building and improving Accelo so that our customers are better equipped with the tooling necessary to improve their businesses’ financial health and future growth.
Below we’ll dive into notable releases from Q3 and Q4 of last year and cover some of the more significant initiatives that are currently prioritized for 2021. Just as a reminder, we are constantly taking in feedback from our customers and our internal teams - so all of the items listed for 2021 are subject to modifications and scheduling changes. As usual, our Product Updates blog posts communicate releases and we will be publishing another Priorities blog post in approximately 5-6 months.
Our new Reporting feature allows users - subject to them having the appropriate permissions and the Reports Module activated - to access approximately 70 interactive Reports that not only visualize, but analyze key Accelo business data in real time, exposing massive amounts of information for the first time ever within our system!
If you are interested in learning more about our Reports Module, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or your specific Accelo champion will be able to advise you on next steps!
Encompassing our seven primary Module List Screens, new export capabilities, new database technology for improved performance, thousands of filter variables and hundreds of potential columns that our users will be able to choose to include on the list, this major upgrade to our list screens continues to be our largest engineering project - and we're closer and closer to releasing the first seven Lists out of Beta.
We’re currently focused on wrapping up a bit more filters and columns on four of the seven Lists, implementing new configuration UI based on user feedback in the Beta and completing the technical preparation necessary to upgrade the existing screens without negatively impacting our users’ experience. Keep an eye out for in-app notifications, blog posts and messaging from your Accelo champion towards the end of Q1 2021 about this release. Additionally, we will continue to prioritize the upgrade of our other List Screens in the near future.
Users on Mobile are now able to Add and Edit Company and Contact information while on-the-go. These actions are critical to ensure that the core information which supports and enables your business to maintain client relationships is up-to-date as your team travels to client sites or meets potential clients at roadshows and conferences. Projects Up Next
One of the most common things our users do is log the time they spend working on client Projects, Tasks, Tickets, Retainers, etc. While logging time is often something we grumble about as users, without accurate logs of the time spent doing client work the business can't understand whether the work we're doing is on budget and profitable. Additionally, tracking our time is critical if we are billing our clients for work done based on the time and expenses spent.
Therefore, we have released improvements to our Timers feature on Mobile so that logging and tracking your time, especially while you are on-the-go is as effortless as possible.
As will be mentioned again below, we are planning to upgrade our Timers in the Web App over the next 6 months, so that the functionality on either platform is aligned with each other.
Aside from finishing remaining work needed to release our List Screens out of Beta, our teams that are focused on the Web Application will likely be focused on the initiatives described below. Again, our priorities are always subject to modification and scheduling adjustments.
Our Product team has had this feature scoped for awhile now, but it hasn’t yet reached engineering. At its core, this will allow users to configure Triggers to run on a date value (Eg. the when today’s date equals the 15th) so Actions can be automatically run off of that rule.
We hope to implement a Task Priority field where there are a number of options for the user to select from. Ideally, this Priority field will be customizable in your Account settings!
Our Product team researched and scoped improvements to our Timers in 2019 and implemented those changes in the Mobile Apps recently in 2020. We will eventually need to make those same changes in our Web application so that the functionality is in parity.
We know how important the Timesheet Report is for accuracy of billing and financial reporting. We also know that it is not as flexible as our users need it to be - we’d like to see an additional filter for User Groups implemented as well as additional customization options to hide things like time entries with 0m logged in order to reduce the noise in this report.
We will be focused on several areas in 1H 2021 that we believe will help system performance for all of our customers. The most important of which is optimizing the database queries used by our system to gather, translate and display data inside of the Accelo interface. We’re putting resources into investigating and improving database queries that are interacting with either large or complex sets of data, so that we prioritize the most critical areas first and foremost.
For example, we’ve just made improvements to the Weekly and Daily Timesheets by identifying troublesome queries and are now taking advantage of new technologies implemented with the List Screen upgrades to improve the load times on two very important screens!
Including Materials on Fixed Price Milestones on Projects
Settings or other restrictions to prohibit time entries against work objects (for example, Tasks or Projects) in Completed statuses
Whitelabelling Task Statuses for additional customization
The integrations team will be continuing their 2020Q4 priority projects, with a focus on our core integrations and helping out with broader system performance and scaling.
I’m not sure if you’ll remember, but earlier this fall we had issues with SendGrid - the service we use to enable our email delivery/ integrations. We have decided to move away from that provider so that our customers never have to worry whether or not the emails they send inside of Accelo will be delivered to their clients. This work is already underway, but will continue into Q1 2021.
We need to bring our integration with GSuite (to include Email, Calendar, AddressBook and Tasks) into parity with our M365 integration. This means faster, more efficient syncs for things like emails and better functionality when things like calendar events are edited.
Our Mobile team will be implementing the ability to create and progress both Tickets and Sales on our mobile applications and they will be focusing on building our first round of Push Notifications.
An important function of our Mobile Apps is to equip our users with the features necessary to do work while they are traveling or on-site with a client. A crucial enhancement to deliver on that function is to allow for work - like Sales and Tickets to be created - and progressed - on our Mobile Apps, so that our customers never have to worry about lost documentation of new opportunities or work that is inaccurate or falling behind.
Accelo is the system which professionals at services businesses use to manage their daily and weekly responsibilities to deliver profitable client work. In order to ensure that our users are always informed of changes to their responsibilities and priorities, we are going to be building our first round of push notifications for our Mobile Apps, so whether you are on-the-go, or sitting at a coffee shop for lunch, Accelo will always inform you of important changes to your day!
Some examples of notifications:
The Mobile team is actively considering several other ideas for Push Notifications on the Mobile App, so we would love to hear from you! If you have a notification idea you’d like to see implemented, let our Mobile team know on the Ideas Forum.