Overview of Automated Processes
What is an automated process?
Simply put, an automated process (a.k.a. AP) is a way of automating a series of tasks in GoldMine®. They are most useful when they are designed in relation to systems. For example, at the appropriate time pertinent calls, appointments, etc. can automatically be scheduled for the appropriate people by an AP. They can even add or update
GoldMine® data and send e-mails.
More specifically, an AP is a series of events that have both a trigger and a
corresponding action to be performed. The trigger is a condition that must be met in order for the specified action to take place.
There are various types of event triggers including the following:
Elapsed Days – allows you to specify a number of days that must pass before the event is triggered; elapsed days are counted starting with the first day the event is attempted to be triggered.
Immediate – causes the event to trigger immediately upon the first attempt; this option effectively removes any condition to be met for triggering the event. Detail Record – allows you to specify a certain type of detail record that must
exist for the contact in order for the event to be triggered.
History Activity – allows you to specify a certain type of history record that must exist for the contact in order for the event to be triggered.
Scheduled Activity – allows you to specify a certain type of pending activity that must be scheduled for the contact in order for the event to be triggered.
Opportunity – not used in the Breaking Away system. Project – not used in the Breaking Away system.
dBASE Condition – allows you to specify a dBASE expression that must be evaluated as true in order for the event to be triggered; while this is the most advanced trigger type, it also gives you the greatest flexibility and opens the door to a wide array of possibilities.
Disabled – causes the event to be completely ignored and thus never get triggered.
There are various actions that an AP can perform including the following:
Print Form – allows you to specify a document template to automatically be merged with the corresponding contact record; you can choose to have the AP either print the document immediately or queue it up to be printed later.
Print Report – allows you to specify a particular GoldMine® report to be printed for either the corresponding contact only or for all contacts (note that selecting the filter/group option has no affect); even though a Crystal Report can be selected, this option only works when a GoldMine® report is chosen.
Schedule Activity – allows you to specify a particular activity type to schedule on a designated person’s GoldMine® calendar that will be linked to the
corresponding contact record; you can also choose the number of days into the future that the activity will be scheduled for as well as all of the other standard features associated with scheduling an activity with the exception that the activity cannot be unlinked.
Create History – allows you to specify the creation of a history record associated with the corresponding contact record; you can choose all of the standard
features associated with completing an unscheduled activity with the exception of the date and time which will be derived from the date and time the event was triggered.
Create Detail – allows you to specify the creation of a detail record of a particular type associated with the corresponding contact record; you can choose all of the standard features associated with the creation of new detail records.
Add to Group – allows you to specify an existing group to make the corresponding contact record a member of.
Update Field – allows you to specify a value to be given to a chosen contact record field for the corresponding contact record; the value must be specified as a dBASE expression.
Remove Track – this option causes the AP to completely remove itself from the corresponding contact record when the event is triggered.
Add a New Track – allows you to specify an additional AP to be attached to the corresponding contact record.
Branch to Event – allows you to force the AP to skip to a certain event thus by-passing the normal progression of events within the track; this will only occur for the corresponding contact record.
Run Application – this is a highly advanced option not currently used in
Breaking Away that allows you to specify a software application to be run when the event is triggered.
Additionally, there are two types of events: preemptive and sequential. GoldMine® attempts to trigger all preemptive events each time an AP is scanned, unless there is at least one sequential event that has already been triggered. Therefore, with preemptive events, order is not important. On the other hand, sequential events must occur in order. That means that GoldMine® will not attempt to trigger any sequential event until its preceding sequential event (if there is one) has been triggered.
Allow only one attachment of this process per contact – selecting this option prevents a track from being attached to a contact record multiple times
Execute this process immediately upon attachment – selecting this option will cause GoldMine® to immediately scan the process for the contact record it is being attached to in order to avoid having to wait for the next regular
comprehensive scan for all contact records (in most cases that would mean the next business day).
Execute this process only when scanning for processes – selecting this option will prevent the track from being able to be scanned for a single contact record only and will trump the “execute this process immediately upon
attachment” option, if selected.
Restart this process each time that it ends – selecting this option will cause the track to start over from the beginning (i.e., the first event) as opposed to removing itself upon completion.
Allow users to attach this process – selecting this option will allow GoldMine® users to attach the track to contact records; without this option selected, the only way the track could get attached to a contact record is by another automated process (e.g., a track that contains an event that attaches the process). Attach this process to all new contact records – selecting this option will
cause GoldMine® to automatically attach the track to all new contact records as they are created; this option can only be assigned to one AP.
How do Automated Processes work?
It is important to note that APs are executed at the contact record level. This means that virtually everything an AP does is individually related to the contact record(s) it is attached to. An AP will do nothing if it is not attached to a contact record.
Additionally, APs must be run once every day – preferably at the very beginning of the day. Doing so causes GoldMine® to scan every contact record for any attached tracks (i.e., Automated Processes/APs) and then scan within those tracks to see if any events can be triggered based on how the AP was designed and what event was last triggered, if any. PEAK™ recommends that one person be assigned to this task to prevent more than one person from running them on any given day, which could result in the
duplication of certain actions.
Every morning, the designated person should run the APs by going to the TOOLS
menu, selecting AUTOMATED PROCESSESEXECUTE PROCESSES, and clicking
As shown to the right, by default, the “Automated Processes Execution” window will already have the desired options selected for performing the daily scan (i.e., it is set to scan all contact records once).
The “GoldMine Process Monitor” window will open to display the progress of the AP.
When running the APs on Fridays, you will also need to run them for Saturday and Sunday as well to ensure that everything is accurate and up-to-date when you come back to the office on Monday. So, on Friday morning run the APs using the steps previously outlined. Then, run them for Saturday by performing the following steps:
Double-click on the Windows system clock in the lower right-hand corner of your Windows desktop. This will open the “Date and Time Properties” window. Change the date to the corresponding Saturday and click the APPLY button.
Then, click the OK button. The GoldMine® clock will automatically synchronize with the system clock. This takes somewhere between 1-30 seconds.
Once the GoldMine® clock says Saturday (it is very important to wait for the clocks to synchronize), run the APs again.
Repeat the previous three steps to run the APs for Sunday as well. Lastly, don’t forget to change your system clock back to the current date.
TIP: If you have a dedicated server and an extra GoldMine® license, you can set up GoldMine® server agents to run the APs every morning automatically. Please see the training vignette titled “Setting Up Server Agents for Automated Processes.”
How are new Automated Processes created?
To create a new AP, go to the TOOLS menu, select AUTOMATED
PROCESSESMANAGE PROCESSES. Then, select the desired GoldMine® username to store the new process under and click the “New Automated Process” button (or right-click on “Automated Processes” and select NEW).
The “GoldMine Automated Process Wizard” window will appear allowing you to give the new process a name and three letter process code, if desired. From here, you also have the option of
specifying/changing the GoldMine®
username under which the process will be stored. Click the NEXT button to proceed propagating through the automated
process creation wizard.
The next screen allows you to specify global settings for the AP. Once the desired selections are made, click the NEXT button.
The events screen is where events can be added and/or modified. To create a new event, click the NEW button.
The “Event Properties” window will appear where the event name, event type, event number, trigger type, and action type can be specified. Click the OK button to return to the events window. Then, when all the events are entered properly, click the NEXT button.
Finally, to finish creating the AP, click the FINISH button.
How can modifications be made to the Automated Processes included
with Breaking Away?
The actual APs included with Breaking Away should never be modified. Doing so will cause problems associated with installing periodic Breaking Away updates and could also result in irreversible damage to your GoldMine® data. Further, an actual Breaking Away AP should never be attached to a contact record, as they must be custom tailored for your firm first in order to be effective. Instead, Breaking Away APs are intended to serve as “templates” for you to clone in order to make the necessary modifications. Then, you would actually use the cloned version instead of the original.
To clone an AP, navigate to the Automated Processes Center, right-click on the desired process and select CLONE. This will open the “GoldMine Automated Process Wizard” window. At this point, you are working with a brand new AP that has the exact same properties and settings as the one you cloned. Give it a unique name. When cloning a Breaking Away AP, PEAK recommends naming the custom version with the same name as the original followed by a unique identifier for your firm (e.g., Client Birthdays – ABC Wealth) that will denote that it is your own custom version. That will also help prevent anyone from accidentally attaching the wrong tracks to contact records.
How are Automated Processes attached to contact records?
There are three ways an AP can be attached to a contact record: 1. Attaching a track to a single contact record
Navigate to the TRACKS tab of the contact record you wish to attach the track to. Right-click in the white space on the tab and select ATTACH A PROCESS.
ATTACHING USER since events can be configured to schedule activities for the attaching user.
2. Attaching a track to multiple contact records
First, go to the TOOLS menu and select AUTOMATED
PROCESSESEXECUTE PROCESSES. Now, select “Scan a Group of Contacts”. There are three ways
to designate the group of contacts you want to attach the AP to: you can attach the process to all contact records, all contacts in a specified filter, or all contacts in a specified group. Click on the checkbox next to “Attach Track to Selected Contacts” so that the box is checked. Then, choose the desired AP from the drop-down list. Underneath “Scan Method” choose “Do Not Scan”. Lastly, click the PROCESS button. This
will bring up the GoldMine® Process Monitor which will display the progress while the designated AP is being attached to the selected contact records.
3. Attaching a track via an automated process
As previously mentioned, an event can be created within an AP that, when the trigger condition is satisfied, will attach another track to the respective contact record.
How are Automated Processes removed from contact records?
APs can be removed from contact records in one of four ways: 1. Removing a track from a single contact record
Navigate to the desired contact record, go to the Tracks tab, right-click on the track you want to remove and select REMOVE PROCESS. This will remove only the selected track and only from the active contact record (i.e., the track will remain attached to all other contact records it was previously attached to). 2. A track will remove itself from a contact record
the contact record unless the track was created with the option to restart upon completion.
3. A track will forcibly and prematurely remove itself from a contact record As previously mentioned, an event can be added within an AP that, when the trigger condition is satisfied, will cause the track to remove itself from the respective contact record.
How should Automated Processes be tested?
New APs should always be tested before they are implemented. Some key reasons for this are:
To prevent the possibility of “dropping the ball” with regard to following up on a particular client/prospect issue because the AP didn’t work in the manner expected.
To prevent the data in your database from being irreversibly altered in a fashion that is not consistent with what was intended.
To prevent you from having to spend a lot of time fixing things that may have been done incorrectly because the AP was not set up properly.
In order to make sure the AP will perform exactly as intended, you need to test multiple scenarios by changing the necessary information on the contact record that is being tested. Therefore, you don’t want it to be a real contact record. Use a “dummy” record, such as William Sample, instead so that it is okay to add, change, and delete its data as necessary.
WARNING: Sometimes it is necessary to change the date in the Windows system clock
in order to properly test an AP. Extreme caution should be exercised if/when doing so. One reason is that if you have certain calendar activities set up to automatically roll-over, if you change the system date to a future date you could erroneously and
irreversibly cause those activities to roll-over to that future date. Therefore, a good rule of thumb is to never change your system clock to a date that is in the future. Also, don’t forget to change the clock back to the correct date when finished testing.
Each AP will have to be tested differently according to what it is designed to do. For instance, when testing a birthday AP that has an event that will only trigger exactly one week before the contact’s birthday and schedule a Call on the advisor’s Calendar, you can test that it will schedule correctly by giving the dummy contact a birthday of one week from the current day, then test the AP. Until you are confident that an AP works in the intended manner, do not attach it to any “live” contact records.