I stumbled across the unused tables ACONTACT, ACONTACTPHONE and ACONTACTTITLE in the Ayanova database and was wondering if there is any intention to expand or improve the contact info currently stored in Ayanova. I ask because for our purposes the current contact facilities are very restrictive, with a combined single field for the customer contact name (no firstname, lastname, title) and just a single large text field for all other contacts. The tables I’ve mentioned are structured to hold contact information in a more useful way so if you are planning to use these tables in a future version of Ayanova and improve contact functionality please do let me know because we won’t need to do a lot of work we are currently doing to link our other systems to Ayanova - we would just it as a basic CRM system instead
jasonbock (11/20/2008)I stumbled across the unused tables ACONTACT, ACONTACTPHONE and ACONTACTTITLE in the Ayanova database and was wondering if there is any intention to expand or improve the contact info currently stored in Ayanova. I ask because for our purposes the current contact facilities are very restrictive, with a combined single field for the customer contact name (no firstname, lastname, title) and just a single large text field for all other contacts. The tables I’ve mentioned are structured to hold contact information in a more useful way so if you are planning to use these tables in a future version of Ayanova and improve contact functionality please do let me know because we won’t need to do a lot of work we are currently doing to link our other systems to Ayanova - we would just it as a basic CRM system instead
Hi Jason, ironically we justdeprecated those tables and that method of storing the contact information in the last major release because it was too hard to include addresses in reports designed by end users because they were not in a flat format; we discovered that few if any appeared to be making use of the feature the way it was designed and received quite enthusiastic feedback on the change to simplicity.
Note that there aresomenew featurescoming in AyaNova 5 that arein the realm of CRM and I’d love to know specifically what you need in there to see if it overlaps with anything new thats coming or anything existing that you might not know about or something that can be added (and don’t say those particulartables please:) )I’d like to know in terms of the task you need to accomplish that you can’t now.
Thanks for letting me know.
In terms of our needs, it’s basically for contact information that allows us to track many contacts per client (or head office).We need to be able to store what I will call basic contact information, being firstname, lastname, phone, facsimile, mobile, email address and perhaps somecustom fields per contact.
I can only speak for our needs and for the kinds of systems we provide for our clients, but having one field for contact name and another large text field for other contacts prevents us from being able to use Ayanova as our primary contact database. We have to use other systems and tie the data into Ayanova. I’d guess that quite a few of your users would make use of better contact management fields.
We already use Ayanova as a kind of sales management system, simply by using workorders and views to track where quotes and leads are at, and the lack of basic contact fields is the only major problem with using Ayanova in this way for us.
Hi Jason I’m still not clear on the business tasks you need to accomplish with those extra contacts if they were in a separate database table than the way they are now as a large text field.
If they are simply alternate contact info then there is the existing contacts field for extra contacts. Or do you mean that’s sufficient but there is no “template” to enter the data into and you don’t want freeform because people are not consistent with how they enter it?
Or, if you want to treat them as separate contacts, almost as entirely separate customers in a way then you could make a separate client record for them if they are in fact really separate clients of the same company that you deal with separately for your sales processes, i.e.each contact is a client:“Company name - Bob smith”, “Company name - Joe Blow” etc.
It comes down to the difference between simply needing to refer to them versus doing something with them. We found that the vast majority of our customers (really all of them as far as we can tell) simply wanted to refer to those alternate contacts, they really didn’t need to do anything with them beyond that which is why we simplified it because they found it too time consuming to enter a client quickly when there was that whole other grid and sub grid to contend with.
If I can understand what task you need to accomplish that requires those extra contacts it would be helpful.
Some example business tasks would be -
Properly formatting and addressing automated correspondance to customers, using title, firstname and last name etc- the current one field forces all data into one string and there is no way to enforce correct data entry.
Addressing the correct contact for a specific issue relating to a customer by having a field for the role of each contact - for example we could send out reminders to contacts about a service issue relating to equipment they are responsible for based on their role(IT manager, building manager etc).
Emailing contacts of a client by clicking on a hyperlink in ayanova, rather than having a separate address book of clients/contacts.
This is all what I’d call basic CRM type functionality, and there would perhaps be other examples other Ayanova users could cite. Ayanova does a great job at what it aims to do and I do understand that CRM type functions might be a secondary objective of the software, but just about any business providing a service to customers has a need for a good, simple contact database and, at least for our purposes, Ayanova’s current contact info tracking forces us to use external apps. Adding this type of basic contact tracking, even in the form the tables I originally posted about would provide, would probably please a lot of your current users.
Hi Jason, thank you, that helps to know specifically what you’re after. There is a new feature for developers coming in the next release that would provide a method to do what you want:
Right now we’re just putting together a Plugin system for AyaNova. As you may already know we have a full developers API for AyaNova now that allows developers to write applications that can make use of the AyaNova business object library (the same one AyaNova itself and all it’s add-on’s use).
We’re taking that a step further and implementing plugins so that a developer can now make plugins using the developers APIthat are accessible right inside the AyaNova user interface. So, for example, a developer could implement a “Contacts” item within the Client menu which would in turn expose everything from a simple contact list with preformatted fields to a full blown contact management application.
We’re creating the plugin interface initially for our own accounting software interfaces so they can be integrated right inside AyaNova instead of as the separate applications they are now,andtime permitting,a mapping interface as well, but it allows us or 3rd party developers to quickly and easily add new functionality to AyaNova that isn’t there now. Also this frees us from the general release schedule so we can come up with new plugins at any time.
Note that our programmers interface already exposes a special integration object and Integration map object so if such a plugin were created it’s contactscould continue to be stored within the AyaNova database or externally as desired.
With what we have on our plate now I could not see adding the functionality for contacts ourselves such as you describe in the next release for this spring (we’re already 7 days behind schedule with what we have already on the list) but if there is enough demand for it (i.e. enough people respond positively to this wish list entry) we would definitely implement it as a plugin down the road. Or, if you have the resources at your end to do such a thing we’d be happy to help in any way we can to get it going for you, all you require is a developerexperienced with any of the .net languages.