Welcome to our new series on the Accsys Framework. This is a new add on product that is currently in development by Accsys Consulting and we are giving you a sneak peak on what is coming up.
Sage CRM is a tool that can enhance an organizations business processes by handling the menial and tedious tasks that is necessary for a business to run smoothly by getting the data in order and organised. Accsys Consulting views Sage CRM as one of the most flexible business applications available in the market. This flexibility allows a business to customize Sage CRM to fit the needs of the organisation.
At its very core Sage CRM is an application with three different layers, the user interface, application logic, and the database engine. Making the application adhere to specific business processes requires customization of the three different layers. This customization is done through a variety of means, but most commonly through:
- SQL Stored Procedures
One of the key advantages that Sage CRM has is the extensibility of the application, allowing businesses to do what they do best without having to change to fit the capabilities of the application.
Technically – extensibility is a system design principle where the system is made to grow and designed so that other components can added on to increase functionality. But if you’re a business partner like us, then you already know that Sage CRM can do that already and that this is nothing new. You can customize Sage CRM by adding new entities, new .asp pages to suit your needs, you can even have CSS to give it a fresher look, use different plugins and many other customization techniques.
Accsys Consulting has decided to take it a step further.
But before I go on with this ‘next step’ let me say why Accsys Consulting decided that we wanted to go down this path. It started as an idea to improve the UI in general of Sage CRM, to make it more up to date on the programming side of the spectrum we wanted to make use of HTML5, to allow business partners to deploy customisations quicker, easier, with more flexibility. In addition to improving the customization component, we were also aiming to improve the end user experience by speeding up data entry and making it as intuitive as possible.
The Framework isn’t a replacement for Sage CRM, instead we see it as an enhancement that builds on an award winning application by adding additional functionality. Our key goal is to provide a system that provides speed, scalability, and usability while taking advantage of the powerful features provided by Sage CRM.
Just to get you started, here is a taste of some of the features that we have implemented so far.
We started with the login screen and made it possible to customize it so that the client can customize it to make it fit their needs. This is possible through the current login page, however we wanted to be able to add new features such as a new s feed for the organization.
We have changed the dashboard so it is more intuitive, in the same fashion as the Dynamic Dashboard in Sage CRM. When a user logs in the Accsys Framework they are presented with the cases that they need to address. To access these cases there are the buttons at the top that indicate how many cases is assigned to the user. By clicking on this button it will point you to an ordered list of your cases
The first entity we put through the framework was Case Management. We needed this internally to help manage our own clients. We had attempted this a few occasions before, however we did have user adoption issues. When developing the case management screens our approach was to ask the technical consultants what they needed and designed the screens around these requirements. The result was a simple to use interface with as much information as possible on the same screen.
In comparison with Sage CRM we have migrated a lot of the standard features to our framework, but added some little touches on the way through. For example, the workflow now shows where you have been and where you can go from the current state.
Sage CRM with Accsys Framework
Find/Search – we have implemented a global search in the framework that searches through all the records in CRM (item 1)
Workflow actions – Changed the look and feel of the workflow, this shows visibility with what steps have been taken and that the next steps can be done (item 2)
Case menu Items – changed the menu items to be icons with tool-tips that shows the name of the tab when hovered (item 3)
Notes tab – These tabs were designed in such a way so that the page itself doesn’t refresh every time a user clicks on the other tabs. This is due to the structure of the page altogether as the whole web page and the whole of the Accsys Framework is following the design pattern of MVC or Model-View-Controller. For each page in the framework we have separated parts to follow a certain model. So for instance in the Case Summary screen there are a number of different models with different controllers attached to different views. (item 4)
Default/Accsys Framework – a button to return back to the Default CRM or to go to the Accsys Framework. (item 4)
This is just a taste of the Accsys Framework and we are currently working towards having a full version released that will be available to other Sage Business Partners. In future articles we will discuss some of the key advantages of using the Accsys Framework and how the Accsys Framework works in conjunction with Sage CRM