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iMIS Things To Do On A Rainy Day

John Lelempsis
Technical Project Manager
Causeis

Have a spare hour or two or is it raining outside so you have some time to spend on iMIS instead? There are many things you can do to tune iMIS with an hour, or just a few hours, of time.

But what exactly would you do? Well, here are some ideas:

1. Activity types review

Do you still use all of the activity types that are setup in your iMIS system? Are some users fudging activities into the wrong type because they were unaware you could actually create activity types for what they really need? Are all the lookup/validation tables linked to activity types still current? Are access keywords correctly set on activities that contain sensitive information?

Start simple and spend a few hours reviewing activity setup and activity usage. Run some queries to review how many activities have been captured for each activity type. Look at the last date one was entered. Check how the current activity types match to the reporting needs of the organisation.

2. Address verification review

Assuming you have installed QAS or Accumail address verification tools into iMIS, when did you last review how it was working? Run a batch check and confirm your accuracy percentage. Look at the unmatched addresses and see if you can spot a trend as to why they don't match - a specific user, a specific type of customer record, something else?

Or if you don't have one of these tools implemented, maybe it's time to take another look. Accurate addressing saves you time and money. And beyond that, the ability to use address verification data to cross-reference advanced MOSAIC and other external behavioural databases can bring a whole new level to your marketing efforts.

3. Check backups

Instead of just reviewing the SQL logs and the logs of your backup program, go ahead and simulate a true disaster recovery scenario. Restore your database backup from last week in full, and from last month in full. To the point where a regular user can login and confirm they are using an old backup of the system.

4. Clean up ad-hoc queries

Over time, your list of ad-hoc queries grows. Many of them are created for once off purposes but never deleted. Some are named with meaningless names that not even you can remember what they were used for originally.

Spend a couple of hours and clean them up. Establish a naming convention, if required. You may even want to setup some 'template' queries for common tasks so that regular users can clone these to build their own queries.

5. Clean up IQA queries

Over time, your folders and list of IQA queries grow. Many of them are created for once off purposes but never get deleted. Some are named with meaningless names that not even you can remember what they were used for originally. Or put into the wrong folders (or not into a folder at all).

Spend a couple of hours and clean them up. Establish a folder convention, if required. Use parameter prompts to reduce the number of queries that you may require.

6. Clean up reports

Are your reports no longer organised into nice categories? Users confused where to find the latest and greatest report you have setup?

Spend a couple of hours and tidy up your Report Specs. Consider hiding reports you are never going to use. Check that reports match the report categories they have been attached to. Consider adding keywords to secure specific reports from unauthorised execution.

7. Close events

Over time, Events/Meetings in iMIS tend to get left open. Sometimes for good reason, other times someone just forgot. Spend an hour and clean up the list.

Check that you have the right option selected in Events system setup for 'Delete event on close'. Then go ahead and close each event.

Need to keep all event information even after closing it? Take a look at the 'Meeting Closer' third party utility instead (CSI Inc).

8. User-defined fields review

As an iMIS expert, you will no doubt know how to add new tabs and fields to iMIS with the user-defined fields window. However, over time your field list may be growing and for some of those older fields - no-one actually may be keeping them up-to-date anymore.

Spend a few hours and review each and every one of the tabs and fields setup. Ask hard questions for each field - who uses it? Who updates it? Is the current data in that field accurate? How many distinct values? When was it last updated? When was it last used in a report/query? Is it still relevant to the mission of the organisation?

9. Duplicate checking review

Each organisation will have its own process for managing duplicates in iMIS. Both for during data entry and on a regular basis using the duplicate merge manager. But how long ago did you last review this process? And check that those responsible are running it correctly?

Might be worth an hour doing your own duplicate check. Change the duplicate check formula to something stronger, or something weaker. Then run it again. You may get some surprising results.

10. Refresh your training database

Is your training database still using a copy of data from last year? No-one got around to refreshing it with a current copy of your iMIS production database.

Spend an hour to refresh your training database with current data. Then write up some steps so that you can make sure it gets done more regularly in the future.

11. Review event codings

When was the last time you had a good look at the coding structures you use in the Events modules? The event code itself, event type, function codes, reg classes, and resource types. Are the codes used still aligned with the types of reports required by management?

Spend a few hours and complete an in-depth review of your event codes.

12. Review product codings

When was the last time you had a good look at the coding structures you use in the Order Entry/Inventory modules? The product code itself, product type, kitting, and publication demographics. Are the codes used still aligned with the types of reports required by management?

Spend a few hours and complete an in-depth review of your product codes.

13. Setup an executive dashboard

Of course, you know that you can customise the iMIS Staff Site. In fact, iMIS ships with a number of example executive dashboards that give you some ideas.

But for many users, it becomes a habit to skip straight past the home screen and onto the day's work.

Why not put up a new home page executive dashboard (or even your very first one) - something a little different? Change the colours?

14. Tailor iMIS for each user

A regular user can be more productive with their daily tasks if they see only what they need to see in their iMIS system.

iMIS provides you with a number of ways to implement a tailored desktop for each user. Including security levels, access keywords, tabs (both those displayed and the order they display in), a custom tab.

Spend a couple of hours and see how you can give your users a more tailored work environment. Review all security levels, access keywords, create or update your custom tab, train users on how to customize their own tabs.