Automation in BigChange

  • Updated

At BigChange, we pride ourselves on offering a constantly augmented, paperless system, with new developments released to our customers on a regular basis. Even so, we know that occasionally there are scenarios where a perfect solution would be a bespoke one, possibly unique to your business. As a result, we have created some additional, automated processes that you can customise for precisely those instances.

Functionality

What is Automation and When Might You Use It?

Within a BigChange context, Automation works by identifying the result of a specific activity as a trigger, which then sets a further action in motion.

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This is precisely how Follow-On Jobs work, so the concept will already be familiar to many users, although the process of setting up the new Automation is slightly different. So how does the Automation work? Let's look at an example. When we create a Job type, we can set both positive and negative results for it:

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What happens next will depend upon the job's result. Carrying out a job of this type could, then, become our initial Activity and the Job's result becomes the trigger. We then create an additional action that will occur when the trigger is activated, for example, the creation of a Note:

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Automation can be used to enhance many of your activities, acting as a tremendous time-saver and eliminating instances of human error.

Examples could include: Creating a Note from a Job result; Creating a Job from a Note; Adding a Flag to a Note.

You can also create more complex automation where the result of one automation becomes the trigger for additional automation, for example, you might Create a note from a job result and then automatically add a flag to the list view to advise that it needs urgent attention.

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Creating an Automation

To begin, navigate to: [Top menu] Profile (icon)Admin Settings [side menu] → Account Automation Add

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A new popup window will now have opened, displaying a number of options:

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  1. Description - This is the name of your automation, so something descriptive is advisable to help you find it for future use.
  2. Automation type - There are 2 main types of Automation, Send data to 3rd party and Receive data from 3rd party.  'Send data to 3rd party' means that you are initiating the sending of data from BigChange, either to another server or to a different element of the BigChange system. This appears as Outbound in the Direction column on your Automation list view.  Receive data from 3rd party means that a 3rd party server, eg Sage 100-FR, is asking BigChange to send it the specific data included in its request.  This appears as Inbound in the Direction column on your Automation list view.
  3. Service to send data to - this field only appears for outbound data.  Here you select whether you are sending the automation data to an external http// endpoint or to another part of the BigChange system.

To add an automation, please follow: [Top menu] Profile (icon)Admin Settings → [side menu] Account Automation The setup process will ask you for a User to link the Automation to. This user will need to have the User type set to User for Integration.

Since this option is an alternative to an Active User, it is advisable that a user is created specifically for this purpose.

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Activating an Automation

As you might expect, once automations have been created, they will appear in the list view. When a new automation is created it will be marked as Inactive in the Active column.

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In order to activate the automation, click to select it from the list view and press the Activate button:

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A popup window will now open asking you to confirm your request. Click Yes to confirm:

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The Professional Services team will then check that the automation works successfully before activating it. The verification process will include checks of syntax, suitability and reliability. We aim to complete checks within 2 working days.

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Logging

You will see that there are columns relating to run time, run status and exec count. Clicking on a specific automation will show you options that allow you to: activate/deactivate the automation, View logs, edit or delete.

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Select View logs

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You will now be shown detailed information for each time this has activated.

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Clicking on one of the rows will provide more granular information:

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Examples

Outbound JobWatch Event

Imagine a scenario where we wish to create automation that activates when a Job is completed with issues. STEP 1 We (1) name it, (2) select Send data to 3rd party and (3) select JobWatch, before (4) clicking Next:

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STEP 2 Now we add a JobWatch event as a trigger for this automation. Here we are selecting any Job that was completed with issues.

You will recognise the Who and What fields as they offer the same options as in the Alerts section of JobWatch. Then click on the Next icon:

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STEP 3 Finally, we decide what automated action will take place once the trigger is activated.

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    1. Delay - You can set a delay period here between the trigger and action if required.
    2. Function to call - select the action you wish to take place from the dropdown list.
    3. User for integration - Here you can make a selection from the dropdown menu. If a user's name is not shown, then they have not been set up for this function in [Top menu] Profile (icon)Admin Settings → [side menu] Web UsersUser name[field] User type
    4. Data from Trigger/Data to create or update - Use keywords and freehand to map data that you are bringing across, linking the original activity to the new action eg use the Contact id for the job as the Contact id for the Note.
    5. Save - Once you have pressed Save, the automation you have created will appear in the list view.
    6. You will see that the automation is listed as Inactive. If you click on it in the list view, a popup will display:
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    8. Click 'Yes' to send an activation request to Professional Services.

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Outbound JobWatch Event with Trigger Filters

Our previous example set up a likely scenario for a general automation but what if you want something more specific that applies, for instance, only to certain Job Types or even a single customer?  This can be achieved by using Trigger Filters as an additional step between 2 and 3. Trigger filters allow you to be really specific about what you want to happen without having to create a separate automation for each instance. You can use a combination of keywords and free text with the following option available in the dropdown menu to link them:

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They can allow you to set up precise criteria, eg if Job Type 'Service A' is completed AND the customer is Fitzwilliam Enterprises. To achieve this 'And' scenario, where both of the separate criterion need to be met, use the + symbol

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The Add New Filter Group should be used when you want the same automation process to be applied to unconnected criteria but only one of them needs to be met in order for the automation to trigger.

In example 1, the + icon has been used, linking these 2 events in a single group, meaning that both criteria must be met.  In order for this automation to trigger, a job of the specified type must BOTH have had its status changed AND the customer must have been Fitzwilliam Enterprises

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In example 2, the Add New Filter Group has been used, meaning that the scenario is now EITHER/OR and only one criterion needs to be met. The triggers are in separate groups, demonstrating their independence from each other.

The automation will trigger if EITHER, one of these Job Types has its status changed OR a job of any type for contact Fitzwilliam Enterprises has its status changed.

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Outbound Post via HTTP

This follows a similar method as the above example in the first 2 steps, other than selecting Post via HTTP in the Service to send field in Step 1. STEP 3 As with above example, use a combination of freetext and Keywords to incorporate the relevant information into the Post. 

However, in this type of automation, it is essential that you add the recipient's URL into the mandatory field

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Automation Triggered by a Completed Automation

STEP 1

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STEP 2 Select Other automation completes and make your selection from the dropdown menu of existing automations:

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Now click Next. STEP 3

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Inbound

Please speak to your account representative if you wish to set up 3rd party data requests. Once this has been agreed and set up, you can proceed to mapping.

STEP 1 Add a Description and select Receive data from 3rd party, then click on the Next icon:

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STEP 2 A popup window will have opened. Click on the Add icon.

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and populate the fields shown with the requested information before pressing the Add icon

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The information you added will now have been added to the list. Click Save.

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Additions

Duplicating Automations

Automations can be simply duplicated by clicking on the automation from the list view and pressing Duplicate

Once open, amendments can be made as desired before saving.

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Once it has been Saved, it will show as Inactive on the list and will need to be approved for activation as usual. 

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Finding Something's ID

To find the ID of an item when using a Windows PC, click on the item using your mouse/mousepad at the same time as depressing Shift + Ctrl + Alt

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To find the ID of an item when using an Apple Mac, click on the item using your mouse/mousepad at the same time as depressing Cmd + Option + Shift

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Using Parent's Result as Part of a Child's Automation

Now that you have created some fantastic automations, you can use them even more creatively by the use of  Keywords that allow you to trigger a second automation as a result of the first automation’s completion.

  • Navigate to: [Top menu] Profile (icon) Admin Settings[side menu]Account Automation   
Automation34.pngSelect ‘Other Automation Completes’ & select from menu

Automation35.png In order for the keywords to be displayed for a child automation, the parent automation will need to have run at least once.

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Video

Automation