Action Plans are a great way of automating tasks.
Many of the tasks that you will perform within OpenCRM will involve creating activities and linking them to the item that you are creating, whether that is a new Project, a new Company or even a new Lead. You may find that when performing these tasks you are creating similar activities a lot of the time and this is where you will find Action Plans extremely useful.
You are also able to create Conditional Action Plans, please find information about how this works at the bottom of this FAQ
Creating Action Plans
Action Plans can be created for all of the modules shown in the below image which shows the 'Action Plans' section of the 'Settings' page which is available to System Administrators.
You can create an Action Plan for one of these modules by clicking the relevant link on the Settings page.
The following image shows the 'Project Action Plans' page however this is the same for all of the other modules and the only difference is which module you are able to use the saved Action Plans from as we will see shortly.
The image above shows the 'Projects Action Plan' page with one Action Plan which contains a single activity.
When you use this Action Plan any of the 'Activities' saved within it will be created so we need to specify the properties that the created activities will have.
- First of all you should give your Action Plan a distinctive name so that you know which plan it refers to when you come to use it.
- You will then need to pick which date your Action Plan will use as the start time. You can pick either the Run Date (the day you select the Action Plan on a record and click save) or any date field in the module.
- For example on a Project, you might want to chose to start the Activities from the "Start Date" rather than the date the Project was created.
- Working from left to right we can then give the activity an 'Activity Type', a 'Subject' and set how long after using the action plan we would like the activity to start in days, months and years.
- It is possible to set the activity to start in hours and minutes. You have two options:
- From this time: This would be the number of hours/minutes from the time on the date field you are using, for example 2 hours from the records created time.
- On this time: You can use this to set specific start time for the activity in hours and minutes.
- We can then set the 'Duration' and 'Status' of the activity
- And choose who the activity will be 'Assigned To'. The 'Assigned To' field can be set to either a single 'User' or a 'Team'
- If the 'User' option is selected there is a special user called 'Creator' which the activity can be assigned to. The 'Creator' is not the user who created the Action Plan it is the user who uses the Action Plan in the future to create these activities.
The 'X' button on the right side of the Activity can also be used to delete the activity from the row it is next to, however there must always be at least one activity linked to an Action Plan so it is not possible to remove the last activity.
Any changes made to the Action Plan will not be committed until the Action Plan is saved so if you are happy with the changes you have made you can click 'Save' or if not just click 'Cancel' and no changes will be made to the Action Plan.
You can have as many Activities on your Action Plan as you require and as many Action Plans as you need.
Using Action Plans
When we have created some Action Plans we then need to know how to use them. In this example we will look at how to use them with the Project module but the process is the same for every module, the only difference may be the position of the Action Plan drop down selector.
The image above shows the top of the 'New Project' page and you can see the Action Plan drop down selector at the bottom of the first header. As you can see in the image there is no Action Plan selected by default and to use one of your Action Plans you simply need to select it from this list. When an Action Plan is selected and you click to 'Save' the project all of the activities listed in the selected Action Plan will be created.
Conditional Action Plans are triggered when a specific condition is fulfilled. There are various reasons why you might need these, for example you might want to trigger a specific set of activities if an Opportunity of more than a certain value is created, or when Projects of a specific Type are created.
You can access set up for Conditional Action Plans from the Settings page and selecting the following option:
You will see a screen like below that shows you all the current Conditional Action Plans you have set up
Clicking "New" will open a window where you can create a Condition that you can use to trigger an Action Plan.
Important: You need to already have the Action Plan created BEFORE setting up the condition.
This screen is made up of a number of different parts:
- Module - Select the module you wish to run the Action Plan against
- Name - Give your Conditional Action Plan a sensible name so you can find it again easily
- Description - Write up a brief description of what the Conditional Action Plan is going to be used for, you may even want to spell out the Conditions and which Action Plan you are triggering
- Active - Ticking this box will mean the Conditional Action Plan is switched on. Leaving it unticked will mean that it is not triggered--this can be good if you are still drafting or waiting for approval
- Trigger (right side of screen) - You can choose from OnSave, OnEdit, and On Consult. These decide when the system checks to see if your record needs to run the Action Plan you've selected.
- Conditions - You can create these conditions based on any field within the module, and you have a variety of different trigger such as "Equals" which you can use to define the Condition:
- Action Plan - Finally you can select an Action Plan from those already created in your system. You can choose to set the Action Plan to run only once or, if you leave this unticked, the Action Plan will be triggered every time the record is saved, edited, or viewed.