Helix is pleased to announce Release 2017.01 of Andar/360, scheduled for delivery later this month. As usual, the first release of the year delivers hundreds of new features and functions. This particular release is our biggest one yet. We have referenced project numbers with many of the enhancements discussed in this document so customers can obtain additional details.
“We have upgraded the core Java engine to Version 1.8_112 and the Tomcat web application server to Version 8.5. Both yield better performance and improved support for new technologies,” said Henry Ning, Development Manager. He added, “This update will open the door for new strategies to protect our customer information and increase data integrity as we move forward.”
Réal Bédard, President of Helix, declared, “This service pack is a game-changer when it comes to our customers engaging with their constituents. Our mobile e-Community Suite is now more customizable than ever and, when combined with our marketing engine, our customers will be able to engage with their constituents using an integrated and multi-channel approach. Whether using web, e-mail, print, or texting (SMS), conversations can be highly personalized and integrated across all modules of Andar.”
In this service pack, we are introducing two new optional modules, as well as significant changes throughout Andar.
New Module: Texting
We are very excited to deliver our new Andar Texting module. This module brings integrated texting (SMS) communication into Andar and more specifically into Andar’s marketing engine. With this module, customers are able to engage constituents in conversations using highly personalized text messages. Andar will automatically match existing accounts as well as collect cell phone numbers into constituent accounts (100074).
Andar can easily reply to incoming text messages, and Andar plans can be used to map the constituent’s journey as they engage in interactive and personalized conversations. Andar also includes a highly sophisticated and secure URL shortening tool (99422) so that text messages can include personalized links to give, volunteer, etc.
All text message conversations are logged (100561) and can be viewed on constituent accounts in Andar or through i-Access.
New Module: API
We have worked hard over the past few years to design and implement of a REST API for Andar. This API opens Andar to integration with virtually any third party product. Customers will be able to exchange information bi-directionally between Andar and other products. Using the API, any information can be pulled out of Andar as needed and new or updated information from other systems can be imported into Andar. The validation rules currently used by the Andar Connector import tool have been adapted and integrated into the API so that customers can be confident that all information imported will be properly validated. Now customers using external software or CRM systems such as SalesForce or Microsoft CRM can easily integrate and exchange information between their best-of-breed products (100713 and 102690).
This new module is now the recommended method for automating updates to Andar from external applications. We also intend to transition the automated DOS command-line Andar Connector interface under this new module license.
Hardware Key (a.k.a. Dongle)
Andar's licensing mechanism has completely changed. Rather than using a hardware key, Andar will now employ a web-based licensing model. Removing its dependency on a physical device will make Andar much easier to be fully implemented in the Cloud.
i-Access & MSOutlook Connector
Communication log maintenance in i-Access has been enhanced to support direct links from Outlook Connector-forwarded e-mails. This means that Resource Development staff, while on the road, can forward e-mails to Andar to be uploaded as communication logs, and receive a confirmation e-mail from Andar containing a link to further update the uploaded communication using i-Access. This feature is particularly useful for adding other constituents to communication log entries (102712).
Executive Plus gives customers the ability to build custom dashboards and data-driven web page content. This module has been enhanced to include parameters so that one Executive Plus component can be reused for multiple purposes by providing different parameter values. Executive Plus components can now be used to build crowdfunding web pages in combination with a text messaging strategy. Companies running workplace campaigns can use Executive Plus component-driven gadgets to show their campaign status on their internal employee websites. Similarly, these gadgets can be placed on any third-party public website to keep communities informed and engaged (80591, 98931, and 99091).
The functionality of Executive Plus has also been expanded so that customers can build their own rankings based on any data within Andar or other accessible databases. These rankings can then be tracked as Key Performance Indicators (97694 and 97789).
Plans, and specifically workflow plans, are the essential CRM tools to provide sales, marketing, and process automation. This service pack includes improvements in the handling of failed tasks (99578) so that your plans can deal with virtually any situation. Plans can also prompt users to select zero or more task(s) to perform next, or to postpone the decision until later (99924).
Plan variables were introduced last year, allowing you to store information within each instance of your plan. This service pack includes the ability to use the plan variables within Data Mining and when sending e-mails through DMOs. This means that your plan can run Data Mining operations to collect data about your constituents and then use this information in your e-mails (99692).
We have made significant changes to the internal workings of subscriptions. Account warehouses are no longer used to track new subscribers or unsubscribers. Instead, we have built new database tables to track subscribers and their history (91950). Complex Data Mining operations are no longer necessary to build mailing lists. It’s now also much easier to send a single newsletter to an individual with one click from their account profile (102003). Mailing list usages have also been improved to provide options for selecting combined giver names (22411).
Data Mining is a very powerful tool to segment your constituents, pull out information, and produce custom reports. This service pack introduces the ability to organize your Data Mining Operations into categories (93029). Since account warehouses are often created by DMOs, we have added a button on the warehouse maintenance window to list all DMOs that refer to the selected warehouse (97663).
We have also improved the DMO selection of employees to exclude those individuals already selected in a prior step (38033).
This service pack includes very significant changes to the User Interface of the DMO designer tool (97788); as well, we have added the ability to move sections of your Data Mining Operation using drag and drop (97673).
Many Standard-M reports are sent to other United Way organizations as part of running regional or national campaigns. These reports have been enhanced to produce Andar Connector-ready CSV files (99396 and 99395). Now the recipient United Way can easily import giving information from the processing United Ways into their own Andar database.
The account timeline app has been improved to include transaction and designation changes (97803). This means that staff can easily see virtually all changes that occurred to their accounts in one simple app.
This service pack provides further improvements to the new menu structure introduced last year. You can now centrally administer favorite menus and share them with all staff (97686). Similarly, personal preferences can be centrally administered (99043). Now your system administrator can access and modify your staff’s personal preferences.
Last year, we introduced table-driven prefixes and suffixes for constituent names. This service pack improves this feature by storing parts in the table instead of the entire prefix or suffix. So, for example, your table of prefixes could contain only “Major,” “General,” and “Lieutenant.” Andar will ensure that the prefix words you key in are contained within the table. So you could enter the prefix “Major General,” “Lieutenant General,” or “Lieutenant Major.” All combinations are valid but the words used must be in the table (99096). This ensures that prefixes and suffixes are valid and standardized.
This service pack also introduces standard security to dashboard administration. Now you can assign specific users or groups of users the authority to administer specific dashboards (37713).
We have improved the General Ledger Export function so that users can select and order the specific columns they require as well as change the column names to match those required by their specific financial software. These settings can be saved and reused just like other report settings throughout Andar (94043).
Campaign dates can now be imported using Andar Connector (61209).
When new accounts are created, the EIN will automatically be used to assist in de-duplicating accounts (64608).
Most reports in Andar now have the option to include/exclude totals in their spreadsheet downloads (97489). This provides a simple export function with the flexibility to control the level of detail.
We have enhanced the account filter on all lists so that you can select accounts with which you have or have not communicated within a given period of time (97784). This tool is invaluable when listing only contacts, employees, prospects, etc., known to you. This is also a great way to eliminate clutter from your dashboards, profile reports, as well as i-Access used on mobile devices.
Dashboard apps have been enhanced to carry your theme settings into profile reports and i-Access (97800). This means that you can use various color schemes and display properties to customize your i-Access dashboards and profile reports.
Dashboard broadcasting/listening functions were extended for the tracking parameter quick entry app to further speed up data entry (99213). Similarly, the note app has been enhanced with the ability to listen to broadcasted note selections (102250).
The Communication Summary dashboard app now includes a new filter option to select either future or past communications in addition to the complete list (99247).
As you change and refine your prospecting strategy, you can now expire touch points (99567) so that you don’t have to redo your entire prospect configuration just to remove one touch point.
The campaign account selection for many reports has been improved to include the selection of multiple campaigns or all campaigns (100537).
When selecting which thank-you letter to send to your constituents, you now have a “No thank you letter” option (102392) so that no letter is produced for this transaction or individual.
We have consolidated most database administration cleanup tasks into a single screen to make it easier for Andar administrators to schedule their database maintenance (100474).
We are very excited about the e-Community enhancements being released in this service pack. The architecture of e-Community has been dramatically transformed (94054). All buttons throughout the product have been changed from images to CSS-based (95003). This will make it easier to customize and to create multilingual websites.
We are introducing new plug-and-play mobile templates that conform to the United Way Worldwide standards. We have also redesigned many internal functions to make it easier to customize the look of e-Pledge websites. (100008, 100009)
We are introducing new import/export functions of web customizing notes by language so that customers can easily share their work. You can export the list of all available customizations into a spreadsheet and then perhaps use volunteers to translate the default text into another language before re-importing it into Andar. This will greatly facilitate the translation of web pages into any language (98689).
Andar Stylesheets now support the insertion of any file type (102404), including fonts, CSS, and other documents.
Probably the most important enhancement to e-Pledge is the redesigned designated agency search web page. Now, as donors enter their search terms, Andar will immediately present results similar to Google. We are using our Andar Stylesheet technology to customize the way search results are shown. We are providing a number of plug-and-play Stylesheets to choose from, or customers can easily build their own, or Helix can assist in building new Stylesheets to suit customers’ needs. The new search function has been implemented in the workplace e-Pledge, the public single page pledge, as well as the shopping cart (101574, 84698).
We are also introducing a new “indefinitely-recurring” credit card and ACH pledging option (84734). Whereas our recurring pledges used to be limited to multiple payments in the current campaign year, the new option ensures that transactions and designations are properly rolled over indefinitely from year to year. Furthermore, donors can also go online any time to change their recurring gift amount and update their credit card or banking information.
The credit card reports have been improved to omit transactions currently being processed (93450).
Andar’s e-Pledge is the most flexible system for running regional and national corporate campaigns. Large companies need this flexibility to slice-and-dice their information. That is why we are adding another nine sort fields for corporate reporting purposes (78365).
The enhancements to Executive Plus, and to e-Community in general, make it easy to support various crowdfunding strategies. Several plug-and-play options are available for download from our Support Center website to implement crowd funding.
This module is highly strategic for our customers in engaging constituents, and therefore we are continuing to invest in its development. We are releasing many general improvements throughout the product to make it easier for volunteers and community agencies to use (93527, 100419). We are also ensuring that the website is mobile-first and accessible through a variety of mobile devices.
Once the volunteer selects an opportunity, we have also made the signup process easier (100752).
We have improved Day-of-Caring support with enhanced security so that some opportunities can be restricted to various corporate partner organizations or individuals (96872).
Andar can also automatically send e-mails whenever the volunteer opportunity status changes (101880).
Andar’s event ticketing system, i-Attend, has also been enhanced in this service pack. Event attendance or invitations can now be mass assigned using Data Mining (49575). Calendar appointments downloaded from the i-Attend website now include the event location information (82632). The dashboard event attendance app now supports listening to broadcasted event occurrences for easier access to information and to event management functions (82532).
Andar’s event reception desk page now includes a quick search function to improve check-in at events (98071).
We are continuing to offer more features and critical functions to Resource Development staff using mobile devices. Event progress charts now support the handling of broadcasted events (97326).
We have added a new “Me” selection option for prospect and campaign reports (99524). This makes it easier for account managers to print their reports without hard-coding their personal account number. Now, one dashboard can be created and published in i-Access for all to use.
We have added more flexibility to account security in i-Access. Managers can now be given access using any campaign structure (99608).
Andar’s Community Building module is critical for our customers in order to receive funding applications and measure community outcomes. This service pack includes a new web page for agencies to download their allocation letters (99125). It also includes navigation improvements so that agencies can move from one application package section to another using next/previous buttons (100183).
Many forms within the Community Building module are actually Andar surveys. These surveys have been improved as described below.
When surveys are submitted (completed), Andar can send an e-mail to a given staff member. The e-mail is now template-driven and can be customized (95748).
When surveys are printed, the custom line heights are used to print additional blank lines for clarity and readability (98064).
Surveys now support the option to attach documents (83638).
Release 2017.01 also includes hundreds of other items, too many to discuss here. The service pack table of contents can be found at www.Andar360.com/ServicePacks.