What is a Client?
Within OTISS, you create a new ‘Client’ for each separate real-life client or project. Each ‘client’ has a completely separate and independent set of sites/surveys/trees/reports etc.
Although you may build up a long list of clients, usually you only deal with a small number of ‘active’ clients at any one time. After you login to OTISS, the first thing is to select which client you need to work on. This is done by using the Select Client dropdown list at the top of the screen. Once selected, all the sites, maps, surveys, trees and reports are limited to the selected client.
Managing your clients
Press the Manage Clients button (at the top of the screen) to goto the Clients page. This page shows a table of all the clients that you have created.
The Client Name and Site Names column on the spreadsheet of information about each client. When you have dozens or hundreds of clients, it can be hard to keep track and find them again. Use the column headers to sort the table and the Search button to filter/search for what you are looking for.
- The ? Help button provide a quick reminder of how to use these features.
- The Create Client button at the top of the Clients table is used to create a new client and setup the sites, maps, surveys, etc.
- The button icons at the start of each row allow for edit and deletion of the clients.
- Pressing the Select button within a row will take you to the Client Details page for that client. This is the same as selecting the client in the Select Client dropdown at the top of the page.
- Click on the column headers to sort the table.
- Use the Search button to filter/search the table. The client name or one if the site names is usually the most useful.
Active and Not-active clients
To help you to stay focused on the ‘active’ clients, you can mark a client as ‘not active’ (archived) when all the work has been completed.
- No data, trees or photos are deleted for the non active clients. Its just being archived away!
- Only ‘active’ clients appear in the Select Client list at the top of the page. So archiving a client will reduce the clutter.
- Surveys for non-active clients are hidden on the survey apps. Only surveys for active clients can be downloaded
To mark a client as not-active (archived).
- Press the Deactivate button (at the top of the Clients table). This will de-activate any clients that have not been used for 3 months or more.
- Press the Active button on the appropriate row in the Clients table to change the client to Not active.
To re-activate client
- Press the Not active button on the appropriate row in the Clients table to change the client to Active.
- There is no delay – the data is available immediately!
- Then select the client and create some new sites, or create new surveys for the existing sites.
On the Client Settings web pages : you configure some basic contact information; upload the client’s own logo(s); control who has access to the estate; share estate documents and reports; and can check the details of any client specific subscriptions.
When you setup a ‘client’ within OTISS, you can record the following information.
- The client’s contact details (name, telephone, email, postal address, etc). Or you could ignore all this and just use your existing client codes or job numbers.
- Each client is an ‘estate‘ with multiple sites (and maps) where the trees are located. For each site (e.g. property, campus, highway, a groups of fields, etc.), you can store further contact and address information for site managers, caretakers, wardens, key holders, etc (if required). This per-site contact information is also available on the survey app when doing the on-site survey. Read more about sites…
- A set of surveys for these sites. Either one-off surveys or periodic safety surveys providing an audit trail and history for each tree. Read more about surveys…
- A customised survey form to use on the surveys.
- All this client information is only seen by yourself and anyone you authorise to view the estate’s surveys. OTISS will never use or share this information with any 3rd parties.
Apart from yourself (who ‘owns’ the estate), you can optionally pay for and setup one or more Client Access accounts to let your client (and their staff) view the OTISS maps and survey data. They can be assigned ‘viewer’ (read-only) access or they could work with you to carry out surveys, maintenance work and manage the trees and outdoor furniture on the estate.
If you work with other OTISS arboricultural consultants, then you can allow them access to the client estate, so that they can also carry out surveys and maintenance work.
The Client Access webpage provides:
- A list of all the registered client users and arboricultural consultants that have access to the estate.
- You can change each person’s access level as appropriate to what they need to do.
- A Register User button for any new Client users. Your subscription limits the number of client users you can have at any one time. See section of ‘Staff Turnover’ below.
- The Add User button is to add arboricultural consultants who already have their own OTISS account. You can do this at any time – no extra charge or subscription is required.
- The Send Email button provides a convenient one-click option to send emails to all the people working on the estate. You can configure who gets the emails in the table. (Premium subscriptions only) .
- When you need help from one of the OTISS support team, the Support Staff button allows you to give them temporary access to the estate so that they can see the maps, photos and survey data and they can help to resolve any issues you may have.
When a member of client’s staff leaves and a replacement is needed, then we recommend that you remove the original user from the estate and then Register a new OTISS account for the replacement user and setup the appropriate access level. This approach has the important advantage that all the survey and work done by the original user will remain linked with their name. We recommend that you DO NOT let the new user login as the ‘old’ user and that you DO NOT simply change the account name – these will lose the definitive audit trial and introduce confusion and doubt over who actually did what surveys and works.
Estate management is often a team effort. In addition to your arboricultural consultants and workers; your larger clients will have their own estate manager, groundsmen, rangers, caretakers, supervisors, and office staff. Good communication within the team is vital.
The various Send Email buttons (located around the website) provide a convenient one-click option for everyone to send emails to the other OTISS users working on the estate. Your normal email application (e.g. Outlook, Thunderbird, etc.) is used and a partial email is composed. The subject line includes the site name and the tree’s or item’s reference. You complete and send the email as normal. Use the Client Access webpage to configure who is on the To: and Cc: lines of the email.
Its only a little feature! But hopefully it makes communication easier within the team.
Note: This feature is only available if you have a Premium subscription.
Shared Documents and Reports
OTISS provides some storage for documents, reports and files so that they can be stored on the OTISS server and shared with all the client users and your consultant colleagues. Just one of the many benefits of using an online system.
Typically, organisations will have their own document/file storage servers and associated security/access permissions – OTISS should not be used to replace the these arrangements. The OTISS document storage is intended to be used solely as a means of sharing documents with your clients, other arboricultural consultants or stakeholders that would normally not have access to the organisation’s main file servers.
In addition to the files shown on the Estate Documents webpage, each tree/item can also have photos (and documents) linked to them – these are shown separately on the Photos web page.
Note: This feature is only available if you have a Premium subscription.
The Client Subscriptions page shows details of any subscription specific to this client. This page is only relevant if you have purchased a Client Access or Large Survey subscription for the client. The client can also be upgraded to allow more users, more trees, more photos, etc. The Subscriptions page shows what options are available.
OTISS provides a standard set of survey forms (for TreeSafety, Risk Assessment, BS5837, CAVAT, TEMPO, etc) with all the required fields and a few additional fields that may (or may not) be useful for you. Many people will use our standard survey form, but many users like to customise the survey form (a) to suit their own working practice and preferences, and/or (b) to accommodate a clients’ specific requirements.
We recommend that you setup a survey form that reflects your preferences and use that on all your clients. This is achieved using the ‘Client Templates‘ feature. You can create one or more ‘client templates’. These template ‘clients’ are not used for doing surveys or real projects – they are just an easy/familiar way for setting up and storing your ideal survey forms (and some other settings). Here is what you have to do.
- Create a client with a suitable name (e.g. ‘BS Survey #1’).
- Select that client and customise it’s Survey Forms to be your ideal ‘standard’ – i.e. customise the field names, picklists of common values, mandatory fields, etc.
- Now every time you create a new a client, make sure to select ‘BS Survey #1’ (or one of your other client templates) in the Client template field. The survey forms (and other settings) will be copied from the selected template.
- If required, the new client’s surveys can be customised further – without changing your template.
In addition the the survey forms, there are a few other settings in the Client Template that are used to setup each new client.
- Any other OTISS consultants that are assigned to the template client will be setup on the new clients.
- The Map icon colour configuration.
- The estate tree species.
As you learn more about using OTISS, you can keep returning to the template client and tweaking it to make improvements. Then subsequent new clients will use your newly improved forms, or you can copy the changes into a specific client using the Survey Templates button as described below.