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 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 ? 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.
- Use the Search button and click on the column headers to search, filter and sort the table.
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.
Client information, surveys and trees…
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.
- A set of access rules to allow other OTISS users to access the client information. For example: online access for your client to login to see the maps and trees, or arb subcontractors to help with the surveys and work.
- Each estate can also be upgraded to allow more users, more trees, more photos, etc. The Estate Subscriptions page shows what options are available.
- 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.
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.
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.
Things to remember…
1. One-off survey and report
Once the project is completed, rather than delete the OTISS ‘client’, you can set the client to ‘Not active’. This will keep this data archived so that when the client returns, you will have all the data ready for the next inspection cycle – simply re-activate the ‘client’.
- Having the previous inspection data on the mobile device will speed-up your re-survey time.
- This could allow you to submit a more competitive quote.
2. Multiple projects from Architects, Building Developers, etc…
Many arboricultural consultants get repeat business from Archiects, Building Developers, large consultancy firms, etc. Each project is completely separate from the others – but they are all for the same company.
In these cases you have a few options as to how to set this up within OTISS.
Option 1: Create a single OTISS ‘client’ to represent the architect or building developer, and create a separate site (or sites) for each separate job. Each site can be setup with appropriate names, job numbers, address and contact details. Each site can have a different map or site plan. Reports can be generated on a per-site basis. Important
Option 2: Similar to option 1 above, but it might be more convenient to create a new OTISS client for each year’s projects. E.g. “2017 Acme Arhitect projects”, “2018 Acme Arhitect projects”, etc.
Option 3: Create a new OTISS ‘client’ to represent each project, but include the name of the archiect or building developer in the name (and possibly the year as well). E.g. “2017 Acme – B Jones”, “2017 Acme – Hammersmith School”, etc.
Important Notes – how to decide…
- Option 1 is best suited if you have taken out the OTISS Premium Subscriptions (unlimited trees per client). Users with the Standard Subscriptions should consider Options 2 and 3.
- With Option 3 you can tailor and customise the survey forms to each project. Whereas with Options 1 and 2 you need to be using the same survey form for all projects within the same client.
3. Online Access by your Clients
Many clients will value the ability to view a website providing the maps and survey data of the tree stock on their estate.
- As part of your service, can provide your clients with an OTISS account for online access to estate maps, survey data and reports – with your logo on all webpages and reports.
- Over successive surveys, your clients see the ‘duty of care’ audit trail of the tree safety inspections.
- Clients could also be setup to view the maps and trees on-site via their phones – allowing them to report issues directly to you for maintenance or further investigation.
- They may be more likely to return to you for more advice.
For full instructions, read How to provide my Client with access to the Tree Surveys…
4. Shared database
Managing a stock of trees can involve a range of people: in addition to your client and their staff (groundsmen, caretaker, facilities manager, etc.), arboricultural contractors and possibly representations of local council and government agencies. At various stages, each of these people may wish to view and possibly update the tree management records. With OTISS, you don’t need to exchange printed maps and records – all the information is online for authorised users to see.
OTISS acts as shared database of information – cutting down on unnecessary reporting and paper work.
- Users can access OTISS from any PC, MAC, laptop, note book, tablet or phone that has a web browser.
- Your staff and contractors don’t have to have identical mobile survey devices. Using the OTISS Survey apps on any Android phone, tablet or GPS device allows consultants to collect data on-site and sync with OTISS.
At all times you, your staff, your clients, your subcontract consultants and contractors have shared access and visibility of what is happening – seeing all the same reports and spreadsheets.