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What software do I need to streamline my office?
June 3, 2014 4:12 PM   Subscribe

In my office I have multiple employees working on my files in different roles. I am looking for a way to integrate things so that I can look at one or two programs on my computer and see what is happening on them.

Here is how things work right now:

Most of the work is done in our specialized software, Conveyancer, and for what it does the program is very good. But it has gaps regarding tracking communication that need to be addressed.

Conveyancer has a notes section for each file opened. In this section we can note any new document we receive. If we have received any phone call or email we can write in the content of said phone call or email as well. The program itself doesn't have any great way to organize these notes, it is in essence one large text window, and so copying multiple emails into it makes it an unusable wall of text. As a result, most emails don't make it into the notes section and will be forwarded and cc'ed between people instead. Conveyancer will also only let one user write to any given file at one time so if a call comes in while someone else is in the file the person taking the call isn't able to write a note in the file.

The physical file and Conveyancer file contain different information. If we receive a fax, there will be a note in Conveyancer saying we received it and what type of document it is (for example an insurance policy or mortgage document). But the only way to see the actual document is to get the physical file and look at the fax.

This is what I want:

Someone gets an email and they can assign it to the file. Sent email will also be assigned to the file. Anyone looking up the file will be able to see all email. This may require an integrated mail client which is fine as long as it can deal gracefully with people sending and receiving email from mobile devices.

Our fax machine is also a scanner and has the ability to take a scan of all faxes received, either in place of printing it out or in addition to printing it out. It can also take a scan of all faxes sent. We should be able to drag and drop the scanned faxes into the appropriate file.

Someone takes a phone call, they can quickly write a note to the file while someone else is accessing it.

Anytime there is an update, such as a new email or fax, a notification should go on the file letting the people responsible know to check what the update is. One user should also be able to send a notification to a different user if there is something that user needs to look into.

The electronic file should contain all the information in the physical file as well as things such as phone call notes and emails that never made it to the physical file. If I want to see an original document I will pull up the physical file, but otherwise it should all be available in the electronic file.

There shouldn't be any proprietary formats. The notes/email should be text files of some sort and pdfs for the scans. Email attachments can be in whatever format they were mailed.

If this ends up being some remotely hosted service then there should be a way to export and back up the data on a regular basis.

What kind of software am I looking for, and within that genre what are your recommendations for an office with around 10 people?


Conveyancer also has a calendar function, but it does not make the information in the calendar easily accessible outside the program. We use this calendar function right now, but it would be better if the other software product did the calendaring, especially if there is some cloud functionality of it that would allow us to access the calendar from outside the office. Really, as long as it can sync with Google Calendar that would be enough.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm to Work & Money (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Most CRM software will do variations on this. I could set most of that up in Microsoft CRM (which I am not especially good at). There might be enough ready-to-use plugins to do this in SharePoint, but I won't swear to it.
posted by Lyn Never at 4:15 PM on June 3

Zendesk is a cloud-based platform designed for this sort of workflow.

Do not expect to find an "off-the-shelf" software solution that does exactly what you want. Try to find a close-match and then change your workflow a bit.
posted by jacobean at 5:39 PM on June 3

I played a bit with Zendesk today and I don't think it does what I'm looking for. Not out of the box anyways.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 2:06 PM on June 4

I have tried Teamwork as well. It seems to be more in line with what I want, but it does not seem to be able to send/receive emails from clients. If Teamwork could deal with email then it would be a pretty good fit.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 3:19 PM on June 4

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